MONARCH ULTRA RELAY RUN: SEPT. 19TH - OCT. 9TH, 2021 The Monarch Ultra Relay Run is an 1,800 kilometre running event to raise awareness for monarch butterflies. Starting in Peterborough on September 19th, 2021 and heading south towards Toronto, Burlington, Hamilton, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls, then running southwest along Lake Erie, looping back around towards London, Cambridge, and Kitchener, and ending in Barrie on October 9th, 2021. Relay runners, running in pairs when possible, will run approximately 30km and 50km segments over 21 days through a variety of landscapes - dedicated trails, urban, rural and wilderness, and along greenways, waterways and roadways of the Great Trail and Waterfront Trail. The running event is entirely organized by a volunteer team who are passionate about protecting the Earth and are on a mission to inspire communities to get involved in conservation action!
ONLY 84 SPOTS AVAILABLE! This once-in-a-life time running experience is for those runners who are seeking a physical challenge while sharing a singular adventure with the Monarch Ultra team. Altogether, there are 84 spots available in the 21-day relay run. Each day, the Monarch Ultra team will travel 80km per day, with 4 running segments available - 2 segments of 30km and another 2 segments of 50km. Not only will this be one of the Canada's longest relay runs, it will also be an ultra-memorable experience for everyone involved. Running fast is optional but having fun is guaranteed! Most importantly, the Monarch Ultra is an opportunity to connect communities across Ontario with common goals of Earth stewardship and biodiversity conservation.
FUNDRAISING: 100% of donations raised through the Monarch Ultra Relay Run will go to Camp Kawartha, a non-profit organization committed to nature education and environmental stewardship for youth. Raising children to be stewards of the Earth, and to care for monarch butterflies and all wildlife species, is more important than ever. The Monarch Ultra team hopes to see the monarch butterfly become a symbol of resiliency, strength and inspiration that motivates people into conservation action. We also hope that our ultra marathon is just the beginning of a larger movement to help protect pollinator species worldwide.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN ALONG THE ROUTE? Each day, the Monarch Ultra team will travel 80km starting in Peterborough and ending in Barrie, 21 days later. This dedicated team will look after the relay runners by providing them with drinks, snacks and emotional support. Aid Stations will be set up to support the runners at each 10km leg. Runners will be provided with detailed maps to make sure they don't get off course. Each municipality is invited to welcome the runners with loud cheering, by playing music and dressing up in costumes. If you'd like to organize a community event for the Monarch Ultra runners, please send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALL TO ACTION: Another team will be dedicated to outreach activities and raising awareness with students, teachers and organizations with a goal to inform and inspire communities across the province. We would love to see schools host their own Mini-Monarch Ultras during the 21-day relay run. Getting youth involved in pollinator awareness and physical activity is a meaningful way to connect to the natural world and your community, and have a lot of fun!
EPIC MONARCH MIGRATION: In the fall, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from northeastern U.S. and Canada and travel over 3,000 miles to their overwintering grounds in central Mexico. Their long-distance journey takes about 2 months to complete. Similar to ultra runners, monarchs can travel 50-100 miles a day. This super generation of monarchs will be responsible for making the longest insect migration on Earth. (There is also a western population of monarch butterflies that head south from the Pacific Northwest to California). The Monarch Ultra Relay Run will coincide with the monarch's fall migration, and whose populations are in steep decline due to habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change. However, communities can help restore declining butterfly and bee populations by planting flower patches in urban gardens and green spaces.