A record number of runners came out to Larch Hills on Saturday for the 26th annual Reino Run.
The run is held in memory of Reino Keski-Salmi, an outstanding local athlete who lost his life in a helicopter accident.
Organizers were honoured to have his sister Anne as a volunteer, handing out water at the aid station.
Conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for the 159 registrants, with sunshine, temperatures in the low teens, and a fast, dry trail.
Runners had the choice of three-kilometre or 10-km routes, with the distances being only approximate. In trail running it is more about the variety and challenge of the terrain, than about maintaining a specific pace.
The event was the first of the Interior Running Association (IRA) fall cross-country race series. Other events will follow, with the final series event in Kalamalka Park in Vernon on Oct. 28.
One competitor from Kelowna was overheard after the race, raving that the Reino Run has the best course in the series with its multiple climbs, challenging descents, rolling sections and both wider and single track trail segments. He also enjoyed the variety of footing, from grassy tracks to those with roots and rocks to navigate.
Saturday’s race was a fundraiser for the Larch Hills Junior Ski team, and the team was well represented with 45 young athletes from the program lacing up. This made for hotly contested age categories in the three-km event.
Local age group winners were too numerous to mention, but Salmon Arm runners Stephen Moore and Konrad Van Varseveld were one and two overall for boys, while Julianne Moore and Maggie Beckner took the top spots over the route for girls.
Eighty-five runners took on the 10-km distance, with top honours going to 14-year-old Glynis Sim of Canoe, and John Machuga from Kelowna.
One other local made the top three, with Brian May of Salmon Arm in second spot overall.
Winning juniors over that distance were Sim and Judah Bucher, both members of the Larch Hills Junior Ski team. Many area runners took top age group places, earning chocolate bars as prizes.
Thanks to the generous support of sponsors, roughly $1,000 was raised at the event to add to the team finances for the upcoming season.