Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime?
Registrations now open: expeditionracecanada.ca
The sport of adventure racing has been around since the late 1960s. Over the decades it has enjoyed high-profile periods and times when it has gone mostly unnoticed. For those who consider themselves adventure racers, it is a way of life and currently the world of adventure racing is expanding.
The Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) and other new and unique adventure races are being developed all the time. As a result, a wider range of participants are being attracted to the sport. Amongst those, most notably, women and youth.
Undoubtedly strength and conditioning are massive components for any adventure racer but ultimately it is a team sport where strategy and communication, perseverance and determination, navigation, and adaptability, are assets just as valuable as physical prowess.
Teams can recount a myriad of moments, facing a multitude of seemingly insurmountable challenges all at once, yet somehow, they make it through, somehow, they overcome. Whether through skill or strength, it’s the united teamwork that creates the greatest success. The very best post-race stories are the ones racers recall with emotion in their eyes, the tales of connection. At times when all seems lost, and hope is fading, somehow a combined effort lifts a team to what can be one of the greatest accomplishments of their life.
Seasoned adventure racers will exude these skills and qualities from their very soul. They know where to look within themselves and their team, whether just to finish or to compete for a win. Word is getting out and now more than ever, new people are discovering and returning athletes are savoring the combination of the unforgettable, shared experiences and remote backcountry settings that provide an opportunity for human connection to the earth and to each other. For this reason, it is no wonder the sport is attracting a wider audience.
Expedition Canada is one of the newest, most exciting, and challenging adventure races of its kind. Hosted in and around the Okanagan Valley in BC, Western Canada now has a stunning expedition length race offering a demanding course, set in uniquely beautiful and geologically formidable terrain. Athletes can expect to disappear into a spectacular region showing off deep valleys, impressive lakes, rugged high alpine peaks, and world-famous rock formations. From the desert to snowy peaks, sometimes on the same day, the seemingly never-ending forests, waterways, high country meadows and trail networks are but a few of the highlights of the area.
This idea to bring an expedition race to Canada began when Adventure Racer Nathalie Long, a seasoned and highly experienced endurance athlete moved back to Canada from Australia. Nathalie had competed in some of the world’s most challenging events, and once settled into her new Okanagan home, Nathalie truly saw the potential to host a world class Adventure Race in one of Canada’s most amazing landscapes.
After competing in one of their local multi-sport races, Nathalie joined forces with a premier adventure and event company, Hoodoo Adventures as their new Race Director, and the dream of Expedition Canada became a reality.
The first Expedition Canada was a huge success and is now Canada’s first and only official Adventure Racing World Series qualifier. In 2022, the elite winners will earn automatic entry into the next Adventure Racing World Championships, while all licensed racers will have their results counted towards their ARWS overall points. Already looking to the future, North American race organizers are developing an exciting North American Adventure Race Series, launching in 2023.
Expedition Canada 2021 saw a fantastic mix of teams; from complete newbies to returning racers from the adventure racing community to the fan favorites like the winners Bend Racing, where Jason Magness competed with 3 new teammates and a language barrier. Each team brought their own goals, some were there for the race, some to win, some for an expedition, a challenge of a lifetime.
Approximately a 4-hour drive from Vancouver and nestled in the heart of interior British Columbia, Okanagan Valley boasts historic rail trails, deep culture, and world class outdoor recreation, perfectly paired with over 200 wineries and more recently a very bustling brewing scene too, rated top in the world by Expedia.
Surrounded by endless but accessible wilderness, the Okanagan is the home to countless festivals and events, most notably, it is the original host of Ironman Canada. Locals are huge supporters of events and help to create one of the best community experiences a visitor can hope for during their stay, making the area the perfect destination for expedition racing.
Recently, Adventure Racing enjoyed increased awareness after Amazon Prime aired the “World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji’’ in 2020. Expedition Canada’s race Director Nathalie Long competed and TV’s favorite Adventure host Bear Grylls did a great job of making the event relatable to enthralled viewers worldwide. The show: and more importantly Adventure Racing struck a chord with viewers yearning for something more adventurous, wilder and a bit crazier than marathons and triathlons.
Expedition Canada’s inaugural race certainly delivered all that and more as teams navigated the striking scenery with more than 400kms of undulating elevation and a completely mixed bag of weather. “The terrain turned out to be just as challenging as it was beautiful.” commented one racer.
Highlights from racers were the volunteers and community, “they were phenomenal, the support, the cheering and encouragement from them, all the time and the commitment level was incredible”, said Kelly from team Epic Endurance as they traveled from section to section. Others described the unforgettable wildlife encounters, although one racer said they’ll be happy to forget about hearing the hiss of a cougar in the middle of the night. Some loved most of their race days, others spent more time questioning their life choices, but all said that they would do it again in a heartbeat.
There is no denying in a race as competitive and tough as an expedition adventure race that it’s going to be tough at times. You will experience a year’s worth of adventure in 6 days. Mark Burnett, founder of Eco-Fiji describes the adventure racing experience as “Suffering requires perseverance, which creates character, which gives hope”. For many, Expedition racing is not about winning, it’s about the experience, the teamwork, the skill, the challenge. This race may only be for 6 days but it will last a lifetime inside each racer.
With half of registrations already filled, and Early Bird pricing is available until January 31st for Expedition Canada 2022, which is set to be even bigger and better than before. Taking place June 3 – 11th, it’s the perfect time to explore the Okanagan and even extend your stay. Race entries include airport transfers, one night hotel stay, some essential equipment and logistical support, all the necessary safety on standby and of course all the fun race swag and media coverage.
If you love to explore the great outdoors, and test your endurance while combining trekking, trail running, rafting, mountain biking, wilderness skills, orienteering, canoeing, rappelling, and more, expedition racing is the real-deal.
Whether you are an experienced adventure racer looking for your next challenge or new to expedition racing and want to jump right in, Canada’s toughest race is the perfect option for you. Expedition Canada 2022 covers 540 km of incredibly unique Okanagan BC terrain with over 100 hours of racing time spread across 4-6 days. So, get your gear ready, grab your teammates, and prepare for an unforgettable experience. This is definitely not a race for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, sign up today. You won’t regret it!
Are you ready for a challenge of a lifetime?