Less than a week until the axe falls and more than 100 hardy souls set out on the Handloggers Half Marathon course, which samples some of the best of Bowen’s beautiful trail system. This race will be the sixth annual and will see the return of many familiar faces as well as a large number of first-timers. Once again, there will be a mix of both local and international runners taking part.
The event starts in the cove beside the ferry dock at 9 a.m. and finishes on the causeway by the lagoon. If you are out and about on the trails of Crippen Park and Mount Gardner on Saturday Aug. 31, you likely will see a fleet of runners doing their best as they take on the challenge of running the 21km and more than 3000 vertical feet around the island. Please step aside and give them some extra cheer and encouragement along the way!
Every year the race organization improves in response to its growing popularity and reputation. This year we’ve added a little something special for every participant that will leave them wanting a bit more of Bowen and we’ve got an added touch planned for the podium finishers as well. The race grows more complex and requires a greater volunteer commitment the larger it becomes, and we’re grateful to say that we always manage to get amazing support from the local community. Despite the growth of the event we’re striving to keep the experience very organic, leaving no trace and avoiding the temptation to give away swag that will end up being future waste. If you are interested in lending a hand on race day this year please let us know. There are often opportunities for another trail marshal here or there to keep runners on course.
Our primary purpose continues to be the support of the Bowen Island Trail Society (BITS). We can’t think of a better way to advocate for self-propelled recreation on our island than a mountain trail race like this. BITS came about as something of a by-product of Handloggers Half Marathon and reports from other trail users when it was recognized that our trails need maintenance and improved wayfinding. Funds from Handloggers Half together with donations from the Bowen Island Fire Department and other generous sources are being used for a large navigation improvement project on Mount Gardner Trails as well as some upcoming upgrades to a lot of the drainage challenges along sections of the Handloggers Trail on the north side of Mt. Gardner. In the past year more than 300 volunteer hours have gone into the project to improve trail blazes and the project in the coming year will require another large effort to implement signage at major intersections