explo 125km uthc 2015 (8)

Vue du sommet du mont des Morios

Organizing an event such as the Ultra Trail Harricana (UTHC) is not a matter of weeks. Like all endeavours of this size, UTHC is the fruit of an idea planted inside the imagination of a group of passionate people. Now, several years later, the original idea has taken shape under the leadership of a visionary team that is completely and selflessly committed to the project. Thanks also to an equally dedicated pack of volunteers, all this work has led to the realization of something that from the very beginning was much more than just an idea tossed in the air.
Each organization is different, with both strengths and weaknesses. The UTHC team is still young, but has already gained a world-class reputation – and for good reason. The team goes all-out in everything it does, constantly looking to improve and to leave something extra special in the minds and hearts of runners.

explo 125km uthc 2015 (11)

Martin Vallières race director for UTHC

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Charlevoix backcountry to help develop what lucky trail runners will experience in September 2015: the famous 125km trail that runs from the village of Notre-Dame-des-Monts to Mount Grand-Fond national park through the mountains of Charlevoix! The idea was to restore access points, assess the state of the trails and get feedback on the terrain.

Most organizing teams would have simply tested aid stations and ensured access for all-terrain vehicles. But the Harricana team goes about things differently. It looks at all the small details that come together to create an enjoyable and memorable experience for volunteers, drawing on the natural charm of the region and adding a warm human touch.

explo 125km uthc 2015 (7)

Équipe au départ de Notre-Dame-des-monts

I was joined by about 10 other volunteers for the reconnaissance exercise – all of us stoked by the project and the unknown elements from the race’s first editions. Two weeks prior, we had been asked what we wanted to eat at the aid stations. In addition to the standard fare – water, coke, bananas, chips – were several local delights: foie gras and onions confit.

Departure day arrived. In the early hours of the morning, and under curious and bemused looks from locals of Notre-Dame-des-Monts, the adventure began. Spirits were high. Vibes of craziness ran through the group. On hand to ensure the safety of the six first runners were no less than seven vehicles, four dirt bikes, and two 4-wheelers – not to mention the sophisticated communication system that covered the entire route.

explo 125km uthc 2015 (6)

Équipe au pied du mont des Morios

Aid stations were set up inside magnificent backcountry refuges that were heated by wood stoves. The runners were amazed at all the careful planning behind each station. Granola bars, snacks, sandwiches, chicken soup, XactNutrition fruit bars, dates, juice, coke, hummus and even the famous foie gras and onions confit – all that for just a handful of runners!

The day felt like a distinctly unique adventure, something that we’d give anything to experience. Not only did we have access to scenery and trails practically unknown to the locals but the organizers had perfectly reproduced for us the experience that runners will have in 2015.

explo 125km uthc 2015 (2)

Martin au lac Boudreault

In the end, UTHC is a group of passionate volunteers putting their heritage, values and efforts towards a magnificent region that’s just waiting to be discovered. Like my fellow runners, I am proud and grateful to be able to make a small contribution to this incredible organization. I wish the Ultra Trail Harricana and its founders a long trail life so that we can enjoy this magnificent part of the country for many years to come. 

Visit the web page of the 125km

Thanks to The North Face and X:Act Nutrition

tnflogo-red-square-only-300px xactNUT-noir-130px-2 

explo 125km uthc 2015 (3)

Jeff et Sébastien


explo 125km uthc 2015 (5)

Les coureurs en route


explo 125km uthc 2015 (10)

Le départ officiel est donné


explo 125km uthc 2015 (12)

L’équipe de soutien en conversation