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DIY Cape to Cabot begins months-long virtual event in Newfoundland

The 20K race route will be fully marked and open to run until the end of October for any participants who can make it to St. John’s

Photo by: NLAA

The Cape to Cabot, a popular and gruelling 20K race in St. John’s, N.L., kicked off on Saturday, but with a bit of a twist for 2020. Due to COVID-19, the race (which is known as the hardest road race in eastern North America) couldn’t be held as planned in October, but race organizers have transformed it into a “Do-it-yourself” virtual event. Participants can complete the 20K run anywhere and submit their results online, but they have been encouraged to run the official race course if they can make it to St. John’s. The course will be fully marked, and runners have from now until October 31 to complete their 20K runs.    

Cabot Tower on Signal Hill in St. John’s.

Cape to Cabot

The race starts at Cape Spear, the easternmost point in Canada, and ends at Cabot Tower in St. John’s. The course features 550m of elevation gain over the 20K route, and some hills have grades of more than 10 per cent, which not only leave runners breathless as they climb up, but also crush their legs as they make each descent. After dealing with many challenging hills throughout the run, runners have to tackle one last steep stretch up Signal Hill before they cross the finish line.

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In addition to being a successful event, the Cape to Cabot is classified as a “green race” after having made a pledge of sustainability and promising to work toward “lowering the impact of athletic events on the planet.” Event organizers follow the three Rs of sustainability when it comes to their race: they reduce the amount of resources they use on the course and at the race venue, they give out reusable items like cloth tote bags for race kits and they use recyclable materials wherever and whenever possible. To learn more about the Cape to Cabot’s sustainability pledge, visit the event website

Racing the DIY Cape to Cabot

Even though the event has already started, anyone interested in racing will have the chance to register until September 20. As part of the registration, runners sign up for the event’s tracking platform, which will rank participants as they complete their runs. While organizers hope to see as many participants as possible recording their runs on the official race course, they have acknowledged that this is not possible for everyone given potential travel restrictions. For runners who cannot run the course, organizers have said “any challenging route, wherever you live, will do.” To find out more about the event and to register to race, click here.

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