Hundreds of participants hit the ground running at the 8th annual race hosted by Kitsumkalum’s ‘Na Aksa Gyilak’yoo school on June 26.
Numbers at this year’s Salmon Run again expanded with over 400 people registered for the two, five and 10 kilometre distances and others who chose to do the course outside of the competition.
The runners and tonnes of spectators out to watch or support their families were then treated to a Salmon BBQ set up at the finish line.
“It was really nice, we had a lot of people step up to receive awards and to speak to their experiences,” said the school’s principal Colleen Austin.
The largest team, James Vickers Memorial, out again this year boasted 44 members and covered a total distance of 197 kilometres that day, averaging 9 minutes and 24 seconds per kilometre.
The fastest team which clocked in at just 4 minutes 20 seconds per kilometre was six-member Git Midiik Stride from the Nass Valley.
Austin remarked that the event all went smoothly except for a mishap with the pylons and flagging tape they had set up to mark the exit off the highway.
“I guess someone was driving up the highway and our markers were in their way so they pushed them over into the ditch and when the runners went they didn’t see it and went off course,” she said. “It obviously wasn’t good for their end time because it is hard for us to determine exactly how far off course they went.” In an effort to make up for the mistake, the school is giving them free entry next year, and Austin estimates that approximately 40 people were affected.
“Everyone was just so incredibly wonderful about it, they understood this is a race that’s run by volunteers, it’s a school fundraiser and it was beyond our control,” she said.
The results still brought some familiar names to the top of the list with last year’s winner Sarah Williams again placing as the fastest female runner in the 10k event with a time of 46 minutes and 49 seconds.
The top male racer in that event was Davis Lindsay with a time of 38 minutes 21 seconds.
Top places in the 5km race went to Matthew Clarke with a time of 19 minutes 46 seconds and Patricia Derrick coming in at 25 minutes and 59 seconds.
But it was two young runners between the ages of 5-10 who clocked the fastest times in the 2km event, Violet Barlett completing the race in 10 minutes and 56 seconds and the second place finisher Nash Muller at 11 minutes and 20 seconds.
The race is intended to promote physical activity and raise money for outdoor education at the independent ‘Na Aksa Gyilak’yoo school. Organizers say they make a point of including racers of all ages and skill levels.
“Whether they’re a baby in a buggy and they’re registered with a bib number of they’re a two-year-old who’s walking the two-kilometre with a parent, we take a look at their ages and we give out little trophies for them,” Austin said.
“It was brought to my attention that there were a significant number of children this year under the age of five who actually either walked or ran their 2k, 5k, or 10k,” she remarked.
As the race continues to grow in popularity, Austin said they are looking to make massive changes to make it more manageable next year.
With around 100 volunteers out in force this time around, they are planning to invest in a chip timing system for future races.
Each chip placed in the shoe of the competitor would track their individual race time.
“We’re going to actually start the registration process in the fall because early registration will be crucial to the success of that chip system,” Austin mentioned.
Participants looking to run in next year’s race are asked to sign up early so that a programmed chip can be ordered in.