4 Beginner Friendly Trail Races

Get your trail-shoe-shod feet wet (or muddy) by signing up for one of these beginner friendly trail races

Want to get into the world of trail racing but aren’t yet ready to tackle technical terrain and extreme climbs? Get your trail-shoe-shod feet wet (or muddy) by signing up for one of these beginner friendly trail races.

Vancouver Island Trail Running Series
If you want a taste of some of the most amazing trail networks on Vancouver Island in a supportive and friendly environment, sign up for one (or more!) of the six Vancouver Island Trail Running Series races, which run from April to October and feature both beginner friendly and more challenging trail race course distances. The 6-9 km Sport Course distance featured at each race (along with a more challenging 12-16 km Gutbuster Long Course distance) is perfect for a trail running newbie, as it lets you experience a portion of the trail at half the distance. A great first-time trail race to try in this series is the Western Speedway race; participants of the 6 km Sport Course get to run a fun, twisty, single track dirt bike course with spectators lining the track and cheering them on.

Beaver Chase Trail Series
Segway from road to trail at one of Beaver Chase Trail Series’ five fun races held on dirt and gravel paths in Ottawa’s west end. The races, which take place from May until the end of August, are untimed (although there is a clock at the finish line if you want to track your own finish time) and feature a short (2 km) and long (5.5 km) course distances, so they’re perfect for all ages and abilities. They’re also super affordable—the race entry fee is only $5 for adults and $2 for youth 17 and under. Each event also features draw prizes, and if you run at four of the five Beaver Chase Trail Series events, you’ll receive a short sleeve commemorative t-shirt.

MEC race series
The Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) Race Series—organized and sponsored by the outdoor sporting goods store itself—are held on scenic and popular local running routes in communities all across Canada all year long, including serval trail running routes. The MEC Race Series offers a fun and welcoming atmosphere with an affordable race entry fee (just $15!), prizes, post-race snacks and race distances for all levels and abilities (generally a 5K, 10K, 15K and a half marathon distance). If you’re on the West Coast, sign up for The Summer Sprint in North Vancouver, which feature a 5 km and 10 km route along the Sea to Sky trail. If you’re on the East Coast, check out the Night Light Trail Race in Halifax, a fun 5 km trail race through McDonald Sports Park at night.     

5 Peaks Trail Running Series
You know a trail race series is beginner friendly when one of the first sentences you read on the homepage of their website is “Don’t be intimidated. These runs are for everyone.” The 5 Peaks trail races—held in some of the most spectacular natural spaces in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec—runs from May to September each year and features two or three course lengths to choose from: a shorter Sports Course of 7-8 km that’s perfect for trail running newbies; an Enduro Course of 12-15 km for more experienced runners; and a half marathon distance at some races for runners looking for even more of a challenge. Aside from children’s races, team challenges and a season pass option, you can get access to 5 Peaks personal trail running coaches to help you prepare for your first race.

Photo: sportpoint /">sportpoint /




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