Westwood run benefits mountain

Nanaimo’s running royalty is limbering up for one of the city’s favourite races. The King and Queen of Westwood will be crowned Sept. 17 as the Run for the Mountain returns to Westwood Lake Park.

Kelly Stephan

Kelly Stephan

Nanaimo’s running royalty is limbering up for one of the city’s favourite races. The King and Queen of Westwood will be crowned Sept. 17 as the Run for the Mountain returns to Westwood Lake Park.

“It means something in this town to be able to say to other runners or other walkers, ‘What time do you get around the lake?’” said Mike Thibodeau, race director.

“It’s become a signature event of the fall. It’s something I hear people talk about.”

The Run for the Mountain is for everyone, not just the speedsters who will be in the running for king and queen. The scenic trail loop around Westwood Lake suits runners or walkers, and even young children can handle the six-kilometre distance.

Event proceeds go to Nanaimo and Area Land Trust’s Mount Benson Wilderness Park.

“A lot of events raise money for very good causes, but there’s very few events that you do … where you can actually tilt your head upwards and say, ‘My money is going for that,’” Thibodeau said. “I understand that there’s logging that goes on on this Island. I understand that’s part of our economy. But it’s nice to have one side of one mountain be kept visually pleasant, an esthetic background for the city.”

The very fastest runners, of course, won’t stop to admire the scenery as they blaze around the trail. In addition to King and Queen of Westwood, the youth-division winners will be named Prince and Princess of Westwood and the masters-division champs become Emperor and Empress of Westwood.

Cost to race is $25 or $5 for youths. To register or find out more information, please stop by the Running Room at Country Club Centre or visit www.runningroom.com. Race packages can be picked up Thursday (Sept. 15) or Friday at the store or from 7:30-8:30 a.m. on race day at the park. Race-day registration will also be available at that time. The race starts at 9 a.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com