6 Hardest Races in Canada
Want to get spanked? Enjoy a lot of pain? These five endurance tests promise to hurt you.
In no particular order:
Coldest, windiest: 6633 Ultra
In March it may be getting brighter north of the Arctic Circle but it isn't much warmer, which provides strong evidence for the 6633's claim to be the Toughest, Coldest and Windiest Extreme Ultra Marathon on the planet. Entrants need to survive 566 kilometres of mountainous travel from Eagle Plain, Alaska, to Tuktoyaktuk, on the Arctic Ocean in Canada. Pulling a sled. With only two provision drops en route. Two of seven entrants finished in 2010.
March 20, 2015
Longest ride: Tour Divide
Stretching 4,418 kilometres from Banff to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, the Tour Divide owns the honour of longest unsupported off-road cycling race. After a mass start in Banff racers roughly follow the continental divide on jeep roads, singletrack and pavement, racing to reach Antelope Wells in less than 30 days. Half finish. The course record is just over 16 days.
Second Friday in June.
Hardest marathon: MEC Ottawa-Gatineau Park Marathon
Most marathon courses keep things pretty flat to encourage the quick times runners are looking for. Not this one. The urge to loop beautiful Gatineau Park was too much. The consequence: 1000 metres of elevation gain and loss. Ouch. The $25 entry fee may make up for the pain. Thanks MEC.
November 1, 2014
Brutal 10 K: Bear Mountain 10 k
Racing round the grounds of one of Victoria's nicest golf courses doesn't sound that challenging, until you start adding the clues together. Golfers must use carts. It's on a mountain. Oh, and it's widely considered Canada's most challenging 10K. With more than 300 metres of climbing, including Papa Bear, the longest and hardest of three major climbs, and plenty of rolling terrain, it's a leg burner. An equally hard half marathon runs at the same time and ends with a two kilometre grunt to the finish.
November 22, 2014
Joint crusher: The Knee Knacker
The Baden Powell Centennial Trail traverses Vancouver's bumpy north shore from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove, but it doesn't run along the spectacular waterfront. No, it goes up and over the four mountains rising above the city. And that's where the Knee Knacker goes too, climbing 2,400 metres and descending 2,500 metres over 48-kilometres.
early July, but register by February for a chance in the lottery entry
Killer ultra: Canadian Death Race
They don't event try to hide the torture waiting on this 125 kilometre course with 5,000 metres of elevation gain. Climbing and descending around the forest Rocky Mountain peaks near Grand Cache, Alberta, the weather is notoriously fickle, ranging from smoking hot to cold and soggy, often in the same day. As they say on the race website, survival is the best (and only) reward.
August long weekend