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Registration opens to meet the mysterious Minotaur

Tuesday, 14 November 2017. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Registration opens to meet the mysterious Minotaur
Race director Andrew Fairhurst has a congratulatory moment with Noah Schuh at the August race. Noah was third to cross the finish line, only 18 minutes behind race winner Troy Misseghers.   Photos by Shannon Robison

Registration opens to meet the mysterious Minotaur

By Georgia Dale

In ancient Greek mythology, the Minotaur is a grotesque and terrifying creature that dwells within a maze.

The creators of Meet the Minotaur pay homage to the beast by daring participants to challenge their minds as much as their bodies in a daunting mountain race billed as being “as vicious as it is beautiful, and as soul-crushing as it is soul-satisfying.”

Registration for the second annual race opens this Wednesday. There will be a maximum of 258 participants. The race will be held Aug. 25, 2018.

According to the event website, the Minotaur is not merely a trail race, an obstacle course or an adventure race, but “the chance to find out who you are and what you’re really made of.”

Erin Fairhurst, one of the race founders, says the complex course — 15 to 20 kilometres over varied mountain terrain — will remain top secret until the day before it begins.

The Minotaur is comprised of  “unusual terrain,” she says, and will include bushwhacking, scree scrambles and a lot of elevation gains and descents.

The crux of the challenge is that the course is marked, but not mapped beforehand. Competitors will not be able to follow a familiar trail — or any trail for that matter. In fact, they will have to finish the course before they are able to look at a map and finally get a bird’s-eye view of their achievement. Erin says they will be “blown away.”

It’s a challenge as much for the mind as for the body, though with eight hours to finish, and helmets and other safety equipment required, the Minotaur is quite the extreme physical undertaking.

Meet the Minotaur was held for the first time this past August and was a hit with the competitors. Many signed up because of the mystery and intrigue attached to the race, and found the day to be extremely gratifying.

Erin says the Minotaur is meant, above all, to be “a great day outside.”

This year’s Minotaur began with some bushwhacking at the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre west of Coleman and advanced into the Sentry Mountain area.

Local ultra-athlete Troy Misseghers was the winner of the inaugural race, but the course is also designed to appeal to slightly more casual athletes.

Race founders are looking forward to watching the event gain momentum and feel that it’s a great opportunity to showcase the beautiful Crowsnest Pass scenery and terrain.

They recommend that anyone interested in competing start their training by getting outside, challenging themselves with lots of elevation gains and “pushing their comfort zones.”

The Minotaur will have morphed next year and his whereabouts will remain classified until race day — though the organizers love to tease contestants with riddles and clues in the months leading up to the event.

They promise that the race on Aug. 25 will be “super hard and super rewarding.” Their first riddle: Why did they choose the seemingly random number of 258 participants?

20170826 Minotaur 14
Participants in the first edition of Meet the Minotaur were surprised to find themselves bushwhacking right from the start line.