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Racers prepare to meet the Minotaur

Wednesday, 23 August 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Racers prepare to meet the Minotaur
This crew came out regularly for Minotaur Mondays in preparation for this weekend’s race. Participants will be challenged, but will also be rewarded by incredible views and terrain as shown below.  Photos by Andrew Fairhurst

Racers prepare to meet the Minotaur

By Tyler Ryan

Runners will be challenged to traverse brutal terrain and staggering elevation gains as a new adventure race takes off Saturday in Crowsnest Pass.

Andrew Fairhurst, one of the co-ordinators, is excited to bring another punishing race to the Pass — Meet the Minotaur — that will test even the most seasoned athletes.

The Minotaur team has “created a race course that is truly going to challenge people, both physically and mentally,” he says. Partners in the venture are Andrew’s wife, Erin, and Ian and Susan Lowe-Wilde.

Andrew willingly shares basic facts about the race, but key details — including the course route — have been kept shrouded in secrecy.

Meet the Minotaur is a solo race. After hitting the trail, runners will attempt to overcome 20.2 kilometres of scree, bushwhacking and unmarked paths.  

Participants face an elevation gain of 1,875 metres (6,150 feet) in this mountain race. It  starts and ends in the same place, so competitors need to anticipate doubling the elevation gain distance.  

“I think the most challenging part of the Minotaur is going to be the type of terrain that [racers] are on and the fact that there’s really no reprieve,” Andrew says.

Other races and marathons tend to have an easier section where competitors have a chance to recover.

“In the Minotaur, there isn’t a section like that at all,” he says. “It’s going to be in your face the entire time.”

Registration for Meet the Minotaur has closed, and volunteer needs have been filled.

Many of the 120 competitors hail from Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek and areas like Calgary and Edmonton. A few more are coming from other parts of Canada and even from Montana.

Erin Fairhurst says a group of runners met every Monday from late March to the end of July for Minotaur Mondays.

“The idea was to bring together an informal group of people who wanted to push their comfort zones, explore and be active,” Erin says.

Initially 10 people came out for Minotaur Mondays, but as the weather improved and word got out, the number of runners doubled. Some regularly made the trip from Lethbridge to take part every week.

“We had a ton of fun doing it and it was great to see many people push themselves and explore new terrain,” Erin says.

The race starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, at an undisclosed Crowsnest Pass location. Anyone crossing the line after the 6 p.m. cut-off time will not be recorded in the list of finishers.

Sponsored prizes will be awarded to the top three men and women, and there will be other giveaways to competitors and volunteers.

Erin says the start and finish location will not be divulged until Friday.

Those interested in cheering for the racers can learn the location by checking the Meet the Minotaur Facebook page on Friday afternoon as the start and finish line is the only place to catch the racers.

“We don’t want to encourage people to go out on the course as there isn’t a trail for them to follow,” she says. “It is literally bushwhacking and we don’t want people to inadvertently get into unexpected terrain.”

Even the volunteers going to the checkpoints will all have to hike a few hours before getting to where they need to be.

People are also encouraged to pop into Spry, in downtown Blairmore, between noon and 6 p.m. on Friday for more race information. An adventure slideshow will be shown at 5 p.m. and is free for anyone to attend.

Andrew says the Meet the Minotaur team hopes to bring the race back next year, and to make it an annual event.

In ancient Greek mythology, the minotaur was a monster — part man and part beast — that was locked away in a labyrinth after it became too powerful. To escape the maze, a worthy hero would need to face the minotaur and defeat it.

In this modern face-off, Andrew says contestants will confront many different obstacles and will need to overcome them to “beat the minotaur.”

N.D 2

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From the August 23, 2017 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze.
Photos are protected by copyright and may not be used
in any way without permission.
Additional photos from events may be available.
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In Pincher Creek, call Jessica Jensen at 403-904-2227
or in Crowsnest Pass, call Maureen Bevan at 403-563-9192.
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