While it may seem a little crazy to the rest of us, who think a trip to the beer garden is well deserved after doing one discipline in the annual Ski to Sea Race, the race committee has received requests from some competitors who think it would be “fun” to run all seven legs on their own.
Mike Trowbridge, who last year served as Whatcom Events executive director, and former race director Pete Coy both said they wanted to keep the focus on the team aspect, rather than making Whatcom County’s signature adventure relay an individual event.
But Tuesday the race announced that beginning in 2018 athletes not satisfied with choosing just one discipline from a list that includes cross-country skiing, downhill skiing/snowboarding, downhill running, road biking, canoeing, cyclocross and sea kayaking, can now chose up to a maximum of three legs to compete in, provided they and their team handle the travel and gear logistics of getting from exchange point to exchange point.
Teams now will consist of a minimum of three athletes and a maximum of eight, as there still need to be two participants per team on the canoe leg.
Individuals also may compete in up to three legs for multiple teams.
The press release detailing the change said the move was made to allow racers a chance to challenge themselves and teams a better opportunity to complete rosters.
“While we welcome athletes who are up for the challenge to form a three-person team, our focus is allowing more teams to compete by filling any needed legs amongst willing members of the team,” the release said. “The Ski to Sea Race will continue to be a team, multi-sport relay race, regardless of whether that team is made up of three racers or eight racers or any number in between.”
According to the release, 71 percent of competitors who responded to a post-race survey in 2017 said that the race committee should consider the move.
Entry fees will remain the same, regardless of the number of competitors on each team, and there is no separate division for teams with less than eight competitors at this time.
Registration for the 2018 race, which is scheduled for May 27, will open in January.