As the months are passing by us alongside chocolate indulging holidays, seems now may be the ideal time to set a future target to physically motivate yourself to maintain your fitness routine. We’re happy to highlight five upcoming off road physical challenges that may be the motivator you’re looking for.


July 16 & 17, 2016 in Blue Mountain Resort

The North Face Endurance Challenge is bringing their world-class trail races back to Blue Mountain for the third year in a row  offering a slew of distances – 5km, 10km, half marathon, marathon relay, marathon, 50km and 50 miles.

Everyone who ran the 5km race last year that I spoke to, said they wish they signed up for a longer one. The adrenalin from running through the captivating and challenging terrain will easily carry you for an extra little bit. As the race isn’t until mid-July, you have plenty of training time to tackle a distance that will make you proud!

Each course exhibits Ontario’s most pronounced elevation gain as the it runs along the Niagara Escarpment and through the ski trails of the Blue Mountains. Your quad muscles will be burning! The course is also well marked so you won’t worry about getting lost, and you will be surrounded by others.

Grab a pair of trail running shoes and sign up for the 2016 #ECSON!

Our Best of Toronto readers get a special DISCOUNT CODE: DD30KKON15 for 15% off any distance. CLICK HERE to register.

The North Face Endurance Challenge Ontario

The atmosphere in the Blue Mountain village after the North Face Endurance Challenge is spectacular! Photo by Kent Keeler


April 28, 2016 in Barrie

This was my first ever trail race and it’ll always be one of my favourites. If you’re new to off road running, you have to give Pick Your Poison a try because it embodies traditional trail running including, hills and elevation, camaraderie of the running community and race organizers, beyond AMAZING food, a great looking medal and a unique swag bag.

The course runs through the hills of Horseshoe Valley and offers distances of 12.5 km, 25km and 50km.

To register for Pick Your Poison, CLICK HERE.

5 PEAKS Trail Runs

April 30, 2016 to September 10, 2016, all close to GTA

5 Peaks off road races are very popular in Ontario and across Canada. They’re the perfect entry point for new runners mostly offering shorter distances between 5km to 12km with the same amazing atmosphere you can expect from any off-road run.

What makes 5 Peaks wonderful are the returning runners. If you commit to at least a couple races during the season, you will make long lasting friendships with fellow runners and get to know the race directors quite intimately. It’s a family environment. And, so, children are also welcome and have their own 1km run that’s always a ton of fun for the kids and the spectators.

DISCOUNT code: Use KENT for $5 off race registration.

Start of a 5 Peaks Ontario race. Snapped by Kent Keeler.


May 28, 2016 in Ancaster

Sulphur Springs is a race that every hard-core trail runner in Ontario has done, loves and would suggest for you to run. Each distance is as challenging – from 10km to 100 miles –  as it is beautiful. Starting at the Ancaster Community Centre, the race weaves through the spectacular Dundas Valley trails. If you’ve never been to Dundas Valley, google it and see the beauty of it for yourself.

A unique feature of the race is that it’s non-for-profit with the proceeds donated to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area – Sulphur Springs for use in trail maintenance and marking.

To register for Sulphur Springs, click here. #RunSulphur

XTERRA Mine Over Matter Triathlon, Duathlon, Trail Run

June 25, 2016 in Milton

If this year’s goal is to challenge yourself, then consider the XTERRA triathlon, short and long distances, and duathlon races. As the winner of multiple Readers Choice Award for Best Off Road Triathlon, you bet you’re going to challenge yourself but also have the time of your life!

These races are well attended and admired by many because of the luscious terrain that you get to experience biking, running and swimming. For those concerned about the swim portion, nothing to worry about because it’s in the spring-fed, baby blue waters of the Kelso Quarry.

XTERRA offers a welcoming and supportive environment for first-time, multi-sport racers as well as seasoned athletes. And, if triathlon isn’t for you, there’s a trail race and an open water swim you can enjoy!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the XTERRA Mine Over Matter race

Xterra Mine Over Matter Triathlon Championships by John Short

Xterra Mine Over Matter Triathlon Championships. Snapped by John Short

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Natalie Korol

Nat Korol likes helping metropolitan dwellers lead a healthy, active lifestyle & especially enjoy the outdoors! She's a competing trail runner and an avid yogi. Follow Nat on Twitter + Instagram (@NatYKorol)