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The Canadian Death Race
is an annual adventure race held in and around Grande Cache, Alberta
Grande Cache is a town in west-central Alberta, Canada, located northwest of Hinton and west of Edmonton. It is located in the Municipal District of Greenview, between Highway 40 and the Smoky River, at the northern border of Alberta's Rockies...
. It consists of 125 km of hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...
and running within a 24 hour time period. The 125 km course begins and ends on a 4200 feet (1,280.2 m) plateau, passes over three mountain summits, includes 17000 feet (5,181.6 m) of elevation change and a major river crossing at the Hell's Gate canyon at the confluence of the Smoky and Sulphur Rivers. The race winds through the breathtaking background of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The event takes place during the August long weekend of each year. Racers can compete by themselves or in relay teams of up to five people.
The race is 125 km over rough, mountain trails, through pristine forests shared with resident wildlife, over ragged, rocky, and sometimes wet or snow-covered terrain. Racers will be journeying over three different mountain summits and will gain over 17000 feet (5,181.6 m) in elevation, crossing over a major river by raft (at the Hell's Gates canyon), plus run part of the race in the dark.
The adventure race is merged with the dark Greek myth of Charon, the ferryman of the dead. The myth states that upon passing into the realm of the dead, spirit travelers would have to pay for passage across the river Styx into Hades. The price was one gold coin per soul. Those not possessing the fare were condemned to wander the banks of the Styx for eternity. One coin is given to each team or solo racer as they traverse from this world into the next. Relay racers must pass the coin from person to person and summit to summit, never losing sight of the fact that only when it is presented to the ferryman will their journey end.