From an eight-kilometre race which is more downhill than up, to a seriously-challenging 42.2-kilometre marathon, considered by experts as the toughest road marathon in Canada, Run the Rock on Texada Island has something for everyone.
The fourth annual Texada marathon, half-marathon and eight-kilometre running or walking event, which takes place Aug. 24, is attracting athletes from newbie walkers to veteran runners.
Race co-director Rob McWilliam says that returning runners tell him that Texada’s marathon course lives up to the island’s “tough as rock” theme. “While the hilly terrain does present a challenge, Run the Rock gets rave reviews from most participants who want a serious race and major bragging rights.”
Ken Barton, also race co-director, says one of the things that makes Run the Rock such a great experience is the warm welcome that the athletes get when they take part. “Many residents volunteer every year to support the runners. They make the event fun with things like costumes, music or funny signs at water stations, plus there’s great interaction at the finish line at Shelter Point Park.” Barton adds that the support from the business community “is fantastic.” Sponsors this year include the Texada Arts, Culture and Tourism Society (TACT), First Credit Union, Lafarge Canada and the Powell River Regional District. Other businesses provide in-kind contributions.
McWilliam says the coveted flower rock marathon finishers’ medals will be presented again this year, along with limestone finishers medals for the half-marathon and certificates for the eight-kilometre event. Registration is $40 until mid-August, when the price rises to $60. For the eight-kilometre event, the fee is $15 for an individual or $20 for a family. Visitwww.runtexada.ca to register or find more information.
Holding an event like Run the Rock on an island presents extra challenges, says McWilliam, who has himself participated in 143 marathon races. These include ferry rate increases and schedule changes. The full marathon starts at 7 a.m., requiring participants to spend the night at one of Texada’s B&Bs, vacation rentals, predator-free campgrounds or the hotel, which offers a marathon rate.
The half-marathon and eight-kilometre races start at 10:30 a.m., adjusted for the new weekend ferry schedule. Pick-up and drop-off services from the ferry terminal are available, so participants can walk on the ferry for the 35-minute ride from Powell River.
In previous years, runners have come from as far away as Germany, Mexico and eastern United States.
– Run the Rock Texada Island