Take Part in the Miserable Miles obstacle race in Peace River on September 16
[Editor's Note: Miserable Miles 2023 has been cancelled. Go to fb.com/miserablemiles for information on MIserable Miles 2024]
Move Up reached out to Shanelle Van Oort, organizer and vice president of the Miserable Miles board, to find out what they have in store for this year’s event.
From beginning to end, what does the Miserable Miles event entail?
Miserable Miles is a fun and challenging 6.2 km obstacle race for all fitness levels, held in Peace River on the Misery Mountain Ski Hill.
The course takes contestants over a 212-metre vertical ascent through stunning vistas, over and through the hills and various obstacles built by volunteers and residents.
The morning starts with a volunteer briefing along with a racer check-in meeting.
The race is divided into heats that usually run every 15 minutes. Participants can expect 16-20 obstacles along the run with spectacular views in between.
Refreshments in the beer gardens can be enjoyed by spectators and participants, brewed by the one and only Peace River Brewing.
How much planning does an event like this take?
We usually start the meetings in March. We de-brief on the previous year and brainstorm ways we can make things better! We break it down to budgets, funding requests, advertising, reaching out to volunteers, permits, insurance, etc.
Closer to the event we start the trail prep. We hand-mow and mark the trail. In the week leading up to the event, we set up tents and obstacles. We couldn’t do this without our volunteers, and as this is our seventh year, we have found tricks to streamline our processes.
How many volunteers are involved?
The board consists of four members: Nadine Kacho, Shanelle Van Oort, Rylee Armstrong and Debbie Thompson. Our obstacle committee is made up of Lee Ruthven and Danny Van Oort. We also have 40 plus volunteers for set up, race day and take down.
What are the benefits of having Miserable Miles in the region?
This volunteer-led initiative was born out of a passion for bringing community, fitness and a love of Peace River’s natural beauty together into one event.
Importantly, this event promotes and supports the Peace Region’s people, through good fun, personal challenges, and good, old-fashioned fresh air! We feel people need a healthy, fun and interactive event that can be shared among friends, family and peers.
We have also been able to use our entry fees to raise funds for groups around the area including Rotaract, the ski hill and local non-profit mental health groups in our community.
How many participants do you attract?
Over the past seven years we have ranged from 160-300 participants from all over the region including Peace River, Manning, Fairview, Grande Prairie and La Crête.
Ages range from 16-78 years old. One of our volunteers since the first year, Wesley Thomas, said he would like to run the race until he’s 80.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
We’re proud to be a long-standing event in the community, and we can’t wait to see what we can add to keep our participants registering year after year.
We owe it to our volunteers and generous sponsors including the municipalities and local businesses who continue to step up every year. Check out our website and Facebook for more info on our sponsors!
By Jenelle Van Slyke | Photography by Lori Day and Franco Alo Photography