An estimated 450 participants are expected to participate in the Giant's Head Grind on the weekend.This year

An estimated 450 participants are expected to participate in the Giant's Head Grind on the weekend.This year

Bike component added to Giant’s Head Grind

A gruelling uphill race, five kilometres in length and with 500 metres of elevation gain, will have a cycling option this year.

A gruelling uphill race, five kilometres in length and with 500 metres of elevation gain, will have a cycling option this year.

The third annual Giant’s Head Grind will be held on Saturday, May 21.

Ellen Walker-Matthews, organizer of the event, expects 450 participants this year, up from 419 last year.

The race is managed by Walker-Matthews and her husband Tom Matthews, together with the Summerland Rotary Club.

The course begins near the lake at Peach Orchard Park and ends at the summit of Giant’s Head Mountain. The bike event begins at 9 a.m. and the run, walk or crawl event begins at 1 p.m.

At present, 50 have registered for the bike event. “We wanted to keep it smaller to start with,” Walker-Matthews said.

Cyclists will follow the paved road to the upper parking lot in the park. Runners will follow a steep series of trails to the summit.

Organizers hope to raise $40,000 from this year’s grind. In the first year, the grind raised $32,000 and last year it raised $35,000.

Money raised will go to colon cancer research and to improving the trail system in Giant’s Head Park.

Walker-Matthews’s son, Chris Walker, died from colon cancer in 2013.

“The cause is one that touches a lot of lives,” Walker-Matthews said of the colon cancer research efforts.

Participants in this year’s grind will come from as far away as Prince Edward Island, although the majority will come from British Columbia and Alberta.

“We get a huge draw from Calgary,” Walker-Matthews said. “The [Summerland Waterfront Resort] hotel will be full, and it’s almost exclusively people here to do the grind.”

Those who still wish to register are asked to visit giantsheadgrind.ca.