It’s always sad to see a community institution fade. The Citizen got word recently that for the second year in a row the Great Lake Walk untramarathon will not be hitting the trail due to lack of participants.
When it began in 2002 it was a phenomenon.
Seven hundred and seventynine people clamoured for the chance to challenge themselves with the 56-kilometre trek around Cowichan Lake.
People walked, ran and some practically crawled the daunting trail, encouraged onwards by numerous event volunteers and the chance to ring the bell in triumph at the end.
But enthusiasm has waned and a new generation has not taken up the call.
There are plenty of reasons, likely including the fact that it’s hard. This isn’t something a person can just show up for on the day. It took commitment to be able to make it around the entire route.
Then there’s the fact that there seems to be a fundraising walk on virtually every corner these days.
They are all for good and worthy causes, so how do you choose where to spend your time and energy? Human nature says that people, with their busy lives, will find it more attractive to get out for, say, the Terry Fox Run – a much shorter course – or the MS Walk.
In the beginning, the Great Lake Walk had novelty going for it. After so many years, the bloom is off the rose.
Our Valley population is relatively small and thus so is the pool of most likely participants.
Perhaps a hiatus is just what the doctor ordered.
Perhaps some time off will engender some nostalgia and determination in Valley residents and there will be a push to once more dust off the ultramarathon and it will come back stronger than ever.
Perhaps its time has passed. Whatever the case may be, the Great Lake Walk is something that organizers and past participants alike can take great pride in.
Over the years the event has been running, walkers have collected over $700,000 for over 360 different charities.
This is a worthy legacy that will never be forgotten.
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