Still time to register for family fun event

Cariboo Marathon should see near-perfect conditions

Return of the Cariboo Gold Rush Marathon attracting a lot of local skiers

Return of the Cariboo Gold Rush Marathon attracting a lot of local skiers

The final countdown is on for the 2013 Cariboo Gold Rush Marathon and everything is on track.

The multi-distance cross-country ski event takes place at the 99 Mile Ski Trails on Feb. 9 with the mass start at 9 a.m. It’s anticipated there will be more than 100 skiers registered.

Race chair Nicola Maughn says this number is lower than normal, but expected because the marathon was cancelled due to poor weather last year.

“Whenever you cancel a race, it takes people a year or two to get back on track with you. I’m comfortable with the registration. It will be fine.”

Snow on the course trails is deep and solidly packed, and promising for good skiing. The weather forecast calls for almost perfect conditions with a mix of sun and cloud and the temperature ranging from minus 5 to plus 1 C.

“It couldn’t be better,” says Maughn. “It will be challenging for waxing but that’s what cross-country skiing is all about.”

There’s a distance category for everyone, from an easy 10-kilometre recreational loop to a 50-km competitive distance, which will net the male and female winners cash prizes.

The winners of the 30-km event will also win cash and there will be prizes of commemorative toques for juniors in the 20-km race.

Children can ski a five- or a 10-km loop and recreational skiers have the option of a 10- or 20-km distance on easy terrain.

Maughn says she hopes to see high numbers of families and local skiers participate and take advantage of a first-class hometown event.

There will be six tracks set at the start area, so there’s lots of room for everyone, she adds. Further out, skiers will find two or three tracks, which Maughn notes will be plenty.

“Just remember that the left side track is for passing and for racers, and the right side is for slower skiers, just like when you’re driving.”

Skiers will find checkpoints along the way where they can refuel with complimentary refreshments.

Volunteers will be manning the checkpoints, including the 108 Lions Club, Canim Lake Band, 2887 RMR RCACC (Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps), and local nurses and their friends will be stationed at the last checkpoint.

Snowmobiles will be patrolling the course and will be available to help anyone in distress.

The marathon is spectator-friendly, with a great vantage point at the stadium area where the race starts and finishes. People can warm up in the Nordics Day Lodge where they can also get a hot drink and lunch.

Skiers can register online at www.100milenordics.com. until tomorrow (Feb. 7) or in person on Feb. 8 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the day lodge.

The 100 Mile Lions will be serving chili at the end of the race.

The cost to register is $5 for those 13 years and under; $20 for 14 to 17 years; $40 for 19 and over, and a family skis for $80.

After the race, skiers can unwind at a free dance and awards-presentation ceremony at the 100 Mile Community Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and people are encouraged to wear gold rush theme costumes to get in on some great prizes.

There will also be many door prizes given away, says Maughn, thanks to the generosity of local businesses, which have shown the marathon great support.

The marathon is hosted by the 100 Mile House Nordic Society.