Only two years after its inaugural event, the Merritt County Run has been featured in Canadian Running Magazine, and race director Mary Jorgensen is getting inquiries from as far away as Calgary.

As of last week, Jorgensen reported over 200 individual registrations, more than the number of runners who competed last year.

“This is going to be our best year so far – I know it,” said Jorgensen. “We’re moving forward.”

Exactly 18 days remain until this year’s race on June 10, which will feature a challenging half marathon course (21 kilometres) for the first time.

Organizers expect this option, in addition to the 5K and 10K courses, will draw more people from out of town to participate in race.

“Coming into Merritt for a half marathon makes it more worth a runner’s while,” said Jorgensen.

Another new feature of this year’s run is the option to register as a team. Nine teams, ranging from seven to 34 runners, have registered for the race.

“Allowing team registration is the best thing we did this year – it brings out more community involvement,” said Jorgensen.

“Running with a team, it becomes a fun event, and individual team members could still run any distance they wanted.”

As always, all proceeds from the Merritt Country Run will go towards the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program, which helps children in the community participate in organized sports.

And, for the first time, the local Canadian Tire has offered to match all the proceeds from the race.

While the race is organized to suit runners of all skill levels, with a flat 5K race, a 10K race and the challenging 21K course, Jorgensen said the event will be fun for spectators as well.

On race day, John Allison will be providing the music and there will be various food vendors at Voght Park including Starbucks and M&M Meats. Local massage therapists Tim Kroeker and Jamara Joyal will also be offering $10 massages with half of the proceeds going to Jumpstart.

Because she is organizing the event, Jorgensen won’t be running herself, but it is a sport she is passionate about.

“We were born with the ability to run – if I were an eagle, I would love to fly,” she said.

“Running gives me quality alone time but it also gives me the chance to work towards a goal.”

People still interested in registering for the race should visit Those interested in volunteering can contact Charlotte Hepner at 315-2506.