Biathletes get jump on season

Fun was the name of the game at the Season Starter Fall Invitational Sunday at the Otway Nordic Centre.

Everyone won chocolate instead of medals at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club's biathlon race. And rather than racing on their skis, biathletes laced up their running shoes and ran around the course as a way to kick off the season.

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"It was a fun race for everybody," said Sheldon Clare, CNSC spokesperson. "The idea was to go through all of the steps of a race. Some clubs roller ski and others bicycle around the course, but we do a running style of race. There was a pretty good, solid turnout of athletes and coaches (from Quesnel, Vanderhoof and Prince George)."

Since it was a running race, 35 biathletes ranging in age from nine to 40 were not allowed to run with their rifles. Instead they picked them up at the range where they stopped to fire at the targets from standing and prone positions.

Just like a regular biathlon, the Season Starter featured a mass start for those competing in male and female midget and juvenile (1.6-kilometre distances), junior boys and girls (2.84 km), senior boys and girls (3.55 km), youth men and women (4.125 km) and masters men and women (4.125 km).

The Season Starter was also a chance for volunteers and officials to prepare for the competitive season once the snow flies.

Clare said about 40 volunteers and officials are needed to run a successful race and new volunteers are always welcome.

CNSC biathletes have been training for the 2015-16 season five days per week. They'll attend an on-snow camp in Smithers from Nov. 27-29 and in addition to hosting regional meets throughout the season, the club will host the B.C. Cup No. 2 from Jan. 29 to 31, 2016.

For information, visit the club's website at www.caledonianordic.com

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