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Team of 18 women attempting record-setting run on Ontario’s 885-kilometre Bruce Trail

A group of 18 women will attempt to run the 885-kilometre Bruce Trail in southern and central Ontario in record time beginning on July 1.

Bruce Trail

Early morning on the Bruce. #brucetrail #wilsbrucechase #trailrunning

A photo posted by Wild Bruce Chase (@wildbrucechase) on

Eighteen women from across southern Ontario will try to complete the 885-kilometre Bruce Trail in July faster than any other women’s team before them. The attempt, known as the “Wild Bruce Chase” will begin on July 1 in Tobermory, Ont. and finish, if all goes as planned, in Niagara Falls five days later.

The fastest known time, commonly abbreviated to FKT, for a women’s team is five days, 17 hours and 56 minutes according to the group’s organizer, Erin Dasher. The current end-to-end relay fastest known time is three days, 23 hours and 10 minutes. The FKT is another term for the record.

“We’re just a group looking for a good challenge,” says Dasher, who is the Ontario race director for the 5 Peaks trail running series. “For us, it’s about having a really cool team experience.”

The current all-women’s relay record is held by a team of 15, the first and only time an all-women’s squad has completed the nearly 900-kilometre trip between Tobermory and Niagara Falls.

Dasher and the Offtrackers, a separate trail team, attempted 12-hour and 48-hour fastest known distance attempts on the Bruce Trail recently as well. The Bruce Trail is a popular trail that runs through southern and central Ontario. See fun facts about the Bruce here.

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The women range in age from their twenties to their forties and have differing experience as runners, either long-distance or short-distance, on the roads or on the trails. Dasher, who is based in Toronto, says that runners will be assigned to legs of the relay which they are most comfortable with – technical terrain, hilly terrain, distance and time of day are all taken into account – rather than a consistent order.

Five to six runners will travel in an “active team van” for their legs while the rest of the group is at a base camp with a secondary van. Each proceeding group will leapfrog the previous and be brought to their starting point along the Bruce Trail.

Every great team needs a rad logo. ?? #wildbrucechase #brucetrail #trailrunning #trailrunner

A photo posted by Wild Bruce Chase (@wildbrucechase) on

Because the relay will be run over multiple days, some runners may not be available for certain legs of the race. The shorter legs will be 8-10K with the longest portions of the relay being upwards of 24K. When Dasher got wind of the fastest known time, her and the group she runs with figured that it was an attainable goal.

RELATED: New event coming to Ontario’s Bruce Trail: Tobermory trail race weekend.

From there, Dasher sent out a call-out and decided on 18 women since it was a mix between having enough runners and keeping the group small enough that it’s not a problem logistically. Dasher knows everyone on the team, or at least, is one friend removed.

The final number of relay team participants was also based on kilometres run as those involved want to run enough distance that it’s considered a challenge. Some runners will be doubling with two runs per day.

As for the team name? Dasher says the group wanted to incorporate the word “bruce” into it. And while the attempt isn’t quite a wild goose chase, since the team has a reasonable shot at breaking the previous known best, she says that the run being a wild “wild bruce chase” was appropriate.

The Wild Bruce Chase has also received overwhelming support from runners looking to help out in a secondary role meaning volunteers will run alongside relay team runners for safety purposes without officially being part of the 18-person squad.

Close. Tobermory ➡️ Niagara. ? @cassieshirley #BruceTrail #WildBruceChase

A photo posted by Wild Bruce Chase (@wildbrucechase) on

The group has an Instagram account, where they will be posting photos, while Canadian Running will also provide updates closer to the departure date, which falls on Canada Day.