Endurrun challenge kicks off in Waterloo

It's been called the ‘Tour de France of running,' and for people who embarked on the Endurrun on Sunday, it's seven days of pushing themselves to the limits.

It’s been called the ‘ultimate test of endurance’ and the ‘Tour de France of running,’ and for people who embarked on the Endurrun on Sunday, it’s seven days of pushing themselves to the limits.

Endurrun, taking place in the Kitchener/Waterloo area in Ontario, kicked off on Sunday, Aug. 7, and isn’t finished until Sunday, Aug. 14. Each day brings with it a different event, and participants can either be Ultimate runner and do the entire 160K of running, a Weekend Warrior and do the three day 77.8K Sport event, enter a relay team, or be a one day guest runner.

The event kicked off Sunday with a half marathon in Conestogo, Ont., where runners were able to run on the scenic nature trails along the Conestogo River. On Monday, runners took part in a 15K time trial in Cambridge, where the course immediately starts with a major hill.

The events continue throughout the week. Tuesday is a 30K trail run in Waterloo with quite a few “ups-and-downs” hills, according to race organizers. Wednesday is a 10 mile hill run in Heidelberg, the first of the “Mountain” runs, where the winner of these stages is crowned “King of the Mountain.” (Or Queen, depending on who wins.)

Thursday is a mandatory rest day, and then it’s back to the action on Friday with a 25.6K Alpine Run in Kitchener, run through the Chicopee Ski Resort. Saturday is a 10K time trial in Elmira, Ont., and the event finishes off on Sunday with a full marathon on a Boston-qualifier course in Conestogo.

There are even cash prizes available for the winners. The first overall male and female will get $750 each, second place will get $350 and third place $150. If someon breaks a course record, there’s an extra $500 in it for them. So far, Charles Bedley holds the men’s course record with a time of 9:37:38, set in 2004, and Jackie Jackman holds the women’s in 12:07:47, set in 2010.

For more information and to watch videos of the runners in action, visit the Endurrun website.