The second running of the Salomon Valley to Peak Race will live up to its name and then some.
The race, set for this Saturday, Sept. 3, will once again begin at the Salomon location in Whistler Village. Competitors will go all the way to Whistler Mountain's peak, but unlike last year, they won't be done when they reach it, said race director Seb Fremont.
"We're pretty excited about Year 2, making the course a little longer, finishing at the Roundhouse (Lodge), so that's the biggest difference this year," Fremont said. "We finished at the peak (last year) whereas this year, we're adding three kilometres and finishing it back at the Roundhouse.
"This year, once they get to the peak, they're going to run Matthews and Pika's Traverse back to the Roundhouse."
The downhill portions will be done on fire roads, whereas the uphill focuses on singletrack.
The course is 23 kilometres long and features roughly 1,800 metres of elevation gain. A prize purse of $1,500 will be split between the top three male and female finishers.
The event has already drawn a greater contingent of racers than last year, as 120 took part the first time up the mountain. Registration is still open at www.whistlerblackcomb.com, while late registration will be offered on-site from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on race day.
"We're going to see about 150-some racers. Registration is still going, it's still live and it's been steady," Fremont said. "Down the line, it would be great to see upwards of 300 racers, but we realize that it's still a young event in its infancy and we're still building it."
With trail running growing in popularity on a yearly basis, Fremont noted organizers are just riding the wave.
"There's definitely a lot more interest and a lot more people asking about it and there are quite a few more people out there," he said.
As well, Fremont explained spectators are welcome to come cheer on their favourite racers as discounted lift tickets will be available. Fans can load into the Whistler Village Gondola beginning at 8:45 a.m. and the Peak Express beginning around 9:45 a.m.
"We just want to encourage people to come out," he said. "There's going to be a friends-and-family rate for tickets for people that want to come and check it out."
The course will close at 2 p.m., while the awards will take place at 3 p.m. at the Roundhouse Lodge. Those interested in sticking around are welcome to do so, as the last gondola down will leave at 8 p.m.
To help get runners pumped, Canadian Mountain Running Team member Adam Campbell of Calgary will conduct a Q&A session the night before the race, Sept. 2, at Salomon from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
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