The wilderness challenge of Racing the Giant

Test your skills on the trails and waters in this wilderness paradise known for outdoor adventure.

The Xterra Sleeping Giant 2019 is an event that is sure to take your breath away more ways than one. The endureance test of triathlon is one thing, but the rugged beauty of the race venue in the wilderness setting of one of Ontario’s most popular provincial parks is another..

Start planning your trip to Thunder Bay and take up the challenge for this year's event in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The race date is Saturday, August 24th.

The Off-Road Triathlon is the signature event for the festival with the three-sport race involving swimming, biking, and runnng testing the skills of competitors in this wilderness paradise known for year-round outdoor adventure.

The Xterra Sleeping Giant is more than your average off-road triathlon. There are other race options where participants can make their mark in this festival of endurance off-road challenges. Register online now and save before August 7 and  then start planning your trip with accommodation options listed on Visit Thunder Bay.

More than a triathlon

The Xterra Sleeping Giant Triathlon is part of the Ontario Element Racing Series, with the feature race a full distance off-road triathlon that is a qualifier to the XTERRA World Championships in Maui Hawaii. There are 15 spots available this year for the top male and female finishers to complete the 1,000-metre swm, 24-km bike, and 17-km run.

For those not up to the challenge, there are a number of other options if you want to be part of this exciting test of fitness. Get three people and sign up for the long course relay or enter the short course individual triathlon of a 500-metre swim, 12-km brike and 5-km run.

Interested particpants can also register for a bike-run duathlon, or if you are up to it,  take on the challenge of the half-marathon 21k trail run. There is also a 5 k run and mini-triathlons for kids.

Sleeping Giant is worth the journey

This race course has everything you would come to expect when racing in the remote wilderness of Northern Ontario. The boreal forest, Canadian Shield rock outcrops and views of Lake Superior provide an unique race envrionment.

It starts with an early Saturday morning with a swim in the clean and clear spring-fed waters of Marie Louise Lake, located in centre of the Sibley Peninsula.  

From there, the participants will face the contrast between the beauty and the beast of this rugged Northern Ontario park in the bike and run segments.

The Beauty is the cycle of the undulating, predominately single grassy mountain bike trail. The track is intended to be a fast ride but provides ample opportunity for passing.  

The Beast refers to the more technical, yet beautiful trail run. Runners will trek through forest canopies and over creeks but along the way will be provided with stunning views of Lake Superior, one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.  

Gord Ryan is the driving force behind the Thunder Bay off road race having traveled to triathlons around the world to compete himself.

“I wanted a race that would have some international appeal,” Ryan said. “So by using our world renowned landmark, the Sleeping Giant we felt we could draw more people to Thunder Bay to compete in the remote wilderness setting of one of Ontario's pristine provincial parks a short drive from the city.``

Greg Wilson, a former superintendant at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, has given his endorsement as a two-time competitor of the Xterra Sleeping Giant Triathlon.

“The Xterra Sleeping Giant is a challenging course that gives a sense of satisfaction,” Wilson explains at a media event held at Fresh Air, a local outdoor store that have put their support behind the event.. 

“A lot of the athletes will comment that it is one of the more difficult courses that they have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding because of the natural beauty,” said Wilson.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park has alway been a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts but now it has become a venue to host events. Aside from the triathlon, the park is home to the Sleeping Giant Loppet, a popular cross-country ski event held for the past 40 years the first Saturday in March. And recently, a winter fat bike race has been added taking the the week after the Loppet in March

About John Cameron

John knows what Northwest Ontario and Thunder Bay has to offer as a tourism destination. A life long resident of the region, John has lived in Thunder Bay for over 30 years. A former sports journalist, John has a passion sports having worked in television, radio and print. He continues to write a weekly column on curling for Thunder Bay’s daily paper, the Chronicle Journal. John works as a development officer for Tourism Thunder Bay with sports tourism a key part of his portfolio.

Recommended Articles

Search Thunder Bay