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Nunavut Midnight Sun Marathon - July. Each year on the northern shore of Canada's Baffin Island, 720 kilometers (480 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, a group of runners gathers to challenge the treeless pass that links the Inuit village of Arctic Bay to the mining community of Nanisivik. In 1998 we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Midnight Sun Marathon. On April 1, 1999, the new territory of Nunavut was created. After twenty successful years in Nanisivik, the first official marathon in Canada's newest territory was held on July 2, 2000 with the races taking place from the Inuit hamlet of Arctic Bay. This new event takes place over a somewhat different route – the dreaded "Crunch" has been replaced by an equally rugged and challenging climb and descent to the shores of Victor Bay and back. The marathon is still one of the toughest in the world. Be prepared for more of an "adventure" experience and group cooperative effort than in the past – there is no room for wimps or whiners! Starting and finishing near sea level in Arctic Bay, the marathon runners will follow the road toward Nanisivik for about 18 kilometers to an elevation of 421 meters before turning and retracing their steps to Arctic Bay, then wind their way up and over the rocky Uluksan Peninsula to the edge of Victor Bay, returning over the same route to Arctic Bay. Temperatures on race day may be from -5 °C to 10 °C, and parts of the course can be very windy. Be prepared for winter running conditions, with the ability to adjust for temperature changes as the race progresses. The hills are barren, except for a few tiny flowers that grow in the cracks of the endless expanse of rock. Distance loses all perspective. A hill that appears to be just a few kilometers away can actually be thirty kilometers distant. There is no sound, except for the wind, and virtually no sign of life. This is the season of endless daylight, when the midnight sun burns 24 hours a day. Visitors to the area may feel somewhat disoriented at first, but are soon enraptured by its breathtaking beauty.
Forest City Marathon - May. The course is paved throughout, running on city streets and bike paths. It is fairly flat with a few small hills. The course starts in the lovely campus of the University of Western Ontario. It crosses a bridge over the Thames River and enters the "Old North" area of London, passing Victorian homes along tree lined city streets. After about 15 kms it reenters the university campus, passing University Hospital and the Robarts Research Institute, site of ground-breaking medical research and Canada's only 4 Tesla MRI unit. The runners cross the bridge over the Thames River again and head onto the bike paths beside the river. The course passes London's Art Gallery with the steel rhinosarus out front, goes by the historic "Forks of the Thames" site of the founding of the city, and Eldon House, the oldest remaining dwelling in London. The runners then enter Greenway Park where they will pass the location of one of London's saddest days, the Victoria Disaster. They will proceed along the paved river path past Wonderland Gardens and the Guy Lombardo Museum, home of big band music. The tree-lined path proceeds into the beautiful Springbank Park where Londoners have enjoyed a stroll or a picnic for centuries. Here they will pass Storybook Gardens, where children enjoy games and a small zoo. The course make a loop of the park, past the carousel and miniature train then returns along the bike path for the final 10 km of the race. The runners enter the university grounds again, finishing inside J.W. Little Stadium with one lap of the track in front of the grandstand.
Northwest Passage Marathon - August. The Northwest Passage Marathon on Somerset Island in Nunavut, is North America's most northerly marathon. This rugged trail race begins at Arctic Watch, a wilderness fly-in lodge located in Cunningham Inlet. The course goes north along the shore of Cunningham Inlet for 9 kilometers to Polar Bear Point. The runners then turn west and go along the famed Northwest Passage for the next 12 kilometers. The trail follows a series of old raised beaches of sandstone pebbles. There are icebergs on the water and ancient encampments on the shore. Near Cape Marie, all runners turn around and repeat the course back to camp. Musk ox sightings in this area are common. The trail climbs gently over the hills before dropping back down to the Cunningham River. The final few kilometers take runners along Cunningham Inlet back to the finish at Arctic Watch.
Canadian International Marathon - October. Point-to-point marathon beginning in North York and ending in Queen's Park, downtown Toronto.
Vancouver International Marathon - May. Look forward to a mostly flat, paved, spectator-friendly course starting at the Plaza of Nations, the international plaza from Expo 86. Runners loop around the inner harbour of False Creek and back past the start line then thru historic Gastown and into beautifully forested Stanley Park. Exit on the south side then cross the Burrard Street Bridge to the spectator-filled cafes, beached and beautiful homes of Kitsilano neighborhood before returning to the Plaza of Nations.