Walkers Noella Trotter and Connie Croteau at the finish line last year.

Walkers Noella Trotter and Connie Croteau at the finish line last year.

Gearing up for 11th Annual Great Lake Walk

If you would like to register for the Great Lake Walk either as an individual or as a team, the early bird deadline is fast approaching.

If you would like to register for the Great Lake Walk either as an individual or as a team, the early bird deadline is fast approaching.

Walkers have until July 1, to take advantage of the low registration fee of $43. Advanced registration is from July 2 to August 1, and will cost $53. From August 2 to September 1, the cost to register will be $63.

Great Lake Walk chair, Bertha Graville, says that teams are encouraged and she would love to see more businesses in town register as teams and participate. When registering as a team, every sixth person registers for free.

This annual event is a fundraiser for charities in the Cowichan Valley, with individuals and teams being able to pick the charity of their choice upon registration. Since the first Great Lake Walk in 2002, this event has helped to raise over $600,000 for 350 different charities.

The walk circles the second largest body of fresh water on Vancouver Island, Cowichan Lake, a full 56 kilometers starting in Youbou and ending in Cowichan Lake.

The event actually begins on the Friday evening before the walk with a high-carb dinner at the Youbou Hall. Meat or vegetarian lasagna and salad will be on the menu. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased at the time of registration. The dinner will take place between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The next morning, participants will be up at 2 a.m. to take advantage of the breakfast hosted by the Youbou Old Age Pensioners’ Organization number 115 at the Youbou New Hope Community Church.

The cost for the breakfast is $5.50, and will include scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, orange juice, coffee and tea. The breakfast is open to the public as well as participants, and tickets can be purchased at the time of registration, or at the church.

Graville says that the walk attracts people from all over Canada, including Vancouver, Victoria, Duncan, and even as far away as Ontario.

“Last year we had 317 people. That’s about what we’ve had on average for the last couple of years. We strive for 500 but we’re not quite there yet.”

Graville says she has been part of the event for about the past six years, and she feels that besides raising money for charities, the walk is a way to promote the town to the world and show people the beautiful scenery of the west coast. “It gets the town out there.”

When the job of chair for the organization came along, Graville says she jumped at the chance. “When I got on the board of directors, I got really wound up in the whole thing. So when the chair position came along, I took it. I love it. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”

For more information, and to register, go to greatlakewalk.com, or phone 250-749-3740.