Sports Briefs: GranFondo drops sanctioned race 

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There's a good chance that interest will be high again for this year's race, taking place on Saturday, June 2, so early registration is recommended.

The registration gets underway on New Year's Day, Jan. 1 at 9 a.m. The early bird rate is $78 until Feb. 29.

The run is 21.1 kilometres, starting and finishing at Whistler Olympic Plaza, following a mix of road and valley trail. The route will be similar to last year, weaving in and out of neighbourhoods.

For more information and registration visit www.whistlerhalfmarathon.com.

COC launches Red Mittens contest

The Canadian Olympic Committee has created a new Olympic Red Mittens contest, in cooperation with the Hudson's Bay Company.

Until Jan. 1, the COC is inviting mitten wearers to post their photos online on the Canadian Olympic Team Facebook page or by tweeting @CDNOlympicTeam using the hashtag #redmittens. The best picture will earn an official full-zip hoodie from the Canadian Olympic Team's replica collection by the Hudson's Bay Company. Runners-up can win a pair of red mittens of their own.

King of the Rail drops into Whistler

The opening King of the Rail rail jam is set for Friday, Dec. 30 at the base of Whistler Mountain. Registration is from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Showcase, followed by a rider meeting. The jam session runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., followed by the awards — with the athletes themselves voting for the winners. The cost is $15 to enter, with a portion of the fee going to the top skier or rider in each category.

As well as cash prizes, the participants are eligible to win draw prizes from Showcase, Burton, Atomic, Nintendo, Telus, DNA and others.

The setup will be similar to last year with a few different lines and options set up for participants. There's no limit on the number of runs you can take, but you'll have to wait your turn

Helmets are mandatory and mouthguards recommended. Minors need a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Future events are on Jan. 7, Feb. 11 and Mar. 3.

Biathlon team celebrates best weekend ever

Biathlon has been a soft spot for Canada in recent years, but if early results from this season are any indication it won't be soft for long. The team recently wrapped up its best weekend yet in Austria, with athletes posting personal bests individually and as a team.

The week started on Wednesday with a mixed relay event. The development level team of Melanie Shultz, Claude Godbout, Nathan Smith and Scott Gow made history at the IBU Cup level (one step down from the World Cup) with a fourth place result, placing just 31 seconds off the podium.

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