Tenth annual Limberlost Challenge attracts record number of participants



Thanks to the addition of a new race distance, the tenth annual Limberlost Challenge had its biggest turn out yet with more than 800 runners participating.

Prior to  2019, the shortest distance was 14km. This year, a new 7km race attracted 206 runners. Back again were the 28km, 42km and 56km distaces, all following the 14km main loop which touches on five lakes and a wetland at the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve.

“Trail running is on one hand easier on the joints compared to road running. However the terrain is technical, with rocks, roots and occasional mud so a runner’s time to complete the same distance will be longer,” said race director Neil Jefferson.

The decade-old event 2019 also became a ‘cupless’ race for the first time this year — participants were asked to bring their own water bottles to cut down on waste. As in previous years, any participant who littered faced disqualification.

Food, water and first aid is supplied as part of the event to all runners. On-course aid stations were stocked with electrolyte, water, cola, ginger ale, sweet snacks, salty snacks, fruit and ice and, later in the day, boiled potatoes and sea salt.

Over the years The Limberlost Challenge has become known for their outstanding post-race food. This year, GD2GO from North Bay was hired to cater for the runners.

Local runner, Kip Arlidge, won the 56km event for the second year in a row. “Last year he smashed the record by over 30 minutes,” said Jefferson. “Though not as fast this year because of the hot conditions, he was well over an hour ahead of second place. I have watched Kip through the years go from not finishing the event to becoming a dominant runner who has learned how to manage his energy output in a race. I really feel that he has the potential to be a prominent runner in international trail running events.”

Kip Arlidge placed first in the 56K race at the 2019 Limberlost Challenge (thelimberlostchallenge.com / CLiiK Photography)

Kip Arlidge placed first in the 56K race at the 2019 Limberlost Challenge (thelimberlostchallenge.com / CLiiK Photography)

The top finishers for 2019 were:


  • 1st place: Ty Lebannister from Pembroke, 30:30
  • 2nd place: Darla Coles from Huntsville, 31:18
  • 3rd place: Tanner McDonald from Elmira, 33:20


  • 1st place: Rob Bark from Whitby, 01:04:46
  • 2nd place: Jakob Van Dorp from Wiarton, 01:09:42
  • 3rd place: Kate Hallinan from Toronto, 01:10:05


  • 1st place: Ian Kinsella from Toronto, 02:25:58
  • 2nd place: Riley Johnston from Ottawa, 02:33:17
  • 3rd place: Martin Odendaal from Toronto, 02:42:06


  • 1st place: Adam Mcdonald from Fonthill, 04:02:34
  • 2nd place: Ryan Niclasen from Allanburg, 04:05:28
  • 3rd place: Vaughn Ridley from Fonthill, 04:20:11


  • 1st place: Kip Arlidge from Huntsville, 05:18:22
  • 2nd place: Alexander Hetherington from Vienna, 06:31:21
  • 3rd place: Anne-Marie Bourgeois from Toronto, 06:45:44

The rest of the results can be found at thelimberlostchallenge.com.

Handmade plaques are given to top finishers and everyone that participates gets a medal which is handmade from yellow birch harvested from the Limberlost Forest the year prior to the event.

“The Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve have been amazing hosts through the years,” said Jefferson. “Each year they do a super job of maintaining their gorgeous trails and have even built new ones to improve the experience of our runners.”

Instead of renting the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve for the entire weekend, which is typical of most race events, the team donates a portion of race entry fees to Trails Youth Initiatives.

This year the Limberlost Challenge team donated $11,000 to Trails Youth Initiatives.

Volunteers at the 2019 event included local community members Proactive Rehab, Dr. Lowell Greib and his team from The SportLab, Rob Horton (registration and IT) and Katherine Andrews (treasurer and race day MC).

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