The Bush Babes and Bros first Freaky Creeky 50 Trail Race took place over the Sept. 14-15, 2019, weekend and it saw athletes from across the Okanagan, Canada and even some racers from Texas. (Dawna Jodoin)

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

The Freaky Creeky 50’s first trail race nearly went off without a hitch despite race organizer Dawna Jodoin being head-butted in the park just days before the event.

However, if you ask Jodoin the event was a big hit.

“I had a fat, bloody lip,” Jodoin said. “No big deal.”

Jodoin, owner of Bush Babes and Bros Trail Running, was marking the course in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park with reflective flags and arrows the evening of Sept. 11, just days before the inaugural event, when she noticed flags were being pulled from the track.

Knowing she had a limited supply of the reflective flags—which are a crucial safety item in any night race—and knowing she didn’t have time to make new ones before the race, she and some volunteers retraced their steps, asking people along the way if they had seen someone tampering with the flags. Nothing.

She asked another man the same question.

“He said, ‘Yes, it was me,’” Jodoin said.

READ MORE: Homeless man arrested after assaulting Vernon race organizer

When asked why, the man responded by saying the organizers didn’t have the appropriate permits posted at the entrance gates of the park—which was incorrect. The proper permits were pulled and displayed correctly.

“Things got a little heated and he walked up to me and decided it was a good time to assault me,” she said.

RCMP were called to the incident, the man was spoken to and he showed the police where he hid the signs—behind garbage bags in bear-proof trash bins. The man, with no fixed address, was arrested and is scheduled to appear in court in November.

But, Jodoin got her flags back. And that’s what was important, she explained.

Jodoin said she has seen the man in the park before and she doesn’t want to see him lose that privilege.

“I think he really believes that what he’s doing is protecting the area,” she said.

“It was an amazing event,” she said. “Even with the unfortunate incident. The racers were so gracious.”

The race offered distances ranging from 10 to 100 kilometres through Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park and saw athletes come from around the Okanagan and from as far away as Texas.

Despite the violent incident and some rain, Jodoin said she was surprised to see so many out-of-towners partake in the race.

“It was a great event and people were super happy,” she said. “Runners were crossing the finish line with muddy faces and huge smiles.”

After the race started, organizers noticed some signs along the course were tampered with—an occurrence Jodoin said may not be linked to the removed signs—but volunteers and finished racers joined in the efforts to ensure runners stayed on course.

“It made me so emotional how complete strangers came off their mountain bikes to help,” she said. The bikers would ride up around the 50-kilometre course to ensure participants were safe and on the right track. Other individuals would drive their vehicles “quite a distance” to be sure no one was lost.

Jodoin said the event’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the help she got from her 10 team leaders and more than 40 volunteers—and the kindness of strangers.

She said the team will regroup to debrief on the event overall and begin planning for next year.

As for the man who struck her; “I don’t wish him any ill will,” Jodoin said. “I don’t want him to get kicked out of the park.”

READ MORE: Missing Vernon man found

READ MORE: Vernon’s own CSI digging into mysteries


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Speedboat reportedly sinking near Manhattan Point in Kelowna

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

Kelowna General Hospital takes steps to prevent spread of coronavirus

So far, at least six people have died and 275 people have contracted the virus worldwide

Plans submitted for third hotel across from Kelowna International Airport

YLW passengers in need of accommodations could be getting another option

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

Kelowna sea cadets grab medals at local biathlon competition

Three cadets from the 93 Grenville Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps brought home the hardware

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

UPDATE: Revelstoke City Council gives themselves a raise, councillor resigns in protest

The mayor’s pay is set to go from $30,000 to $60,000 over three years

Kelowna General Hospital takes steps to prevent spread of coronavirus

So far, at least six people have died and 275 people have contracted the virus worldwide

Pumphouse project puts North Okanagan taps back on Kal

The capital project at the Kal Lake Pump House to make it flood-resistant is near completion

Most Read