Atrail just off the main beach parking lot at Cultus Lake is being extended by half a kilometre for a new race that's coming to the area on Oct. 26.
TrailCross racing is a hybrid between traditional trail racing and the format of ski cross racing. Competitors run through a challenging course of tough climbs and gradual inclines in multiple heats, advancing only by finishing position.
"We've taken it away from the road runners a little bit and allowed a lot more athletes to get involved," said Tyler Childs, TrailCross vice-president. "You don't necessarily have to be a marathon runner to do well in our format and that's what we really like about it."
The current race model permits competitors to complete the course up to five times before a champion is declared.
"You start with a broad group of people and as it continues to whittle down, you start finding that you're in a group of people that you probably belong with-whether that be beginner level or advanced level," Childs said. "It allows for you to get a good competitive race, regardless of your ability."
The race, which is based in London, Ont., made its way to B.C. after receiving an invite from Tourism Chilliwack as a part of their goal to bolster sport tourism.
Allison Colthorp, Tourism Chilliwack business development manager, said Cultus Lake's proximity to Vancouver, scenic value and terrain were all selling points to race organizers.
"There's low cost to bringing this event here, they don't need to utilize any of our other facilities. It's outdoors, they're using our tracks," she said.
In addition to support from the local sporting community, TrailCross has been welcomed by the Cultus Lake Park Board and Vedder Mountain Trails Association, which has volunteered to extend Endo Trail by half a kilometre for the race.
The extension connects the trail through the forest, allowing competitors to run in a complete loop from start to end, without having to run on Parmenter Road. The course measures 1.3 kilometres in total.
The new trail will be accessible to other user groups in the future, including mountain bikers and hikers.
"They actually created a path that bridged the gap between the incline and the decline because the original trail used a road that we're trying to avoid in our race," Childs said. "It's a great venue and to be honest, that's what we pick-areas that allow us to have a great race and give us a venue that we can't find somewhere else."
TrailCross is in its first year, and has been well received in its other host cities, Edmonton and London, Ont. The same excitement, however, has yet to build in Chilliwack.
"It's just a matter of, I think, people giving it a shot and getting out there and seeing it's a lot of fun," Childs said.
. For more information or to register, visit trailcross.ca.
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