IN STRIDE--Runners in the 2015 Headbanger Trail Challenge sprint across the Radium Ball Diamond. This year's race takes place on Saturday, September 24th.  Pioneer file photo

IN STRIDE–Runners in the 2015 Headbanger Trail Challenge sprint across the Radium Ball Diamond. This year’s race takes place on Saturday, September 24th.Pioneer file photo

For the ninth consecutive year, runners from around the Columbia Valley will be gathering in Radium for the annual Crazy Soles Headbanger Trail Challenge, which manifests as one of the last chances for athletes to get out and enjoy the challenge of a race.

Originally started in 2007, the Headbanger Trail Challenge represents a way for runners to take part in a unique running race through one of the most picturesque areas in the valley.

Ron Verboom, one of the creators of the Challenge and a volunteer this year, said he got the idea after spending a number of years running the trails in and around Radium.

Its such a beautiful place to run and I thought, back in the day, wouldnt it be great to share this with like-minded trail runners, he said, noting that at the time it was the perfect time to add another event to the Radium calendar.

One of the other reasons I started it is after the car show here in Radium, all the events are pretty much done for the year and I thought it would be nice to add this event onto the roster of events in Radium and this time of year has always been one of my favourite times of year for trail running, he said. The colours are beautiful, the weather is cool and its just a great time to be out on the trails.

He first designed the route to go through parts of Kootenay National Park but has since modified the trail to start at the Radium Ball Diamonds and go through the trails near Sinclair Creek. Along the way, runners will have their endurance tested with hills and rugged terrain dovetailed with some of the best views the Columbia Valley has to offer.

Mr. Verboom said one of the other qualities that makes this race so welcoming is that it is available in 1-kilometre, 3-km, 5-km, and 10-km versions, allowing people of all skill sets to participate.

While presenting a challenge, the Headbanger also comes with mini-massages for participants from Jim McElroy along with a yoga class taught by Kelly Carlson from Mountain Om Yoga and Wellness Studio in Invermere.

Those interested in signing up for the race are encouraged to either call, email or visit the Crazy Soles store in Invermere in person or alternatively visit the website at www.HeadbangerTrailChallenge.com. Cost for registration in the race starts at $5 for the 1-km race and is $30 for the 3-km, $40 for the 5-km and $50 for the 5-km options. The race starts at 11 a.m. at the Radium Ball Diamonds on Saturday, September 24th. There will be a concession for refueling after the run supplied by the Columbia Valley Figure Skating Club.