Tuesday, March 9, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 10 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I think a lot of people are under the impression that everything was shut down at the Centre.”
- Elizabeth Anderson  
- on Indoor Playground’s   
continued operation   

 

Organizers speak to council about event’s growth and needs
 
The Sinister 7 Ultra Marathon has quickly become one of the community's big summer events –– and it's only getting bigger, as the event's organizers told council at their Tuesday, March 2 meeting.
Brian Gallant and Andrew Fairhurst of the locally owned Full Moon Adventure Company spoke before council about the event's growth, about what help they hope to receive this year, and about factors in the community that may limit their growth in the future. The race this year will take place July 10 and 11.
The Sinister 7 is a 146 km foot race through challenging terrain both north and south of the community. People compete as individuals or as teams of up to seven, with many people running all through the day and into the night in an extreme challenge of physical endurance.
"It's been very successful," said Gallant. "We're proud to be bringing people down here."
He told council that in their first year, in 2008, they had 160 runners. Last year, the event's second year, they attracted 350 people, more than doubling the attendance.
This year, said Gallant, they set a 500-entry limit to attempt to control their growth. They have already allowed that limit to be bent, and have capped the 2010 race at 650 registered runners, with a further 120 people on a waiting list, hoping to get in if anyone else drops out.
Fairhurst added that next year they expect to get at least 1000 runners.
Gallant said that word about the race is spreading throughout North America, attracting an ever wider range of people. The Sinister 7 recently won a reader's choice award from Get Out There magazine, as the best running event in western Canada.
Fairhurst told council that they have heard from business owners that the Sinister 7 weekend is one of their busiest of the year. He said that accommodation facilities were filled to capacity last year, with people spilling over into neighbouring communities.
 
"A lot of them are coming to the Crowsnest Pass for the very first time," he said. "We've seen our racers come back after the event." He said that they return with their friends or family in order to experience other parts of the Pass, helping the local economy even when the race isn't taking place.
Fairhurst said that they have made a name for themselves as one of the toughest races in North America, and that they want to continue to be known for that.
He added that they are supporting local initiatives such as the community walking trail, the Southwest Alberta Trails board, the United Riders of Crowsnest, and getting local youth involved with the Sinister 7. They provided a free entry to a group of local high school students who will take part in the race this summer.
However, Fairhurst noted that there are some limiting factors in the Pass that may hold back their growth in the future.
He noted that there are currently not enough accommodations in the Pass for all of their runners plus their families and supporters. It could become even more of a barrier for participants as the event grows.
He added that they will need more space at staging areas if they continue to grow, and that they hope they will continue to have access to Atlas Road, as the staging area on that road is a major one for the race. The future of Atlas Road has been a matter of discussion between the municipality and Spray Lake Sawmills.
The race also uses quads, both to ensure racers stay on course and to clean up behind the race, picking up signs and such as the race goes on so that the cleanup is done shortly after the final runner crosses the finish line. They requested that council allow their quads to ride through town behind the riders as well, to help this aspect run smoothly.
Fairhurst also appealed to volunteers in the community. "An event like this doesn't take place without volunteers," he said, adding that he hopes this can start at the municipal level to set the tone for the rest of the community.
Council encouraged the organizers to submit any requests they have in writing, for council's consideration.
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