For 23 years, the Prince George Iceman has been gathering steam as the city's largest annual sporting event.
If the influx of young competitors signed up for the 24th annual Iceman on Sunday is any indication, the future of the race is in good hands.
An unprecedented 15 junior teams have entered the race, including an entire Grade 7 class from Harwin elementary school.
Those young racers have swelled the entry list to 620 total competitors, including 48 entrants who will tackle the multi-sport endurance race as soloists.
"The number of junior teams is fantastic, because those kids are the ones who are going to take this event into the future," said John Martin, co-chair of the Iceman committee.
"Last year we had seven junior teams and the year before that we had two. It's awesome."
Men's overall solo champion Peter Krause of Smithers won't be back to try to defend his 2010 title. That leaves it open to the likes of second-place finisher Mike Smith, John Hagen, Pat Turner and Garnet Fraser to fight it out for top spot on the medal podium. Women's champion Shar Jackson of Prince George, who posted an impressive time of 1:57:33 while finishing sixth overall, is on the entry list. Expect Jacqui Benson, last year's second-place finisher, Carolyn Bax and Kerrie Roberts to be in the solo women's medal mix.
The race starts at 10 a.m. Sunday with the eight-kilometre cross-country ski leg at Otway Nordic Centre. From there, runners will travel 10km to the Exhibition Park outdoor ice oval for a 5km skate. The race continues with a 5km run, ending up at the Aquatic Centre for the swim leg.
The swim distance for this year's race has been shortened from the usual 800 metres to 640m due to the fact the bulkhead in the 50m pool at the Aquatic Centre is broken and won't be replaced until later this month.
Swimmers will be required to swim two lengths in each lane, then dive under the ropes into the adjacent lane.
Once they travel to the far wall of the pool they will have to walk back to the opposite side and complete the same course once again.
Race packages will be available for pickup Saturday from 5-7 p.m. at the Civic Centre. If any competitor misses that deadline, the packages will be available for pickup at the Aquatic Centre Sunday at 8 a.m.
The weather forecast calls for a high of 4 C on Sunday, after an overnight low of -7 C. Martin said he does not expect the water-logged conditions that left sections the ice oval last year submerged in blade-deep water.
The race will be followed by an awards banquet at the Civic Centre that starts Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Martin expects a crowd of 800 will attend.