The inaugural McLeese Lake Soul 2 Sole Trail Race may not have had quite the views organizer Candace Miller hoped for due to fog, but the participation and fundraising numbers more than made up for it.
One hundred and 34 people took part in the race on Sunday, Sept. 15, which featured a 5K hike, an 11K hike, an 11K run and a 16K run beginning and ending at the McLeese Lake Recreation Hall.
Miller, who owns Reason 2 Run in downtown Quesnel, says she was originally expecting 75 to 100 people, but as she started getting more registrations from Williams Lake as the event was getting closer, she thought she’d better order more medals.
She almost ordered 120 medals, but she ended up ordering 140, and they needed almost all of them. They had 120 hamburgers and cobs of Soda Creek Sweet Corn for the post-race barbecue, and Miller says they were down to the last burger.
Williams Lake and 150 Mile House residents, Rose Pinchbeck and Jan Schmid, took part in the 11-kilometre hike and said the event was well organized and a lot of fun.
“It was a challenging course with a three-kilometre hill at the beginning and several mud puddles to get around but it was fun,” Pinchbeck said.
She added there was no rain on Sunday, but it was wet with cool temperatures.
“It was well organized, (there were )happy participants and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Between the race registrations and the by-donation barbecue, which raised more than $700, the event will have raised just shy of $5,000 for the McLeese Lake Volunteer Fire Department to help raise money for a new fire hall so it can become a certified fire department.
“We’re really happy with it,” said Miller. “We’re hopeful that the new fire hall does get built in the near future.”
Runners and hikers came from Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George and 150 Mile House for the event.
“For a trail event that is considered out of town, it was really great to see so many people come out,” she said. “The venue was great, and we had the hall to use. The support I got from the locals of McLeese Lake was great, and they were so appreciative for an event to happen in the community.
“The moment we moved out there, we said there needs to be an event out here because it’s a beautiful place.”
Miller was disappointed the morning fog shrouded the viewpoints at the 11K and 16K turnarounds, but she says some people did get to see the views she was hoping they would see when the sun came out at the end of the race. And, overall, Miller is happy that the sun did come out closer to noon, as more people stuck around to eat burgers and corn and cheer on the participants.
Miller says one of the reasons she wanted to put this race on is because there is no Women’s Fall Challenge in Quesnel this year. She doesn’t want to compete with the Fall Challenge, so if they do the Soul 2 Sole race again next year, she might bump it ahead a week or so to ensure people could take part in both events.
“I’m pretty confident we will do it again,” she said. “Everyone seemed to like it. With the volunteers I had, the local volunteers and the fire department, I could see us doing it again.”