2000 Walkers Comments

Dear Walk Organizers, Volunteers, businesses and residents of Gold River & Tahsis:

On behalf of myself and my 'partners', I wish to thank you for a very well organized and well planned walk on Saturday and the very welcome reception that we received in your communities over the weekend. There were four of us that attended together -- myself and my two daughters and my best friend from grade one. We enjoyed a weekend of comraderie and friendship as well as taking away many new and happy memories with us. We each found some strengths that we weren't sure we had, some weaknesses that we can work away at over the next months, pride in what we accomplished leading up to the event and in what we accomplished during the event. Plus we had fun! And we are looking forward to your 2001 walk and achieving new goals and personal challenges for ourselves.

This was our first year of participation. If we could thank each person that volunteered their time, energy and service to the success of this event -- that would be wonderful. You did a great job! And to all the townspeople, thank you for your hospitality.

We have only one observation that we wish to pass along to you and we want you to keep it in perspective with other's viewpoints on this subject. This is in regards to the support vehicles. And we pass this along with reluctance because although we didn't have a support vehicle, we certainly used their services when they were offered to us and with great relief and pleasure. What we tried to think of was how the support service could be maintained and perhaps even enhanced with less negative affect on the walkers, however, not being familiar enough with your event and its setup and having no way of comparison with previous years, we do not feel qualified to offer you any suggestions. It would certainly be nice though if the number of support vehicles could be reduced rather than increased, however we wouldn't want to see all vehicles removed from the route as it was very reassuring to know that if a difficult or dangerous situation arose, help would quickly be along. The biggest drawback was continually having to move off the centre of the road where the best walking was. Also, at times there would end up to be quite a string of vehicles while the first one would be waiting for the straggling walkers to move out of the way and then the exhaust fumes (especially from those diesel's) would be a bit overwhelming. Also, as walkers without a support vehicle, we had no way of distinguishing those vehicles from volunteers who we could approach, particularly at the times that we wanted help and finally when we wanted to leave the walk. We would also add that most drivers were very courteous, very patient, very supportive and very helpful. As in anything else though there were the few impatient ones that tended to toot their horns and raise a bit too much dust (particularly as they got closer to the finish line & wanted to get to town to cheer on their walkers). And we have certainly discussed how having a support vehicle could have helped us and would help in the future!

Again, thank you for the great event and we look forward to hearing more about next year. As a result of our successes we have fellow walkers here at home who now say 'if they can do it, we can too, and we're coming along next year'!
Regards,
Connie Bielert

I am a first time participant in the Great Walk. I was impressed with the scenery, but even more so the hospitality and friendliness of the residents of Gold River and Tahsis and the various volunteers I met along the way. Being unfamiliar with the territory I felt an atmos- phere of safety throughout the walk. I walked alone with my husband as a support person/vehicle but I also noticed that walkers were regularly being checked on for various health problems, injuries. Congratulations to the Lions Club and organizers.

In the excitement of completing the walk and the fire engine welcoming etc. I forgot to ask how I placed in the group of 1000 participants. I am not sure if it will be posted on your website or whether there is a records person who will know. My number was 150 and I completed the walk in 11 hours and 41 minutes. No rush on this.

Thanks again,
Linda

Dear Betty, et al --

Had a ball Saturday. Thank you for all the tremendous planning and support: food, water, transportation, housing...and psychological! First time we've been encouraged and cheered by a fire department. Great fun.

Great website too. So much of interest, we return to it again and again. All the good newspaper articles helped give a feel for what we would be in for. And we still signed up!

Just a suggestion: we thought of it after the fact, but it would have been nice to have had with us on the walk that helfpul page on the website: Great Walk Road Profile, with elevation gains/losses, kilometrage, location of Aid Stations, etc. In next year's instructions, you might suggest that people run that off and take it with them.

There was a 3-generation team that finished the walk: Grandmother, daughter, granddaughter. We think it would be special for them to receive an award, or at least an article about them. Grandma's name is Kit Snyder and her e-mail is ksnyder@island.net. Kit is from Parksville and daughter and granddaughter are from Nanaimo.

We look forward to reading on the website how the media (newspapers, TV, etc.) reported it all. We need to find out if we had fun or not!

Many, many thanks.
Kathy Biever -- Marysville, WA #70
Jacquie Kaner -- Seattle, WA #451
Blanch Kosche - Lake Stevens, WA #470

Hello,

Just a note to say what a marvelous experience it was walking the Great Walk for the first time. Myself (63), my daughter (40) and my granddaughter (18) all walked it for the first time and we all completed it.

I would like to say how much we appreciated the wonder support from everyone. Particularly like to complement the Fist Aid room and their help with our blisters, etc. The food at the end was great. Wonderful vegetable beef soup. Never had a better cup of soup!

Just the general atmosphere was wonderful. Keep up the good work. Loved the area and scenery.

We stayed at Strathcona Lodge which was just the icing on the cake.

Thanks again.
Kathleen Snyder

Subject: Re: hints for next years walkers

Remove your rings before you start the Great Walk. I was support driver for a participant this year and she was noticing people who had not removed ther rings and watches. There hands were swelling up and there fingers were turning blue. Can't get your rings off when you're in trouble like that, best not to have them on. And you don't need a watch your arms swell up and it only gets uncomfortable. Plus not knowing the time means you're really pacing according to how your body feels and not the clock.

We left Tahsis when the road was open at 4:00 and the dust was gross, can't imagine what it was like for the walkers on the road. Perhaps they should also be advised to bring a face mask if the dust is going to bother them. Or perhaps when there is that many entrants the road shouldn't be opened until 5:00 letting the majority get down that last hill at least.

To all the volunteers, job well done! Your support on and off the road is simply amazing. To the people in Gold River that run the cappucino shop, thanks for being open in the wee hours of the morning. I'd guess that if you were open when people were coming out from Tahsis after the walk you'd get alot of buisness as well. To people in Gold River that open there homes to Great Walkers to sleep thanks, your hospitality is greatly appreciated.

Betty Ganyo I don't know how you stay with it but we think your marvelous and thanks for being there.

Chris Blanchard

I just want to thank the community of Tahsis for once again organizing a great event. Your hospitality to participants is outstanding.

Sincerely,
Deborah
Great Walk 2000 finisher

Hi,just want to thank all the volunteers on the great walk.It was a memorable experience and I was amazed and awed at what a wonderful group of people at all the checkstops.It was also encouraging to come in to the wonderful town of Tahis and get the encouragement to finish the race.It was a super time and I could go on forever about the volunteers,thank you ,thank you and thank you.

S. MacDonald

Dear organizers:

Just a short note of appreciation for the terrific organization we all saw yesterday at the Great Walk. This was our (my wife and I) first time and we were truly impressed with all the care and attention we received from every volunteer. They all went beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety and comfort of all the walkers.

As a new resident of Gold River we would like to work next year to make this event even better and greater than ever. Well done!! and thak you for all your efforts.

Roz and Vaino Latvala

Hi. In the first place, I want to thank you and the other Lions and Lionesses for once again hosting such a fabulous event, especially since Tahsis is experiencing an economic drought. Never once did I hear a complaint, and one and all were treated with the same open friendliness and enthusiasm that has made me come back year after year.

The run/walk is, for me, a great chance to enjoy the truely beautiful setting you folks enjoy, and the warmth of you Tahsisians at the end of it all is the proverbial icing on the most delicious cake.

But to my request. Although I was the ninth person in, the fact that I was about four minutes slower this year than I was last year reminds me that my birth certificete is catching up to me. That in turn reminded me that I could start qualifying for the oldest person in. So, to satisfy my curiosity, what was the age of the oldest person in this year just so I can get an idea of how much longer I have to stay in shape to qualify. Thanks again for a terrific event. Hopefully we will see you again next year.

John Downing

Hello to you and all the volunteers......great job.......thanks for your support,,,,,I needed all the help I could get!

When will we have a record of names/places /and positioning?

.............until next time......thanks, greetings from Evelyn Rolinski, on behalf of my pledge walk for Hospice in CR.

Hi Betty --

We were quite impressed that you spent the effort to respond to our e-mail. Certainly not necessary, but just another example of the warmth we felt from you and from the citizens of Tahsis and Gold River. Fine people, you all. And we were amused to see Kit's letter appear on the web right after ours. Blanch talked to Kit about her joining Blanch and Jacquie on hiking the Inca Trail in Peru next May 2001. Am forwarding to you the e-mail I sent Kit today.

Keep in touch.
Kathy Biever

To all of the organizers and volunteers of the Great Walk 2000 (especially Betty):

Accolades to all of you for such a tremendously organized event. Attention was paid to many details with the end result being an outstanding event. I was dubious as the whether or not I would be able to complete the event however after 12hours and 36minutes, I was totally elated to see my wife beaming near the finish line, as she joined and walked the last few hundred metres with me. The added touch of the Tahsis residents cheering on the competitors made the finish even more enjoyable.

If there was one constructive comment I would pass on, it is this...
Since the support vehicle drivers were an integral (if not critical!) part of the trek, I feel that they should have been able to utilize or consume the products at the checkpoints. As a matter on point, my wife (being a support vehicle driver) asked for a coffee at one of the checkpoints, only to be declined by a volunteer. She was told "sorry...these are only for the walkers..." I could not have imagined completing the Great Walk without the relentless support of my wife as a driver. Next year, perhaps it could be mentioned in the information package that food and beverages will be available for the drivers also. I would gladly pay an extra $5.00 in the registration fee if I knew that the drivers were accommodated.

If you have any thoughts on this, just reply to this email. Otherwise, thank you again for an excellent event! My feet are in their final stages of recovery and they, too, send you a 'foot-felt' thanks!

(Organizers note: This is being addressed for next years walk.)

Sincerely,
Doug Stuart
Victoria, BC

Dear Betty and all,

I, and family members, have participated in The Walk now for the second consecutive year. We are already talking about next year and how we would strategize differently. (as if there were any way to avoid the aches and pains)

The people of Tahsis and Gold River have a wonderful event going here. It is remarkable to see such cooperation and hospitality from a whole region in putting on an event like this. Truthfully, the people make the event. The scenery is breath-taking, but the support all along the way from the beginning to the end of the trek make The Walk special. I've participated in other walks and runs, and none compare to this.

I want to thank everyone in the community for putting forth such great effort to make the walkers feel at home.

Peter

Thanks for the info.

I am #81 finisher in 8.50. It was my first Great Walk and what an amazing experience. It was so well organized and of course a perfect day. The challenge, the highs and the lows, both emotionally and geographically....the excellent volunteers and all the food and drink I could wish for, the incredible scenery and the constant running water from rivers and waterfalls, approaching the finish line with kids on bikes excitedly racing down the street to look for runners and walkers, the honking firetruck confusing me into thinking I was at the finish line when indeed I had 500 more metres to go.....thank you for a wonderful day Tahsis Lions Club and all involved, you should be proud of your event, it is awesome!

Ann Laidman

We really enjoyed the Great Walk this year and appreciate the huge effort the citizens of Tahsis make to put it on.

Thanks.
jpl

This was our first time and certainly not the last. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers at all the stations and a special thanks to the first aid attendants in the "Blister room". Your warmth and hospitality was greatly appreciated. Last but not least to the wonderful volunteer who went out of her way to the Pharmacy for some much needed medicine, I salute you, and hope to see you next year.

From a group of finishers
Debbie Morris
John Briggs
Christina Palle

This was our first Greatwalk and what a experience! We wanted to thank everyone for all the time and effort that went into organising this event. We looked forward to every checkpoint. Everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic.

See you next year. (by then our toenails will have grown back)
P.Hornick
A. Arden

Hello there in Tahsis,

Thanks for your E-mail. Ever since Monday, June 5th, I've been surfing the Web for highlights, ranking, letters, stories, etc. Marvelous! Just as The Great Walk itself.

The complainers about the escort cars were probably ignorant about the fact that more than 900 people were on the road. If it was not for those escort cars I - the oldest female on the road - would probably not have made it. Although I filled up my waterbottle at every checkpoint and had a drink there too, at one point my bottle was empty - and there was this angel at the roadside filling up my bottle. I was sooo thirsty. Thank you so much to him. Also, my buddy got an umbrella (better: parasol) from one of those angels and was sooo pleased that she could rest in one of those cars.

I've seen walkers staying in front of the crawling cars instead of moving to the right side of the road and let them pass. I think it was hard on the drivers and the cars, too. So much dust or smell coming from the cars? I hardly noticed it but then everybody is different.

Despite the sore toes, the swollen fingers like sausages I enjoyed it all. The checkpoints were excellent - friendly people and sooo much food and drinks.

So far, I have'nt seen one bit of an article on tv or newspaper, although I had noticed Check TV on the road. Everything quiet about a great event on our own beautiful island with pledges of more than $ 100,000.--. They rather talk about sport or walk-a-thons in faraway places.

Last week I was adamant about not coming back next year. Today I just wonder. So??

Thanks again for a wonderful weekend.
Mary

Just a note to let you know what a fantastic experience the Great Walk was for myself and my training partner, Tracey. The volunteers saved our lives (almost) on several occasions and the whole experience was just the best. We broke the top 150 which was more than we hoped for. Not to mention I met the kindest and best looking guy on Vancouver Island while doing the event. Thanks for all the memories, see you next year.

Michelle Thibodeau
Abbotsford, B.C.

Hi

Thanks for a great Great Walk. The level of organisation was impressive. The care shown by volunteers to make sure you were " ok" during and at the end of the walk was great. One suggestion - if you could cut down on the number of support vehicles somehow Some of them went by many times as they drove ahead of their walkers . Once again thanks for a great experience!

Frank Fitton

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