Prairie Inn Harriers Youth Team club member Findlay Day ascends hill at 4K mark in Thetis Lake Relays 2017. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

Three of four races of the Thetis Lake Quad –an annual trail race series – have already taken place in November, with the final event happening this weekend at the main beach. It is the 34th annual Gunner Shaw Classic, a legendary 10K trail race.

The Stewart Mountain Challenge is a 10-mile or 5-mile trail race with the longer event ascending Stewart Mountain via rolling and steep hills and streams, rocks, roots and challenging sections, it was the first race on the schedule this season. The following week saw the Thetis Lake Relays, a near-20K event, where teams of four run nearly 5K each in a relay format. Runners complete the popular walking-running trail that wraps around the two lakes Upper Thetis and Lower Thetis.

Some teams have three, two or just one runner. It is a competitive event, with a fun twist. Awards are given for the best and worst team names. The post-race awards are always a good laugh.

The race director’s Team Names Awards are called the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (unilaterally decided). The “Good”, was “Cirque Du Sore Legs” as best team name for 2018. The “Bad” for poor choice was “Hey Ho Off to the Beach We Go” and the “Ugly” or Worst Team Name for 2018 was “PIH Super Veterans Eat Kryptonite For Breakfast.”

The “Bad” was so bad, that it is impossible to create an acronym that could be used to shorten the name

The “Return of the Sparrow Fart” was in contention for the “Good” award; however, the athlete was unable to race due to injury. The former edition, 12 years earlier, “Get up at the sound of the Sparrow Fart” won Best Team Name of 2006.

Bob’s Magical Mile saw its final running Saturday, as the Thetis Lake series will return to being three events in 2019. The trail mile – a very difficult version of the classic distance – did not attract enough competitors to warrant running it again.

Bruce “Gunner” Shaw leading a trail race through the puddle at Thetis Lake in the 1970s.

The Gunner Shaw Classic; however, should attract a good crowd of wannabe runners, beginners, kids and seniors as well as elite or near-elite competitors. Over the years, the University of Victoria Vikes have competed as have the likes of three-time Olympian Simon Whitfield and three-time Ironman world champion Lori Bowden amongst many others.

The race features a long ankle-to-knee deep puddle that is approximately 50m long. It is cold. Runners grimace when running through, then laugh about it after, but it hasn’t always been a laughing matter. For years the puddle was chest deep. Runners finish the gnarly race by running through Thetis Lake at a depth well over the knee; it’s a refreshing finish. Some hardy runners dive right in.

The Gunner Shaw Classic starts at 1:00 pm on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Thetis Lake main beach. Registration is available online as well as at the event.


Main beach, Thetis Lake Park, Victoria BC, at the end of Six Mile Road.


Approximately 10 Kilometres. This cross country event is sanctioned by BC Athletics


All trails, many tough hills, rocky, rough, and always wet – an autumn classic cross country race.


Great course with roots, rocks, stumps, puddles, branches, boulders – no whining!  Six significant hills and three significant puddles, all named along the course from Puddle No. 1, Bellamy Bitch, to Hill No. 3, The McKenzie Monster, to Hill No. 6, Big Bugger to Puddle No. 3, The Shoe Wash.


Please preregister online or by mail before the early deadline of October 1, 2018. Day-of-race entries will only be accepted at the Start Line from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. if the entry limit has not been reached. There will be NO day-of-race entries accepted once registration reaches 600. Don’t be disappointed register early.  Note:  Online registrations close at 6:00 pm on November 22, 2018.

Package Pickup

  • Friday, Nov. 23, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., 2:18 Run Store, 1576 Fairfield Road, Victoria, BC.
  • Saturday, Nov. 24, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Thetis Lake Park, finish line at the main beach.

Entry Fees

  • $ 30.00 Early registration fee if received by mail or online before October 1, 2018.
  • $ 35.00 Late registration fee received from October 1 to November 22, 2018.
  • $ 40.00 Day-of-Race, very late fee for procrastinators registering at the start line or the package pick-up on November 23 or 24, 2018.
  • NOTE:  Prairie Inn Harriers club members will receive 50% off all entry fees except Day-of-Race registrations.  Contact the Race Director for a Promo Code.

Entry Limit

A maximum limit of 600 entries will be accepted for this race. No exceptions.

Memorial Funds

All race proceeds will be directed to Harriers Foundation projects. To date the Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club has raised over $350,000 towards Foundation projects in Greater Victoria including seven major scholarships and bursaries at the University of Victoria and Camosun College.  Several club members have passed away and scholarships/bursaries have been initiated as a tribute for Bruce “Gunner” Shaw, John Thipthorpe, Susan Reid, Arthur Taylor, Rosamund Dashwood, Ken Smythe and Sandy Auburn.

Age Categories

  • M19  (Men under-20)
  • M20  (Men 20-29)
  • M30  (Men 30-39)
  • M40  (Men 40-49)
  • M50  (Men 50-59)
  • M60  (Men 60-plus)
  • F19  (Women under-20)
  • F20  (Women 20-29)
  • F30  (Women 30-39)
  • F40  (Women 40-49)
  • F50  (Women 50-59)
  • F60  (Women 60-plus)

Inter-Club Challenge

The Prairie Inn Harriers will host the 2019 Inter-Club Challenge with Vancouver’s Lions Gate Road Runners, two of the oldest and well established running clubs in British Columbia.  LGRR will host the 2018 Inter-Club Challenge on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at Jericho Park in Vancouver.


Awards and draw prizes will be presented at the finish line immediately after the last runner completes the course, at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Limited Frills

There will be limited food and fluid at the finish. Please be prepared by bringing your own refreshments and a dry, warm change of clothes. Hot chocolate, tomato and chicken soup will be available as well as cookies, candies and fruit.


Complete results will be available and posted on this website on race day.


Contact Race Director Bob Reid by email at or at 250-384-1520 (Home), 250-686-7343 (Cell)

After Race at Six Mile

Join us for a burger, beer and a few laughs as you relive your Gunner Shaw Classic experience with friends!