A race that challenges your fear of heights

The crew behind the Minotaur SkyRace in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta set out to create a race that elevates athletes to a unique experience on unique terrain. With their race becoming the only North American leg of the World Skyrunning Series, they were successful. Minotaur SkyRace has over 2,900 meters of climbing and 33 km on rocks and trails, and will join ten other races in the Skyrunner World Series. The race debuts this Saturday, June 25. The event also features the most difficult 10 km race in Canada, called the Mini-Taur, with 1,000 m of elevation gain.

Photo: First Light Visual Media

In 2017, the race directors Erin and Andrew Fairhurst and Ian and Susan Lowe-Wylde introduced Meet the Minotaur, an event where riders rode a secret course that was only accessible to them 24 hours before the start. “The runners loved it, but it became very difficult for the directors to maintain,” says Erin. The race directors wanted to keep the terrain challenging and spectacular, but create a course that could be used every year. After consulting with the Canadian elite and former skyrunner Adam Campbell, they approached the International Skyrunning Federation to see what a qualifying race required. Minotaur SkyRace was born and its inaugural race was highly anticipated.

Joanna Ford, an ultrarunner with considerable mountain experience from Calgary, Alta., describes the course as “rough, steep, relentless and thrilling.” She says she is 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 Marin Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation. The World Series website attests that it has “become the pinnacle of outdoor racing defined by altitude and technical difficulty”. Highly technical races, held in some of the most breathtaking locations on the planet, 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 inspired many local mountain crushers to compete against some of the best in the world. It’s super exciting to see these athletes have a venue to show off their skills,” adds Ford.

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