Bucket lists seem to be all the rage these days, but I’ve always found the idea daunting – how could I list everything I ever wanted to do? My list would be something like: 1.) Live Forever and do everything. Yet, if I focus on the idea that there are endurance/athletic events I would like to participate in, then maybe I can come up with something.
These races will be in the ‘Bucket List’/Pipe Dream category for one or more of the following reasons (in increasing order of likelihood):
- Conditioning. I’m too far out of the shape I’d need to be in to complete
- Skill/Equipment. One or more of the disciplines involves a skill I don’t know how to do
- Geography/Logistics: Getting there with equipment won’t work while taking care of my family at the same time
All of these are fixable or will change with time, and so will the list as I find out new possibilities and opportunities… so let’s get started!
- Pentathlon Des Neiges. I was going to put the Ottawa Winterlude Triathlon here but I just happened to stumble across this event in IMPACT magazine. Both events include skating, cross-country skiing, and running, but the Pentathlon des Neiges adds snow-shoeing and cycling. The latter discipline can be done with mountain or cyclo-cross bikes and actually takes place first (followed by a run, then ski, then skate, then snow-shoe). There are short (9+4+6+6+4=29km) and long (15+6+9+9+6=45) distance races and it all takes place on the historic Plains of Abraham in Quebec City.
- Men’s Health Urbanathlon What I like about this obstacle course is it seems focused on the fitness aspects needed to complete while leaving out the fear factor/bravado and quite frankly, mud involved in mud runs, Warrior Dashes and Spartan Races and the like. If they bring one to the Toronto area, I’m as good as signed up, but I wouldn’t mind travelling to one of the fine cities that are currently offered when my schedule would allow it.
- Ski 2 Sea what if a race included even more of the Canadian Multi-sport experience, enough to span all seasons? And what if it was a journey with an end destination that was far away from the start? What if you started on top of a mountain, downhill skied 2km, switched to cross-county skis for another 8km, jumped on a mountain bike and rode 28km out of the mountains only to hit the road with your road bike for 36km. Now jump off the bike and run for nearly 15km and get in your canoe/kayak so you don’t get wet because there’s another 8km before the finish line. It’s a lot of distance to cover, and the logistics are quite intimidating so people often do this as a team relay, but it seems like such a dream journey (and it is a net downhill, after all) that I can’t help but be tempted by this one.
- Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket Thailand I’m a little wary of iron or half-iron distance racing and it’s not only the daunting training schedule and training volume. Races with the Ironman brand don’t exist in everybody’s back yard, and most people who have done one turn it into a trip with overnight accomodation, meals and maybe a little vacation time… if you’re going to drop that kind of cash and time, why not make it a more once-in-a-lifetime experience? I love Thailand (from having honeymooned there) and I can’t picture a better destination for a ‘destination race’ than the land of smiles. So far, you don’t even have to qualify! This race took place this past Sunday, in fact.
- Berlin Marathon My wife and I both have a lot of friends and family in Germany, and Berlin has become a bit of a home away from home for us. The Berlin marathon is also considered the fastest course there is so there’s my motivation to beat my previous, pitiful marathon time. What really put this marathon into my dream file was a conversation I had with a gentleman who had done more than 50 marathons all over the world, but when I asked him his favourite, he said it was the Berlin Marathon, during the year of German re-unification. He had run through part of the city that were inaccessible to him growing up, and attempting to leave those parts in the East had gotten people shot and killed over the course of the Cold War. By the time he ran through the Brandenburg Gate (below), he was blind with tears in his eyes and needed the guidance of a friend simply to find his way through the pillars. So many Big City Marathons have a lot of historical draw, but none like this, at least not to me.
|Runners going through the Brandenburg Gate|
- XTERRA Canada (Canadian Open Championship) I already like taking my running “off-road”, and it’s my honest intention to get a mountain-bike for cross-training purposes and to participate in some non-navigational adventure races (like Logs, Rocks and Steel) and off-road triathlons. From the latter category, XTERRA is pretty much the biggest and baddest. This race takes place in beautiful Whistler, BC which only adds to the draw. Until that time, maybe I’ll get to do the Mine Over Matter as my introduction to off-road tris…
This list is long enough for now, but I’m always up for recommendations… dream big!