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Minotaur Skyrace: Gear Tips

Minotaur Skyrace: Gear Tips

The Minotaur Skyrace has quickly become a favourite stop on the Canadian trail running scene, and for a reason. Known for having a relentlessly technical course, the only Canadian stop of the SkyRunning World Series seriously tests competitors both mentally and physically. With less than two weeks until race day, we asked in-house Minotaur connoisseur Jessie McAuley for his tips.

The Gear

The 33.5 km and 2900 m D+ of the Minotaur will first and foremost test your fitness, but they will also test your shoes! Many shoes can make it to the finish line, but not all shoes will without needing to be retired. Want something that will work for the race and that you'll still be able to use later this Summer? Look for those specific characteristics: 

  1. Deep Lugs: Something to grab hold of the loamy first descent.
  2. Sticky Rubber: Think Vibram MegaGrip, Sportiva Frixion, Scarpa Presa.
  3. Low-Mid Stack Height: Stability and ground feel are key. 
  4. Secure Foothold: Your feet shouldn't be sliding around in the scree. 
  5. Durable: Options like Norda 001, Norda 002, NNormal Kjerag, La Sportiva Prodigio, and Scarpa Ribelle fit the bill.

Running poles can also be a valuable asset on those 2900 m of uphill grind. Having poles to lean into will save some leg strength for the final descent when your legs start feeling like Jell-O a few hours into the race. However If you haven't used poles before remember that being efficient with poles requires some practice. And don't forget to think of a reliable carry system so you can be hands free on the descents. 

The Minotaur course packs a punch. Despite it being just under 35 km, the winning times are more indicative of a 50 km type effort. There are three aid stations. These aid stations have some calories, water, and electrolytes but because of their remote nature, volunteers must carry everything in by foot or ATV. Don't expect these aid stations to be as plentiful as what you might find at your standard trail race. It might be worth carrying more nutrition and water than you think you need from the start. Few runners might get away with a running belt but using a standard running vest to carry the mandatory gear and nutrition will be a wise decision.

Last but not least, think of sun protection to avoid burns and heat exhaustion. The early start in the morning is often chilly but by mid-morning the sun can pack a serious punch. 

  • Sun Screen
  • A lightweight/breathable cap 
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • A breathable race shirt
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