sHad it not been for COVID-19, the activity would have typically hosted international runners from six countries, including Canada. “We had people from Ukraine, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the United States,” recounts the instigator of First Big Wolf’s Backyard Ultra, Yvan L’Heureux. The top hitters from the 50 greatest sprinters in eastern Canada will all be at the Big Wolf. The rest will be Sunday runners, mr and mrs everyone coming to give the best performance they can do. Hopefully people get the best performance of their lives on the far side. That’s really what’s important to Big Wolf. Whether you make 5 rolls or 70, everyone will win if you go to the maximum that you were able to do before. It’s a race, but there is an aspect of interest and fun. There is no platform. The big winner will get a “golden ticket” to the tournament in Tennessee in October. “It’s very prestigious,” said the athlete from Rivière-du-Loup.
The beginning of the new location chosen for this event is the old Cacouna pier, near Rivière-du-Loup. The route will take the Chemin de la Rivière-des-Vases at L’Isle-Verte, along the river, on a 6.7-kilometre round trip. “We have a charming location,” Mr. L’Heureux is excited about. It is located right in front of the legendary green island. It smells of kelp. You’re running by the river and there’s a sunset. It would be really cool! Ironically, he mentions that the municipality of Ile Vert is called Notre Dame de Sept d’Or. “It would be very, very suitable for racing,” the event instigator joked.
Over the past year, organizing the event has been a real hurdle for Evan Laureux and his team. The organizers had to change locations and dates three times, reconnecting with partners and communicating each time with the athletes who had to be patient. “We had integration with the two municipalities, but the nuance was Mr. L’Heureux. Within ten days, it was organized, marked, and voted on by municipal councils. It was very well received. We are very grateful. It’s a challenge we do for and with communities.”
Big Wolf’s is also pursuing a charitable mission. “We give $5,000 to local youth and organisations,” explains Mr. L’Heureux. So the race has a call to encourage young people and help the community.”
The race, which is part of a network of about forty similar challenges around the world with more than 30,000 participants, is inspired by the Big’s Backyard concept created in 2012 by Lazarus Lake, the race director of the Barkley Marathons, at his property in Bill Buckley, Tennessee.