Racers to compete in Summerland’s Giants Head Grind

Uphill course on May 18 has 500 metres of elevation gain in 5.6 kilometres

For the sixth year, participants will run, walk or cycle from the shore of Okanagan Lake to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain in Summerland as they participate in the Giant’s Head Grind on Saturday May 18.

Ellen Walker-Matthews, chair of the race, said around 350 racers and 50 volunteers will participate in this year’s race.

The race follows a 5.6-kilometre course to the top of the mountain, with an elevation gain of 500 metres.

It is a fundraising event, sponsored by the Summerland Rotary Club. Proceeds will go towards colon cancer detection, diagnostics and research and also to the upkeep and improvement of the trail system in Giant’s Head Mountain Park.

READ ALSO: Summerland adjusting trails in Giant’s Head Mountain Park

READ ALSO: A good day for a grind

This year, the improvements to the park are noticeable as crews have been working on improvements to the park trails.

Some of the trails have been decommissioned and others are being changed because of erosion and damage to the hillside.

The improvement work this year will be worth an estimated $725,000 and is expected to be completed by July.

Walker-Matthews said the majority of the work on the trail for the grind will be completed in time for the race.

“They’re working diligently to have the course ready for the race,” she said. “It’s looking good and we’re excited.”

She added that the improvements to the trail are a legacy for the community and for those who come to visit.

The course will continue to follow its original route, beginning at Peach Orchard Park on the path along Okanagan Lake.

Last year, because of extensive flooding, the course had been altered to follow the road, since the path was under water.

READ ALSO: What I know for sure: lessons from Giants Head Grind

The lakeside path has been damaged as a result of flooding, but Walker-Matthews said it will be marked for the race.

Because the race is a fundraiser for colon cancer, two members of Never Too Young will be present. The organization works to educate people about the risks of colon cancer among young people.

The event will be held on May 19, with the bike race beginning at 9 a.m. and the hike beginning at noon.

Information and registration are available online at https://giantsheadgrind.com/

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