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Extreme sports: The Raid the North race

The Story

It's baptism by exhaustion for four adventure racers from Calgary. Team EDGE doesn't have any illusions of winning Raid the North -- a gruelling non-stop 150-kilometre scramble by foot, bike and canoe near Fernie, B.C. The Clark brothers and Bouz sisters just hope to finish and to do it within the 36-hour deadline. Team spirit remains high, even after one member falls off her bike face-first onto the ground. But then a canoe overturns in the Bull River. Exhausted, wet and bloodied, they have to make a decision -- struggle through the 12 kilometres to the finish line or call it quits on their first race? 

Medium: Television
Program: CBC News
Broadcast Date: July 3, 2000
Guests: Melanie Bouz, Madelaine Bouz, Brent Clark, Trevor Clark, Dave Zietsma
Reporter: Mike Vernon
Duration: 9:06

Did You know?

• This was the first and last Raid the North for Team EDGE. However, team member Brent Clark, seen at the end of this clip, later joined another squad, Team Wild Rose, and won a Raid the North held in Kimberly, B.C., in 2003.
• Raid the North teams must have four members, at least one of them female. In a typical race they'll trek, canoe, traverse rapids and rappel across 150 kilometres of wilderness.

• The first Raid the North race was held in 1998 in Fort Coulonge, Que. Founded by world-class adventure racer Dave Zietsma, the events are held several times per year in different parts of Canada. At the end of each season is a two-and-half day championship.
• Frontier Adventure Racing Inc. also operates a tougher race, Raid the North Extreme, and in 2004 hosted the Adventure Racing World Championship in Newfoundland.

• An expedition-style adventure race is loosely defined as a multi-sport, multi-day, around-the-clock event with competing teams.
• The sport's roots go back to Coast to Coast, a running, kayaking and mountain-bike race first held in New Zealand in 1980. Three years later, the first such race in North America, the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, was held. The format was popularized by the Raid Gauloises, which started in 1989 and was held around the world.

• Mark Burnett, who would go on to create the reality TV show Survivor, was inspired by the Raid Gauloises. He purchased the rights and produced the hugely popular Eco-Challenge series of televised races between 1995 and 2002. Teams of four, including at least one woman, raced over rugged 482-kilometre courses around the world. Activities included hiking, biking, glacier trekking, camel riding and sea kayaking.

• The 1996 Eco-Challenge was held in the B.C. Rockies. It's considered the toughest ever. Only 14 of the 70 international teams finished the race.
• A Canadian man died during an adventure race in 2002.  René Arseneault, 22, of New Brunswick suffered hypothermia after a kayaking accident in the Bay of Fundy.
• Watch four Winnipeggers preparing for the 1999 Eco-Challenge in Argentina.



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