Nine Locals Compete In Canadian Death Race


Photo courtesy of Mark Childs

On Saturday July 30th, nine local runners took part in the Canadian Death Race in Grand Cache, Alberta.

The Canadian Death Race is a 125-km ultra-marathon run in the small town of Grand Cache annually on the Civic long weekend.  You can attempt this race on your own, or create a relay team to finish the five legs, each with a unique distance and elevation profile.  Wallaceburg’s Defiance Running Club entered in two teams to the Canadian Rockies.  Their goal was not to necessarily win the relay race, rather, they agreed to run side-by-side together showing camaraderie and perseverance for a very gruelling 24-hour race.  It was more of a bucket list accomplishment for these 9 adrenaline seeking runners.

Team One consisted of team captain Joe Perry of Wallaceburg, Matthew Anthony of Port Lambton, Sarah Cogghe of Wallaceburg, Kevin O’Connor of Wallaceburg and Joanne Johnson of Edmonton.  Team two featured team captain Mark Childs of Wallaceburg, Leon Roegiest of Wallaceburg, Jason Cogghe of Wallaceburg, Bryan Cowden of Wallaceburg and Dave McCaughrin of Dresden.

The teams both finished with a time of 19 hours.  The weather for the race start was a friendly overcast sky with a temperature of about 10 degrees.  Matthew Anthony and Leon Roegiest gave the teams a great head start with a 19-km run throughout the town of Grand Cache and into the outskirts of town.  At the two hour mark they passed on their coin to Sarah and Jason Cogghe.  The second leg climbed two steep mountain summits at 6000 and 6500 feet with rough, muddy terrain for a total of 27 kilometres.  After 4 hours and 39 minutes, Sarah and Jason passed on the coin to Mark Childs and Kevin O’Connor.  It is now about 2:45 in the afternoon with sunny skies and temperature still in the upper teens.

Mark and Kevin ran 19 kilometres in the hot valley sun.  They experienced rocky, rough terrain that was hard to run their normal pace.  After 3 hours, the coin was passed on to Joe Perry and Bryan Cowden for leg 4.  It was 6pm and the weather was on their side.  It was sunny, calm and the sunlight would last until 10pm.  Their leg was the longest at 38km long with a 7000ft 10km ascend up Mount Hamel and down, followed by an 18-km flat terrain run.  The thunderstorms rolled in, snowed topped the mountain but Joe and Bryan fought through the 5 hour 45 minute leg passing the coins onto Dave McCaughrin and Joanne Johnson.  It was now midnight.  The temperature is now seven degrees.

The rain calmed down.  Dave and Joanne, without any assistance but a headlamp and strong will finished their 19km leg in three hours.  The coin is used as a relay baton.  It is symbolic to Grand Cache as it allows you to cross the river on a jet boat ferry back into town.  If the coin is lost, you and your team are disqualified.  At 3am they crossed the finish line with all 10 members hand in hand.  Everyone is exhausted, beat up, but full of good spirits.  Out of 102 teams, both Defiance teams placed in the middle of the pack.  A lot of solo runners and relay teams were pulled off Mt. Hamel in leg 4 because of the severe conditions showing how tough and well prepared the two Wallaceburg teams were.  The Defiance Running club will be looking into another adventure run next year.

Share This


Wordpress (0)