Round the Mountain returns after two year, pandemic-induced hiatus. Bulletin file.

Round the Mountain returns after two year, pandemic-induced hiatus. Bulletin file.

Round the Mountain returns in June

After a two-year hiatus, one of Kimberley’s biggest events, Round the Mountain, will return this summer on Sunday, June 19.

“We had a lot of people registered for 2020 and then when we shut that down we just deferred all those registrations, so there was about 300 people,” said event coordinator Jim Webster.

“Some people had asked for refunds but the majority stayed on and now when we opened up registration here a couple months back we’ve hit our limit at 500. We’ve got a couple of spots left but we’re pretty well sold out, which is great.”

The event has historically been run by the Kootenay Orienteering Club and the Kootenay Freewheelers Cycling Club, with proceeds going to the Kimberley Trails Society (KTS). This year they are transitioning to where KTS will take the leadership role in the organizing of the event and the other two clubs will assist in more of a support role with volunteers and that sort of thing.

READ MORE: Update on spring conditions and summer plans from the Kimberley Trails Society

“It’s kind of a nice transition,” Webster said. “The Trails Society hadn’t normally run events so this is going to be kind of a big undertaking for them, but also a lot of the proceeds will go to the Trails Society for maintenance and trail development in Kimberley.”

Webster added that what makes Round the Mountain Unique from some other big races is that it is completely run by volunteers and all proceeds go back into the community or the volunteer organizations, making it, along with the tourist draw, extremely beneficial for Kimberley.

The organizers put a cap on the number of registrants to a number they’re all comfortable with and around 525 people are to be expected. Historically around 50 per cent of these registrants come from out of town.

“It’s developed its own reputation so people who are in the biking or running community are aware of this event and will travel to participate in it,” Webster said.

Oftentimes racers come in to town for just the weekend but many also come in a few days early or even the weekend before to get familiar with riding or running the course. After the arson at the ski hill severely distrupted the tourism and accomodation industries in Kimberley this past winter, Webster said it’s great to see so many people signed up for the race this summer.

“I think it’s a good thing for the community, both economically as well as it’s just a fun day,” he said.