“No frills, just hills.”
That’s what participants of an inaugural 20-kilometre trail running race in the legendary Cumberland forests can expect on May 28.
Organized by the Comox Valley Road Runners (CVRR), “The Cumby” promises to be challenging, fun and incredibly scenic. It will also benefit a cause that’s near and dear to many local trail runners.
“All the net proceeds of The Cumby will go to the Cumberland Community Forest Society,” explains race organizer Cathy Clark. “The race will highlight the magnificent trail network within the Cumberland hills and surrounding working forests of TimberWest Forest Corporation and Hancock Forest Management. We’re so privileged to have this amazing recreational area at our disposal; being able to have a race that not only celebrates it, but also raises funds to help save it, is something that’s important to our club.”
The Cumby takes advantage of an extensive system of established trails, with the route also including parts of the Vancouver Island Spine Trail. Starting in No. 6 Mine Heritage Park in Cumberland, racers will proceed through the Cumberland Community Forest and adjacent working forests as they climb steadily toward Nikkei Mountain. From there, the route undulates with numerous stream crossings and some punchy ups and downs before descending back to the Village of Cumberland.
“It’s predominantly singletrack, with some challenging uphill climbs, fast descents and spectacular scenic vistas of Baynes Sound, Perseverance Creek and Georgia Strait,” says Clark. “As a race course, it truly has a lot to offer.”
In existence since 1980, the Comox Valley Road Runners organize numerous races and events each year, including an annual 5K Running Clinic, the Comox Valley Half Marathon, the Fifth Street Mile and the Nautical Days Four-Mile Foot Race (the oldest continuous running event in British Columbia). The Cumby, however, is the club’s first big off-road event.
“This race capitalizes on a couple of growing trends,” says Clark. “More people are enjoying trail running and runners are also moving toward longer races. But I’d say the real inspiration for The Cumby was simply that so many of our members enjoy these trails. There was a real wish amongst our group to give back and help the forest society save these woods.”
In addition to net proceeds, a portion of every registration fee will go directly to the Cumberland Community Forest Society, which is working to purchase forest lands and preserve them as recreational areas.
Registration is only $45, with $35 early bird registration available until March 1. Registration on race day is $60, subject to availability. The number of racers will be capped at 200 runners; as of this writing, more than 140 are currently registered.
To register, or to get involved as a sponsor or volunteer, visit www.thecumby.ca; follow “The Cumby” on Facebook for other race news. For more information about the Comox Valley Road Runners, visit www.cvrr.ca.
For more information about the Cumberland Community Forest Society visit http://www.cumberlandforest.com.