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The Relentless Trail Race at the Ark
By:  Kyla Vanderzwet   (2014/10/31)

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This past Saturday Katie and I, along with a few Carleton athletes and lots of other keen trail runners, ran the Relentless Trail Race in Low, Quebec. I write this article mostly as a plug for the event, because it is a great one! It includes 5.5, 10.5, 21, and 50km race distances, all on tricky single track trails. The race is muddy, hilly, and a lot of fun!

The trail race is part of the Mad Trapper race series, and takes part at the Ark. The Ark, simply put, is pretty cool. It's a farm where it seems like they prioritize all the right things, like promoting activity in the great outdoors, reducing environmental impact, and enjoying good food with friends. It is home to the race director, Mike Caldwell, and his wife Monique, along with some horses, alpacas, cats and dogs. They're off the grid, with solar panels, wind power, and wood stoves. They also collect rain water for the toilets. It seems like the Ark must be a busy place, because in addition to wilderness racing, they offer company conferences, team building retreats, weddings and receptions, outdoor education, and youth getaways. They also make maple syrup! Check them out here: http://www.synergyark.com/

In addition to this trail race, the Mad Trapper series also includes snowshoe races in the winter, and a Mad Trapathon in the summer - a "natural parcour", hill climb, and beer mile. Can't beat that line-up! More information is available here: http://www.madtrapperracing.com/

I agree with this guy.

Food seems to be another enjoyable theme at the Ark. Saturday's event was followed by homemade brownies, beer, and other yummy snacks. Mike also mentioned a snowshoe race in early January which concludes with a lunch buffet among fellow racers. The Pancake Prediction Run is another event to look for in April, which includes a pancake breakfast and the Ark's own maple syrup.

According to their website, the Mad Trapper mission is to "provide the most unique and challenging courses our terrain can provide" while at the same time, they "prioritize participation over competition". If you ask me, Saturday's race was a good example of what happens when people embrace their passions and let their efforts follow - for the racers, but even more so for the organizers.

Me, Sarah Murray, Matt Brown, Katie, and Ben Dearing shortly after our races.

My spikes before and after the race - muddy mission accomplished.
 
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