Hello, on September 13th 2014, you’ll be organizing the Ultra-Trail Harricana de Charlevoix (UTHC). Can you tell us where it is located?
The race is organized at Mt Grand-Fonds, a ski resort located 15km North of La Malbaie in the province of Quebec.
How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?
The Ultra-Trail Harricana de Charlevoix was created in 2012. Initially named XC Harricana, it was created to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and to promote trail running in Canada.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The 65 km race takes place in the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park. The runners will meet at 5am at the Grand-Fonds ski resort to be carried by bus to the start line. From there they will run on half of the famous trail called La Traversée de Charlevoix to get back to Grand-Fonds. The later kilometers of the course will follow the Cross-country skiing trails of the resort.
The event is a qualifying race for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and is one of the most challenging events of Eastern Canada with 1,800m of elevation gain.
To add to the difficulty, the course has long hilly sections where single tracks trails can be very muddy.
How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We expect about 800 participants, from Elite to recreational runners.
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?
Yes, we organize several races. A 1km race for children and 3 other races for adults: 5km, 10km and 28km. In 2014, we’ll add a new 50 mile race.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
One can expect the weather to be quite wet with temperatures between 5 and 20°C (41 to 68°F).
Have you planned festivities around the race?
We organize several workshops and conferences over the weekend (last year, the topics where yoga and sports photography). A camping area has also been set up to accommodate the runners from Friday to Sunday. And finally, we organize on Sunday morning a sea kayak expedition on the Saint Lawrence River as well as a party Saturday night from 7pm to 3am at the Grand-Fonds ski resort.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to La Malbaie before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
I encourage the runners to take part in the sea kayak expedition on the Saint Lawrence River and to take some time to visit the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park. For those interested by such activities, La Malbaie has a Casino and a Golf.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Ultra-Trail Harricana de Charlevoix (UTHC)?
The trails are dense and loaded with raw nature and wildlife and offer a 1,800m+ elevation gain. The park is a rich ecosystem that has been classified a unique world biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The wind carries the coastal smells of the St. Lawrence River and of the Canadian boreal forest.
Interview with Sébastien Côté, member of the team organizing the Ultra-Trail Harricana de Charlevoix (UTHC).