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IMPACT’s Top Races January/February 2016

By Mark Lootens

The New Year has arrived and what better way to keep accountable to those resolutions than registering for a few early season races. You might find more Gore-Tex than spandex at these early season events, but is that a bad thing?

Calgary & Alberta Events

Put your snow sport prowess to the test Feb. 21 when Grizzly Mountain Events hosts the Ultra Ski and Fat Bike Marathon & Relay. If those sound too easy feel free to try your hand at the Winter Triathlon. Bring a snowsuit instead of a wetsuit for this one, there is no swimming required for the winter tri.

Make a good choice on March 13 by running in the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race. Once you have knocked out your 10K you have a chance to win your weight in beer so you can get on with the holiday. After binging (responsibly) you are probably going to need some exercise. Good thing Run for L’Arche Half Marathon is March 19. If you run both races, Strides Running Store will give you a $25 gift card so you can buy some new shoes after all that early season rubber you just burned.

Lethbridge’s Moonlight Run is March 19 at 8 p.m. when southern Alberta’s fastest will let you know how your 10K time is looking.

Calgary’s MEC Race Series is already on Race Two, “The Hill Climb”, taking place on April 9 featuring 5K, 10K and 15K of what sounds like lactic acid. If that doesn’t sound hard enough, “Eyeball The Wall”, April 30 at the Glenmore Dam offers 15K and 30K options.

Edmonton hosts a pair of gems starting April 10 with the Edmonton Valley Zoo 5K Fun Run. Animal-themed onezies are encouraged. Things get more serious April 24 at the First Responders Half Marathon, previously known as the Edmonton Police Half Marathon.

Vancouver & B.C. Events

The Dirty Duo Trail Race is a North Shore Classic that takes place on March 5. The race tag line “Wanna Get Dirty!” is actually talking about the mud and dirt on this trail run and mountain bike combo. For those of you who enjoy getting dirty The North Face Dirty Feet Trail Run #1 goes down in Kamloops March 20.

“Come for the Race…Stay for the Party” is the theme for the BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5K on March 12. And for those of you looking to burn off a green pint or two, set your sights on The River’s Spring Run Off 10K in Kamloops. Since this is the year you hit all your personal goals, knock out the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 20.

If 21K sounds like a long way this early in the season, the Modo Spring Run-Off in Vancouver is there for you. This March 20 race is a super 8K run by Canada Running Series. The easy on the wallet MEC Race Series has its second event of 2016 in Vancouver on March 13. It’s called The Pace Setter… we’re not sure why, but we bet you will know by the end of the 10K!

April 3 is the day to burn off your Easter chocolate at the Okanagan College Half Marathon. The 32nd Annual Vancouver Sun Run on April 17 is a must have on your race calendar. This walker friendly event is always a good time. If you are on the Island and looking for a 10K fun run that is just as well done but a little closer to home the Times Colonist 10K on April 24 is a great event on a beautiful course.

Toronto & Ontario Events

The Chilly Half and Frosty 5K gets the season warmed up in Burlington on March 6. It’s followed up with the annual Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run on March 13 leaving from the Roundhouse on Bremner.

The Beaches Spring Sprint 5K blasts off near Balmy Beach Club on April 2. Since 1894, runners have tackled the Around The Bay Road Race in Hamilton. This year’s event offers 30K and 5K options on April 3. It’s Canada’s oldest road race.

MEC has the most affordable races out there with the 5K Toronto Race Two starting its loop at Coronation Park heading west along Martin Goodman Trail before turning back for home along Lake Ontario. MEC’s Burlington Race Two is April 30 with trail runs up to 11.5K. All for $15.

The Balanse Bum Run on April 24 is calling the running community to explore 5K around Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto while raising funds for colorectal cancer. If you are further west and want to stretch your legs a little further, The Mercedes-Benz Oakville 10K is the same Sunday morning along the waterfront and through Oakville’s downtown.

The 5 Peaks Race Series brings its first race to Ontario on April 30 at the Terra Cotta Conservation Area with trail runs up to 14K.

Take on chance on the Fork in the Road Run in Uxbridge on April 30. It’s a 5K, if you pick all the right forks. Veer down the wrong path and your adventure just got 3K longer!

Contact IMPACT race reporter Mark Lootens at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to promote your event and check out the IMPACT RACE SOURCE GUIDE online at