Saturday, May 21 2022

New Year’s Day can be a little chilly in Sault, but our city’s first-ever shirtless run is set to begin at noon on January 1.

“It’s going to be cold!” said Nick Brash of Bear in Mind Running, in an announcement emailed Monday night to the local trail running community.

Shirtless in the Soo – Dog Hair, will be a sight to behold in downtown Sault Ste. Mary,” he said.

Brash’s shirtless überjocks will run a five-kilometre round trip between Marconi and Whitefish Island.

Proceeds will go to Sault Ste. Marie-Humane Society.

The New Year’s Day 5K is part of a series of outdoor events currently organized by Brash and his team, including the Ultra Trail Stokely Creek (UTSC).

UTSC ultramarathon racing began in 2019, took a year off in 2020 due to COVID-19, and returned for 2021 and 2023.

On March 17, directors of Tourism Sault Ste. Marie voted to recommend that Brash’s company receive $10,000 from the city council to cover the running costs of UTSC 2023.

The 2023 event is expected to attract approximately 700 participants, sponsors and spectators, including 340 local, 70 regional, 100 from across the province, 42 from across Canada and 130 from the United States.

These figures include approximately 350 runners.

Brash doesn’t see much potential to increase event registrations, but he hopes to attract more runners paying more to run longer distances.

“I think what this trail system and this network can handle over the two days, is probably around 500.”

As with this year, Brash’s roster also includes:

  • June 11, 2022 – 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Stokely Creek Lodge. Thesh Itter Run. Choose your own route and visit 11 outbuildings spread across 12 houses to be eligible for poop prizes

  • July 23, 2022 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hiawatha Highlands. Crazy Train Trail Trials. Celebrate the opening of Hiawatha’s gnarliest new trail. It’s a two kilometer look with a lot of gain. Run or ride a bike

  • September 23 and 24, 2022 – Ultra Trail Stokely Creek at Stokely Creek Lodge. Races range from 5k, 17k, 34k, 56k, 85k, and 170k through the rugged backcountry of the Algoma Highlands, including Robertson Cliffs and King Mountain. Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) World Series qualifying event

  • October 1 to October 15, 2022 – Robertson Cliffs Challenge at The Cliffs. The toughest 5K hike in all of Algoma becomes a virtual race during the first two weeks of October. Just try the route as many times as you can over the two weeks. Each participant receives an Algoma Highlands Conservancy trucker cap. Proceeds will go to the Reserve’s Quiet Sports Recreation Initiative

  • October 29, 2022 – Thriller Homerun Hiller. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Stokely Creek Lodge. Twenty-four ladies and 24 men single-elimination 2K hill and bike tournaments. Bracket styles, all determined by a ranking lottery on Instagram Live. Halloween costumes encouraged!

  • November 18, 2022 – The Dump Run – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Stokely Creek Lodge. Visit the alpaca farm then the landfill. A 10K round trip

  • 13th January 2023 – The Stoke Show Skultra. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Stokely Creek Lodge. A 50km classic ski battle on some of the most beastly cross-country ski trails in all of North America. Skiers choose their route. There will also be 25K and 10K distances. And the Stoke Show Skultra tuques

“The racing series will culminate with The Bear Ball on New Year’s Eve,” Brash said.

“Our inaugural Athlete Awards Gala will recognize some of the most amazing achievements of the calendar year,” he promises.

On June 4 and 5, Bear In Mind Running will have a booth at the Chicago Run Show.

“We plan to take a big dip in the Illinois market, bringing awareness to ‘the secret mountains of Ontario,'” Brash said.

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