Two years ago, it was Judd Rowse from Prince Rupert in first place and Chris Hampton of Terrace in second.
Last year Hampton placed first and Rowse was second.
This year, King of the Mountain race organizer Troy Butler says he’s heard both have been training hard, leading to what he expects to be another exciting finish in the men’s 40-plus category for the annual race up and down Terrace Mountain which this year happens Sept. 7.
“And last year they both came in at just under 49 minutes. I don’t think it was much more than 10 seconds separating them,” said Butler of the times posted by Hampton and Rowse.
Dave Percy of Smithers placed third the last two years, leaving Butler to wonder if this year he’s got his eye on both Hampton and Rowse.
And he’s anticipating another strong finish from last year’s top female competitor, Tara Irwin.
The kind of competition experienced the past few years has cemented the King of the Mountain as a regional athletic favourite over the 37 years it’s been held.
Butler and his wife Nadene have been the race’s prime organizers the past three years and have increased the turnout of competitors beyond the 75 average.
“When there was the Adventure Challenge, in those years we saw a lot of people turn out,” said Butler.
Now, with three years of experience under their belts, the Butlers hope to close in on the 100 competitor mark.
“Last year we even had people from Germany compete,” said Butler.
The course has shifted from the original track which was up and down the Terrace Mountain hiking trail.
It was not only rigorous but when a foot race is held on a hiking trail, the result is a fair share of bruises, bumps and scrapes.
The course now takes in the newly-completed mountain bike trail.
“It’s a little bit more runner friendly, using the mountain bike trail,” explains Butler.
As well, the course is now longer – 10 kilometres compared to 8 kilometres on the hiking trail – with the start and finish being at the sportsplex.
Butler said Terrace Search and Rescue team members will be on duty at the race start and at a tricky section of the trail.
“They’ve been really good and we appreciate them volunteering,” he said.
Participants can register beforehand at All Seasons Source for Sports and organizers will be well set up at the sportsplex by 9 a.m. Sept. 7 leading to a 10 a.m. start.
Butler said a start at that time of the day means racers won’t face the heat later on if it’s a warm day.
Extra proceeds this year are going to the Northern Animal Rescue Alliance.