10 fitness challenges every Canadian needs to try
Calling all Canadians! 2014 beckons with an array of outdoor fitness challenges tailored to every taste and ability – obstacle courses, mud runs, cycling events, exercise competitions, even a race that involves a helicopter
1. Around the Bay Road Race
Did you know that Hamilton, Ontario is home to North America’s oldest road race? Beating the famous Boston Marathon by three years, the Around the Bay Road Race was first held in 1894. This year’s event sets off from the starting line on Sunday, March 30, 2014. Choose from the 30k or 5k races, and test your stamina while you journey around Hamilton’s harbour.
(photo courtesy Bay Race Archives)
2. Winterlude Triathlon
You can’t get more Canadian than a triathlon deep in the belly of winter. Ottawa’s annual frosty extravaganza – Winterlude – offers a physical challenge on February 1, 2014 that celebrates the joys of snowbound sports and Canadian determination. But this event isn’t your typical triathlon. Instead of cycling, swimming, and running, participants endure an 8-km skate on the Rideau Canal, navigate a 5-km cross-country skiing course, and run 5-km through the nation’s capital. Missed out this year? The Winterlude Triathlon is an annual affair, so start training for 2015’s festivities now.
3. FEMSPORT Challenge 2014
Sorry, guys. This unique event is for ladies only. This spring and summer women of all ages, and abilities are invited to test their athletic prowess, endurance, and determination at the FEMSPORT Strength and Fitness Challenge. Try your hand at six incredible fitness disciplines: box jumps, inverted rows, kettlebell lift, tire pull, obstacle course and tire flip. Participate as an individual, or as a team and reap the rewards of putting your body to the ultimate fitness quest. FEMSPORT events are being held in Whitehorse, Kamloops, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Vancouver and Toronto. For information on specific dates, visit the FEMSPORT website.
(photo courtesy Monte Arnold and the Fly in The Eye Photo Crew)
4. Subaru Centurion
Fancy a September weekend dedicated to an invigorating workout amidst steep hills, and the gorgeous shores of Georgian Bay? From September 12 to 14, 2014, Blue Mountain Village, Ontario and its postcard worthy setting is the home to one of the most rewarding cycling challenges in the country – the Subaru Centurion Canada. Competitive cyclists, racing enthusiasts, leisurely riders and families are welcome to test their mettle in a series of two-wheeling events. Choose from 25, 50 or 100-mile courses, the women’s event, or the kid’s ride.
(photo courtesy 2013 Marc Landry)
5. Mud Hero
It’s time to get dirty, Canada. Winnipeg’s Mud Hero on July 26 is a filth-filled fitness challenge guaranteed to get your heart pumping. Slathered in fresh mud, you’ll splash through murky waters, scramble over slippery hills, and snake through narrow tunnels. Part obstacle course, part mucky free-for-all, the Mud Hero is a difficult yet exhilarating workout. A portion of all proceeds – from registration fees and fundraising pledges – will be donated to local cancer charities. Can’t make it to Winnipeg? Dive into a Mud Hero event in Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Red Deer, or Toronto. Dates for these venues run May through August.
(photo courtesy Zoom Photo Inc.)
Unleash your downward dog in the glorious Canadian sunshine. On Saturday, August 16, 2014, yoga enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited to the 3rd annual Yogathon. Challenge your body as you strive to complete 108 invigorating sun salutations. The $25 registration fee, and funds raised through pledges will aid Care for Children, a program that provides holistic education to kids in India. Bring your yoga mat for a few hours of exercise, and charitable good vibes. Yogathon events on August 16 have been confirmed for Ottawa, Toronto, London, Pembroke, Halifax, Quebec City, Montréal, Vancouver and Windsor with more cities to be added.
(photo courtesy Trigger Happy Photography)
7. Scion City Chase
Test your endurance, brainpower, and toughness in your own backyard. Scion City Chase lets you explore the concrete playgrounds of Halifax, Vancouver, Montréal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, or Toronto this spring and summer. Canadians of all fitness levels are welcome – weekend warriors, exercise enthusiasts, even couch potatoes. Conquer your city, complete wacky challenges and have a laugh while you’re at it. Choose the City Chase level that best suits you (the 6-hour Classic, 2-hour Rush, or the Columbia Enduro-Chase) and decide how much of a sweat you wish to break.
8. Canadian Rockies Heli Run
What do a scenic mountain trail and a breathtaking helicopter ride have in common? They’re both part of the Canadian Rockies Heli Run. On September 20, 2014, this one-of-a-kind athletic challenge kicks off at the Cline River Heliport in Alberta. Sign up for the two-person team marathon, or solo half marathon event, and experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies from a unique perspective.
(photo courtesy Raveneye Photography)
9. Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon
The Okanagan Valley’s picturesque vineyard region is the stunning backdrop for the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon. On September 6, 2014, runners and walkers will navigate through farmland, fruit orchards, lakeside trails, and tree-lined greenways, finishing at the leafy Waterfront Park where the Wine and Music Festival awaits! Register on your own, as part of a team, or in the two-person relay, and toast your athletic accomplishment in style this September.
(photo courtesy State of Mind Films and Rubicon Cinema)
10. Reebok Spartan Race
Voted 2012’s best obstacle race by Outside Magazine, the Reebok Spartan Race takes place in nine countries around the globe. Not content to challenge citizens in just one location, Canada offers the Reebok Spartan Race in eight: Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax, Calgary, Red Deer, and the Sun Peaks Resort in B.C. Test your physical prowess, and endurance over rugged terrain, and through daunting obstacles such as water, mud, barbed wire and fire. Even your kids (ages 5 to 13) can flex their muscles with the specially designed Spartan Junior Races. Visit the official website for 2014 spring/summer race dates in your area.
(photo courtesy Epic Action Pictures)