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A race that challenges your fear of heights

Minotaur SkyRace is the only North American stop in the World Skyrunning Series

Photo by: Ian Lowe-Wylde

Minotaur SkyRace makes its debut as the only North American stop in the World Skyrunning Series this Saturday, June 25.  The crew behind the Minotaur SkyRace, in Crowsnest Pass, Alta., set out to create a race that elevated athletes to a unique experience on terrain unlike any other. Minotaur SkyRace has over 2,900 metres of climbing and 33 km on rocks and trail, and joins 10 other races in the World Series. The event also boasts the hardest 10K race in Canada, called the Mini-Taur, with 1,000 m of elevation gain.

Photo: First Light Visual Media

In 2017, race directors Erin and Andrew Fairhurst and Ian and Susan Lowe-Wylde introduced Meet the Minotaur, an event where runners traversed a secret course that was not available to them until 24 hours before the start. “Racers loved it, but it became super hard on the directors to sustain,” says Erin. The race directors wanted to keep the challenging and spectacular terrain, but create a course that could be used annually. After consulting with Canadian elite and former skyrunner Adam Campbell, they approached the International Federation of Skyrunning to see what a qualifying race required. Minotaur SkyRace emerged, and its inaugural running has been highly anticipated. 

Joanna Ford, an ultrarunner with considerable mountain experience from Calgary, describes the course as “rugged, steep, relentless and exciting.” She says she’s thrilled to have a race like this in Canada. “This is a true mountain running course, and there is no other event like it in North America.”

The Skyrunner World Series consists of 10 races, and was launched in 2004 by Marino Giacometti, president of the International Skyrunning Federation. The World Series website attests that it has “grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technical difficulty.” Highly technical races, held in some of the most breath-taking places on earth, put elite athletes to the test.

“As part of the series, this race has attracted world class mountain runners from around the world. It has also enticed many of the local mountain crushers to test themselves out against some of the world’s best. It’s super exciting to see these athletes have a venue to showcase their skills,” Ford adds.

You can learn more about the Minotaur SkyRace, see results, and sign up for next year’s event, at their website here.