Stage set for Sunday’s mountain-to-marina dash

Close to 200 teams out for annual adventure relay race

Given the shellfish bounty of the Comox Valley area, it is perhaps fitting that the pearl is the gift that commemorates a 30th anniversary.

The 30th annual Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race goes this Sunday, April 29, with close to 200 nine-person teams tackling the approximately 80 kilometre course.

The event starts around 9 a.m. on Mount Wasington and ends up at the Comox Marina. The first teams generally start arriving at the finish line around 12:15 p.m.

Starting at the top of the Whiskey Jack Chairlift, the first team member runs a short distance up the hill, puts on skis, then does the downhill portion.

He then passes the armband off to a cross-country skier for an eight-kilometre leg.

From there, two runners split a 16 kilometre jaunt down the mountain. The armband then goes to a mountain biker, who takes it 12 clicks and hands it off to a kayaker.

Following a five-kilometre paddle from the fish and game club to the campground on the Cumberland side of Comox Lake, the road cyclist takes over, blasting 30 kilometres before handing the armband to the two canoeists, who do the five-kilometre anchor leg to the Comox Marina.

Once all the teams are across the finish line, the awards are handed and the teams get to socialize and recount their adventure.

Course marshals will be out along the course and event organizers ask motorists to obey their directions in order to ensure a safe race for everyone. As always, the best place to view the action is at the finish line where an announcer will keep everyone up-to-date on which canoes are arriving and spectators can see the dramatic dash up the boat ramp to ring the bell.

Many teams are back to defend their titles from last year, including perennial powerhouse entry Westerly Hotel Brian McLean Banzai in Open Men.

Others taking another run at top spot include Strathcona Park Lodge (Masters Men), ELM Women (Masters Women), Refried Friends (Open Mixed), Raymond James Magnificent Nine (Grand Masters Men), and Women of Distinction (Grand Master Women).