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Proving Grounds Adventure Race set to challenge

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 12:28 pm

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Airdrie’s Jennifer Harbour, organizer for the inaugural Proving Grounds Adventure Race on Aug. 30 at the Canmore Nordic Centre, wants residents to challenge their body and help raise funds for a good cause and experience the power of the outdoors.

“Our biggest promotion with this is to promote a healthy, active lifestyle,” said Harbour, manager of fund development with Enviros. “When people are healthy and connected to the outdoors life is good.”

The Aug. 30 race benefits the programs at Enviros, a not for profit social services agency that serves Alberta’s most vulnerable children, youths, adults and families, and offers a range of programs to individuals and families facing addiction, mental health issues or other challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential.

The agency focuses on individualized learning experiences in safe environments that help individuals and families move from needing help to contributing to society, according to their website.

Proving Grounds is a three-stage race open to solo racers, tandem teams of two or tag teams of two to four, and each laps consist of 12 kilometres (km) of mountain biking, 4km of running and a quarter km military-style obstacle course. Racers goal is to complete as many laps as possible in eight hours.

“We like to give the tools (for recovery) to people so they can find their own strength,” Harbour said.

The organization has been around since 1976 and now has 15 programs ranging in themes from coping with behavioral difficulties to foster care supports and promoting life skills development.

“We have the tools to show (people) how they can use them and then it’s up to (the individual or family) to find their path to (success) and set their own goals to achieve,” Harbour said.

“We touch on so many areas because we are helping people connect with resources.”

Though the race may sound daunting, Harbour said it’s really about challenging yourself and proving to yourself you can do it.

“We’ll have some racers out there trying to do as many laps as possible,” Harbour said, “but we’re trying to encourage people to come out and give it a shot even if they just do one lap or two.”

Harbour said Enviros’ CEO Chris Mahoney, 51, is taking the challenge and participating in the race to prove to herself she can do it.

Participants in the race pay a $40 registration fee and are asked to raise a minimum of $250, all of which will go to supporting Enviros programming. To register, visit

The event will also be an opportunity to families to get out and spend some time together as there will be crafts, face painting and a DJ playing music throughout the event.

“If people are going to be in the area they should come out because the Nordic Centre is open that day to the public,” Harbour said, adding families can try out some of the hiking trails or play a round of disc golf.

She said the race already has about 100 racers registered but there is still room for more people to register.


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