BY BILL PHILLIPS
Conditions are shaping up to be excellent for the 31st annual Prince George Iceman next weekend.
This weekend’s snow will put the cross country ski trails at the Otway Nordic Centre in perfect conditions and with the long-range forecast calling for freezing temperatures, the Prince George Ice Oval should also be in top condition.
“Conditions look awesome, we’re exciting about the weather,” says Liz Bennett, one of the organizers of the Iceman. “I think we’re going to have a really good competition this year … As long as we’re a few degrees below zero, it’s great. The ice will stay cold, but 10 to 15 degrees below is even better. Runners are usually fine, no matter what the temperature is. The skiing conditions are incredible right now.”
If you haven’t signed up to compete, either as a soloist or as a team, there’s still time. Registration closes at midnight on Tuesday. Race day is Sunday, February 11.
For those not familiar with the Prince George Iceman, it involves an eight-kilometre cross-country ski at the Otway Nordic Centre, followed by a 10-kilometre run to the Prince George Ice Oval where a five-kilometre skate is in order, followed by another five-kilometre run and then an 800-metre swim at the Prince George Aquatic Centre.
Hearty competitors do the course solo, but most will be part of a team and will compete in only one or more legs of the journey. Last year Cam McNamara finished the gruelling course with a time of one hour, 55 minutes and 13 seconds.
Last year there were 56 people who did the entire competition themselves and about 500 took participated as part of a team.
Teams consist of two to five people. On some teams there is a different participant for each leg of the Iceman, others involve team members who will do two or three legs. It all depends on the teams.
Bennett says registrations this year have been good but final numbers won’t be known until later in the week. She said sponsors have really helped out this year, which is crucial in staging the event.
“We had more local businesses come on board financially, which is awesome because we really require that for the event to occur,” she said.
As much as the event depends on sponsors, it also depends on volunteers … and there’s still time to volunteer.
“We’re still really in need of volunteers,” said Bennett. “We have fewer than we usually do at this time of year.”
If you would like to volunteer you can leave a comment on the Prince George iceman Facebook page or e-mail Christian at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you want to come out and cheer on your favourite team, there are lots places to do that. The day starts at about 10 a.m. at Otway Nordic Centre, which is a great place to come out cheer. The Aquatic Centre is also another location where is plenty of good spectator space. The Ice Oval has limited space, but there is always the opportunity to simply cheer from the side of the road as runners go through their paces.
“We love when people come out and cheer,” she says.
If you want to get more information, check out their website at: www.pgiceman.ca