Penticton’s Hoodoo Adventures is bringing an all-new race to the city in June 2020 as an attempt to boost tourism and put the Okanagan Valley on the map in the world of endurance sports.
In a presentation to city council during the committee of the whole on Nov. 19, Hoodoo Adventures co-owner Lyndie Hill explained that “BC Wild” Expedition Canada will be a “multi-day adventure race that will see teams of four racing over 350 km nonstop by mountain bike, on foot, by canoe and rope work, all while using maps and compasses to navigate.”
“At Hoodoo Adventures, our focus is on outdoor tourism. And with outdoor recreation comes an amazing opportunity to expand shoulder season activities, which is something that we really need here, especially with all of the fire and floods that we’ve had during the last few summers,” said Hill. “We really need ways to survive the entire year and not just be reliant on our summer months. So we’ve looked at different ways to bring eyes to Penticton and showcase us as an adventure destination because it means that we have a longer season.”
“BC Wild” Expedition Canada will be part of the larger, international event called the Adventure Racing World Series (AR World Series), which currently does not have any events in Canada.
“Adventure racing is mountain biking, trekking, trail running, canoeing, paddling all while navigating with a map and compass. That’s the only way to orientate yourself, and there are usually fun challenges on the way,” said Nathalie Long, an employee with Hoodoo that has been adventure racing for 10 years. “An expedition race is an adventure race that can go up to 10 days nonstop, so teams of four racers would race within 100 m of each other and go through the course together. Expedition Canada would be between two to four days – so I’m expecting the winners to come within the two day mark without sleeping, and we are opening the course for four days to allow people with less experience to go through the entire course and cross the finish line.”
Long said the course would change each year, and the first year it is considered a “demo race.” In 2021, the race would become a qualifier for the AR World Series Championships.
Hill said a promotional video showcasing the Okanagan’s landscapes and outdoor recreation activities, which was shown during the presentation, is currently being promoted internationally through the AR World Series platform. When the event becomes a qualifier in 2021, she said this will include a TV commercial promotion and more media promoting Penticton and the Okanagan in general.
“It is super exciting to have an ARWS race in Canada, a country that just breathes adventure and mountain air. Some of the worlds best AR athletes have hailed from Canada and the opportunity now to see them racing on their home soil will be inspiring,” said AR World Series director Craif Bycroft in a release. “Also inspiring is the focus that Hoodoo Adventures have on supporting the other end of the spectrum, youth participating in outdoor adventure, and I hope we will see many of them in the race.”
For more information and registration for “BC Wild” Expedition Canada, which will run June 3 to 7, visit www.expeditionracecanada.ca. Those that sign up before Dec. 15 are eligible for an early bird registration discount.
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