Canada joins top global adventure racing series with new event
Expedition Canada set to run in BC's Okanagan Valley this June
Canada is about to join the big leagues of international adventure racing. After a successful test run last year, Expedition Canada is set for its debut as part of the Adventure Racing World Series in North America.
Expedition Canada is a six-day adventure race involving trekking, trail running, mountain biking, kayaking and canoeing, orienteering, and rappelling that will have mixed, male, female, youth, and masters teams squaring off over the 540km course in the rugged and beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.
Registration is open for the race, scheduled for June 3-11, 2022.
Expedition Race Canada is founded by Hoodoo Adventures and Nathalie Long, who also serves as the race director. Long is originally from Canada but has been living abroad for many years in France and Australia. Adventure racing has been a big part of her life. She intends to make it a big part of a new generation of Canadians as well, by creating a unique and epic expedition-style race.
Rugged Okanagan Valley landscape (photo: Nathan Karsgaard/Angry Whale Media)
“I have been racing the world circuit for 10 years now and have done 17 expedition races,” says Long. “I started adventure racing in Australia. When I moved back to Canada and discovered The Okanagan — there was no doubt in my mind that an expedition race should happen here.”
Long says the landscape is wild and breathtaking.
“BC is wild, amazing scenery, wildlife, and people but mostly this incredible terrain in which to play,” she says. “There’s lakes, mountains, technical trails, some of the best mountain bike trails you can find..and great wine and cider!”
The course ensures participants will feel very remote for a very long time.
The event will draw top talent from around the world to BC for the race. More broadly, the Adventure Racing World Series sees mixed-gender teams of four compete in a series of up to a dozen non-stop, multi-day expedition adventure races held in locations spread across the globe. These races culminate in the staging of the Adventure Racing World Championships, the winner of which is crowned world champions.
It will make Expedition Canada the most competitive adventure race in the country.
“We have some of the best teams in the world talking about coming to the race so we expect to have a good battle at the front of the pack but we also have some newbie teams and some seasoned adventure racers signed up,” Long says.
Mixed-gender team of four compete (photo: Nathan Karsgaard/Angry Whale Media)
The event got a test run last year, which included some top adventure racing teams from North America and some new competitors including Jake Dancyger.
“It was an unforgettable experience. It was one of the toughest physical challenges I've ever faced, which also made it the most rewarding to finish,” he says. “The race was very well organized and had a great diversity of sports and terrain which had me constantly using all aspects of my brain and body at the same time.”
Dancyger says the orienteering section on the third day before the first race cut-off proved the most challenging but also the most rewarding.
“We arrived as one of the last-place teams and had to complete the section in 4.5 hours to make the race cut-off when the fastest world-class team had done it in six hours,” he explains. “It required all of us to run the hiking and orienteering section, on our injuries built up over the prior days of racing, and beat all odds to make it in time down to the minute before being able to continue to the next race section.”
Dancyger, as a triathlete, knows a tough competitor when he sees one, and he says those at this adventure race were some of the toughest.
“It brings the best of the best to compete on the world stage,” he says. “I still think adventure racing is a relatively unknown sport with less funding bringing in fewer athletes, but after competing in a race alongside professionals, I can say these world-class athletes have tougher mindsets, passion, and willpower than any other athletes I have met.”
Looking to challenge your athletic and outdoor mettle against some of the best adventure racing athletes around? Be sure to check out Expedition Race Canada and register before it sells out.
For more information go to the Expedition Race Canada website here.
Lead photo:Nathan Karsgaard/Angry Whale Media