Let's Get Racing...!!!

It is about that time of year when we can safely say that winter is over (well maybe, if you look at the forecast this weekend?) and we get to find out if the work we put in over the winter months has served us well…or not!

And although spring has just sprung, here at Adventure Racing Ontario, the 2017 points series has already been underway for a few months, with the Don’t Get Lost Snowshoe Raid, STARS Winter Adventure Race and Raid the Rib already coaxing racers out of hibernation early in the season. Don’t worry though, the series has just begun and there are plenty of opportunities for you and your teammates to catch up on any points missed during the winter months!

The first official adventure race of the season, the always popular Storm the Trent, is coming to Warsaw, Ontario, next weekend on May 13th – 14th.  Whether you are new to the sport of adventure racing, want to work out the kinks for some later season races, or just want to go out and have a solid day of racing, there is a course and team configuration for you at Storm the Trent! Registration is still open so don’t miss out on Canada’s largest adventure race!

A few weeks later, on June 17th, the South Coast Adventure Race, now in its fourth year, returns to the Windsor-Essex region.  We love that this organizers at the Essex Region Conservation Authority have brought adventure racing to this area, and the SCAR always delivers on its promise to take beginner to experienced racers to hidden gems and previously undiscovered natural areas. New this year is SCAR’s first ever “Pro-Am” contest. Rookie adventure racers will have an opportunity to “win” Brad Jennings, the 2015 and 2016 SCAR overall champion in a draw held June 2. Not only will the winner (solo or team) receive Jennings help in preparing for the race, but he’ll also join them on course!

A favourite of many adventure racers in the province, the RockstAR adventure race is celebrating its 10th anniversary treating of adventure racers like the rock stars that they are at the Bark Lake Leadership Centre every July.  As always, the event features both 4 and 8 hour formats full of options and surprises. This year’s race takes place July 22nd and features a new course format that gives racers even more choice about how they want to navigate through the course. If you haven’t raced the RockstAR before, you don’t want to miss out on the experience!

Navigation not your thing?  Want the option to go it alone? Both are available to you at the Subaru Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race, being held August 12th in Wiarton.  This race proves to be super popular every year and it’s no wonder with the scenery that racers get to traverse through! At the time of writing, registration for this event, which features several course options and formats, great prizing, and a spectacular post-race festival vibe, was expected to sell out in May, so if this race was on your schedule for 2017 and you haven’t signed up, what are you waiting for?

The Cataraqui Adventure Trek offers racers a unique loop format course in which they try to complete as many 10km loops as they can by paddle, foot and bike in a 4-hour “quick ‘n dirty” race format. Held in Kingston, Ontario, this race has been gaining momentum every year since it began in 2015.  The Cataraqui Adventure Trek is a great introduction to the sport and the central transition area that racers pass through on each loop makes it incredibly spectator friendly, so your family can high five you after every lap! If you haven’t raced the CAT, you are missing out!

If epic adventure was on your to-do list for the summer, look no further than the Muskoka River X, a paddling event offering several race distances and categories (canoe, kayak and SUP) ranging from 80 to 220 km. This race has a reputation for being spectacular both in its scenery and in the challenge that it offers. Check out this video of the 2014 edition!

Known for its ability to crush souls and build character with both its length and difficulty, the 24-30 hour Wilderness Traverse taking place this year on September 30th – October 1st, will once again be one of the highlights of the 2017 Ontario adventure racing season. If your team wants to find out if you know your stuff, there is no better testing ground that WT.  A new host location for 2017 at the Grand Tappattoo Resort offers racers the opportunity to balance a muddy day in the woods with some pre- and post-race luxury. If you don’t have Victoria Day long weekend plans yet, consider attending the premier of Traversing Wild, a film made by Joel Perella of the 2016 edition of Wilderness Traverse that is making its debut at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville on May 19th.

Rounding out the 2017 season will be Raid the Hammer on November 12th in the Hamilton area. The Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running Series are a great way to focus on your on foot navigation, and they never disappoint in the hill climbing or mud department either!

I hope that you are as excited as we are about this year’s race line-up! If you are new to the Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series, you can check out the rules and regulations to find out how to get your team included. And if you haven’t already done so, check out the 2016 ARO Points Series champions!

Happy training!






And the winner is...???

While the racing season may appear to be winding down for 2016, in the Adventure Racing Ontario Series, things are really heating up!  With one race left in the series, the winners in each of the three categories (Co-ed, Female, Male) is yet to be decided and in many cases, could be determined by who shows up and who doesn’t get lost at the Raid the Hammer Adventure Run, being held November 13th in Hamilton, Ontario. Winners in each category of the ARO Series receive their team name engraved trophy, a t-shirt, and arguably the most important prize: bragging rights!

Team Spinning out of Control on the podium at the RockstAR adventure race in July.

Team Spinning out of Control on the podium at the RockstAR adventure race in July.

The Adventure Racing Ontario Point Series (formerly known as OARPS) began in 2009 as a way to help grow and sustain the sport through cross-promotion and to create competition between teams throughout the season. Teams create a roster for the year that can consist of up to five members, not all of whom need to compete in every event. Points for each event in the series range from 50-200, depending on length, number of disciplines, and whether or not navigation is involved. Adventure runs, such as the popular series put on by Don’t Get Lost, and involve only foot travel and navigation, are worth up to 50 points per team, as are shorter multisport races such as the Cataraqui Adventure Trek.  Teams can earn up to 100 points at multisport events such as Storm the Trent, the South Coast Adventure Race, and RockstAR, and at longer single sport events such as the Muskoka River X. What is arguably the toughest event of the season and Ontario’s only 24+ hour adventure race, Wilderness Traverse, is worth a hefty 200 points and could easily be the deciding factor for how a team finishes in the overall standings. Teams can only accumulate up to a maximum of 300 points from any combination of events, with the number of points being determined by category placing.

Team Crash, Splash and Dash at the Cataraqui Adventure Trek in August.

Team Crash, Splash and Dash at the Cataraqui Adventure Trek in August.

This year In the Co-ed category, we see two teams going into the final race of the season tied with 288 points.  The Long Sault Longshots earned a hefty 190 points by completing the full course at Wilderness Traverse, and added podium results at the Giant’s Rib Raid and Storm the Trent to their total.  They are currently tied with Spinning out of Control, who had top finishes in their category at three of the 100-point events: Storm the Trent, the South Coast Adventure Race (SCAR), and RockstAR. The Flatlanders, another experienced co-ed team, are not far behind in third place with 276 points.

The Long Sault Longshots getting an early start on the season at Raid the Rib.

The Long Sault Longshots getting an early start on the season at Raid the Rib.

The female category is also hotly contested going into the final race of the season with two teams within striking distance of the category championship. Navigate This, who won the ARO Series in 2014 and were third in 2015, is currently leading the division with 286 points coming from strong finishes at SCAR and RockstAR. Close behind them, however, is the Speed Bunnies, who were the only all female team to complete the course at Wilderness Traverse, earning them 200 points, which they added to a top finish at the Giant’s Rib Raid in April for a total of 250 points.

The Speed Bunnies refueling in the dark hours of Wilderness Traverse, where they were the only female team to complete the course.

The Speed Bunnies refueling in the dark hours of Wilderness Traverse, where they were the only female team to complete the course.

Current standings couldn’t be closer in the Male category, with six teams within 15 points of each other! Race Day Rush is going into the final race of the season with 294 points earned at Wilderness Traverse, RockstAR and the Stars WAR winter event. Right on their heels is Crash, Splash and Dash, who are only four points behind with 290 points earned at Storm the Trent, SCAR and RockstAR. Only three points behind them is Black Swan Racing who have 287 points from the Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race, RockstAR and Wilderness Traverse. And, would you believe it, just one point back with 276 points is Flummoxed.

Race Day Rush at the finish line of Wilderness Traverse.

Race Day Rush at the finish line of Wilderness Traverse.

Want to see how all this action shakes down at the last event of the season?  Registration for Raid the Hammer is still open until November 10th.  The 2017 Adventure Racing Ontario Series is not far behind and kicks off January 21 at the Don’t Get Lost Snowshoe Raid.  This 3-hour rogaine style orienteering event is a great way to start the season and enjoy the snow.  Registration opens in November, so start putting together your 2017 team roster!

Putting Adventure back in Adventure Racing

Ontario’s only 24-30 hour adventure race, Wilderness Traverse, is one of the highlights of the Ontario adventure racing season, and takes place this year from September 24-25 in the Parry Sound area.  This event is worth the highest number of points (200) in the Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series. Read more about what makes this event the toughest challenge your team will attempt this year.

There was a time when adventure racing meant traveling to exotic environments for long periods of time to get truly immersed in the wilderness.  Finishing was not a guarantee, but getting lost at some point during the race probably was.  Racers might go for days without seeing a transition area or perhaps even another team.  This was the adventure part of adventure racing: you and your teammates, out in the wilderness, working together to fight physical and mental battles as you made your way through the course. 

Over the past several years, adventure racing has changed, and in some ways for the better:  shorter, one-day races, variations of team categories and races with less navigational challenge have all made the sport more popular and accessible to a much wider range of athletes.  But maybe you are craving an experience that hearkens back to the roots of adventure racing?  If so, Wilderness Traverse is your race.

Wilderness Traverse is the brainchild of Bob Miller, one of Canada’s most accomplished and well-known adventure racers. Since 2010, adventure racers who want to know what their teams are really made of have set out each summer to tackle what is currently reputed to be the toughest 24-hour + adventure race in the country. Miller says that the idea for the event came about over a post-race lunch when fellow racers were bemoaning the lack of true wilderness races in the country and encouraged him to try his hand at putting one on.  So he did just that, and for the past six years, teams ranging from some of the top-ranked in the world to first-time adventure racers have come to Ontario each summer to see if they can complete the roughly 150km course in the 30 hour time limit set for the event.   

Although the race location and course breakdown (roughly  25-35km of trekking, 75-85km of biking and 25-35km paddling) varies from year to year, there are a few elements that racers know they can count on at Wilderness Traverse: long paddles with lots of portages, challenging off-trail wilderness navigation which may or may not see teams following their compass in the dark, and biking on a variety of types of terrain, some of which will definitely push the boundaries for “rideable.”   The race locations are always carefully chosen to showcase Ontario’s landscapes, but for the past couple of years the race has been hosted in the Parry Sound region.  Not only is the area very welcoming to racers, but the availability of expansive crown land, extensive waterways for paddling, and the open rock of the Canadian shield make it a perfect location for racers to explore and to put the adventure back in adventure racing.

Each year, Wilderness Traverse sees some of the top teams in the province, the country, and even the world battle it out for the coveted “Bob the Beaver” trophy that goes home with the winners each year.  While the open category is based on 4-person co-ed teams, competitors can also race as teams of three, and in single gender configurations (all male, all female). The race also features a well-subscribed “Rookie” category each year for teams where members have never finished ranked in a 24 hour adventure race. 

Miller is keeping the details of this year’s event quiet for now, but suggested that the course may be longer this year in order to keep the top teams on course through the night.  He also hinted that racers might find there to be more remote paddling and portaging than in previous years.  

His advice for teams considering tackling an overnight race for the first time is just to give it a try, saying that you’ll learn more in one 24-hour event than in several shorter races.  Teams should make sure they practice their nighttime navigation, as this is the most challenging aspect of overnight racing. Short course options are always built into the race, and all teams carry a Delorme InReach Satellite GPS tracker with them for emergency communication purposes, and so that friends and family can follow along back home.

Want to see what it’s all about?  An awesome mini-documentary about last year’s Wilderness Traverse produced by Joel Perella was just released.  Check it out!

If you want to end the 2016 racing season with an epic event that will test your team’s limits, more information about Wilderness Traverse can be found here.



If you are looking for a competitive, yet family-oriented event in a unique location, check out the Subaru Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race, an Adventure Racing Ontario Point Series event being held August 13, 2016 in Wiarton, Ontario.

Now in its sixth successful year, the Subaru Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race is returning in 2016 to Wiarton, Ontario, on August 13, 2016.  Modeled after New Zealand’s iconic Coast-to-Coast race, the Subaru BMPR  is organized by the Peninsula Adventure Sports Association and gives competitors a chance to challenge themselves on foot, bike, and boat (or even just two out of the three!) by offering a variety of race configurations and distance options, all of which feature marked (no navigation) courses. The most challenging of the events – the 100km BUFF Long Course – sees solo competitors, tandem teams and relay teams complete a 16km kayak in Georgian Bay, over 60km of mountain biking on a variety of terrains, and 21km of rugged trail running along the Niagara Escarpment. 

Fun fact: The Subaru Bruce Peninsula Multisport race is considered unique and challenging enough to have been featured on an episode of Season 3 of the popular TV show Boundless.  The full episode won’t be aired until later this year but you can check out a clip of it here.

If the BUFF Long Course sounds like a bit more time on the trail then you are interested in, then consider the popular 25km Suntrail Course, which includes a 4km paddle, 15km mountain bike and 5km run.  The Suntrail course can be completed as a solo, or on a 2-person canoe team.  Don’t like paddling?  25km run-bike-run and paddle-bike-paddle Subaru duathlons for solo athletes are also on the roster.  Rounding out the list of events is the Summer House Park Kids Race open to children 5-10, which is a safe and fun way to introduce kids to multisport racing (no paddling is involved). 

Not only do Subaru BMPR competitors get to traverse the beautiful topography of the Bruce Peninsula, but the race location, right on Georgian Bay, offers on-site camping at Bluewater Park, which is also the start/finish for the race, makes race day logistics a breeze, and is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the post-race festivities and awards ceremony.  Oh yeah, did we mention that in addition to great prizing for the podium finishers of all race categories from the event’s generous sponsors, the top male and female winners the BUFF Long course will receive round-trip airfare to Whitehorse, Yukon? One lucky participant will also walk away from the awards ceremony with a new Devinci Jack XP mountain bike courtesy of Bikeface Cycling in Owen Sound!

It’s not just the format or the location that make this race special, but it’s also the community in which the race is held, which embraces events such as the BPMR. Competitors are sure to be impressed by the “army of volunteers” who work tirelessly to make sure racers have everything they need before, during and after the race.

Fun fact: in its inaugural year, the Subaru Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race had a 1:1 ratio of racers: volunteers.  Although that has shifted somewhat, the cheerful volunteer presence is still very much noticeable today!

While the 25km run-bike-run duathlon has been offered for the past four years, the 25km paddle-bike-paddle duathlon has added for 2016 for those athletes who are stronger on the water than on foot, adding an extra element of competition between the paddlers and the runners for who will get to the bike first! This year’s race will also feature improved timing and live results.

If you’ve been planning to race this year’s Subaru BPMR but haven’t registered yet, don’t drag your heels any longer! At the time of writing, the solo and tandem categories of the BUFF® long course are already sold out, and there are only 7 spots left in the relay category and approximately 40 spaces available in the 25km duathlons. Registration information can be found here.

If you need more convincing, check out this great short video of the 2015 event produced by Explore the Backcountry!



Race the RockstAR!

The next race on the schedule in the 2016 Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series is the RockstAR adventure race, which takes place July 23rd near Haliburton, Ontario.

For eight years, adventure racers have been flocking to the Bark Lake Leadership Centre near Haliburton each July for what is arguably the most unique event of the Ontario adventure racing season: the Storm Events RockstAR Adventure Race.  Promising to treat competitors, “like the rockstars that they are,” this top notch event delivers a race experience of unparalleled quality that keeps racers returning year after year.

RockstAR is truly a race that is both challenging yet accessible for athletes of all ages and experience levels.  Participants can choose between a 4-hour or 8-hour race, and between 2- or 3-person team configurations, along with an increasingly popular family category.  In both the 4- and 8- hour events, after being bused out to the start, racers will first tackle an approximately 25km marked bike course featuring a combination of road and trail (and perhaps the occasional puddle), riding back to the main transition at Bark Lake known as “the Hub,” where they will find their gear to transition to the trek and/or paddle, as well as a display of snacks and drinks (including ice cream!) that would rival the backstage craft table at any rock concert!  Racers have whatever time they did not use on the bike course to complete a rogaine-style trek and paddle where checkpoints can be obtained in any order and are assigned different point values based on distance and difficulty. This format allows athletes to customize their race experience as they choose, making the event as long, short, challenging or straightforward as they want it to be. 

In addition to traditional adventure racing style checkpoints accessed by foot or boat scattered around the lake and trail systems at Bark Lake, one of the highlights of RockstAR each year is the always changing task or challenge-based checkpoints, which may find racers listening for music in the woods (an audio checkpoint), diving to the bottom of the lake to retrieve CDs (a snorkeling checkpoint), shooting a slingshot, or paddling a Stand-Up paddleboard in order to obtain more points for their team.  All of the challenge-based checkpoints are optional, but are often well worth the point value (not to mention the fun!).  At any point during the race, competitors can come back to the Hub to refuel, or to call it a day before the memorable post-race meal and party.


With its ever-expanding network of trails, variety of water features, and identifiable landmarks to navigate off of, the Bark Lake Leadership Centre is an ideal location for an adventure race, which is why the RockstAR has returned to the site year after year (fun fact: the Race Director and Course Manager even got married there last fall!). The venue offers several on-site accommodation and meal options, and anyone who has completed this event before knows that half the fun is staying up there and making a weekend of it!

What are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on the fun! This year’s RockstAR is already 90% sold out!  

Register your team today at: https://zone4.ca/reg.asp?id=10449&lan=1&cartlevel=1


Last (but not least) in the series of new events to the 2016 Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series is the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X, an epic paddling expedition race held September 16-18 in the Muskoka Region.

MRX Logo Photo.jpg

The longest single day paddling race and the only event to traverse the heritage waterways of Algonquin Park and Muskoka, the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X is back in 2016 celebrating its fourth year.

The concept for the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X came naturally to Race Directors Mike Varieur and Rob Horton, who have extensive paddling and adventure racing backgrounds themselves, as well as experience as adventure racing course designers. Living in Huntsville, Varieur said that he and Horton were always imagining possible course designs that showcased the area’s spectacular and history-rich water features. In 2013, they made their vision of putting on an event that blended marathon paddling, canoe tripping, and adventure racing a reality with the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X race, a 24-hour, 130km race that draws the inspiration from the paddling routes of the Algonquin First Nations and early Canadian explorers and is considered by some as the toughest single day canoe race in the world.

As if a 130km self-supported race that traverses two river systems, three lakes and features 20 portages in a single day was not enough of a challenge, in 2015, an even more epic adventure was added to the weekend roster: a 220km, 48 hour “Coureur de Bois” event that traverses 90km of lakes and rivers through Algonquin Park on Day 1 before merging with the 130km Classic course on Day 2. New in 2016, an 80km MRX Sprint event has been added that incorporates the first two stages of the Classic course and is the perfect testing ground for paddlers who want to keep (most of) their expedition within daylight hours. All three of the events can be completed either solo or tandem, and using any canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) that meet the specifications for that type of watercraft.

Bart de Zwart, one of the best ultra-marathon SUP paddles in the world, on the Coureur des Bois course in 2015. 

Bart de Zwart, one of the best ultra-marathon SUP paddles in the world, on the Coureur des Bois course in 2015. 

Best in show: The Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X was the recipient of the Ontario Marathon Canoe and Kayak Racing Association’s (OMCKRA) 2014 Race of the Year and has received Get Out There Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards for three consecutive years (2013, 2014 and 2015).

The event has seen growth each year that it has been running, and attracts a broad spectrum of competitors from weekend trippers to world class paddlers who travel from across the country each year to experience a true backcountry paddling expedition.  While part of the success of the event can be credited in part to the spectacular course that crosses world famous Algonquin Park, it is also due to the extraordinary level of planning and logistics that go into the event. Varieur is proud that in three years of running the event at a time of year where the weather can be unpredictable, there hasn’t been a single adverse incident. Safety is a top priority: all competitors carry GPS trackers and there are four search-and-rescue and four first aid teams on hand throughout the event. In spite of its growth each year, the race has stayed true to its core values of providing a top quality experience for racers that begins at race registration and culminates with an award-winning post-race party.

The challenges of the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X are not limited to the physical, but require that racers draw on a variety of wilderness tripping skills. Perhaps the biggest unknown each year is the unpredictability of Mother Nature in mid-September. Racers have to be prepared for colder weather at night, as well as the fog and the associated navigational challenges it can bring.  All of the events are self-supported so racers must carry (and portage) all of their food and supplies, plus an extra days’ worth of emergency supplies. For solo racers, Varieur says that the psychological factor is “huge” as racers may find themselves alone for up to 24 hours.  Tandem racers need to have a polished portaging strategy if they want to be efficient, as well as be prepared for some of the team tensions that can arise with fatigue and darkness.  All of the above make the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X a truly unique and unforgettable event that past participants say is one of their greatest accomplishments (and best experiences) of their lives.

Portaging at Tea Lake in Algonquin Park.

Portaging at Tea Lake in Algonquin Park.

Want to see it for yourself?  A documentary made by Andy Hansen about the 2014 race was shortlisted for the Reel Paddling Film Festival.  Check it out here.

While it does require leaving the cycling and trekking gear at home, Varieur assures adventure racers that many of their skills would translate well to the event, which counts towards the 2016 Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series.  On June 18, Varieur and Horton also host the Algonquin Outfitters Big East River X Marathon, which is an excellent training event for the Algonquin Outfitters Muskoka River X. 

If the idea of an epic, once-in-a-lifetime, self-supported backcountry paddling expedition sounds like the perfect way to cap off your summer, visit: http://muskokariverx.com to register or for more information on the heritage of the course and its waterways, as well as required gear and watercraft specifications.



Another new event this year to the Adventure Racing Ontario Points Series is the Cataraqui Adventure Trek, a 4 hour race held near Kingston on August 28th.

Whether you are a seasoned competitor who wants to push your athletic limits or a first-time adventure racer who just wants to give the sport a try, the Cataraqui Adventure Trek has something to offer. The race features a unique and beginner-friendly 7-10km lap course format which allows solo racers, relay teams, and 2-person teams to run, bike and paddle on a marked course as many times as they can (or want to) in four hours.  This format truly allows racers to “choose their own adventure” and go as hard or easy as they want to during the race.

Race directors Michelle McShane and Tammie Stanton, both experienced adventure racers themselves, started the Cataraqui Adventure Trek in 2015 out of a desire to see an adventure race hosted in Kingston.  They kept thinking that, “somebody needs to put on a race here,” then realized, “we’re somebody!”  With their experience as racers coupled with backgrounds in the fitness / outdoor industry and event management, they knew they had the right skill set to create a safe, yet challenging event that would appeal to competitors of all levels.

Cataraqui Adventure Trek race directors Michelle McShane and Tammie Stanton on race day.

Cataraqui Adventure Trek race directors Michelle McShane and Tammie Stanton on race day.

Fun fact: in the 2015 Cataraqui Adventure Trek, competitors completed anywhere between 10km and 60km during the four hour race.

Held on private land that features a mountain bike trail network, highlights of the Cataraqui Adventure Trek include its flowing singletrack mountain biking section and its spectator friendly format.  Racers pass through a central transition area several times on each lap, allowing friends and family to cheer them on as they challenge themselves to complete as many laps as possible in the time allowed.  Because all racers finish at the same time, the event boasts a festive post-race celebration and awards ceremony, where athletes can refuel at a local food truck or check out the community vendors, both of which give the Cataraqui Adventure Trek a festival-like feel.

Fun fact:  in the 2015 Cataraqui Adventure Trek, 12 of the 16 volunteers were family members of the race directors, and half were their children. Talk about family friendly!

While both the race directors and participants considered 2015 was considered a great success, there have been a couple of tweaks made for 2016 to improve it further, including a longer paddling section and the addition of a 2-person team option where racers stay together for the full four hours.  

The start of the 2015 Cataraqui Adventure Trek.

The start of the 2015 Cataraqui Adventure Trek.

Have you got what it takes to race the CAT? Take advantage of the Cataraqui Adventure Trek’s early bird deadline of April 15th and pay only $55.00 per racer! Visit http://catadventuretrek.wix.com/racethecat to register for the event or find out more.  The race also has a Facebook page where participants can stay up-to-date on this year’s event.



Adventure Racing Ontario Welcomes The South Coast Adventure Race!

Adventure Racing Ontario is excited to announce the addition of three new events to its 2016 roster and points series.  Over the next few weeks, we will be doing a series of blog posts about each of these events, starting with the South Coast Adventure Race (SCAR).

In its third year but new to the Adventure Racing Ontario points series for 2016 is the South Coast Adventure Race (SCAR), a 6-8 hour sprint adventure race being held on June 18th in the Windsor-Essex region that features trekking, biking and paddling and is open to solo racers as well as teams of two or three. Hosted by the Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Rotary Club of Windsor St. Clair, the South Coast Adventure Race has been a long time dream for race directors Danielle Stuebing, Rob Pula and Andrew Pula, who wanted to create an event that would showcase the natural biodiversity and hidden gems of the Windsor-Essex region, as well as build an adventure racing community in the area. Stuebing acknowledges that while the area isn’t one that is often associated with adventure racing, participants will be surprised by the beauty of the region’s Carolinian habitat, which boasts more rare and endangered species than any other area in Ontario.

Racers discussing route choices during the 2015 South Coast Adventure Race.

Fun fact: because of the presence of a number of rare and endangered species in the area, SCAR race directors work with a Conservation Biologist in scheduling of the race to ensure that it doesn’t do any damage to the habitat of species at risk.  

Based this year out of the Holiday Beach Conservation Area in Amherstburg, the South Coast Adventure Race is designed for racers of all athletic and experience levels.  While seasoned racers will find themselves challenged by advanced checkpoints that feature a higher level of navigational difficulty and increased distance, with its relatively flat topography and the priority placed on racer safety, the SCAR race is also very well-suited to beginner and novice racers. Event management goes the extra mile to ensure that newer racers feel well-prepared for the event by offering orientation and training sessions leading up to the race. In anticipation of this year’s event, race directors are hosting a free information night on March 24.  Anyone interested in finding out more about the event or adventure racing in general is welcome to attend and registration for the seminar can be found here: https://raceroster.com/events/2016/8360/south-coast-adventure-race-seminar

To support the development of the next generation of adventure racers and encourage an active lifestyle, the SCAR race features a unique Youth category for those 13-17.  Extra safety measures, such as a mandatory parent chaperone who drives to designated checkpoints on course to meet up with and check in on their team, are put into place to ensure that these younger racers have a challenging yet fun experience.

Fun fact: the youngest racer to finish the full course of the SCAR race was 11. The oldest was 74.

In order to keep things interesting for returning racers, this year’s event will take racers into areas not explored in previous events and features a brand new paddling section. The course is always thoroughly tested by race directors to ensure that it is both achievable for new racers and challenging for experienced ones. SCAR veterans will be pleased to hear that one thing that will be the same as last year is the awesome post-race party that greets racers right at the finish line, where they can swap stories, refuel, and celebrate the day’s accomplishments!

This year’s SCAR race is capped at 300 competitors and is expected to sell out.  Don’t miss your chance to participate in this great event and explore an area of diverse landscapes and natural beauty by bike, boat and foot.  Registration information can be found at: https://raceroster.com/events/2016/7173/south-coast-adventure-race-2016

Still need a little nudge?  Check out Get Out There magazine’s review of the 2015 event.

Storm the Trent 2015

Thursday – sunny and warm

Friday – sunny and hot

Saturday – chance of thunderstorms

Sunday – chance of thunderstorms

Yup, even the weather knew it was time for Storm the Trent, and it too was gearing up for Canada's biggest adventure racing weekend...

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