While the 25 year long Tour De Cariboo may have ended last year, the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake are coming back this year with a new community fundraiser, the Backwoods Try-Athalon.
This new initiative comes from the new executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Williams Lake, Angela Kadar. Kadar was BBBSWL summer student around four years ago and had a chance to see how it ran and what impact it has on the children of the community. As a Williams Lake native, she’s been able to see the difference mentorship makes in the lives of children.
She was finishing up her degree when she learned that this position had become available and applied for it. Kadar was just lucky enough, she said, to get it, which has made her excited to bring something new to Williams Lake, with a focus on new events and community collaboration.
“Williams Lake we tend to do a lot of events but I want to do something new and do something fresh,” Kadar said.
While Tour De Cariboo had enjoyed great success over its 25 years of existence under the leadership of the previous executive director Lorraine Levitt and then more recently Melissa Newberry, numbers of participants had been decreasing, in part, Kadar said due to the challenging nature of the 76-kilometre bike ride to Gavin Lake. The Backwoods Try-Athalon will also be hosted at Gavin lake and will occur on the same first weekend of September the Tour occurred on.
The event is open to individuals and teams above the age of 12 with a $45 registration fee and a requested $75 to pledge. The Backwoods Try-Athalon starts with a five-kilometre kayak or canoe ride, and 11 km bike ride and 7 km run. The foot race will be along the shores of Gavin Lake, while the bike race will be on backwoods trails in the area.
“It’s not going to be too competitive, so people can do what they want with this. It’s very backwoods, we’re not going to be too competitive with timing but there are going to be prizes for first, second and third. It’s not going to be too stringent because we want it to be fun,” Kadar said.
Kadar said that traditional triathletes will find this course to be challenging in a different way, but still encourages families to register and compete together. Prizes will also be handed out to top fundraisers, Kadar said, as all funds raised going to BBBSWL and their ongoing programs.
Registration for the event is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 7 for the race scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a banquet being prepared at the end for racers as they come in. Each leg of the course should take about an hour, Kadar said, though this will vary based on the individual or team’s skill.
Kadar said they were looking to create something of a spiritual successor to the Tour De Cariboo by keeping the biking element and competitive elements, but adding in some new elements and make it more of a family-friendly fun event.
“We’re really excited to see the struggle,” Kadar chuckled. “We’re really excited to see how people team up, what kind of different strategies they come up with and to see the challenge of them being in the backwoods, not just on a road or through a course designed for running. It’s going to be a challenge, it’s going to be fun and we’re just really excited to keep this tradition of people out and doing something fun and athletic (going).”
Pre-registration for the event is open now for those looking to gain a head start on fundraising and can be done at BBBSWL’s office or via their e-mail, Facebook or phone. As this is the first time the event is being held, Kadar expects roughly 50 people to register and take part.