A team of four adventure seekers from Brantford are getting ready for the ultimate running challenge as they head to Grand Cache, Alberta, for the Canadian Death Race in August.
J.S. Esposito, 30, Craig Hewings, 32, Dan Namisniak, 24, and Jay Hirota, 31, are a group of four friends who decided to test themselves at the extreme race that pushes the limits of trail running.
“I think I could answer why it’s called the death race based on what they are asking us to do on paper,” Esposito said. “It’s 125 km, three mountain summits with 6,000 feet of elevation on one of the mountains and 17,000 feet of elevation changes during the whole race, so it’s definitely challenging.”
The race is divided into five segments and the team will take on the race as a relay. Hirota will run two sections.
They have 24 hours to complete the race and there are timed checkpoints along the way that they must make in order to move on to the next leg.
Esposito said taking on the Canadian Death Race is all about meeting personal challenges.
“As a teacher, you kind of do the same thing every day, so you have to have something on the calendar that you are training for and getting ready for,” he said. “I don’t think people challenge themselves enough and I think you can really learn things about yourself when you do.”
The plan started when Esposito saw the race mentioned as an aside in a magazine. He texted Hewings about it.
“(Hewings) texted me back and asked when we are doing it,” Esposito said. “One thing kind of led to another.”
Esposito, an elementary school teacher, Hewings, a transport company owner, Namisniak, a student, and Hirota, a researcher, are preparing for the race as best they can.
Hirota now lives in Vancouver and is doing his own training, while Esposito, Hewings and Namisniak are doing as much running as they can ahead of the race.
“The biggest thing is getting the kilometres in,” Esposito said. “We can worry about the elevation and everything else later. We have to be ready for the distances.”
As for the race’s name, Hewings and Esposito said it wasn’t very difficult to convince their spouses that the death race was a good idea.
“They know us and are used to our crazy antics,” Hewings said. “Right on the website it says no one has ever died.”
Esposito said the Brantford team would try to keep that record intact.
The race begins at 8 a.m. on Aug. 5 and ends at 8 a.m. on Aug. 6.
The Brantford Death Racers team is seeking personal and corporate sponsorship for their journey, with more than 50 per cent of donations heading to Brant United Way.
“Asking people for money is never easy to do, so if we are going to ask them we might as well ask them to support a good cause, as well,” Esposito said. “The United Way does so much for the Brantford community and we are all a part of it.”
The team is asking for a donation of $1 per kilometre, with $65 going to the Brant United Way and $60 going toward the cost of the journey, which includes a $1,400 registration fee.
When it comes to completing the challenging course, the racers will be putting most of the pressure on each other.
“If you don’t finish your leg of the race in time your team is out and the next person doesn’t get to run,” Hewings said. “That is plenty of pressure to perform.”
What will they do after completing the Canadian Death Race in order to challenge themselves?
“Maybe we do it as individuals instead of a team,” Hewings said.