Special to The Record
For a race advertised as “No frills, just hills,” the Cumby certainly exceeded expectations.
More than 160 runners hit the Cumberland forest trails on Saturday, May 28 to participate in the inaugural 20-kilometre trail race. In the process, the Cumby raised thousands of dollars for the Cumberland Community Forest Society (CCFS), a local charity dedicated to purchasing and protecting parcels of forest surrounding Cumberland.
Organized by the Comox Valley Road Runners (CVRR), by all accounts the Cumby is an instant classic.
“Everything went really smoothly considering it was the first one,” says race organizer Cathy Clark. “Even though the track was a bit wet, the conditions were perfect for running – not too hot and a little mist in the mountains. We’ve had a lot of great feedback about how much people enjoyed it – especially the post-race food!”
The fastest to complete the course was Powell River’s Graham Cocksedge, who finished in an impressive 1:26:27; close behind was local favourite Derek Vinge at 1:29:03. Among females, Victoria’s Aoibhe Glynn was first across the line in a time of 1:56:23, with local runner Natalie Ward of Cumberland finishing second with a time of 1:59:01.
“Considering this was the first time they’ve put on a race like this, the organizers did an incredible job,” said participant Ryan Parton. “Everyone seemed to have a great time, the volunteers were really helpful and the food afterward was pretty much the opposite of ‘no frills.’”
Clark is quick to credit the race’s success to the great sponsors and more than 50 volunteers who donated time, money and energy to help organizers pull off the event.
“We had brilliant and enthusiastic sponsors who supported the race with cash and in-kind donations,” notes Clark. “From the many businesses and individuals in the community that got behind us to the local mountain bikers who cooperated by staying off the route until the race was over, it was truly inspiring to see that collaborative Cumberland spirit in action.”
“It was a truly great day, and the best part is knowing that everyone’s hard work and fun supported the Cumberland Forest,” says race co-coordinator John Ingram. “The forests around Cumberland have some of the most ecologically valuable and diverse land around, with amazing wetlands and at-risk species of flora and fauna. To be able to contribute to protecting this special habitat and recreation area is very important to our organization (the CVRR).”
For the Road Runners, the Cumby marked the group’s first major off-road event. But, Clark notes, with the increased popularity of trail running, it certainly won’t be the last.
“Trail racing has exploded in the past few years and the CVRR is thrilled to be part of that momentum,” she says. “We’ll keep this event going into the future and may even incorporate a 50-kilometre endurance race into the mix.”
For full race results go to https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=70738. Local photographer Lorenz Jimenez has posted many images of the race at http://photos.lorenzjimenez.com/thecumby2016.