12 Great Events on The Great Trail
From a leisurely music festival to an ultramarathon (and plenty of options in between), here are a dozen events happening on or near The Great Trail!
Join International Mountain Biking Association Canada in Fundy National Park as they unveil the park's new Ride Centre, and host IMBA Canada Trail Partners Programming.
Event: Ride Centre in Fundy National Park
Location: Alma, New Brunswick
Date: May 18-21, 2018
The Saskatchewan Marathon is renowned in the running community as “fast, flat and fabulous” — mainly because it takes place along the smartly-designed Meewasin Trail. Stop by the Finish Line Village, where you can try your hand at goat yoga.
Event: Saskatchewan Marathon
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Date: May 27, 2018
Community members and visitors are invited to a three-kilometre “trot” in the spirit of healthy living. The route follows a short section of The Great Trail — aptly named the Tiny Trail — along a former CN railway line that’s been transformed into a footpath.
Event: Tiny Trot
Location: Tiny, Ontario
Date: 2 June 2018
Experience the raw natural beauty of the East Coast Trail and the historic Town of Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, and help raise funds to maintain and protect the East Coast Trail. Fantastic fundraising prizes available!
Event: 2018 Trail Raiser
Location: Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove, Newfoundland
Date: June 2, 2018
Join Red River North Trails Association (RRNTA) in Victoria Beach for some exercise, fresh air and fun on International Trails Day. A cycle and walk will be held, and attendees will have a chance to fuel up with a hearty breakfast at the local community centre.
Event: International Trails Day Walk in Victoria Beach
Location: Victoria Beach Community Centre, Manitoba
Date: June 2, 2018
TCT Champion and Olympic icon Nancy Greene Raine will join athletes in Halifax for early morning activities to celebrate National Health and Fitness Day. Early risers can enjoy a five-km run or a three-km walk, taking in the stunning views of Halifax Waterfront.
Event: Annual Scenic Morning for National Health & Fitness Day
Location: 1869 Upper Water Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Date: June 2, 2018
The Town of Ponoka will host its 2nd Annual Trail Awareness Day. The event will be a fun, family-focused day that will include geocaching, treasure hunts, refreshments and more.
Event: 2nd Annual Trail Awareness Day
Location: Ponoka, Alberta
Date: June 3, 2018
The Prairie Wind Music Festival is a three-day celebration of music and community. In its seventh year, the June festival offers a selection of bluegrass, country, rock and jazz. Onsite camping is available!
Event: Prairie Wind Music Festival
Location: Cypress River, Manitoba
Date: June 1-3, 2018
From humble beginnings over 10 years ago, this annual event has grown to become “the weekend to be in Caledon.” Ride your bicycle in support of senior citizens — or simply sample the local craft beer and listen to live music.
Event: Celebrate Caledon
Location: Caledon, Ontario
Date: June 15-16, 2018
Lace up your runners, grab the kids and join your friends and neighbours for a stroll along Katepwa’s section of The Great Trail. Funds raised will go toward paving the Trail!
Event: Katepwa Run/Walkathon
Location: Katepwa, Saskatchewan
Date: June 30, 2018
The Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club will host its second annual marathon event, the Shuniah Forty Miner. For those unfamiliar with the XC marathon format, the name of the game is seeing if you can outlast the course.
Event: Shuniah Forty Miner
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Date: September 23, 2018
The Simcoe County Loop Trail is a 160-kilometre route that travels through nine municipalities and reaches three major bodies of water. Each year an event is organized where cyclists do the loop in a single day!
Event: Simcoe County Loop Trail
Location: Simcoe County, Ontario
Date: Exact date TBA
Long known for its extensive trail infrastructure, the Uxbridge area is also home to some of the best road-riding in Ontario. Festivities include a family-friendly environment, great music and local food!
Event: UxCycle 2018
Location: Uxbridge, Ontario
Date: September 23, 2018
Fast, Flat and Fabulous: How the Saskatchewan Marathon Supports the Trail
The Meewasin Valley derives its name from the Cree word for beautiful, which aptly describes this fertile river valley in the midst of sweeping prairies. In the heart of Saskatoon, the Meewasin Trail – a 26-kilometre section of The Great Trail – runs along both sides of the South Saskatchewan River, winding under bridges and through beautifully landscaped parks. In June, the trees are in bloom, the grass is green and the river is swiftly flowing. All of this creates one of the most beautiful settings in Canada for a marathon.
A Natural Stage
Organized by the Saskatoon Road Runners Association, the Saskatchewan Marathon celebrates its 40th edition this year. The annual race is the province’s premiere running event, attracting an equal blend of locals (Saskatonians!) and participants from the rest of the province and beyond, such as Ukraine and Ethiopia.
The marathon route is renowned in the running community as “fast, flat and fabulous” – largely because it takes place along the smartly-designed Meewasin Trail. Over the past few years, the trail has seen significant technical improvements, such as paving (to accommodate folks with limited mobility) and widening (to accommodate big events). As such, the Meewasin Trail makes a natural stage for the Saskatchewan Marathon.
A Supportive Atmosphere
The marathon provides an opportunity for Saskatchewan to display its commitment to diversity and hospitality. It’s a community event in the truest sense, where a wide-range of groups – from the local roller derby league to the Open Door Society and a German cultural group – come out to help create a supportive atmosphere. Spectators can watch elite runners doing what they do best (being the human equivalent of cheetahs), but can also cheer for a range of participants across a variety of events. The MaraFun program, for example, enables kids to run the 42 kilometres over the course of 10 weeks, and then cap off their hard work with a fun 2.2K run on a section of the marathon course.
Finish Line Fun
The most jovial part of any marathon is the finish line. The Saskatchewan Marathon features a “Personal Best Bell” – essentially, if runners break their own records, they’re entitled to ring the bell. Developed by Athletics Canada, the Run Jump Throw Wheel program develops physical literacy for children using activities and games. Food will be available, musicians will be performing live, and, for those who really want to kid around, there will even be goat yoga!
No Carb Left Behind
The annual Pasta Dinner will feature decorated long-distance runner Krista DuChene. The 41-year-old from Strathroy, Ontario, recently finished third at the Boston Marathon, where she dedicated her race to the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. She’s a perfect fit to speak at the Saskatchewan Marathon.
Green, Like a Prairie Valley
The Saskatchewan Marathon is a green event. The organizers have made strides – running pun intended – to ensure the event produces the smallest ecological imprint possible. Participants and spectators are encouraged to take public transport to the race. On site, a bike valet is available to store bicycles safely (and for free). Material used to support the runners, such as paper cups and cans, are all recycled. Even signage from previous years is reused.
The marathon also supports the Meewasin Valley Authority, a conservation agency dedicated to conserving the cultural and natural resources of the South Saskatchewan River Valley. Over the past ten years, $400,000 has been donated to a variety of initiatives, such as the creation of trail maps, installation of water fountains, trail expansion and trail widening.
By registering, marathon participants are helping to support the stewardship of the Meewasin Valley and The Great Trail. Great things to race for!
May 27, 2018