We’re excited to see the return of a beloved Yakima Valley tradition this weekend: The Gap2Gap relay race sets off bright and early Saturday morning from Sarg Hubbard Park.

The one-day event, which is staged along the Yakima Greenway and on the Yakima River, has long benefited the Greenway, but last year COVID forced the race to go virtual.

Now it’s back — though the Junior Gap2Gap will have to wait another year because of health precautions.

As many as 100 entrants are expected to take part in this year’s real-life, in-person race, which includes four legs: kayaking, mountain and road cycling and running between the Union Gap and the Selah Gap. Competitors can race on teams or as individuals.

Gap2Gap began in 1985, and it’s arguably the first such event to take advantage of — and showcase — some of Yakima’s best natural features. During its heyday in the early 1990s, the event was drawing upward of 800 competitors. It’s still routinely mentioned in national leisure, travel and sports publications as a top-tier destination event.

Until the pandemic hit, participation had been steadily growing.

We hope that trend resumes. This event does more to promote Yakima — regionally and nationally — than most. While numerous local wine-, beer- or music-related events are well-organized, fun and beneficial to the area and its economy, Gap2Gap continues to stand out.

It’s not out to sell or promote any particular products or ideas. It just demonstrates — delightfully — the joys of fitness and the range of recreational opportunities this valley offers. And as we said, it gives back by financially supporting the Yakima Greenway.

It’s equally fun for local people or visitors, it’s family-oriented and its core draw is healthy, physical activity for nearly any level of athleticism.

What more could you ask for in a local event? Everybody wins in this one.