A record number of runners and walkers are registered early as the Oak Bay Half returns to Windsor Park.
More than 1,400 walkers and runners, hailing from as far afield as the U.S. and Alberta, are already registered for the event that was cancelled in 2020 and went virtual in 2021. This year, race day is May 29 and includes a half marathon, 10k, a four-person relay and a 1k kids run.
Event director Louise Hodgson-Jones figures it’ll follow the trend of the recent Vancouver Marathon that sold out.
“We’re getting people asking when they can pick up their packages and bibs and stuff… I think people are just itching to get back to racing,” she said.
While there’s a record number of participants, a shortage of volunteers could present some challenges.
They need helpers for on-the-course marshalling and operating water stations as well as helping out with the festivities at Windsor Park. With the entire event generally wrapped up in a four-hour time commitment.
“There are always tasks, we’d just like to have some enthusiastic people out there. It’s a fun way to come out and cheer everyone on,” Hodgson-Jones said.
She isn’t overly worried about the lack of volunteers, some groups come on in exchange for a fundraising honorarium, and in a place like Greater Victoria runners and helpers tend to wait until the last minute to sign up.
All the races start and finish in Windsor Park. The half marathon winds its way through historic residential neighbourhoods in a course that loops out and back along the scenic seaside route of Beach Drive to Loon Bay Park.
The 10k follows the half marathon route before turning back along the water to a shortcut back to the finish line.
There is also a kids’ 1k challenge for those 14 and younger where participants receive a race T-shirt, ribbon and fun post-race party with some special guests. More than 100 kids are already signed up with 80 teams in the relay, 750 in the half and 500 in the 10k.
Race registration starts at $10 with proceeds going to Santas Anonymous.
Visit oakbayhalf.com to register or volunteer.