By Steve Hubrecht
Popular foot race steps up again after pandemic hiatus
Runners can start lacing up their shoes. The Loop the Lake race — one of the most iconic running events in the Columbia Valley — returns after a three-year COVID-19 hiatus.
The popular event has been held for more than two decades, but was put on pause in 2020 and again in 2021 because of the ongoing pandemic. But with pandemic restrictions having been lifted in most areas of life, runners will once again be lining up on the start line of Loop the Lake this coming August.
The race once involved quite literally running around Lake Windermere — down Westside Road on the west side of the lake and then back up the east side along Highway 93/95 — which is how it got its name. But in time, as traffic on Highway 93/95 grew in volume (and seemingly increased in speed as well), Loop the Lake became an out-and-back affair on Westside Road. That will be the case again this year, and the course will see runners hoofing it along Westside Road but also, partly, on the Markin-MacPhail Westside Legacy Trail. The race will start at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) and finish at the Rotary ball diamond by Pynelogs.
“It’s very exciting to be back,” race director Jamie Carrick told the Pioneer, noting that the 2022 Loop the Lake will be the 25th edition of the event.
The race typically attracts nearly 600 runners, and this year they will be testing themselves on a half marathon, a 10 kilometre course, and a five kilometre course.
Loop the Lake has long been associated with the Rotary Club of Invermere, which ran the event for many years, with proceeds from the event going to various community projects. In recent years Rotary has run Loop the Lake in partnership with the organizers of the Canmore Half Marathon. This year Rotary is stepping down from its involvement with Loop the Lake, but the philanthropic aim of the event will be retained as the Canmore Half Marathon organizers are now partnering with the Canadian nonprofit Embrace International Foundation and local Rocky Mountain School District Six. Funds raised from this year’s Loop the Lake will go to build a sensory room for children with disabilities at one of Invermere’s schools.
“A sensory room has elements — lights for instance, or bubble tubes, or other things — that are designed to make it a calming place. It provides a relaxed atmosphere for students who may have autism or other special needs, where they can go and take a break from the sometimes chaotic stimulus of a normal classroom,” said Carrick.
He extended a heartfelt thank you to the Rotary Club of Invermere for its longtime stewardship of Loop the Lake, and expressed a desire to continue to uphold the many great traditions the race entails.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a family friendly event. We get a lot of families, and a lot of children,: said Carrick.
Loop the Lake will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6th. The early bird registration deadline (for reduced registration costs) is June 15. To find out more and to register, visit loopthelake.ca.