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10 must-run races in Canada

Here are 10 Canadian races worth travelling for

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Canadian races everyone should run

With spring weather comes running season, and with running season comes goal-setting – which means scheduling races into the calendar for fun, motivation and a great excuse to eat more pasta. But you don’t have to run the same old route year in and year out. Check out these Canadian races that all offer something unique.


Image: Thinkstock

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okanagan valley run

Half Corked Marathon, Oliver/Osoyoos, B.C.

May 24-26, 2013

Winding through vineyards in the heart of Okanagan wine country, this 18 km route is designed to be enjoyed. Save the record-setting for another race and spend this one gazing at scenery and sampling local food and vintages at 10 or so stations along the way. Warning: tickets go on sale in February for this event and sell out fast.


Image: Thinkstock

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Melissa’s Road Race, Banff, Alta.

September 28, 2013

Expect some uphill – but downhill to match – on this popular Rockies route with your choice of 10 or 22 km. The hard work is worth it for the views, though, and you’ll be rewarded for finishing with a coupon for a free pint of local favourite Big Rock Traditional Ale. The pasta dinner is held at race namesake Melissa’s Restaurant, with plenty of Alberta beef on the menu as well.


Image via Melissa’s Road Race

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Yukon River Trail Marathon, Whitehorse, Y.T.

Yukon River Trail Marathon, Whitehorse, Y.T.

August 4, 2013

Sign up for the full or half marathon – or bring friends to do the marathon relay – for this trail race that starts and ends in Whitehorse and winds mostly along the Yukon River. Included in the race fees are beautiful views, a shirt none of your running buddies will have and race rules that include what to do if you encounter a bear. (Take a wide detour and advise officials and other runners.)


Image via Flickr

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air force

Royal Canadian Air Force Run, Winnipeg, Man.

May 26, 2013

Airplane buffs won’t want to miss this annual event, featuring your choice of a half marathon, 10K or 5K. The route heads through the local air force base and Air Force Heritage Park and along the 17 Wing flight line, so runners can spot RCAF aircraft old and new. Finishers receive a medal from an Air Force member in uniform.


Image via Royal Canadian Airforce Run

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Staircase Challenge, Quebec City, Que.

Staircase Challenge, Quebec City, Que.

June 16, 2013

The opposite of a flat course, this 19 km route (with 13 km option) takes runners up and down all the staircases connecting Upper and Lower Quebec City, for a total of about 30 staircases and more than 3,000 stairs. Racers have the chance to compete in three challenges: overall time, plus best climber (up the 398 steps of the last staircase, the Cap-Blanc) and best sprinter (along the 1.5 km after the last stairs). Yes, your legs will be tired.


Image via

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Louisbourg Race Through Time, Louisbourg, N.S.

August 17, 2013

Run through history on this eight-mile loop that takes you on an evening tour from the modern town of Louisbourg through the historic old town and National Historic Park, founded in 1713. Combine with a visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg for an informative journey into the 18th century and – carb-loading alert – to buy fresh bread in the historic town bakery.


Image: Thinkstock

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Fredericton Beer Run, Fredericton, N.B.

August 5, 2013

Tired of standard medals? How about a custom 16 oz beer stein instead? Part of the annual Fredericton Craft Beer Festival, this 6 or 12 km route allows participants to work up a thirst to sample some of the province’s great local brews. In addition to the stein, runners get coupons for 15 four-oz samples at the Garrison District Ale House.


Image: Thinkstock

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Beat Beethoven Run, Kingston, Ont.

Beat Beethoven Run, Kingston, Ont.

June 2, 2013

A fundraiser for the Kingston Symphony Association, this race challenges runners to complete 8 km in 50 minutes, the time it takes them to play through Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.  Not up for the full 8K? A 4 km fun run is also scheduled, and spectators at the start/finish line in Confederation Park get to enjoy the concert while they wait for runners to come in.


Image via Flickr

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Not Since Moses, Five Islands. N.S.

August 11, 2013

Pack old shoes you don’t mind getting dirty for this gorgeous 10 or 5 km route that crosses the bottom of the Bay of Fundy (yes, while the famous tide is out). You’ll see beautiful views, eat mostly healthy post-race food and get refreshments from possibly the world’s coolest water stations: boats that are navigated to key points while the tide is up and allowed to settle on the bottom once the waters recede.


Image via Not Since Moses

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cabot tower

Cape to Cabot, St. John’s, Nfld.

October 20, 2013

Billed as eastern North America’s toughest race, this 20 km route runs from Cape Spear National Historic Site into St. John’s, then up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower (pictured). Boasting – yes, boasting – just 3 km of flat terrain, the race includes four major climbs and crosses two National Historic Parks.

Image: Thinkstock

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