Whistler half-marathon

Do race conditions get much better than at the summer’s Whistler Half-Marathon? Photo: Robert Shaer.

If you’re looking for a memorable race in 2017, you’ve come to the right place to start researching the options. We at Canadian Running have narrowed down the best that Canada has to offer with at least one event per week for each of the 52 weeks this year. (On occasion, we selected a second or third honourable mention as some must-do races fall on the same day.)

Note that all races included are held in Canada to take advantage of the many well-organized and memorable events that take place coast-to-coast. Got some to add? Comment below with your favourite race that you think should have been included.

Rundown

Week 1: Jan. 2 – Jan. 8 – Pioneer 8K, Saanichton, B.C.

Week 2: Jan. 9 – Jan. 15 – Richmond Road Races, Ont.

Week 3: Jan. 16 – Jan. 22 – Cobble Hill 10K, B.C.

Week 4: Jan. 23 – Jan. 29 – Frostbite River Run, Winnipeg

Week 5: Jan. 30 – Feb. 5 – Yukon Arctic Ultra, Whitehorse

“The world’s coldest and toughest ultra” includes a 100-miler, 200-miler, 300-miler and 430-miler for mountain bikers, cross-country skiers and runners.

Week 6: Feb. 6 – Feb. 12 – Hypothermic Half-Marathon, Calgary, Montreal, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Victoria

Week 7: Feb. 13 – Feb. 19 – Winterman, Ottawa

Canada’s winter marathon will be held in the nation’s capital during the famous Winterlude festival.

Week 8: Feb. 20 – Feb. 26 – Défi Hivernal de l’Ile-Bizard, Montréal

Week 9: Feb. 27 – March 5 – Chilly Half-Marathon, Burlington, Ont.

Week 10: March 6 – March 12 – Blitz Snowshoe Fun Run, Lake Louise, Alta.

Week 11: March 13 – March 19 – St. Patrick’s Day 5K, Vancouver

Week 12: March 20 – March 26 – Around the Bay 30K, Hamilton

The calm before the (snow?) storm here at Around The Bay 30K #ATB30K Use #canadianrunning tomorrow and tag us in your photos!

A photo posted by canadianrunning (@canadianrunning) on

The oldest road race on the continent, first run in 1894, three years before the Boston Marathon.

Week 13: March 27 – April 2 – Sunshine Coast April Fool’s Run, Gibsons, B.C.

Week 14: April 3 – April 9 – Diez Vista 50K/100K, Port Moody, B.C.

Honourable mention goes to the Race Roster Spring Run-Off 8K in Toronto.

Week 15: April 10 – April 16 – Gopher Attack Half-Marathon and Marathon, Regina

Week 16: April 17 – April 23 – Vancouver Sun Run

The largest 10K road race in Canada is a yearly highlight for runners looking to test their fitness on a beautiful course that weaves through downtown Vancouver and offers views of the ocean and mountains.

Week 17: April 24 – April 30 – Calgary Police Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K

Week 18: May 1 – May 7 – BMO Vancouver Marathon

Races in Canada

Week 19: May 8 – May 14 – Fredericton Marathon

The notable New Brunswick race coincides with Mother’s Day and is a popular Boston Marathon qualifier. The event also serves as the provincial marathon championships so the event is guaranteed to be fast.

Week 20: May 15 – May 21 – Blue Nose Marathon

Week 21: May 22 – May 28 – Ottawa Race Weekend

Ottawa Race Weekend

Photo: Alex Brault.

Ottawa Race Weekend earned Canadian Running‘s Golden Shoe Award for the best race of 2016. This year, the event will be as great as ever as it’s held in the nation’s capital before Canada Day on the year that the nation celebrates its 150th anniversary. Honourable mentions go to the Calgary Marathon and Cabot Trail Relay.

Week 22: May 29 – June 4 – Whistler Half-Marathon

Whistler half-marathon

Marilyn Arsenault, the women’s half-marathon winner. Photo: Robert Shaer.

You’ll want to run the Whistler Half-Marathon after seeing these 22 photos.

Or find some friends and register for The Banff Jasper Relay which runs on June 3rd.

Week 23: June 5 – June 11 – River Valley Revenge Edmonton

Week 24: June 12 – June 18 – Manitoba Marathon, Winnipeg

Not many races offer the opportunity to finish in a stadium that seats 33,000 people.

Week 25: June 19 – June 25 – Bay of Fundy International Marathon

Week 26: June 26 – July 2 – Ultra Trail du Mont Albert, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Que.

Week 27: July 3 – July 9 – Sinister 7 (100 miles), Crowsnest Pass, Alta.

Week 28: July 10 – July 16 – Broken Goat 50K, Rossland, B.C.

Week 29: July 17 – July 23 – Tely 10-Miler, St. John’s, N.L.

Honourable mention goes to the Kamloops Marathon.

Week 30: July 24, – July 30 – Yukon River Trail Marathon, Whitehorse

Week 31: July 31 – Aug. 6 – Canadian Death Race, Grande Cache, Alta.

With more than 17,000 feet of elevation change, this 125K race in the Rockies is one of the toughest races in the country. There was also love in the air at the end of the 2016 Canadian Death Race.

Week 32: Aug. 7 – Aug. 13 – Fat Dog 120, Cathedral Provincial Park, E.C. Manning Provincial Park, B.C.

Week 33: Aug. 14 – Aug. 20 – Squamish 50, B.C.

Arguably Canada’s most popular trail race (it sold out eight months ahead of race day), this picturesque event takes place just north of Vancouver and is co-directed by Gary Robbins, who will run the 2017 Barkley Marathons. Honourable mention for this week goes to the Edmonton Marathon.

Week 34: Aug. 21 – Aug. 27 – Quebec City Marathon

Week 35: Aug. 28 – Sept. 3 – La Chute du Diable, Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, Que.

Week 36: Sept. 4 – Sept. 10 – Queen City Marathon, Regina

Week 37: Sept. 11 – Sept. 17 – Maritime Race Weekend

A group of pirates waits to greet marathoners at the finish #maritimeraceweekend #piratelife

A photo posted by canadianrunning (@canadianrunning) on

Each year, this race brings good times to the Maritimes with some awesome race bling, post-race party, gorgeous race settings and distances for all. Two honourable mentions: first, the Canada Army Run, which brings together Canadians and members of the nation’s armed forces, and second, the annual Terry Fox Run.

Week 38: Sept. 18 – Sept. 24 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon & Half-Marathon

One of tough stops on Canada’s Rock ‘n’ Roll circuit, this Montreal event attracts more than 35,000 runners each year. Marathon finishers in 2017 will receive an added bonus: a newly-designed running jacket.

Week 39: Sept. 25 – Oct. 1 – The Red Deer Oktoberfest 5K/10K & Half Marathon, Alta.

Week 40: Oct. 2 – Oct. 8 – Victoria Marathon

Week 41: Oct. 9 – Oct. 15 – Prince Edward Island Marathon, Charlottetown

Week 42: Oct. 16 – Oct. 22 – Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Canada’s top fall race is almost certainly the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In 2016, Whitlock  ran a 3:56 marathon at this event and broke the previous age group world record by more than 30 minutes.

Week 43: Oct. 23 – Oct. 29 – Demi-Marathon de Blainville, Que.

Week 44: Oct. 30 – Nov. 5 – Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope

According to MarathonGuide.com, the Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope had the highest percentage of runners qualify for the Boston Marathon among Canadian races. More than 28 per cent of finishers under six hours qualified for Boston at the 2016 race.

Week 45: Nov. 6 – Nov. 12 – Fall Classic, Vancouver

You may see an Olympian (or two) at this fall favourite that takes place at the University of British Columbia.

Week 46: Nov. 13 – Nov. 19 – The Phantom Run, North Vancouver, B.C.

Week 47: Nov. 20 – Nov. 26 – Canadian Cross-Country Championships, Kingston, Ont.

Though seen as a race for faster runners, the various age groups and distances are open to those of all abilities. The national championships also include a community 5K race.

Week 48: Nov. 27 – Dec. 3 – Tannenbaum 10K, Toronto

Week 49: Dec. 4 – Dec. 10 – Egg Nog Jog, Georgetown, Ont.

Week 50: Dec. 11 – Dec. 17 – The Big Elf Run

Week 51: Dec. 18 – Dec. 24 – Cupcake Day 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, Virtual

This is a quiet time of year for Canadian races so one option is to try a virtual race. Though Dec. 15 is National Cupcake Day, this race can be done at any point in December from any location.

Week 52: Dec. 25 – Dec. 31 – Boxing Day 10-miler, Hamilton

Cap off the year with either a New Year’s Eve run or this popular Boxing Day event that happens annually in southern Ontario.

Editors’ note: Some of the race dates for the December events may change as it’s early in the year.


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