Williams Lake Running Club members Mark Vandermaaten (from left), Leo Rankin and Nara Riplinger enjoy a run in the Williams Lake River Valley during a brisk, Sunday morning. (Greg Sabatino photos)

Running club invites new runners to join Sunday fun

A group of Williams Lake running enthusiasts has never let a little bit of weather slow them down

A group of Williams Lake running enthusiasts has never let a little bit of weather slow them down.

For more than 30 years, the Williams Lake Running Club has been a fun, social environment for outdoor fitness lovers year-round in the Cariboo started by Deb and Pat Radolla.

Every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. the group meets in the parking lot at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex before deciding on a route for the day. Some members also meet on Wednesday mornings.

Running club member Leo Rankin has been with the group for roughly 20 years.

“It’s a loose group of runners, but just about all of us have run a marathon,” Rankin said, adding he’s hoping to see more young runners get involved with the group.

A popular Sunday destination is a one-hour jaunt through the Williams Lake River Valley — one location fellow runner Nara Riplinger said she enjoys.

“I like it because I don’t want to run in the River Valley by myself, and I know on Sundays I’ll have people to run with,” Riplinger said. “It’s just a really nice group.”

She said it’s common to see members supporting one another if they happen to be training for a longer-distance run somewhere by providing tips and training techniques.

“If someone’s training for a run a group will meet up with them earlier, or we can just provide support where they need it,” she said.

Rankin added aside from the camaraderie, it’s a great way to stay in shape, feel good and see some of the region’s spectacular scenery.

“It’s also good because sometimes, if you’re just doing it by yourself, you might not be motivated to go out in the morning to run,” Riplinger said. “But with the group you know someone’s committed to running, and you just show up.”

The group, however, isn’t just for avid running enthusiasts.

This past winter, roughly 10 to 12 runners and another 15 walkers regularly enjoyed the Sunday morning trek. As the weather improves, the club expects more members will start to rejoin the group.

The walkers get to go at their own pace, without any pressure to keep up with some of the faster runners in the club.

Riplinger and Rankin both said they’d invite anyone wanting to get some exercise to join the group.

“We exchange a lot of ideas about running equipment, strategies, nutrition — things like that,” Rankin said.

The group has a Facebook page, ‘Williams Lake Running Club,’ with more than 80 members who also help support each other online.

Asked why he enjoys running, Rankin said it’s a great way to experience the Cariboo.

“Some of the things you see you wouldn’t get a chance to otherwise,” he said. “And, yeah, if anyone’s interested in coming out, please do. It’s not about speed.”


Glen Davidson (from left), Leah Vandermaaten and Rick James all try to make it part of their Sunday morning routine to meet up with the Williams Lake Running Club for some exercise each week.

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