If local entrepreneur Craig Cherlet has his way, Squamish could one day become the unofficial training centre for obstacle-course race athletes of all shapes and sizes.
A stroll on the Squamish Oceanfront one afternoon got the gears in Cherlet's brain working overtime and he put together a rough outline of a course that stretches from the Oceanfront to Brennan Park, traversing through existing trails.
“It's an idea that makes a lot of sense,” he said. “We have lots of trails, tons of land and there's already materials there like slacklining. We have a huge community that's very fit and it lines up with our brand of being the Outdoor Recreational Capital of Canada.”
Cherlet said events such as the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race continue to grow and new, similar events keep popping up. He said he's aware it could be a process to bring about this type of plan to Squamish but wants to know what locals think.
“If there's enough interest I would potentially bring some sort of proposal to council,” he said. “I want to see what people think. It's obviously not really a business and it would have to be on Crown or DOS land. But maybe people could sponsor a particular obstacle and there's lots of ways this could be done.
“We're always going after the Lower Mainland market and something like this could make Squamish more of a destination. We're the playground for the Lower Mainland and this would be another thing to draw people here.”
He suggested a similar idea to what the Grouse Grind does, with timers set up at the Squamish Adventure Centre, which would draw users back to improve or to challenge others.
“Something like that would be a huge benefit to the Adventure Centre as far as foot traffic goes and it's really a matter of the cost of it depending on how complex we would make it,” he said.
Cherlet said it's not just obstacle-course race participants that could benefit from such a course. Those taking part in boot camps, parkour and other fitness regimes could use the course for their own activities.
“I'm the type to put ideas out there and see what people think,” he said. “But I think this could be something good for the community and help us get closer to realizing the 'Outdoor Recreational Capital of Canada' brand. Anything we can add to that or anything that helps the world know more about who we are and what we do is a good thing.”
To check out Cherlet's design, visit his blog at www.craigcherlet.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/proposal-for-a-squamish-obstacle-course-trail.
He said he plans to update the plan as he learns more and hopes to get new ideas and input from the community on his proposal.