Eastern Canada gets a new Spartan Trail race this summer

Owl's Head will be Canada's only stop for the new event series on July 1

In a move that will shake up the trail running and obstacle race scene in Canada, Spartan Race, one of the best-known obstacle race and fitness purveyors on the planet, is making the move beyond the mud pits and monkey bars to host the Eastern Canada Trail race — a new 10K and 21K event in Owl’s Head, Quebec this summer.

“Spartan has inspired millions to live healthier lifestyles through OCR and training programs, and we’re excited to expand our experiences and community by introducing the growing sport of trail running to our event lineup,” said Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena.

“The ancient Spartans ran on trails to train, so it’s a natural extension of our brand as we work to motivate people everywhere to step outside of their comfort zones and learn there’s no limit to what they can achieve. Spartan Trail will provide a new opportunity to our racers while offering the trail running community an event like they have never experienced before.”

Launching April 14 outside of Seattle, WA, Spartan Trail events take place in some of nature’s most breathtaking landscapes.  

Eastern Canada will host one race in 2019.

Eastern Canada Trail at Owl’s Head will offer runners tough climbs, breathtaking views and technical terrain.  The thick forests and rocky peaks of the northern Adirondacks provide a solid backdrop for the first Canadian Spartan Trail Race on June 30, 2019.

Spartan Trail Race was developed by prominent ultra-runners Charlie Engle and Luis Escobar, who have brought their experience and knowledge of the trail running industry to Spartan.  The two will act as co-race directors, closely working with Spartan to craft each trail course.

“We’re confident the sentiment Luis and I feel for Spartan Trail will echo throughout the passionate trail running community as we’ve worked to shape the series, first and foremost as trail runners, understanding the wants and needs of our peers,” said Engle.


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Heel Striking For Runners - How Bad Is It?

It has been reported that up to 95% of all runners instinctively strike the ground with their heel first. Meanwhile, running experts and shoe companies have been pushing hard for change for quite some time, proposing with vigour that mid-foot and even fore-foot striking is the better way to go. Their

argument goes that by landing further forward on the foot, it decreases landing loads on muscles, joints and tendons, and in the process makes you a more efficient and faster runner. Some claim that we have become overly reliant on cushioned shoes that brace our impact to the point that we no longer recognise the damage of landing heel first.

Despite these assertions, there exists no hard proof that mid-foot/fore-foot striking reduces injuries. What is true is that some people, often high-level runners, naturally land on the mid-foot (they tend to be “biomechanically perfect, with wide forefeet, neutral arches, and flexible calves”) but the larger issue is the conversion of natural heel-strikers to try to alter their landing pattern. Anecdotal evidence suggests that inexperienced runners attempting to make this change often develop injuries such as Achilles Tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis and, in some cases, even metatarsal stress fractures.

In fact, studies have shown that recreational runners are more efficient striking heel first. The results of one study confirmed that walking with a heel-first strike pattern “reduced the metabolic cost of walking by 53%.” This, in large part, demonstrates why slower runners usually make initial contact with their heels.

As well, most recreational runners clearly stated during research that heel-striking is more comfortable than mid/fore-foot striking and video evidence showed that the transition to minimalist footwear by this group of runners did not significantly alter their strike patterns.

The fallout is that contrary to what many ‘experts’ suggest, heel striking is safe and, for many, a more efficient way to run. 95% of runners can’t possibly all be wrong.