Mind over Mountain Adventure Race

Each year as summer begins to fade, hundreds of people descend upon Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley. They’ve heard a siren’s call for adventure: the Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR). It takes place in the village of Cumberland, a community shrouded in mature forest, glacial-fed streams and a legendary network of trails. It's the perfect setting for an outdoor adventure race. Established in 2000, MOMAR has been enticing athletes of all levels to come and test their physical and mental limits. Since then, it has been rated as one of the best adventure races in western Canada. Participants challenge either the 30 kilometre sport race or the 50 kilometre endurance race; both focus on specific key disciplines: kayaking, mountain biking, and trail running and navigation. With a limit of 600 entrees it sells out quick. Concert-ticket quick. Interested? So was I.


Credit: Dave Silver

What have I signed myself up for? 

Now, I have never done an outdoor adventure race of this length. I have done a number of half marathons, one full marathon, countless hikes on the North Shore, and even 2 Tough Mudders. (One of which gave me the prize of a shoulder dislocation.) One common thread they all contained was a sense of being pushed to the edge, and then exceeding my own limits. This struck a spark within me. So when a friend gave me an opportunity to get in to this race, I jumped. 

The MOMAR Route

What sets this race apart from triathlon style racing - other than the obvious (terrain) - is that MOMAR participants face planned uncertainty. The route is made up of various checkpoints, though the number remains undisclosed throughout the race. On top of that, racers don’t receive a map until the morning of. This levels the playing field so no one has the advantage of practicing certain sections of the route.  Another interesting aspect is that you are told roughly the length of each discipline (kayaking, biking, trail running), but not the order, or whether your disciplines are broken up. If you're familiar with the now defunct Eco-Challenge, MOMAR presents like it, but is performed individually and in a single day. Pretty cool, right? 

Training & Preparation 

In preparation over the last couple of months I have been acquiring the necessary gear. MOMAR is a BYOG (bring your own gear) race. That means everything from your kayak and mountain bike, to guts and grit.  As for training, I have been running semi-regularly, getting out on some local hikes, and getting use to kayaking 10-12 kilometres or so. As for mountain biking, I had a friend take me up to Burnaby Mountain to practice on some of the trails as this is not likely to be my strong point of the race. It has been suggested that if you are not map savvy, you should take an orienteering course. Mountain Equipment Coop runs a course, though I opted not to participate.

Race Day Details

Credit: Dave Silver

Date: September 26, 2015
Time: 8:00 a.m. 
Location: Cumberland, BC

Support the racers
Interested in supporting particpants? The public is invited to Cumberland Village Park to cheer on the racers as they cross the finish line. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, including a fundraising barbeque put on the CCFS. 

Race organizers are still looking for volunteers for race day. The MOMAR will be donating $5 to both the Cumberland Community Forest Society and the Comox Valley Search and Rescue for every registered volunteer. All volunteers will also receive a ticket for the MOMAR’s legendary after-party at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.For more information on volunteering, visit www.mindovermountain.com/MOMAR or contact lisa@mindovermountain.com. 

So am I ready? Did I train enough? With the race coming up on September 26th I guess “we’ll find out on race day!”  I am definitely excited to take on the challenge, maybe a little nervous too, but it wouldn’t be a true adventure without a mix of both now would it?