Tumbler Ridge Hosts Sixth Annual Ridge Ramble

The 6th annual Ridge Ramble was held Saturday September 29, 2007 at the Tumbler Ridge Golf Course. The run, which is part of the Wolves Cross Country Running series was hosted by the Wolverine Nordic Mountain Society(WNMS). There were 73 participants this year.

There are 10 races in the 2007 series ,which are being held over an eleven week period. The Wolves Cross Country Running Series are low key cross country running races. The communities that are hosting races in BC are Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge. Alberta communities include Grimshaw, Grande Prairie and Wanham.

The series is a set of races that were set up to help develop the sport of cross country running in the Peace Country. The goal of the races are to encourage participation from athletes of all ages and ability levels. If you participate in at least three of the eight scoring races. Your top three finishes will count towards your series placing.

There is no need to belong to a running club to join in on race days, everyone is welcome, explained Linda Helm(race coordinator). There is a small fee to enter, which is set below $5. The Ridge Ramble had an entry fee of $4.

There were fewer runner this year, with the largest number of participants being in 2004(110 runners). Some people have moved and others perhaps have lost interest. Linda Helm explained numbers in the younger categories seem to depend on whether students are participating in the cross country or track and field clubs at school. Several runners did come back to challenge their times from last year. Distance of the races are set according to which category you are entered in.

In the Grades 1-3 boys category(1.7 km), Casey Strang, Noah Tobin and Matthew Payne all improved on their times from last year. Strang, improved his time by almost 6 ½ minutes! Good Job Casey! Newcomer Abby Sloss finished a respectable fifth behind four strong runners from Dawson Creek.

Grades 1-3 Girls(1.7 km) had only 4 participants this year, with three being from Tumbler Ridge. Julie Schlief?s improved time of 15 seconds was enough to capture first place. Katrina Leuze and Darby McNeil, finishing 3rd and 4th, also improved their times from last year.

Grades 4-6 Boys and Girls(1.7km) saw a significant drop in participation this year. Only 4 boys and one girl ran in these races. Tyler Schlief and Christopher Mackay from Tumbler Ridge took 1st and 2nd for the boys and improved on their times from last year. Kyla McNeil, from Tumbler Ridge, was the only participant for the girls.

Grades 7-9 girls run a total of 3.4 km. Laura Sharman, Carina Helm, Natalie Sharman and Kesley Legault obliterated their competition, sweeping the top four spots(10 runners in total) in this category. This was Laura?s first time competing in this distance. For the last few years she ran the grades 4-6 distance of 1.7 km. Legault?s strong finish with her long strides wowed timekeeper Barb Schuerkamp at the finish line. There were no boys from Tumbler Ridge in the Grade 7-9 category this year, the seven runners were from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

Local participants for the Grades 10-12 boys category(5.9km) include Daniel Helm, George Saul, Hiroki Tanishita and Braden Watt. Saul manged to bring his time down by one minute from last year?s run. Helm also improved on his time by 30 seconds. This was Tanishita?s first year participating in the Ridge Ramble, he is here in Tumbler Ridge as an exchange student from Japan. This race was Watt?s first year running the 5.9 km distance.

Tiffany Hetenyi is new to Tumbler Ridge but not a new face at the Ridge Ramble. She was the only local resident that participated for the Grade 10-12 girls run, with a distance of 4.6 km. She finished a solid fifth place with her 26:22 time.

Participants in the Open men, Open Women, Masters Men 1(age 35-49, Masters Women 1(age 35-49) and Masters Men 2(age 50+) all ran the 5.9 km route. Local runners were Lisa Buckley, Marcus Schlief, Birgit Sharman, Linda Helm, Sandra Schlief and Charles Helm. They all represented Tumbler Ridge well, running solid races. Charles Helm, who has recently joined the Masters Men 2 category, captured first place with his improved time of 25:01.

Runners this year were again able to enjoy the beautiful setting at the Tumbler Ridge Golf Course. Linda Helm explained there has been a great partnership formed between WNMS and the golf course. Having the Ridge Ramble at the golf course makes for a pleasant race for all participants.

Of course the run would not have gone as smoothly as it did if it weren?t for all the wonderful volunteers. Helm would like to send out a big thank you to the golf course and all people that helped make the Ridge Ramble a success. About 20 people volunteered their time for the race. If you helped set up the night before, handed out ribbons to the runners, cheered the runners or lent a hand where needed, Thank you. Congratulations to all the runners this year!