12 Fun Canadian Fitness Challenges to Try in 2016

Make fitness fun by challenging yourself to complete one of these exciting fitness events across Canada, one for each month of the year

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January: Winterlude Triathlon, Ottawa

Get ready to warm up during one of the coldest months of the year with this wintery triathlon in Canada’s Capital City. The Winterlude Triathlon in Ottawa includes 8 km of skating on the iconic Rideau Canal, 8 km of cross-country skiing and a 5 km run. Just don’t forget to lace up your skates and strap on your skis to train before January 30th.

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February: Ice Canoeing, Quebec City

Though not an official event, ice canoeing is a fun (and difficult) fitness challenge that every Canadian should try at least once. It’s also something you can only do in Quebec, thanks to the size of the St. Lawrence river, its ever-changing currents, and the frigid temperatures that create large floating ice slabs.

The pieces of ice cover the surface of the river and float along with the currents, while you navigate your way through, alternating between running on the crackling ice and rowing through the river.

Can’t picture it? This YouTube video should help.

Want to try it? Go here.

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March: Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run, Toronto

This cheerful event will lift your sad winter spirits and help you welcome spring a week early. Every year, Downtown Toronto runners but on their greenest running gear to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with a (hopefully) warm Sunday morning run. The annual Achilles St. Patrick’s Day Run starts and ends at Steam Whistle Brewing, where you can celebrate crossing the finish line with some hot chili and cold beer.

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April: Sunshine Coast April Fools’ Run, B.C.

Canada finally starts to warm up in April, and what better way to celebrate than a long run on B.C.’s sunshine coast? On this April Fools-themed run, some seriously beautiful scenery awaits. The event includes a half marathon, relay and a kids’ race. The half marathon goes along the coast, from Gibsons to Sechelt, with a scenic rural setting along the way.

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May: Tour La Nuit, Montreal

Cycle 21 km through the romantic nighttime streets of Canada’s most European city. You’ll get to experience the shimmering city lights of Montréal by night and get energized by participants’ costumes and colourful bikes. Get more info here.

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June: 24 Hours of Light Mountain Bike Festival, Whitehorse, Yukon

The residents of Yukon may have to settle in for some dark winters, but when the summer light returns, it doesn’t quit. Yukon is the land of the midnight sun, which means the sun stays high in the sky for most of the summer. That’s why Yukon is home to the only 24 hour bike race in the world in which lights are illegal. Instead, cyclists ride all night with the nighttime sunshine as a guide. Mountain bikers of all ages (and abilities) will be treated to scenic views and stunning light.

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July: Wanderlust Yoga Festival, Whistler, B.C.

Strike a yoga pose surrounded by mountains, trees and water in beautiful Whistler, B.C. Wanderlust yoga festival is every yogi’s Pinterest board come to life. At the festival, you’ll learn from world-class instructors, eat local, organic food and listen to live music. Oh, and you’ll leave feeling fitter, limber and centered. That’s a fitness challenge everyone can appreciate.

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August: Not Since Moses 5k and 10k Run, Five Islands, Nova Scotia

The Not Since Moses Run might be your only chance to race on the ocean floor. Seriously. While the tide is out on The Bay of Fundy, runners head out on to the ocean floor for a fun workout that earns them major bragging rights. Choose from a 5km or 10km option. Either way, you’ll be treated to beautiful views and a truly unique experience. Just get ready to get muddy. It is the ocean floor, after all.

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September: The Kalamalka Classic Paddleboard Festival, Okanagan, B.C.

Not only is stand-up paddleboarding a great workout, it’s also a lot of fun. This laid-back two-day festival in the Okanagan celebrates the spirit of the sport with recreational races, a team relay and even a kids’ race. The best part? Proceeds from the Kalamalka Classic go to the protection of the beautiful, scenic Kalamalka Lake where the events take place, so you can keep coming back every year to enjoy it.

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October: Collingwood Half Marathon and 10K; Collingwood, Ontario

What better way to celebrate autumn than with a fitness challenge in crisp fall air? The Collingwood half marathon has the perfect mix of small-town charm, colourful fall foliage and views of the Niagara Escarpment. Bonus: It’s also a fast run, thanks to the downhill route.

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November: Downsview Airport Run, Toronto

This airport run gives new meaning to the word ‘runway.’ Starting at at the edge of the airfield, runners are guided by traffic controllers, past airplanes and along the runway. There’s an 8k and 5k option, as well as a 1k route for kids, which is perfect if your little one is fascinated with flying! (Don’t worry, no planes will take off during the race.)

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December: The Santa Shuffle, Across Canada

End your year of fitness with a fun and festive event the whole family can enjoy. The Santa Shuffle takes place across Canada, and includes a 5k fun run and 1k ‘elf walk’ that the kiddos can enjoy too. It’s also an event you can feel good about during the holiday season. Funds raised help The Salvation Army assist families in need at Christmas.

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