When COVID forced organizers of the Canadaman/Woman Xtri event to move the date to October in 2021, athletes, fans and spectators alike raved about the spectacular scenery on race day. Those comments were just one of the reasons organizers have decided to move the race date to October 6, 2024 next year, with the expectation that the race will continue on that weekend in the years ahead.
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Long renowned as Canada’s toughest triathlon, the day begins at 4:30 AM with a 3.8 km swim in Lac Megantic, then there’s a 180 km bike along the Route des Somme’s that includes 2,500 m of climbing, followed by a 42 km run that features 1,200 m of elevation gain and ends at the Mont Megantic Observatory. Like the famed Norseman XTri event, athletes must have a companion for the final stages of the run since it’s so tough. This year organizers introduced a Solo .5 race that allowed athletes to get a flavour of the Xtreme event over roughly half the distance.
The race was founded by endurance and nature-lovers Jean-Thomas Boily and Daniel Poirier, who came up with the idea for the Canada Man/Woman event as a way to try and help Lac-Megantic after the horrific train crash and explosion that killed 47 people and devastated the downtown area. In addition to the two long-distance races, there’s a sprint-distance race on the Saturday before the race, too, which brings more athletes to the region. And, yes, it’s likely the hardest sprint in the country, too, with lots of climbing for both the bike and run courses. While the race doesn’t feature a large field, the show produced by race organizers appears in over 125 countries around the world. The stunning footage pays tribute to both the impressive athletic achievements and the spectacular scenery of the region.
In 2021 the swim was shortened due to cold water and air temperatures, but race organizers plan on doing the full swim as long as conditions permit. Athletes competing in Xtri events are allowed to wear boots, hoods and gloves. (The Celtman! Extreme Scottish Triathlon prides itself on its “cold, consistently cold” water and offers a shortened 3.4 km swim course. “Even with this shortened distance athletes can suffer badly from cold,” the event website proudly proclaims.)
Registration is open for the event, with 80 spots available for the Xtri race and 100 slots open for the Solo .5.