This year marks the 4th anniversary of the Fundy Circuit ULTRA (FCU) trail run in Fundy National Park, taking place on Saturday, September 21st. Presented by Outdoor Elements and produced by the Friends of Fundy, the ULTRA is a 50-km wilderness circuit located in the heart of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. The route loops along the Bay of Fundy coastline, through the Caledonia Highlands and Acadian Forest, passing waterfalls, rivers and lakes.
From humble beginnings in 2016 with less than 50 racers, the Fundy Circuit ULTRA has grown exponentially, and is sold out at 400 participants this year. New this year, the organizers have announced the addition of a 100-km distance. Runners competing in the 100-km distance will start their race at midnight Friday, running the first several hours in the dark. Along with the 50-km and 100-km distances, there is a 24-km, 12-km and relay option where teams of four complete the 50-km circuit. Kids can join the fun too, with a 1.5-km kids run – medals and all!
In 2018, the Fundy Circuit ULTRA Community Trail Micro-grant was introduced as a way for the ever-growing event to give back to the community. Proceeds from the race registration fees allow this grant to support not-for-profit organizations in the Fundy region. The goal of the grant is to encourage and support sustainable trail development and use so that communities benefit from the vibrant trail economy and the social and health benefits that accompany it.
Last year, the Community Trail Micro-Grant was awarded to the Elgin Eco-Association. This non-profit group is committed to promoting the viability of the small rural community of Elgin by working to promote environmentally-friendly practices. You may have heard of the Tour de Elgin Mountain Bike Marathon–this is one of the Elgin Eco Association’s ventures! The group used the grant money from the FCU Community Trail Micro-grant to build a pump track in their community for riders of all ages to use.
The organizers of the Fundy Circuit ULTRA are committed to producing an eco-friendly trail run. Instead of handing out disposable water bottles or cups on the course, there are five-gallon water jugs from a sponsor (Culligan’s Water) at each of the aid stations so runners can fill up their own reusable bottles. All the cutlery, cups and plates at the aid stations, and the food and beer tents are eco-friendly and biodegradable. At the end of race day, ‘ploggers’ sweep the course and pick up any garbage or other debris that may have been left behind. The word ‘plogging’ comes from a combination of jogging and plocka, the Swedish word for ‘pick,’ and is becoming an important piece of any eco-friendly race.
If you aren’t a runner, there are still many opportunities to join us on race day. Check-out the amazing sponsor village; take part in Parks Canada-led Interpretive activities; enjoy a pint of Holy Whale beer in the beer tent while cheering on your loved ones; and discover who will be the 2019 FCU Community Trail Micro-grant award winner. Stay tuned for the possibility of live streaming from the course directly to the Salt & Fir Centre!
The Fundy Circuit ULTRA planning committee is comprised of not-for-profit organizations, Parks Canada representatives, local business owners, and trail running enthusiasts. Without our incredible volunteers, the Fundy Circuit ULTRA simply would not be possible. If you are reading this before September 21st and would like to volunteer for this sustainably built ultra-trail marathon, send the Friends of Fundy a message on Facebook.
We extend much gratitude to our incredible sponsors–first up are the title sponsors Outdoor Elements. Culligan Water and the Holy Whale Brewing Company ensure that runners and spectators alike are well hydrated throughout the day. Also, the Greater Fundy Ground Search and Rescue team is an integral part of the ULTRA, ensuring all runners are safe at every hour of the day and at every point along the trail.