Kimberley’s Round the Mountain race has been postponed for a second year in a row and rescheduled for June 19, 2022.
Founding organizer Jim Webster said that the organizing team had been closely monitoring the situation with COVID-19 and were feeling pretty excited and positive back in November and December that a June 2021 event could be a possibility.
“But then as things started to slow down I started to poll the organizing participants and the consensus was at this point things were a little too unstable and unsure for June and that was probably going to be too early,” Webster said.
At that point they started to look at some dates later on in the summer, even into September. Then that started to present problems as there were other events that had had the same idea and were looking to push back their own start dates into those potential late-summer weekends.
“The weekends and the timing were starting to get tight and then there was no guarantee that by the fall we would be able to actually still hold the event,” Webster explained. “So it was decided, let’s just postpone to next year, regroup and then come back with a bigger and better event and get people excited to be back out there again.”
The event, organized by the Kimberley Trails Society, the Kootenay Orienteering Club and the Kootenay Freewheelers Cycling Club, generally draws around 500 people.
“We found that the number 500 works well for us,” Webster said, adding it has ranged from 450 to 550, with the latter being a bit crowded. That big draw is obviously a major consideration in making the decision to push the event back another year.
READ MORE: Kimberley’s Round the Mountain 2019
“Part of the attraction and what makes Round The Mountain so different than most other races is kind of that festival atmosphere,” Webster explained.
Whereas with many races where people come, run their course and leave, Webster said that the music, food and community engagement creates crowds at Round the Mountain.
“The thought of even a few people floating around with COVID just gives us the willies,” he said.
While the community is understandably disappointed that this well-loved local event has to be missed for another year, Webster said the response since the announcement was posted has been very supportive.
“I’ve been really pleased with the response on social media,” Webster said. “People are a bit disappointed, but they totally understand and they’re totally supportive, which is just great to see.”
He says this positive support indicates these people will support the event when it is able to happen again. The last time they opened their registration, back in 2019, their numbers by January were the highest they’d ever been at that stage, with over 350 people already registered.
Of those, over 300 are still on the registration list and will still be first in line for their entries next year.
“That’s just great, it shows what the event means to the community,” Webster said.
You can learn more about the event at www.roundthemountain.ca but it’s currently in the process of being rebuilt by a new webmaster, so a new, fresh website is coming within the next few weeks.