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Ultimate Guide to Adventure Races in Ontario

Rip up the trail. • Credit: Destination Ontario
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Ultimate Guide to Adventure Races in Ontario

Get your team together and start training now

Discover the thrill of adventure racing. Find out what it is, where to go and why you’ll love it.

So have you been watching the World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji recently released on Amazon Prime and thinking ‘I’d like to try that’. Well you’re in luck. Now’s the time to get a team together and start training for the one of the many adventure races Ontario has to offer. Become part of Ontario’s adventure racing community at Adventure Racing Ontario.    

What is adventure racing?

According to SleepMonsters, ‘Adventure Racing is an outdoor endurance sport for teams including a combination of mountain biking, trail running/trekking, paddle sports (kayak/canoe/raft), and map and compass navigation’.

Races can vary in length. A ‘sprint’ adventure race is from 2-5 hours and a long (expedition) race can be from 3 to 10 days (non-stop). There are also 12-hour adventure races and 24-hour adventure races and many other options. 

Two women paddling a red canoe
Start with a beginner adventure race. Source: Destination Ontario

Team numbers can vary between 2 and 4, depending on the length of the race. Typically, longer races include all of the main activities plus additional challenges while a sprint race may only have three. Each race is different. Some races are designed to be exciting and extreme (see video) while other beginner adventure races are friendly and low key (see video).   

Adventure Racing and Orienteering Clubs in Ontario

Compass on a map
Learn how to navigate with a compass. Source: Destination Ontario 

There are clubs and groups in Ontario that organize weekly training and various racing opportunities for adventure sport enthusiasts. This includes short races to multi-day adventure races, endurance adventure races, expedition adventure races and family adventure races. Orienteering clubs help you to learn how to use a compass, read an orienteering map and get through an orienteering course. Many include racing programs.    

Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

Below, you'll find a list of the outdoor adventure races in Ontario. Some of the race dates have not yet been determined (TBD) so bookmark the race webpage or visit Adventure Racing ON for updates. 

January – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

No events scheduled at this time. 

February – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

13 & 14 – The Crossing Trek 2021 is virtual this year. Create your own route and walk the walk to raise funds and awareness for homeless services in the Waterloo Region.

20 - Snowshoe Raid Adventure Run throughout the Blue Mountains for adults, family and juniors. Enjoy a 3-hour snowshoe race for teams of two with navigation by map and compass. Go as hard or as easy as you like. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

March – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

7 - Knockout Adventure Race in Niagara Falls for adults and juniors. A 2-hour choose your adventure run format. Visit as many checkpoints as possible in 2 hours. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

Two people in hiking boots running on sand.
Running is a big part of adventure racing. Source: Destination Ontario

April – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

28 – 45th Annual Hamilton Adventure Running Schools Challenge at Christie Lake Conservation Area. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

May – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

1 – Raid the Rib Adventure Run in Milton for adults and juniors. Challenge your team in the Full Raid course with intermediate trail running/trekking and novice to advanced navigation skills with a 5-hour time limit. The Half-raid is roughly half the distance with a 3-hour time limit. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

June – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

TBD – Jungle and Spring Ark Fest in Burlington for Adults and Juniors. This 1-hour run is through the Southern Ontario woods as they are springing to life. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

July – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

17 & 18 – Rockstar Farewell Tour at Bark Lake, Haliburton. Teams of 2 or 3 competing in their choice of a 4-hour or 8-hour race. It’s Canada’s most unique adventure racing event with no two routes the same. Celebrate like rock stars at an exclusive post-race party.

TBD – The Smokey Race is limited to 52 participants and the Half Smokey is limited to 150 participants. These races are considerably difficult with tight timelines, difficult navigation and difficult terrain. For advanced competitors only. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

Two people paddling a kayak
Choose your team wisely. Source: Destination Ontario

August – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

7 – Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race is for adults, youth and kids. The long course (7.5 hours) includes kayaking, biking and running, the Suntrail Course (1.5 to 4 hours) includes paddling, mountain biking and cross country running and the Summer House Kids Race includes 3 obstacles on a short bike course and a trail run.  

21 & 22 – Wilderness Traverse is a 24 hour adventure race in the Algonquin Highlands. Teams of 3 or 4 navigate using map and compass over 150 km of rugged Canadian Shield back-country on foot, mountain bike and canoe. It is one of the toughest endurance adventure races around.

TBD – Cataraqui Adventure Trek in Kingston is an adventure race crossed with a Triathlon. The 7 to 10 km course consists of mountain biking, trail running and paddling. Racers have 4 hours to complete the course as many times as they can.

TBD – Race Across Waterloo Region is designed as an introduction to Adventure Racing. It has 3 courses to choose from: The Sumac (25 km/2 to 4 hours), The Cedar (50 km/6 to 8 hours) and The Maple (100 km/10 to 12 hours). This event is a fundraiser for The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region.

TBD – Raid the City Adventure Run in Hamilton for adults, family and juniors. This is a 3-hour race for teams of two. Go as easy or as hard as you want. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

Man holding a kayak on his shoulder
Feel the adrenaline rush. Source: Destination Ontario 

September – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

18 & 19 – Muskoka River X/Algonquin Outfitters’ Huntsville 110 challenges you to circumnavigate Huntsville’s 110 km four-lake system by canoe, kayak or SUP in the fastest time possible.

24 to 26 – Storm (formerly Storm the Trent Adventure Race) is in Haliburton Forest for its 20th edition. It is Canada’s largest and most inclusive adventure racing weekend. Three separate events are offered to provide the widest range of race options; beginner-friendly ‘Hike’, intermediate-level ‘Trek’ and advanced ‘Trek Elite’.  

October – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

TBD – Peak-2-Peak Adventure Run for adults and juniors. This 2-hour race has lots of climbs with checkpoints on top of peaks. It is a must-do event to prepare for the Raid the Hammer Run. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

TBD – Big Ass Night Run in Dundas is to raise funds for the Hamilton Conservation Authority. The 40-minute speedy race is through the streets and city trails of Dundas at night. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

November – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

TBD – Raid The Hammer Adventure Run is in the Dundas area. The Full Raid is a 24 to 28 km course for Adults. The Half Raid is a 12 to 16 km course for adults and juniors. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

December – Ontario Adventure Races 2021 

TBD – Icebreaker and Ark Fest is for adults and juniors. This 2-hour race with many checkpoints is a run through varied terrain, likely tinted with ice or snow. By: Don’t Get Lost Adventure Running

Two woman hugging in victory
It's all about teamwork. Source: Destination Ontario 

Get Into Adventure Racing Now

Adventure racing is more than just a sport. It is an experience that rewards creativity, mental ability and teamwork. It is about community, family and exploration. There’s no better time than now to get into adventure racing.

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