Members of the UBC Okanagan Heat cross country team will be a key part of the volunteer force next month for the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon.

Members of the UBC Okanagan Heat cross country team will be a key part of the volunteer force next month for the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon.

Heat runners lead volunteer force for Wine Country Half Marathon

UBCO cross country team assisting with staging of inaugural event

When the first ever Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon comes to the Okanagan next month, the UBC Okanagan cross country team will be playing a key role.

Members of the Heat, along with YMCA Strong Kids, are helping to lead the volunteer effort and are in the process of looking for assistance.

Anyone interested in helping out as a volunteer can register as an affiliate of Heat cross country at

The Wine Country Half Marathon is the newest event produced by Destination Races, and the first event held outside the United States.

Team water stations of up to 10 individuals can be accommodated. Other options will be to help at an aid station, and doing setup/cleanup or at the start or finish line.

Any groups that would be interested in volunteering a station, please contact Nikki Reiter at

Going into their third year guiding the Heat cross country program, the husband and wife duo of Nikki and Nathan Reiter are working feverishly at the university and in the community to elevate cross country into a full varsity sport at the Kelowna campus.

“We want our student athletes to feel as if they’ve worked for the opportunity to represent their institution, and part of this involves them putting the energy into seeking the funding required for the success of the program,” says head coach Nikki Reiter. “We have six core values that we are utilizing to encourage the student athletes to find a way to becoming a permanent fixture in the Heat varsity athletics program: excellence, opportunity, commitment, collaboration, adaptability and self-sustainability.”

Director of Athletics at UBC’s Okanagan campus Rob Johnson, whose athletics program continues to evolve since becoming the Heat in 2008, is in favour of adding the sport and is supportive of the Reiter’s efforts.

“I really appreciate the work Nikki and Nathan are putting into their sport. Their work in the community and on campus is inspiring,” says Johnson.

Nikki and Nathan Reiter saw a hole in the athletics program when they arrived in August of 2011 and immediately searched out a way to help fill it.

“We had a great experience as student athletes while studying at CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) institutions, University of Windsor and McMaster University,” explains Nikki. “With the warm, dry climate late into the fall season and the beautiful trails located on and near campus we knew it was a special place for runners.”

The pair have made an impact in the community and at the university.

As coaches they have created a strong Heat team. By November 2012, the women’s team had emerged as a medal contender at the CCAA national championships. With a fourth-place finish, they narrowly missed the podium. The men ran well also and finished 10th in the country.


Kelowna Capital News