For nearly 30 years, runners and walkers of all levels have been descending upon Chemainus for a unique evening running event.
And they’ll be back Tuesday, June 18 for the 29th running of the Legion Twilight Shuffle five-kilometre run/walk. The event starts at 7 p.m. at Waterwheel Park.
Advance registration is still open online, and runners and walkers can register on race day at the Chemainus Legion right up until the start. Registration costs $45, and online registration closes at midnight Saturday, June 15.
Chemainus native Phil Nicholls started the Twilight Shuffle 29 years ago with his mother Lorna.
“The Legion Shuffle, which shares the same birth year as the famous Sun Run in Vancouver, has maintained all of its local roots,” he said. “The Chemainus Legion ties run very strong still, with all of the volunteers, co-ordinating and the very longevity of the run because of [those ties]. It’s quite amazing because some of the original volunteers with the Legion are still there.”
Nicholls, who was the first local winner of the Victoria marathon and went on to become a nationally-ranked marathoner, is a past winner of the Legion Twilight Shuffle, as is his wife Cheryl. Past winners of the Chemainus race have included Olympians, Kenyans and world-class triathletes.
“I ensure an accurate course, a race like I have always run, and in the end, the lead of community which I see every year from the Legion is what it is about,” he said. “We will always strive to be better.”
The Twilight Shuffle has seen numbers as big as almost 1,000, when people filled the streets and Michelle Wright rocked O Canada in 2003.
Numbers are a bit softer these days, contends Nicholls.
Nicholls says that when he first started the Twilight Shuffle, he envisioned it would be as big as the Sun Run someday. Although the numbers haven’t reached those heights, Nicholls is happy with what the run has become.
“I always envisioned it as what it has been, a good community event and the link to the community,” he said. “It’s very grassroots. Everybody’s always had a good time.”
Every year, the money raised from the Legion Twilight Shuffle goes toward athletic bursaries for Chemainus Secondary School students and to different charities, such as mental health charities.
Nicholls hopes to see a big crowd support this fun event as it nears its 30th year.
“The 5K is a very doable distance for anyone, and walkers are encouraged,” he said.
For more information, contact Nicholls at 250-595-2378.