A world-famous adventure race that takes at least five days to complete is coming back to the Okanagan Valley, with the action set to start in Kelowna and end in Penticton.
The non-stop 500-kilometre course covering Central and South Okanagan will host 18 teams from as close as Vancouver to as far away as Brazil starting on June 5 for Expedition Canada 2022, an event sanctioned by the Adventure Racing World Series.
Though organizers aren’t allowed to reveal the exact course map until 2 a.m. on June 5, the event is already promised to be filled with excitement, with teams forced to navigate through the non-stop race under questionable sleep schedules and Okanagan mountain conditions.
“The first team to cross the finish line after completing all of the 50 checkpoints will be declared the winner,” said Lyndie Hill from Hoodoo Adventures, a Penticton-based company responsible for organizing the event. “It will involve mountain biking, canoeing, ziplining, river paddling, an alpine section and kayaking.”
The race will begin at 5 a.m. on June 5, three hours after the course map is revealed on Expedition Canada’s website. The first-place finisher — who will be rewarded with a place in the upcoming Adventure Racing World Championships in Paraguay — is estimated to complete the non-stop expedition in five days.
A paper map and compass are the only tools available for the teams, who are responsible for their setting their own sleep schedules strategically and for packing their own lunch boxes.
Teams consist of four people, with a squad solely made up of British Columbians set to represent the province over the next five to seven days.
In 2021, Expedition Canada, in partnership with Penticton’s Hoodoo Adventures, hosted a “pilot race” for the purpose of showing the international committee that the Okanagan would be a suitable host for the worldwide event. And after a successful showing, the 580-kilometre race was officially Canada-bound.
“We still have snow in our alpines,” Hill said with a laugh. “This is going to be intense and it’s the only one that’s going to be part of Canada. If people want to be part of an Adventure Racing World event, they have to do it here in (the Okanagan).”
Last year, they had to canoe through white caps on the Okanagan Lake.
One team participating in the race is made up of two people, with countries like Australia, the U.K., the U.S. and Estonia also expected to be represented in the festivities.
Teams have a maximum of seven days to complete the course, Hill added.
The first-ever Adventure Racing World Championship was held in Switzerland in 2001.
People interested in following this year’s action in real-time can do using Expedition Canada’s GPS-tracking system.