International event heads to Kangiqsualujjuaq in March
Nunavik Adventure Challenge International "brings good visibility to the village"
The Ungava Bay community of Kangiqsualujjuaq will host racers from around world in its first ever Nunavik Adventure Challenge International slated to take place March 25 to 28 in the Kuururjuaq Provincial Park.
The high-profile adventure racing event, which features 50 racers from six different countries, will also screen on major American, British and French sporting networks.
“The reason we’ve [decided to host] there, at first, was for the land—it’s pure paradise for adventure,” said Jean-Thomas Boily, co-president of Endurance Adventure, the organization hosting the event.
Challenges during the 150-kilometre race include backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, winter-trail running, mountaineering, ropes activities, snowboarding and orienteering.
Although the event is entirely booked up for participants, organizers are still looking for a Nunavik team to race with the internationals.
Youth in the community of 700 will also participate, as the racers team up with 50 kids from Kangiqsualujjuaq and complete a short challenge on the first day of the event, as a prologue to the race.
Including local kids has been a theme since Endurance Adventure started organizing for this event three years ago.
“When we got there, we got out of the plane and saw so many kids,” said Boily, noting that 65 per cent of the community is under 25 years old. “We saw all these kids and we said we have to work on something bigger than the race.”
People in Kangiqsualujjuaq have also been working on training and hosting the event, which has lead to many gaining technical expertise and different industrial and sporting certificates.
More than 20 Nunavimmiut will be coordinating the event as a result.
“[It’s] a really positive project. There’s lots of negative things in Nunavik, but what we do is only positive.”
The other positive is promoting tourism in Nunavik, according to Boily.
“People from all over the world see this small village. It’s good practice to see how tourists react to their community,” he said. “It brings good visibility to the village.”
The Nunavik Adventure Challenge first launched three years ago, when Endurance Adventure teamed with the Kativik Regional Government and Makivik Corp. to run a pilot project in Kangiqsualujjuaq.
Since then, NAC has hosted 14 events and clinics in communities across Nunavik.
And more than 800 Nunavimmiut participated in the Nunavik Adventure Challenge events in 2011.