A return to its roots 

The 10th anniversary of the Sea 2 Summit adventure race sees competitors trekking over an original route

Cates Park in North Vancouver is 160 kilometres away from Whistler Village. About a two-hour drive if traffic is good. But not everybody chooses to travel by highway.

Sea 2 Summit adventure racing combines paddling, hiking, biking and climbing to get to a final destination.

"We’ve always done a great job providing an adventurous experience for people," says Dave Howells, race director.

To celebrate 10 years in operation, the Sea 2 Summit Challenge will re-trace its steps and have competitors race the original course from North Vancouver to Whistler Village.

Starting Saturday, Sept. 10, in Cates Park, racers will paddle 18 kilometres up the Indian Arm inlet, alongside the Coast Mountains. Once at the Indian River Valley, racers will ditch their PFD’s and trek and bike through Stawamus Valley to Squamish, to the end of stage one of the race.

Day two takes competitors through Sea to Sky Country, a classic route from Squamish to Whistler on bikes and foot.

Although the course runs a familiar route, it’s what happens along the way that makes it a surprise. Sea 2 Summit is an adventure race for all skill levels, the course is clearly marked, but the challenges are both mentally and physically exhausting.

"It’s the nature of adventure racing, you always want an element of the unknown for the competitor. You can’t hide that the starting line is at Cates Park, and the finish is in Whistler," says Howells.

To add a little spice, mystery challenges are a mandatory part of the race. Competitors must go through a series of checkpoints, where they are required to fill out information on their "passports" as well as complete a challenge. It could be anything from ironing to darts.

Checkpoints also act as a safety precaution. Course marshals are able to track racers so nobody is left on the course.

"There are cutoffs. They ensure people aren’t out beyond their limits, or in the dark," says Howells. "We are proud that we can provide a safe route for everybody."

There is still time to register for the race, either as a team of two or four, or as a solo entry. To sign up go on-line to www.sea2summit.com . If it is really last minute, get to Cates Park, Friday night and co-ordinators will be happy to fit you in.

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