Running of the Balls, Hill Dash return after pandemic pause

Fitness and charity event set to roll on High Street this June

The Hill Dash/Running of the Balls event returns to Ladysmith June 18. (courtesy Ladysmith Downtown Business Association)

The Hill Dash/Running of the Balls event returns to Ladysmith June 18. (courtesy Ladysmith Downtown Business Association)

Did they warn you that after the pandemic restrictions softened it would be all downhill for Ladysmith?

Or an exhausting uphill slog?

After a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, the Hill Dash and Running of the Balls are set to return on High Street, one of the community’s finest hills, as part of the Ladysmith & Area Hometown Tourist Weekend set for Saturday, June 18.

Hosted by the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, the Hill Dash typically draws relay teams from all over to compete, said organizer Tylor Nelson, co-owner of Crossfit Ladysmith in a media release.

“If you think you have what it takes (stamina, speed, strong legs and a good dose of craziness) then get your team together, register online or in person at Crossfit Ladysmith and start practicing,” Nelson said.

Hill Dash relay team members are required to run/walk/crawl up High Street from 1st Avenue to 3rd, and then roll a ball down the hill to the next team member. First team of four to conquer the hill and get their ball across the finish line wins.

Following that challenging feat comes the Running of the Balls. Put together by the Ladysmith Resources Centre Association (LRCA), hundreds of coloured plastic balls are released out of the back of a truck down High Street. Depending on how their ball finishes, entrants have a chance at three cash prizes valued at $500, $300 and $100.

“We are excited about organizing the event this year,” said Nelson who is recruiting sponsors and looking at bringing back a beer garden featuring a local brewery.

“This event has always been about having fun, getting locals and tourists into the downtown core and helping raise some funds for the LRCA,” said Rick Rake, LRCA manager of communications and events.

Rake (rick@lrca.ca) is seeking setup volunteers, and expects the $5 tickets (for one ball) to be ready by this weekend at the LRCA office on Second Ave. and later at other community locations.

The race starts at 11 a.m. with the Running of the Balls at 12:30 p.m. For more information or to register a team, go to the Hill Dash Facebook page, or stop by in person at Crossfit Ladysmith 521 1st Ave.

“Hill Dash and Running of the Balls is truly a wonderful partnership. I love the energy it generates,” said Karen Laing, LRCA executive director.

Nelson hopes a good crowd comes out to support each runner as he or she sprints up the hill.

“I love that the community comes out to watch, with encouraging cheers all the way up the hill.”