Alberta gets a new ultra series on a dramatic and wild landscape
The inaugural running of Grisly 26 set for May 23
Just before the Canadian Rockies sits Grande Cache, Alberta. Just to the south is Jasper National Park, and the east is Edmonton. Here, at the Nitehawk Adventure Park, the inaugural edition of the Grisly 26 will be run. The new ultramarathon is a loop-style race where participants run laps of the hilly and wild 6.5-km course over a 26-hour period until they can’t run any longer or they are the last runner standing
One of the founders of the race is “Fast” Eddy Dostaler who famously has made a habit out of running across Canada and back for a variety of worthy causes.
“The Grisly 26 was inspired by every run,” he says. “As a runner myself I wanted to create something which anyone could attend. I wanted it to be affordable, but at the same time present runners an opportunity to run a race that could see them potentially not finish. I find the biggest drive for myself is when I set sites on a goal, but not making that goal allows me to focus, overcome, and see limits I never dreamt I could have. That’s what I wanted to this event.”
Nitehawk Adventure Park is a non-profit recreational facility about 10 minutes south of Grande Prairie, the location of the second event, the Hawk 26, in this series dubbed the Grande Ultra Series.
For those who don’t know Grande Cache, it’s on the edge of the Rockies. Dostaler says the course will be a single, and double track, with a fast-paced open area and climbs that will allow you to push yourself to a calf-defining burn, so poles are recommended. There will be incredible sights and a chance of wildlife, hence the name.
“The Grisly 26 route was planned and mapped last summer and fall, in anticipation for the event,” he says. “If it’s wet, it’s going to be tough, and if it’s hot, it’s going to be tough, if you’re on a relay move when you can, and if you’re a soloist, “keep moving forward, hydrate, and eat on the go — this is no cakewalk.”
There is a relay option available in addition to solo runners, aid stations, medals, trophies and a $1,000 lottery open to anyone who completes a lap. Dostaler says he hopes to have between 300 and 400 runners out for the first event.
“Anyone running larger runs would take this as a serious contender for a beast of a training run that can’t be finished,” he says. “I feel it will be underestimated at first which will make it unique in its own way. It allows runners to take it as competitively as they wish, as even if they don’t make they’re cut off they can still continue after. Finally, I believe the back yard style will give more people an opportunity to engage and have lots of fun while running.”
The Grisly 26 is scheduled for May 23, 2020.