Beaver Freezer Marathon runs up to 42 kilometers through the Hiawatha Highlands, Lower Island Lake and Trout Lake regions
Lawrence Foster, former Mantracker cameraman and local Sault College professor, is hosting the first Beaver Freezer Marathon in the Hiawatha Highlands on Sunday, March 6.
Individual competitors and relay teams can fat bike 10 to 42 km, ski or run on 10 waterways.
“The race will take you to Hiawatha, to lower Island Lake through Trout Lake,” said Foster, the 51-year-old outdoorsman.
The two-time Canadian adventure running champion chose the routes to showcase the beautiful landscapes that people may not realize are so close to them.
“They are close to town, easy to drive to checkpoints. But most of all, you’re traveling through these beautiful canyons and landscapes, these pristine lakes…it seems like you’re in much more remote backcountry areas, but you’re still in your backyard in Sault Ste. Married.”
The original idea for the course and the name of the marathon all came from a field trip.
“One of my first years teaching at Soo College, we visited with an elder from Garden River. He showed us his traplines. He had caught a beaver and showed us how to roll it in the snow to preserve it. He called it the Beaver Frieza,” Foster said.
Inspired by the eldest, and seeing that the race is a marathon of 10, 25 or 42 km, his wife offers to call him the Beaver Frieza.
“If nothing else, people remember the name. And from a marketing point of view, it’s great! laughed Foster.
Many local people and businesses like the Sault Cycling Club, the City of Sault Ste. Marie and Sault College have come together to make this event happen.
The race even became a case study for the College’s event planning course.
“Students created digital illustrations for the [complimentary] buffs, participation wood cookies and many are volunteering to help,” Foster said.
Each runner and volunteer will receive a buff ($35 value) and each runner will receive a self-rescue kit including a whistle and ice picks ($25 value) in a small bag with their bib.
In terms of safety precautions, Foster said they were all ready.
“We have engaged Search & Rescue and will have teams on the racetrack, especially in the more difficult locations.”
The Beaver Frieza will have transition areas every 8-14km where riders can refuel and swap teammates. The course will be well marked and specialized crew members will check the ice conditions and ensure general safety.
“You will see open water on the course, but you will not put yourself in danger. You’ll be down to earth by the way… We’ve tested it many times and are confident that our systems in place are adequate,” said Foster.
To put it into perspective, Foster’s thirteen-year-old son will complete the course with his buddies and his eleven-year-old twins will either ski or fat bike.
He also said: “Parents are encouraged to accompany their children or families to the racecourse.”
When it comes to why people would want to join the fray, Foster was thoughtful.
“I think people need something to look forward to. Celebrate winter. We need a reason to get out,” he said.
With the race just two weeks away, there’s still time to register to compete or volunteer.
“We’re looking for people of all genders, people who know the wilderness well, people to hand out drinks, keep the fire going, someone with a beaver costume… fun is the ultimate goal. You can choose your adventure until the day of the event.
All proceeds from the race will go towards the development of local sustainable trails.
For more details, to register for the race or to volunteer, click here link.