Sun pierced over the Babine Mountains as 65 runners climbed more than 1,000 metres in the Hah Nic Na’ Aah mountain half-marathon.
Seven of those runners were from Prince Rupert and Port Edward.
“It was an amazing day in the mountains with a great group of people! Highly recommend this event to anyone who enjoys running and hiking,” said Ellen Christison, who has taken part in the race twice.
At 9 a.m. on Aug. 12, runners started on a trail that was similar to the route First Nation messengers from Wetsuweten and Gitxsan villages used to keep their communities connected. The name of the race, Hah Nic Na’ Aah, means messenger.
This year, the 21-km race started from the Lyon Creek Tail head for an 11-km climb up through the tree line (1,450 metres). At about one-third of the way through the trail, runners were rewarded with views of the Bulkley Valley and Telkwa Range. After spending a few kilometres in the Ganokwa Basin, then through the grassy slope to the summit, they took the McCabe Trail for the gradual decent.
There were many volunteers who also took the steep hike in to check in runners as they passed by, provide first aid, water and energy cubes. Richard Joseph was the race organizer who helped the event stay fun and run smoothly.
“I started organizing the run because I used to be an avid runner in university. I’m First Nations, and I wanted to have a First Nations focus so when people were running they should be aware that First Nations were active here before European contact,” Joseph said.
From Prince Rupert, Ellen Christison finished with a time of 2:41:51, Samantha Kasdorf, 2:44:26, Erin Mutrie, 2:46:48, Shannon Lough, 3:06:45, and Max Erwin, 2:07:07. From Port Edward, Jamie Komadina finished in 3:06:06.
The top female was recent high school graduate Eliyah Brawdy from Smithers with a time of 2:19:00. The top male was Francois Dagenais Cote of Prince George with a time of 1:53:20.
The race concluded with an icy dip in the river, and then a salmon BBQ in Smithers.