It was a chilly Labour Day morning as residents of Nakusp and surrounding areas came to Rotary Park for the seventh annual Kootenay Sufferfest.
There were four events taking place, a corporate challenge duathlon, a men’s and women’s cyclocross, a kids under 12 cyclocross, and a men’s elite suffercross.
A total of eight corporate teams registered for the starting event, including the Animals (vet clinic), the Dewey Dames (library), the Suffergettes (Sufferfest Society), and the Nifty Thrifties (thrift store).
Before starting the race, Janis Neufeld of the Kootenay Sufferfest Society (KSS) went over the event and the rules.
Because the KSS wanted to avoid crossing any open roadways, this year’s event was to take place in and around Rotary Park. The duathalon would be a 2k run, a 6k bike, followed by another 2k run.
Three very important rules that had to be followed were have fun, have fun, and have fun.
“It’s getting people out and having fun and being active and healthy,” said Neufeld.
While most participants started off doing well, some of them were definitely feeling the burn by the time they reached the halfway point of the duathlon. Many were breathing heavy, with red faces, sweat pouring down.
The first person to cross the finish line was Kalen Jones, with a time of 40:14. This was Jones’ second time taking part in Sufferfest.
The final corporate challenge team to cross the finish line was the Running Totals, with a time of 1:11:38. Team member Howard Benson walked across the finish line with his grandchildren, to the sound of enthused cheering and applause from the crowd.
For the kids under 12 challenge, the race was a little easier. All they had to do was two laps around the course, or however many they were able to do. The youngest participant was two years old.
One thing Neufeld was told over and over was that the race was the right mix of fun for those a little more laid back, but also still competitive for those wanting to really push themselves.
Leah Gilliland was one of those participating. She wanted something fun that she and her kids could do together.
She thinks having Sufferfest in Nakusp has been great for the village.
“It brings people to our community, it brings family and kids together, it’s athleticism, all of the above,” she said.
Gilliland plans on taking part in next year’s event.
Now that this year’s Sufferfest is over, the KSS plans on doing a bit of restructuring.
When it was started, Sufferfest was one event on one weekend. Over the years it has evolved into an umbrella organization, hosting several weekend events around the area in the spring and summer season.
If this event was anything to go by, Sufferfest will continue for quite some time.
“There was a great vibe here today,” said Neufeld. “You can tell people are into this, bringing people here, having people in Nakusp. We want to share in what we’ve got, and I think we’ve got something special here.”