Great Lake Walk cancelled for second straight year

Volunteers were a big part of what made the Great Lake Walk great, as Brodie Guild, 41, of Errington, the first across the finish line in 5:01:28 in 2011, discovered. - Don Bodger/file
Volunteers were a big part of what made the Great Lake Walk great, as Brodie Guild, 41, of Errington, the first across the finish line in 5:01:28 in 2011, discovered.
— image credit: Don Bodger/file

The Great Lake Walk is seemingly at the end of the road.

For the second year in a row, the event has been cancelled and society stalwarts are fearing it may never happen again.

"We just haven't had the numbers we need, in terms of people registering and coming out for it," said Great Lake Walk Society chair Joan Hieta. "I think it has ran its course."

The event was a 56-kilometre walk starting at Youbou Community Hall and participants would then walk or run around Lake Cowichan and finish at the community hall in the town.

It happened on the third Sunday of September each year but was also cancelled back in 2013.

"We tried a team thing last year to try and get the numbers and hype up where basically we put people into teams in terms of the number of seatbelts in a car, say there was six, and then they could split up the 56 kilometres however they wanted. It was a pretty grueling walk," said Hieta.

That plan didn't come to fruition either but although Hieta and co see the end as nigh for the walk, the society will still remain open for the time being.

"I really can't see it happening again but we're not going to close the society or do anything drastic in case somebody else comes in and makes some kind of breakthrough," said Hieta, who also confirmed the society's finances are in a poor state with very little left in the pot.

"Last year we had issues of all sorts and it was like it was trying to tell us that we were done. We had a lot of issues. Different sponsorships didn't come through and rest stops backed out at the last minute. One of our major outfits that brought a lot of walkers and medical also backed out."

Whether the walk will be reborn again in time for 2015 has not been discussed.

Nevertheless, Hieta wishes to look back with fond memories even if the walk has already had its last hurrah.

"To tell you the truth, I don't think it's going to start up again. It's been such an awesome event and a very difficult decision. It raised a lot of money for charity. Sometimes things just take their toll."


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