Gary Duncan

Gary Duncan

Fletcher’s Challenge brings the element of the unknown

The ninth annual Fletcher’s Challenge trail race, organized by Nanaimo’s Runners of Compassion, takes place March 25.

It’s a trail run, it’s a mystery, and it’s a challenge.

The ninth annual Fletcher’s Challenge, organized by Nanaimo’s Runners of Compassion, takes place March 25.

“[It’s] probably the best trail race on Vancouver Island, just because it’s point-to-point, mystery, and it’s pretty cool,” said Dan Brady, one of the group’s founders.

The event is held in memory of Gavin Fletcher, a sports writer and member of the Runners of Compassion who was killed in a car crash in 2006. The first Fletcher’s Challenge was organized to raise money for his widow and daughters, but the cheque was refused. Over the past nine years, the event has raised $160,000 to help local families in need with sports costs.

“Maybe they can’t register their kid for sports, then we’ll do that, or we’ll buy them skates or we’ll buy them a baseball glove. We do all that kind of stuff,” Brady said.

Fletcher’s Challenge is unique because it offers the element of the unknown. Runners sign up to race 15 kilometres to the finish line at Westwood Lake Park, but they don’t know what route they’ll take to get there. They board a bus the morning of race day and head to a mystery start line.

“We try and get ’em wet, we try and get ’em muddy, we try and expose them to new trails that they wouldn’t normally see,” said Brady.

Last year the route went straight through a puddle so large it was pretty much a pond. There will also be climbs and descents.

“It’s not an easy race, but it’s not a killer race, by any means. If you love trail running, this is what it’s all about: ups, downs, wet, mud, big vistas…” said Brady. “This is like Gavin’s challenge. This is his lasting challenge to everybody, like, race this one, you guys.”

At the same time as the 15km race, there is also a 6km cookie run/walk around the lake for families, followed by an Easter egg hunt for children.

Registration is filling up, as three busloads of runners have signed up and organizers will fill no more than five buses.

Registration for the trail race is $25 in advance, or $30 on race day from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Westwood Lake Park. The bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. and the race starts at 10 a.m. The cookie run/walk, starting at 10 a.m., is $25 per family.

For information, please visit Frontrunners Nanaimo on Bowen Road or visit http://fletcherschallenge.blogspot.ca.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

It’s a trail run, it’s a mystery, and it’s a challenge.

The ninth annual Fletcher’s Challenge, organized by Nanaimo’s Runners of Compassion, takes place March 25.

“[It’s] probably the best trail race on Vancouver Island, just because it’s point-to-point, mystery, and it’s pretty cool,” said Dan Brady, one of the group’s founders.

The event is held in memory of Gavin Fletcher, a sports writer and member of the Runners of Compassion who was killed in a car crash in 2006. The first Fletcher’s Challenge was organized to raise money for his widow and daughters, but the cheque was refused. Over the past nine years, the event has raised $160,000 to help local families in need with sports costs.

“Maybe they can’t register their kid for sports, then we’ll do that, or we’ll buy them skates or we’ll buy them a baseball glove. We do all that kind of stuff,” Brady said.

Fletcher’s Challenge is unique because it offers the element of the unknown. Runners sign up to race 15 kilometres to the finish line at Westwood Lake Park, but they don’t know what route they’ll take to get there. They board a bus the morning of race day and head to a mystery start line.

“We try and get ’em wet, we try and get ’em muddy, we try and expose them to new trails that they wouldn’t normally see,” said Brady.

Last year the route went straight through a puddle so large it was pretty much a pond. There will also be climbs and descents.

“It’s not an easy race, but it’s not a killer race, by any means. If you love trail running, this is what it’s all about: ups, downs, wet, mud, big vistas…” said Brady. “This is like Gavin’s challenge. This is his lasting challenge to everybody, like, race this one, you guys.”

At the same time as the 15km race, there is also a 6km cookie run/walk around the lake for families, followed by an Easter egg hunt for children.

Registration is filling up, as three busloads of runners have signed up and organizers will fill no more than five buses.

Registration for the trail race is $25 in advance, or $30 on race day from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Westwood Lake Park. The bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. and the race starts at 10 a.m. The cookie run/walk, starting at 10 a.m., is $25 per family.

For information, please visit Frontrunners Nanaimo on Bowen Road or visit http://fletcherschallenge.blogspot.ca.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com