With Covid-19 pandemic restrictions entering a second year, endurance events (running, biking, mud run, and more) are facing an uncertain future. With the launch of Alberta‚Äôs new Path Forward plan, event organizers have little idea as to whether mass-participation events will be allowed to happen this year, or at what scale. Many events including favourite fun-runs, mountain bike races , triathlons,  mud-runs, and even the biggest running races are in jeopardy of closing permanently;  we need your help.

The endurance sports industry was one of the first to close and a sweeping restriction on gatherings means that it will also be the last to reopen. Globally, there have been almost no cases of transmission related to endurance events so it is realistic to restart responsibly and safely. We believe that we can resume operations with near-normal numbers by following rigorous safety protocols, which we have developed based on global best practices. 



We are a group of professional endurance sports event directors with 120 years combined experience, who have come together to create a realistic, responsible, and manageable reopening plan for outdoor endurance sports in Alberta. As leaders of large, Alberta-based race organizations, we represent the larger industry in this province. Our members interact closely with the Canadian Endurance Sports Alliance (CESA), a pan-Canadian organization that works with the federal government on behalf of event organizers.


We want to get back to putting on the inspiring events that keep Albertans moving. Inaction now will mean another lost year for this industry, significant job losses, and the permanent closure of many events. Sports, like skiing, are seeing a record year. At a basic level, endurance events work similarly to organizations like ski resorts, and we believe that we deserve the same opportunity to operate. We have developed a plan to reopen safely, and we need your support to get the government to recognize the importance of endurance sports, both socially and economically, to Albertans.

We recognize that there was an increase of cases over the winter, however, we are looking towards the spring and summer months as this is our primary operating season. As industry professionals, this is our livelihood; we would not make reopening recommendations if we did not believe that it is achievable. Event planning requires financial commitments several months in advance, so the window for planning is rapidly closing.


Endurance sports play an essential role in the mental and physical health of Albertans. These events become goals for individuals from every level of ability; they give both novice and professional competitors a reason to participate in physical activity. These events provide a grass-roots community support network for people to improve their physical health. It is widely accepted by public health professionals that physical activity is an important component in maintaining mental health by providing an outlet for stress and anxiety. The worry and uncertainty caused by the pandemic amplify the need for mental health supports. A decline in either the mental and physical health of Albertans will be costly for the province to manage long-term.

Economically, at a national level, the endurance sports industry brings approximately $1-billion to the Canadian economy and another $500-million to non-profit organizations. Most of these organizations have seen close to a 100% loss of revenue, while the financial supports available do not cover the cost of keeping the doors open. After losing an entire year of revenue in 2020, event organizers are now paralyzed in their planning processes for 2021. An estimated 65% of event organizers will go out of business in the coming months if they are not able to return to work. This will, in turn, mean the loss of thousands of jobs, the loss of community programs that are created by non-profit organizations, and a financial loss to many municipalities that rely on the distinct boost provided by these events. In some small communities, the economic impact is several million dollars per year.

Alberta Ultra Racing Association

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