Canada’s Top Running Events

Although the Great White North is best known for its hockey and lacrosse, running has seen thriving growth over the years in Canada. From 5Ks to ultramarathons, let’s take a look at some of Canada’s most popular running events.

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Trail Races

With distances ranging from shorter than a 5k to as long as an ultramarathon, trail races are characterized by off-road paths that give runners the chance to commune with nature and get some mud on their shoes.

Canadian Death Race – Grande Cache, Alberta

• Month: August
• Distance: 125 km or relay
• Course: A 125-kilometer loop begins and ends at a 4,200-foot plateau, traveling over three mountain summits and a river crossing where the Smoky and Sulphur Rivers meet.
• With over 17,000 feet of elevation change, extreme weather, and long distances between aid stations, this race is recommended only for those have fully prepared physically and mentally.

Run for the Toad – Paris, Ontario

• Month: October
• Distance: 25 km and 50 km
• Course: A 12.5-kilometer loop takes runners over rolling terrain.
• The largest trail race in Canada, the Run for the Toad offers a surprisingly intimate atmosphere thanks to the care and attention to detail displayed by the race directors, George and Peggy Sarson.


While they’re not the same length as a full marathon, these races still offer plenty of history, challenge, and fun.

Around the Bay 30K Road Race – Hamilton, Ontario

• Month: March
• Distance: 5 km or 30 km
• Course: Starting at Hamilton Harbour, the route following the shores of Lake Ontario.
• The Around the Bay Road Race was originally run in 1894, three years before the Boston Marathon, making it the oldest road race in North America. Filled with tradition, the race remains a challenging run to this day.

Staircase Challenge – Quebec City, Quebec

• Month: June
• Distance: About 13 km or about 19 km
• Course: Take all the staircases connecting Upper and Lower Quebec City—about 30 staircases, totaling over 3,000 stairs.
• If that doesn’t sound like enough of a physical test, the race offers three challenges: best overall time, best climber (fastest time up the 398 steps of the last staircase, the Cap-Blanc), and best sprinter (fastest time along the 1.5 km after the last stairs). Get ready to feel the burn.

Beat Beethoven Run – Kingston, Ontario

• Month: June
• Distance: 4 km (fun run) and 8 km
• Course: A loop around Confederation Park
• As a fundraiser for the Kinston Symphony Association, the Beat Beethoven Run challenges racers to complete the 8-kilometer course in 50 minutes—the time it takes the Kingston Symphony to play through Beethoven’s Third Symphony.

Cape to Cabot – St. John’s, Newfoundland

• Month: October
• Distance: 20 km
• Course: A 20-kilometer trail starts at the Cape Spear National Historic Site, passes over three major hills, runs along historic St. John’s Waterfront, and ends with an uphill mile to Cabot Tower.
• Described as the toughest race in Eastern North America, Cape to Cabot offers a mere 3 kilometers of flat terrain, but the rough trail is worth it for the breathtaking views and the fact that you get to cross two National Historic Parks.


Measuring a full 42.2 kilometers, marathons are not for the faint of heart, requiring months of training your body, mind, and attitude.

Toronto Marathon – Toronto, Ontario

• Month: May
• Course: A downhill trail starts at Mel Lastman Square and finishes at Ontario Place.
• The first Toronto Marathon was held in 1977. Today, the Toronto Marathon is certified as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, and thanks to its downhill path, the marathon is one of the fastest courses around with many runners posting their best times here.

Edge-to-Edge Marathon – Vancouver Island, BC

• Month: June
• Course: A natural route takes you through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and finishes in the village of Ucluelet.
• First developed as a solution to the community’s downturned economy, the marathon has since become a celebration of natural beauty and health, welcoming upward of 2,500 visitors each year.

Ottawa Marathon – Ottawa, Ontario

• Month: August
• Course: A fast, scenic path travels through well-known neighborhoods and popular landmarks.
• First held in 1975, the Ottawa Marathon has grown to become the largest marathon event in Canada. The marathon offers an excellent course for first-timers with its great views, few elevation changes, and overall positive atmosphere.

Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope – Hamilton, Ontario

• Month: November
• Course: Starting at Dofasco Park, the route follows the backcountry roads of Hamilton to the Red Hill Expressway, turning toward Burlington and the Waterfront Trail.
• The Hamilton Marathon is ranked as the #1 Boston Marathon qualifier in Canada, offering a fast track hosted by countless charitable organizations.

Find the perfect pair of New Balance running shoes for your next race at Walking on a Cloud |


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