KIM LAWTON STARTING LINE More than 400 runners participated in the Giant’s Head Grind on Saturday afternoon. The 5.6-kilometre course had 500 metres of elevation gain from Okanagan Lake to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain.

Runners, cyclists participate in uphill grind

Participation highest in history of event.

It was an uphill struggle as runners and cyclists took part in the fourth annual Giant’s Head Grind on Saturday.

The grind, a gruelling race from Peach Orchard Beach to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain, was held on Saturday.

Ellen Walker-Matthews, organizer of the event, said 461 runners participated in this year’s event. This is the highest turnout in the history of the grind.

“It went extremely well,” she said. “This was the best year ever.”

The grind is a fundraising event. Money raised will go to colon cancer research and improving the trail system in Giant’s Head Park.

Walker-Matthews’s son, Chris Walker, died from colon cancer in 2013.

The running course has an elevation gain of 500 metres over 5.6 kilometres

In addition, 52 cyclists participated this year, double the number of cyclists in 2016 when the cycling component was introduced. The bike course follows a 6.2-kilometre paved course with an elevation gain of 450 metres.

The grind course traditionally begins at Okanagan Lake in Peach Orchard Park and ends at the summit of Giant’s Head Mountain.

However, this year because of the high water level, the first part of the course followed Lakeshore Drive instead of the path along the water. Part of the path was under water and part had been closed by the municipality.

Walker-Matthews said the municipality of Summerland provided much help in marking the course for the race.

“I could not have had more help and cooperation,” she said. “Kudos to the district for all their support.”

Results of the grind will be posted online at giantsheadgrind.ca.

 

KIM LAWTON UPHILL CLIMB Participants moved slowly on the steep uphill section of the course in Giant’s Head Park.