The race is on as the Oak Ridges Moraine Adventure Relay celebrates its 12th anniversary.

One of the largest events of its kind in Ontario, the race will engage more than 400 canoeists, runners and trail cyclists covering the full relay (160 km of Oak Ridges Moraine trail) or the half relay (80 km of the trail). The big event is slated for June 9.

The organizers are looking for Ontario residents to create and register recreational, corporate or elite teams to compete in the event. Many teams are formed by neighbours and friends in communities across the Moraine and further afield. Residents are encouraged to consider starting their own team to compete in one of the two races of this exciting event. Thirty teams are already registered and many more will join in before race day.

The full relay course runs from Gore’s Landing on Rice Lake, south of Peterborough, then westward to Seneca College at King City. The course is divided into fourteen stages of varying distances consisting of water, road and trail. With the exception of the two-person canoe stage, one team member will complete each stage; however, an individual may complete multiple stages. That means full relay teams may include up to 15 members. The race starts at 8 a.m. and all teams are expected to complete the route by 11:30 p.m.

New this year is the half relay, which covers half the distance with seven stages of biking and running for a team of up to seven people. The course covers the last half of the full relay race from the Purple Woods Conservation Area in Oshawa to the finish line at King City. The half-relay race starts at 1 p.m. and occurs concurrently with the full relay. It’s open to recreational and corporate teams. Elite teams, only, are entered in the full relay race.

The Adventure Relay is the major annual fundraiser for the Oak Ridges Trail Association. Proceeds from team entries are used to improve signage and parking lots, build footbridges and boardwalks, and to purchase and operate maintenance equipment to keep the trail clear and safe for all users. Tax-deductible donations can be made here.

The registration fee to participate in the full relay, for recreational and elite teams, is $600. For corporate teams, full relay participation is $2,000, and for the half relay, $1,750. Recreational teams in the half relay is $450. If you’re not up to competing, become a relay volunteer at one of the 15 checkpoints along the trail to record in and out times, supply refreshments, take photos, and cheer on the competitors.

Eight key checkpoints and optimum times to view most racers departing or arriving at the end of their relay leg include:

  1. Gore’s Landing (north of Cobourg) – the full relay start – Church Hill Road, follow event signage. Arrive by 7:30 a.m. to see the canoe racers off at 8 a.m.
  2. Bewdley (north of Port Hope) – the waterfront, between 9-9:30 a.m. – watch the canoeists arrive
  3. Clarington (north of Bowmanville) – Long Sault Conservation Area parking lot, between 1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
  4. Oshawa – Purple Woods Conservation Area parking lot — the half relay start – half relay racers set off between 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Full relay racers mainly arrive and set off between 2:15 and 3:15 p.m.
  5. Uxbridge – Secord Pond parking lot, two kilometres south of Goodwood Rd. on Concession Three, then east on Secord Rd., between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
  6. Lincolnville – Bloomington Rd. and Tenth Line.  Between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.
  7. Aurora – Sheppard’s Bush Conservation Area parking lot between 7:15 and 8:15 p.m.
  8. King City – The Log Cabin, Seneca College King Campus, 13990 Dufferin St., between 8:15 and 9:15 p.m. The big finish for both the full and half relay.

Visit oakridgestrail.org/adventure-relay for more information. For information on registering for the relay or volunteering for the event, call Michele at 905-833-6600 or 1-877-319-0285 or email info@oakridgestrail.org.

Photo: Lincolnville is the Stouffville checkpoint, where viewers can go and cheer on the local participants.