When Phil and Grace Hiom moved to the Kamloops area, they envisioned signing up for all the local races as training for the bigger adventure races they’d be competing in. Unfortunately, there just weren’t that many races available in the area. So, they decided to build their own.
Two years ago the Hioms began Dirty Feet, a company that organizes biking, running and snowshoeing races off the beaten path.
The races, that span the seasons and the Okanagan, are catching on fast. In Phil Hiom’s experience, the first year of an event has a smaller turnout, while word of mouth about how fun the races are increase the entries in successive years. Dirty Feet’s trail run series races are now maxing out at 250 to 275 competitors.
Dirty Feet ran its first mountain bike marathon at Sun Peaks in July, with a turnout of 32 competitors.
“It was a decent turnout for the first event, and the course was really good,” says local competitor Doug Avery. “(It was) definitely a really good workout, and lots of mud and everything you could have asked for. . . . And they had an amazing schwag table.”
That table was no accident, according to Hiom.
“We always have an amazing schwag table,” he says. “It’s one of the draws, if you give people cool stuff to win then they like to come out and participate.”
The Hioms followed that event up with a six hour relay or solo bike race on Kelowna trails before the September 8 mountain run at Sun Peaks which the company hopes will attract 100 competitors.
The 5km run will be a loop beginning in the village, using some of the paved valley trail as well as cross-country ski trails. That 5km loop will be the start of the 16km mountain run which will then take off onto the mountain bike trails.
“It’ll head up Root Dog and Smooth Smoothie to get to the top of the Sunburst. Then they’re going to come down Gummy Bear and Holy Rollers and Zazel Track,” says Hiom. “It’s about 900 metres of elevation gain; it’s going to be a good workout for some people for sure.”
Hiom expects a mix of participants in the 16km run, from people who hike up and run down, to faster racers who have many trail races under their belts already. Dirty Feet races are meant to be fun, and the Hioms are eager to see people coming out to try, and to participate in something they wouldn’t otherwise have thought they could complete.
“(Dirty Feet) are getting their name out there for running good events. Unanimously everyone who ran the (bike marathon) race had a good time,” concludes Avery. “I look forward to next year.”
For event details visit: http://www.dirtyfeet.ca