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Iceman Challenge celebrating 30 years of winter marathoning

The Prince George Iceman Challenge has been running for 30-straight years… quite literally.

The nationally-recognized event takes place this Sunday and spokesperson Jim Van Barkel explains how the competition will operate this year.

“It starts with an eight-kilometre cross-country ski, then there’s a 10-kilometre run to the ice oval, where there’s a five-kilometre skate. Then after that, there’s a five-kilometre run that takes you to the Aquatic Centre to finish with an 800-metre swim.”

Van Barkel says registration is up for the winter marathon this year compared to 2016’s numbers.

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“The biggest part of it is just the uniqueness of the event; there’s nothing else like it out in this neck of the woods. It’s also just kind of set for the community too.”

Nearly 50 people have signed up to compete as individual racers, while just more than 450 others will be participating in teams, some from as far as Ontario.

Van Barkel says he’ll be competing for the first time ever to celebrate the Iceman’s 30th year and believes Mother Nature will be bringing better conditions than in years past.

“It looks like the weather is going to turn out great for the day, and it looks like for the first time in the last three years, we’ll be able to get all of the events in.”

With the recent severe snowfall, he believes the weather will be beneficial to the marathon, adding more snow to the mountains.

Medals will be awarded for the top finishers in a number of categories; for the first place man and woman respectively, they’ll have the pride of being named the year’s ‘Iceman’ and ‘Icewoman.’

The race begins at the Otway Nordic Centre at 10AM and will finish at the Prince George Aquatic Centre.

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