Each winter, the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink, and the snow-covered trails delight fans of winter sports, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow biking or walking.
Virtual Run Canada is proud to partner with the National Capital Commission (NCC) in offering the first Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge and Winter Trails Challenge, two unique challenges that will let you explore these amazing wonders from anywhere in Canada! You will have approximately 2 months to complete this Challenge, giving you and your family a welcome motivation to enjoy our #WinterCapital.
When open (weather permitting), the Rideau Canal Skateway is free and accessible 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. You can explore any section of the 7.8 kilometres thanks to its universally accessible facilities like access ramps, heated change rooms and washrooms. There are also many benches to lace up your skates, and food concessions. Non-skaters can walk along the edges of the Skateway (away from skaters), or on the pathways above the canal. Visit the NCC website for updated reports on ice conditions and to plan your visit.
Canada's Capital Region has over 450 km of winter trails, located in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, in the Greenbelt and in Gatineau Park. These trails are maintained by the NCC and a dozen dedicated community partners. Some trails are shared between several types of activities while others are open to only one type. Visit the NCC website to plan your visit and find out about trail conditions.
Who can participate? The Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge and Winter Trails Challenge are open to everyone, adults and children alike. You can register your whole family, and every member will accomplish their own personal challenge.
How does the challenge work? The Winter Trails Challenge must be completed between January 1 and March 15, 2021. The Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge must be completed between January 10 and March 15, 2021. To complete the Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge, you will record 15.6 km of skating or running; this is the equivalent of the 7.8 kilometres Rideau Canal Skateway distance back and forth. The Winter Trails Challenge is divided into four categories: 25 km, 50 km, 100 km, and 200 km (CEO's challenge). If you are in the Ottawa-Gatineau area and are able, we encourage you to complete your challenge on the beautiful NCC winter trails. Our results platform will keep track of your cumulative distance you submit until you reach the goal. This can be done over multiple sessions or all at once.
Do I have to skate? Is it a race? Absolutely not! This is your personal challenge and not a timed race; you get to complete it at your own pace. When you submit results, you will be able to select what type of activity you used to complete the distance. You can walk, run or skate for this challenge.
When will my order ship? Packages including medals and t-shirts will be sent by post starting January 26, 2021, regardless of whether you have already completed your challenge or not. You will receive an email when your order has been processed.
When can I upload my distances? You can upload your results between January 1 and March 15, 2021 for the Winter Trails Challenge, and between January 10 and March 15, 2021 for the Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge.
How do I upload my results? After you register, you will receive an activation email. You can use any app or GPS device to track your run. You can submit results by connecting directly to your Strava, Garmin, fitbit, POLAR, COROS, or manually entering your activities!
Share your Challenge pictures with us! Tag your posts with #VirtualRunningSquad and #WinterCapital!
Please note that, while children under the age of 13 are welcome to participate, our results partner for the Rideau Canal Skateway Challenge does not permit them to submit results online.