Once again the time has come for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy a popular rite of spring. The 18th Annual Marathon Shuffle is an event for hikers and runners to enjoy a 29 km-long section of the Sunshine Coast Trail. This section from Malaspina Road to the Shingle Mill has been groomed and marked by members of the Powell River Parks and Wilderness Society (PRPAWS) and the Bloody Old Men’s Brigade (BOMB Squad). Brand new kilometre markers and nearly a thousand new fluorescent squares have been installed that will keep you from straying from the Shuffle route.
In addition, chalk lines at junctions will take the guesswork out of which way to go. Participants to this free event are asked to register on-line at www.sunshinecoast-trail.com by clicking on Marathon Shuffle on the Home Page, then Events Details under the picture, and Registration at the top of the next page. This allows the organizers to know in advance how many people to expect and to prepare for the event, and for participants to view pages of details, from free trail descriptions and maps to listings of past records.
Shuffle participants who have pre-registered on-line will meet at 7:45 am on Sunday, April 17, at the Shingle Mill parking lot to arrange for carpooling, and receive their participant numbers. Limited seating is available on a mini-bus to the starting line on Malaspina Road. Make your reservations by calling Lita at 604-414-0708. Cost: $2.00
Last minute registrants are asked to come earlier, at 7:30 am, to fill out their registration forms. A limited number of seats are available on a small bus and must be reserved. Carpool departure is at 8:00 am with an 8:30 am Shuffle shotgun start at the Malaspina trailhead, a kilometre east off the Lund Highway. There will be five water and fruit stations at logging road crossings that can also serve as emergency exits. The hike/run is free and participants take part at their own risk. They are asked to carry raingear, good footwear, some snacks and extra water to stay hydrated.
The 12 km-long Half Shuffle is becoming more and more popular as it takes only three to four hours of moderate hiking. It begins 6 km up Wilde/Tomkinson Road at 10 am and encourages a more leisurely pace. Sign in at the Appleton parking lot above the bridge, and follow the well-marked trail past vistas and swimming spots.
All registered participants are asked to report in at the finish line at the Shingle Mill to sign out, receive their standings, and a ticket for prizes to be drawn after the medal awards.