Iceman weather: It will be chilly

32nd annual multisport endurance race set for Sunday

That bone-chilling wind is expected to drop and the forecast high of -13 C is well within the -20 C cutoff set by the committee organizing Sunday's Prince George Iceman.
But whether or not the 32nd annual multi-sport endurance race goes ahead as planned won't be known until Sunday morning. The low is expected to dip to -23 C overnight Sunday morning and that could cause problems if it doesn't warm up enough before the scheduled 10 a.m. start of the race.
"If it was today I think we would have went (ahead with the race) even with the wind, because the temperature's good enough," said Iceman registrar Jim Van Bakel.
"My biggest worry is the minus-23 forecast overnight low. I don't know if it's going to recover in time but we'll see. Because we do have a cold-weather policy we're liable if we run the event when it's colder than (-20 C) and somebody has a problem. We just can't do that. The other consideration is the volunteers."
The race committee will delay the start by one hour to 11 a.m. if it is still too cold. Updates will be posted on the race website, and on the Iceman Facebook site.
This year's race has 534 registered racers - including 38 soloists, 73 adult teams and 30 junior teams.
"It's growing a little bit and part of the growth is with the junior teams, which is nice to see, I don't feel interest is waning," said Van Bakel. "Even though the numbers are even, year to year, we're always seeing new teams coming in."
There will be new Iceman and Icewoman overall champions. Kajsa Heyes, the women's solo winner from 2018 and Chris Pendray, who won the men's solo race, are not entered this year. Heyes and her partner Tomsen D'hont, who was part of the winning mixed team last year, are both doctors now working on a rural rotation and could not make it back to defend their titles. Pendray, who lives in Smithers, is out with an injury.
Cam McNamara, who won Iceman two years ago, is one of the favourites in the open men's solo category. McNamara was forced to drop out of last year's race during the ski leg due to a lung infection. The ageless Mike Buchanan, 53, was third overall last year and he's back for more, entered in the grand masters category. Another male racer to watch is Richard Harrison of Smithers, the veteran male champion last year.
Maizie Bernard, who was third in the women's race in 2018, is in the mix Sunday, vying for her first Icewoman title. She'll face stiff competition from Iceman neophyte Jocelyn Poirier-Hardy, formerly of West Vancouver. She's a former provincial high school steeplechaser/3,000 m runner who will like the fact Iceman is mostly a running race.
"Speaking with Cam, he's a little concerned Jocelyn is going to wind up winning the whole thing, she's quite the athlete," said Van Bakel. "She's an amazing runner and sounds like she's pretty good at all disciplines."
The race starts with an eight-kilometre ski at Otway Nordic Centre, which leads into to a 10-km run from Otway to the outdoor ice oval at Exhibition Park. After skating five km on the oval, racers will trade their skates for running shoes and take off on a five km run through the residential area south of CN Centre on a route that end up at the Aquatic Centre. The final Iceman event is an 800-metre swim, which is 16 lengths of the 50m pool.
Junior team members will ski a four-km route and will break up the 10-km run into two five-km legs. The junior skate is 2,400 m, the second five-km run follows the same route as the adults, and the swim is 400 m.
Parking will be limited at Otway due to the World Para Nordic Championships, which start next weekend, and racers and their supporters will have to park at the west parking lot.

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