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Sulphur Springs Trail Race

25-May-2019 Ancaster, Ontario, Canada


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Trail Race Race Terrain
322KM / 200Miles
1 Day - 1300 Runners

Alternate Distances: 161KM/100M 100KM/62M 80KM/50M 50KM/31M

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Sulphur Springs Trail Race is a 9 event set of races occuring at the end of May.

Part of the Ontario Ultra Series, the race starts (and finishes) at the Ancaster Community Centre and heads off to the trails of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area.  

The ultra race categories are 200 miles, 100 miles, 100-mile relay, 100K, 50 miles and 50km and they all have their own ultimate cut-off time.

Mandatory pre-race briefing for all 100 milers. The route is marshalled for five hours only but is fully waymarked. Pacers and crews are allowed. Drop bag facilities available.

All distances run on a 20km loop consisting of, approximately, 97% trails and 3% roads within the conservation area.

There will be 5 checkpoints along the loop, at distances of 3 and 6 km, where food and drinks will be available.


Event Organiser
Sulphur Springs



Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Endurance - Multi-activity

Type: An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

Suitable for: Experienced multi-skilled athletes who have trained for the different activities included in this event. Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements and any specialist equipment required such as a wetsuit, skis or a mountain bike.

Global - Virtual

Type: A virtual race which can be run at any time shown on the dates shown, on any type of terrain in any country.

Suitable for: For runners from beginners to experienced as you choose your own course and challenge based on the guidelines and options set by the virtual race organiser.

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07:32 21-09-18

Race #1 Sulphur Springs Ultra 50K May 26, 2018 Time: 7:26:24

The Sulphur Springs 50K is a trail race in a forest. I had never run trails other than the flat Tom Taylor Trail in Newmarket. It does have 1 hill but I usually avoid it.
I could not believe the casual atmosphere at the beginning of the Sulphur Springs 50K. Unlike the 10 marathons and the over 50 half marathons I have run, this start was not busy at all. Runners were casually chatting in a calm buddy environment. I later learned that these people knew what they were doing and what they were getting into. Me, on the other hand told my wife Carolyn that I should be done in 5 to 5.5 hours. I am 57 so my faster days are gone.
We started the race and running downhill we all began to spread out. This race also included runners running 100k, 50 miles, 100 miles and maybe a marathon distance as well. I felt great running in the forest and I shook my head at runners ‘walking’ up the hills. I ran up the hills because this is what you do? We were to reach the start place 3 times with the final lap finishing the 50k. The 1st lap was 10k and although not too tough, I was feeling a little tired with the hills, heat, and lack of aid stations that I was not accustomed to when running marathons. As I started heading down the hill after my first lap, I was happy with a 1h 5min 10k. I entered a conversation with 2 other runners who were just beginning their 2nd lap and one of them said that we only ran 8k! So the next 2 laps were to be longer than a half marathon each.
It quickly made sense to me as to why runners don’t attempt to run up crazy hills in the forest. These hills are way too steep to be on roads. I had my water bottle but I was always thirsty. I had to limit how much I guzzled because of the not too frequent aid stations. The grind had begun bigtime! I reached the start point for the 2nd time after 30k. It had just taken me 4 hours to run 30k, I was done! I scanned to people hoping to find Carolyn, who would have been 1.5 hours early to tell her I was finished. I asked a race official if this was the end of 50k. I was told I had one more round to go. Being a ex boxer, I could always do “one more round”, so off I went! To repeat for 20 plus k’s what I just finished was the most brutal run I had ever attempted. My jogs became walks whenever I decided that I was going uphill. Flat for some but a mountain for me. The descents were just tearing up my quads; I had not run a hill in months! My feet felt like blisters and I was sure a toe nail came of when I was running down one of the hills. At one point I had to get a pebble out of my shoe. Unable to squat to sit, I just fell on my back and lay there. A runner ran up to me and asked, “are you hurt or was that just an ungraceful fall?” I said all was good and after taking my shoe off to get the pebble out, I struggled to get back on my feet. By now down hills were killing me. I would run them growling as I continued to inflict pain on my quads and entire body.
I finally get to a tent which is located about 7k from the start/finish line. I sit beside a runner who is quite talkative and calm as I wolf down bananas, cookies and Gatorade. Then 2 women approach this guy asking him how he is doing and if he is ready for the golf cart ride back to the finish. He said he felt better and had decided to continue his run. I said, “I’ll take the ride back”. As I walk to the cart, and told them I was done, they said they had to pick someone else up first and would be back for me. So I grabbed water and a women at the aid station told me I was almost finished, 7k to go; Off I went!
Well to cut a long run long, I did finish in 7h 26 min. Carolyn told me she kept waiting to see me on the golf cart as I was over my predicted finish by over 2 hours. My final 21 k took 3.5 hours!
This race was not fun. I told Carolyn how brutal it was as I took off my shoes and socks. No blisters and all toe nails in place? I was a bit of a worn out wreck and made it the food station where I met up with a women who was often running with me. I told her how I would never run this race again and she told me to give it a couple of days.
I have already signed up for the 50 mile Sulphur Springs for next year!

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08:24 17-09-18

I ran the 200 mile event in 2017. It was a one off race and a celebration of their 25th anniversary of running their other race distances. Time limit was 72 hours. It was also a Canadian first 200 mile event. It was on a looped 12.5 mile course. 28 started and 14 finished. The first 24 hours it mostly rained and was very muddy in many places. The cut off was tight but managed correctly could be done. It is undulating and all trail but not mountainous. Course got busy with other runners only on one day. Well organized.

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08:18 27-08-15

i ran at Sulphur Springs (50km) for the first time in 2015 and really enjoyed the event. the scenery is gorgeous and the race quite well organized. it was jammed for the first 2km or so because the 50k and 25k racers started together, but thinned out after the 2.5k mark because the routes then diverged. not too hilly a course, but the nastiest hill leads back into the start/finish area of the loops! free massage after the event was super-nice!

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