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Sinister Sports to host Western Canada’s first 200-mile race

Why run 100 miles when you could run 200 miles?

Castle Alpine Race Sinister Sports Photo by: Raven Eye Photography

To the delight of endurance athletes near and far, Western Canada’s first-ever 200-mile race was announced Tuesday on Sinister Sports’ social media. The Divide 200 will be held Sept. 11–16, 2023. Based primarily in southern Alberta, The Divide 200: “is about alpine travel, ridge walks, and getting you into remote backcountry,” Sinister Sports shared, and the response from runners was immediate and enthusiastic. The 200-mile (322 km) race will boast roughly 12, 500 metres in elevation gain, with a 96-hour cutoff and a 100-runner cap.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Sinister Sports is best known for a trio of challenging races it hosts annually–Sinister 7, in Crowsnest Pass, A.B., The Canadian Death Race, in Grade Cache,A.B., and Black Spur, in Kimberley, B.C. Not for the faint of heart, The Divide 200 is described as an event for people with alpine experience. While the course will be set, there will still be some sections of route finding as “it’s just really gnarly out there.”

We caught up with race director Brian Gallant to find out more about this exceptional addition to the Sinister race series: “It is obvious that there is a demand for 200-milers based on how so many fill up quickly as well as the immediate response we received from around the world, even when we have not published the course,” he says.

Sinister Sports 2022
Photo: Raven Eye Photography

“We are always thinking of what to do next–our crew is so passionate about seeing people achieve new feats of endurance and we are always amazed at how they rise to new challenges. We had been discussing a 200-miler for months and sometimes you just can’t get an idea out of your head. It felt like the right time. I’m really proud of the crew I have and I know we are the right people to make this happen,” Gallant says.

While the race route will not be disclosed until December, the race website teases that the route includes the Castle/Crownest/Flathead region of the southern Rockies. After speaking to representatives from the Great Divide Trail Association, Gallant explained that he wanted to do something to highlight and share the spectacular GDT.

Sinister Sports 2022
Photo: Raven Eye Photography

Spanning the continental divide between Alberta and B.C., the GDT traverses the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains for more than 1,100 kilometres. It is known for being one of the most stunning and challenging long‐distance trails on the planet. “The Divide 200 will not exclusively be on the GDT route, but it is a jumping-off point for our adventures, and the continental divide inspired the concept behind the race,” says Gallant.

Logistically, hosting a 200-mile race is a monumental task, and Gallant says it will definitely be the biggest challenge of his race-directing career. Known for maintaining his calm demeanor and sense of humour while making sure some of Canada’s most grueling endurance events run smoothly, Gallant says that with years of experience, not much phases him. “By now I have seen variations on pretty much anything that can happen. When you put the right people and resources in place, it means you are prepared for anything,” he adds.

Photo: Raven Eye Photography

Gallant says the team intends to release the course in December, once they have gathered all of the varied feedback from the government and stakeholders. While feedback has been very positive, Gallant says the race crosses multiple jurisdictions, and a big part of the planning process is remaining sensitive to each.

“The route we have laid out is truly remarkable,” Gallant says. With runners enthusiastically entering a lottery and asking when they can sign up to volunteer, the inaugural running of The Divide 200 is already eagerly anticipated.

For more information on The Divide 200 you can head here.

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