Thanks for more than a decade of Great Lake Walks

We come here today not to bury the Great Lake Walk, but to praise it.

We come here today not to bury the Great Lake Walk, but to praise it.

The die seemed cast when years of dwindling participation ended last year with its cancellation last fall.

Yet even now, as the race is erased from the calendar for the second year in a row, organizers are loath to close the coffin on this most noble and worthwhile community event.

And we understand why.

The Great Lake Walk succeeded for most of its 11-year run on two levels: its ability to inspire and challenge participants to make the arduous 56-kilometre circuit from Youbou to Lake Cowichan; and its ability to inspire the community to rally behind it and make it a special experience.

Whether inspiring the most athletic among us to soar all the way around the lakeshore before the sun reached noon, or the most stubborn of us to stagger up to the bell as the daylight threatened to depart, the trek worked as a challenge, something that made participants want to prove themselves to themselves.

But it seems that once some mountains are climbed, the climbers move on to other mountains. And our walk got left behind.

Organizers attempted to give it a jolt by using it as a means to generate charitable donations, and by adding team categories to make the summit seem a little more manageable.

It didn’t work. And when the public’s interest starts to wane, inevitably even the most amazing volunteer support team is bound to start to lose interest.

The door remains ajar for the walk’s return, but no one involved considers that likely any time soon.

We say that’s OK. The Great Lake Walk lived its life and accomplished its goals. It should not be mourned, but celebrated.


—News Leader Pictorial