iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra, Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville, Ontario

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling, Ottawa , ON

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail, Ontario

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk, Vancouver, BC

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka, Alberta

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes, Ontario

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell, Quebec

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase, Nova Scotia

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie, St-Antoine, NB

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk, Calgary, AB

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil, Lombardy, ON

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts, Ontario

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson, British Columbia

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis, Ontario

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde, Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard, Alberta

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua, Caledon, ON

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer, Quebec

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette, Carp, ON

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott, Quťbec

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley, Stittsville, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie, Ontario

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve, Ottawa, ON

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua, Ontario

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey, British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell, Nova Scotia

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick, New Brunswick

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle, New Brunswick

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu, Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris, Winnipeg, MB

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan, Ottawa, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker, Etobicoke, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava, Calgary, AB

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan, Brampton, ON

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott, Ontario

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel, Calgary, AB

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza, British Columbia

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier, Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch, Ottawa, ON

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton, British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas, New York

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean, Ontario

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx, Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird, Ontario

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter, Clearwater , BC

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie, Yukon

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan, Brampton, ON

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung, British Columbia

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

June 2012

Back to Table of Contents


16 unique races in Canada

Join the crazy Canucks

In the September 2011 issue of iRun magazine, Tim Irvin wrote Surging Growth about the increasing popularity of running. He notes that there are now approximately 2,500 running events held across Canada each year. We are lucky to be running in a decade when a race can be run nearly anytime we want, but the choice can be a little daunting. Ultimately it comes down to the features you want in a race, but of the 2,500 possibilities here are 15 races you may have never heard of that offer something unique for the discerning runner.

Can you imagine running on the bottom of the magnificent Bay of Fundy while the world record tides are out? The Not Since Moses 5K and 10K in Five Islands, NS takes you out onto the exposed seabed next to the breathtaking cliffs that are normally only visible by boat. You will get wet, you will get muddy, but will you beat the tides back to shore?

Fitness enthusiasts flock to the glorious Great Lakes – the largest freshwater system in the world – every summer to engage in any number of water-themed activities. For 60 years a small race in Wiarton, Ontario, has embraced the province’s waters. The 13K Shore to Shore race takes runners from the beaches of Lake Huron, an area famous for its spectacular sunsets, along a sleepy country road, until steeply dipping down the rugged cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment to the waiting shores of the storied Georgian Bay.

Billed as “the toughest race in eastern North America” the Cape to Cabot 20K in St. John’s, NL, promises this race will be one of your most memorable athletic achievements. A race starting in the oldest city in North America lives up to its claim to fame with a route that runs from Cape Spear National Historic Site, passes along the historic St. John’s waterfront, and ends with a mile long climb up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower. Only 3K of this gruelling course is flat; hardy runners tackle a hilly course with four major climbs with grades greater than 10%. The reward is spectacular scenery and bragging rights!

The Oktoberfest Brewskidaddle 5K in Vancouver, BC, adds a bit of running to the sauerkraut, beer and polka mix. Beer mugs are provided with every entry and the real test of endurance begins with the post-race party. There is no shortage of prizes featuring not only individual, stroller, family, team and kid divisions, but a unique “beer belly” divisions for men over 210 pounds and women over 160 pounds (although it’s not clear if that includes the weight of your lederhosen).

Trail running may be the fastest growing type of running race in Canada, but many runners are nervous about moving from the comfort of the road to the unknown terrain of the trail. The Winnipeg, MB,Try a Trail series encourages nervous first-timers to run their first trail race on less technical 3-metre wide mixed use trails with grass, gravel, and sandy terrain – plus a mucky bog and a few surprise hills to add challenge. You won’t get lost in the wildness as there are lots of directional signs, kilometre markers, flagging barriers and a pre-race briefing to keep you on course.

Beat Beethoven is a race that challenges runners to make it to the finish line before the symphony finishes playing. Rumour has it the first Beat Beethoven Run was held in Edmonton in 1982 when the Edmonton Symphony challenged runners to finish before the end of Beethoven’s Ninth. A typical Beat Beethoven run gives participants 50 minutes to run 8K (often with a 4K option). One such race,Beat Beethoven Kingston, is known for featuring a live symphony playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 3, a route that tours past some of Kingston’s historic sites and the possibility of catching a ghostly glimpse of Beethoven himself running the race.

Rarely does a runner have the opportunity to cross two provinces off their cross-Canada checklist by running one race. The 10K Cross-Border Challenge start line is in Aulac, NB, and the finish line is in Amherst, NS, the geographic centre of the Maritimes. The route takes runners across the world famous Tantramar Marsh, the place where land and tide meet in a national wildlife area joinng Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and mainland Canada.

On or near the longest day of the year the Midnight Sun Fun Run 5K, 10K and Half-Marathon is held in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Within the Arctic Circle, Inuvik is the end of the line, literally, as the most northerly town accessible by public road in North America. With approximately 56 days of continuous sunlight in the summer, runners are drawn in by the unparalleled experience of running beneath the midnight summer solstice sun.

For a Canadian runner, a Canada Day Race is a must do, but with the humidex high and the BBQ calling, a July 1st run can quickly become something to do “next year.” The Canada Day Moose Jawg Charity Road Race in Moose Jaw, SK’s beautiful Wakamow Valley is more than just an awesome race name on a t-shirt. Word is out and this little race keeps growing every year. The temperate July 1st temperatures are not only PB-perfect in mid-summer, but ideal for visiting a quintessential Canadian city.

Snowshoe running is still a fringe sport in most of Canada, but Quebecers have been embracing the sport for years. The Atlas Mad Trapper 5K and 10K Snowshoe Series takes advantage of the early December snow with a flat season opener to warm up the legs. Later in the season the more challenging “up, up, up, and finally down course” runs the best of the hilly, rugged, single-track Gatineau Hills wilderness. Cool down from your tough workout beside a roaring bonfire.

The Earth Day Climb and Run for Wilderness in Calgary, AB tests a runner’s speed and strength. The race begins with a 1K dash around the base of the Calgary Tower followed by a 160 vertical-metre sprint up 802 stairs to the finish line at the top of the tower. Suddenly some of those other race course hills won’t seem so steep.

Sometimes it seems like the only people who win a race prize finish 1, 2 or 3. In the Great Canadian Goat Run 5K & 10K road race in Brackley Beach, PE special prizes go to the Oldest Goat, to the runners who return with a rubber chicken caught on the course, and gift certificates are presented to anyone running their very first race or a personal best time. Every runner receives a T-Shirt with a special Goat Haiku written by the Company Goats and, of course, there is lots of ‘kidding’ around.

The Totem to Totem Marathon (with half marathon and 10K options) held annually in Haida Gwaii, BC ("Islands of the People", formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) is the most westerly place in Canada you can go. The certified and simple out and back course starts and ends in front of the six totems representing six of the southern villages of the Haida people. You begin your race along the scenic shoreline of the Haida lands with majestic eagles soaring overhead, but the best is yet to come.

The annual 5K River Valley Rave Run in Grand Bay-Westfield, NB is touted as the fastest 5K course in New Brunswick. Indeed, this “flat, fast and furious” race is so quick that the race director promises a personal best or your money back (note: some restrictions apply)! The Rave Run is also host to the provincial championships, so regular runners can rub shoulders with the fastest in the province.

The Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill, MB is organized by extreme runner Albert Martens and is limited to just twenty runners who will stay together for the duration of the run in a tight pack in case of the very real possibility of running into polar bears. Support vehicles will accompany you on this epic adventure in Canada’s Polar Bear capital.

To be determined
This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Canadian Death Race in AB. This killer challenge is not for the running masses. But for the few fit brave souls daring enough to test their strength, against the Canadian Rocky Mountains, this race offers all for the glory of finishing one of the world’s toughest and most unique adventure races.

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