The Monarch Ultra Relay Run, a 4,300km ultra marathon from Peterborough, Ontario to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, officially launches on Friday, April 5th with the opening of online registration. Beginning on Thursday, September 19th, 2019, 100 ultra-runners will participate in this epic adventure across North America at the same time as monarch butterflies begin their migration south. The Monarch Ultra is the first attempt to run across Canada, USA and Mexico in order to raise awareness of the resiliency of monarch butterflies who make the migratory journey every year, and whose populations are in decline. “This multi-day running adventure invites runners to traverse wild and remote landscapes as well as populated urban areas, while building camaraderie, overcoming adversity and sharing a singular adventure with monarch butterflies,” said Carlotta James, Project Director and Co-Founder.
In a trilateral event, a team of filmmakers, pollinator advocates and runners will find out what it means to travel 4,300km across two international borders in a 47 day running adventure. The Monarch Ultra running route going through hundreds of municipalities including Toronto, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Cape Girardeau, Little Rock, Texarkana, Dallas, San Antonio, Reynosa, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, and Macheros, when the runners finally arrive at the Cerro Pelon Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary on Monday, November 4th, 2019. “Each runner will run distances of 50km or 100km through a diversity of landscapes including mountain paths, forests, meadows, deserts, and cities,” according to Clay Williams, Run Director and Mapping Expert.
A documentary on the flight of the monarch butterfly, the relay run, and the conservation efforts taking place across the continent will be filmed during the event. “At the heart of the Monarch Ultra is a story about our connection to the land and the beauty, resiliency and strength of the runners and the people they will meet along the way, amplified even more by the monarch migration,” says Rodney Fuentes, Director and Cinematographer. Since launching the Monarch Ultra project last October, the team has been connecting with conservation organizations across North America to support their work at the local and international level. “These partnerships have deepened our understanding on the issues monarchs and other pollinators face, as well as provided guidance on the ways to support biodiversity and wildlife habitat that is essential to the survival of pollinator populations,” said James. The global partnerships include: Bee City Canada, Monarch City USA, Monarch Joint Venture, David Suzuki Foundation, Butterflies and Their People, Ecosistemica AC, Environmental Concern, Monarch: A Living Resort, Save Our Monarchs Foundation, Little River Wetlands Project, and the National Butterfly Centre.
The Monarch Ultra has also assembled a team of inspiring and dedicated Monarch Ambassadors to help make this project successful by reaching a broad audience, promoting meaningful dialogue at the local level, and supporting logistics of the relay run. “This is an opportunity to connect communities in Canada, USA, and Mexico with common goals of Earth stewardship and biodiversity conservation,” said James. “There are many ways to get involved in this event,” said Williams, “through sponsorship opportunities, running a segment of the ultra-marathon, or volunteering to support the runners and our team when they are in your city.” To register for the Monarch Ultra go to https://raceroster.com/events/2019/22355/the-monarch-ultra.