Extreme racing event to raid the region
Castlegar’s about to get ‘raided’ by extreme sports fans, as a six-day, 500-kilometre adventure race invades the West Kootenay.
Raid the North Extreme has hosted intense, non-stop wilderness races through some of Canada’s most challenging landscape, from Newfoundland and the Queen Charlotte Islands to Revelstoke and Whitehorse, and chief adventure officer Geoff Langford says the competitors mean business.
“In six days, most of the teams will only sleep between 90 and 120 minutes a day, eating on the run,” he says. “There are three core sports, which are paddling, mountain biking and trekking, but included in that can be rope sections … swimming, rafting or riverboarding …pretty much whatever the terrain lends itself to and that is self-propelled, oxygen-driven sport.”
He says the event can be pretty extreme for residents, too, particularly in terms of the economic impact to the region.
“It costs about a half-a-million dollars to host this event, most of which is spent locally,” he says. “Then the participants, volunteers and visiting media spend money for car rentals, food, all of that.”
Perhaps an even greater boon the region, he says, is the way a widely-marketed event like this helps position the area as a great opportunity, not just for adventure sports, but to visit, play and live.
“Well, it worked for me,” said the 40-year-old Ottawa native, himself a former competitor. “I’m moving to the region, maybe even to Castlegar, in June.”
He said his company hosted a 36-hour race in Nelson back in 2005, and he was enchanted with the area and its offerings.
The race, held every two to three years, draws roughly 30 to 40 competitors (in teams of four), primarily from North America, but also from Europe and the UK, Australia, South Africa and even Singapore.
“There are some professional competitors, but mostly it’s white-collar professional people with a competitive edge, who want a challenge,” he said.
Including volunteers and visiting media, he said the event should draw roughly 250 people to the region … but there’s always room for an extra set of hands, and he hopes locals get on board, too.
“There’s tons of volunteer opportunity,” he said. “And lots of ways for businesses to get involved and increase their exposure, like adopting teams or checkpoints. Everyone can feel free to contact me (see information at end of article) with any ideas they may have for getting involved.”
In fact, he’s so interested in engaging local communities and informing residents about the race, he’s holding an information session at the Castlegar Selkirk Campus (Sentinel Theatre Rm 113) this Thursday at 7 p.m. All comers are welcome.
He said previous races have been broadcast on TSN, OLN and Global, and he’s in the process of negotiating coverage of this year’s event with Global as well, and residents will be able to track teams and their progress online throughout the six days.
The race is slated to run from Sept. 4 to 12, but he can’t tell us exactly where it will run.
“The course is kept entirely secret until two days before the race, so locals don’t have an unfair advantage and no one can can scope it out beforehand,” he said.
For more information or to volunteer, visit www.raidthenorthextreme.com