Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Bruce Peninsula 100km Multisport Ontario Race

The inaugural Bruce Peninsula Race was announced on Monday, February 28th 2011, exactly 365 days after the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. What do the two events have in common? Both will propel sport tourism.

The Bruce Peninsula Race is a unique 100km endurance challenge from North to South on the Bruce, designed by long-time Wiarton resident Jack Van Dorp. After finishing 9th in the World Multisport Championship in New Zealand, he and event consultant Leigh Grigg have put together the logistically-intense event scheduled it for Saturday August 13, 2011. But it won’t be without it’s rewards. The race is positioned to shine a spotlight on the rugged outdoor landscape of the Bruce Peninsula as Challenger course racers trace follow the edge of the Niagara Escarpment while running, biking and paddling.

Plans for the event include a live social media integrated web page to which spectators, media crews, and volunteers can post photos, video clips and tweets as the race progresses, not only to keep those waiting eagerly at the finish line up to date with progress on the course, but also to open the event to those around the world who couldn’t justify making the trip in the event’s first year. It’s a chance to show off the sights and sounds of the race and an important one for the long-term growth and success of the race.

Along with the 100km Challenger course which will see athletes bike-run-kayak-bike-run the Bruce, there will also be a much more achievable 25km paddle-bike-run Explorer course which follows in a loop from Wiarton to Colpoy’s Bay, Purple Valley and back. There will also be a kids race in Wiarton’s Bluewater Park.

Right from the initial discussions with regional authorities, such as the municipalities of Northern Bruce Peninsula and South Bruce Peninsula, organizers have emphasized that this event aims to draw major sport tourism to the area. The aim is to draw not only participants from out of the region, but to encourage traditional tourism in the way of campers, hikers, paddlers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts in general from the spotlight that will be shone, not to mention any incidental business investment to the event from outside Grey-Bruce. This is what sport tourism is about.

This is the first official GriggSport event in the area, which has been advocating these principles since it’s South Bruce Peninsula launch in November 2010. The Olympics have generated excellent sports ‘buzz’ in Canada. After the closing ceremonies of the games when VANOC CEO John Furlong pointed out just how much work volunteers had done to make sure the events went ahead, saying “Blue Jackets 1 – Cypress Mountain Weather 0,” the onus has been on people like Van Dorp and Grigg to build sports capacity at home, create sports opportunities, and represent Canada on the international stage.

The Peninsula Race will focus on being low-impact, another crucial priority considering the race will quite prominently feature the sensitive ecosystem of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere site. Race entries are limited for the event to ensure that it is environmentally sustainable. All proceeds from the event will be used to support sport initiatives on the Bruce Peninsula.

More information about the event can be found at




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