Gatineau River Games, July 10
The Place: Wakefield, QC. About half an hour from Ottawa, this bilingual village is known for its access to nature, quaint inns and pretty red-covered bridge.
The Race: Now in its second year, this family-friendly fitness event is all about the water. Sign up for swimming races in 500-metre, 1K or 2K distances or 2K or 5K stand-up paddleboarding events. The aquathlon encompasses a 1K swim and a 5K run, half of which is on a trail and half on the road. Racers in the Gatineau River Games will receive a custom bathing cap and recovery food and have the chance to win prizes.
Training Tips: While pool swimming helps you build endurance, it’s a good idea to practise in open water, too. Wetsuits are allowed, for floatation and warmth, so consider picking one up and testing it out before the race. If you’re aspiring to the aquathlon, get in at least a few workouts where you train in both sports sequentially – it can be harder than you think to run after swimming for a kilometre!
While You’re There: Wakefield is surrounded by Gatineau Park, whose 361 square kilometres of terrain include hiking and biking trails, boating, fishing, swimming and even rock climbing. Save at least half a day to soothe tired muscles in the waters of Nordik Spa-Nature, the largest spa in North America. Its seven outdoor baths, eight different saunas and saltwater floating pool are separated into silent, whispering and social areas, so you can pick the mood that suits you that day.