Category Archives: ultra running

Why I Race: Health Hope Happiness

By Cory Boddy:

There are a lot of reasons to race, whatever your discipline. Over the years I’ve focused on mountain biking, then switched to running, then mixed it up with duathlon, and now I’m pretty into road cycling and cyclocross. The disciplines have changed, but my reasons for racing haven’t. I like the challenge, I like to see improvement, it keeps my head clear and my heart healthy, and I like social aspect of cycling. There is something else though; a bonus, an added motivation that comes from being part of Fiera Race Club.

Whatever race I compete in, my race entry fees are matched with an equal charitable donation from our sponsor, Fiera Biological Consulting, to the club-supported charity of my choice. My choice is always Camp He Ho Ha.

Camp He Ho Ha or more proper: Health, Hope, and Happiness is a local camp near Edmonton, for people with special needs. Every summer over 800 campers attend, some as young as 7 and others as old as 90.


One of the best summers of my life was spent at Camp He Ho Ha. I was a Camp Counselor and for four months 800 campers with disabilities brightened every moment. I’ll never forget that summer and I try to use that experience to steer the decisions I make some 20 years later. That’s why I continue to support Camp He Ho Ha and why I’m thrilled to be part of a race club that allows me to give even more.

We are truly fortunate to be able to race, train, and ride with a club that makes this possible.

Since joining Fiera Race Team, I have participated in enough races to see Fiera Biological donate  $1,800 to Camp He Ho Ha! These are donations that are direly needed, and appreciated, and all I had to do was something that I already enjoyed, and fill out a simple online form after each race. That’s it. I didn’t have to win, or do well… or even finish, come to think of it. I just had to do what I’m already passionate about doing … get outdoors and challenge myself.

So as the race season sets upon us, I hope the rest of my Fiera Race Club teammates will challenge themselves to race and remember to report their race achievements to secure a donation to Camp He Ho Ha or any of the other worthy charities we have chosen to support. There are plenty of reasons to get out there and race. This just happens to be one of the better ones.


Since the club began, the racing adventrures of our membership have generated nearly $10,000! Below is a list of the awesome charities supported by Fiera Race Team as a result of our racing efforts. To report your results, just look to left side-margin of this homepage where it says Recent Results, then click “tell us about it!

Right to Play

Doctors Without Boarders

Nature Conservancy of Canada

The Canadian Red Cross

Food Banks Canada

Camp He-Ho-Ha

Stollery Children’s Hospital

Environmental Law Centre






Kindness matters!

As I hope you all remember, when Fiera Race Club members race, donations are generated for a select group of charities (for more information see our About Us page). We have chosen these charities carefully, weighing a few key criteria:

1) we want to support some local charities – charities that are making a difference close to home for most of our members.

2) we want to support charities that make a large, lasting, and tangible difference.

3) we want to support charities for which there is a personal connection for our members

4) and finally we want to support charities that reflect the values of a recreational, athletically motivated sports club, such that we are.

Additionally we want our modest donations to have as big an impact as possible, and at the same time we want to spread our impact around as widely as possible.

Taking all these things in to account, I think we have come up with a most deserving list of eight recipients.  They are as follows:

Right to Play

Doctors without Borders

Food Banks Canada

Canadian Red Cross

Stollery Children’s Hospital

Camp He Ho Ha

Nature Conservancy Canada

Environmental Law Centre

We don’t always receive thanks for our donations, nor do we expect to.  I hope that the knowledge that we are fortunate enough to feed our passion to train and race all while generating funds that ultimately help to make to world a better place is more than thanks enough.

Still, it is awfully nice when we do recieve a note or letter such as I recently recieved on Fiera Race Club’s behalf, from the Executive Director of Camp He Ho Ha.

“This act of kindness is written on the hearts of so many who benefit from your generosity”

Here is the letter in full.  I hope it motivates us all to keep training, racing, and giving.

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Race Report: Blackfoot Ultra 100

They say the first step to recovery is an admission of guilt. This is my story.

It started out like this. Some months ago Darren-endurance-athlete-extraordinaire-McGregor sent me an online communicator note asking, “BF100 registration opens today, do you want to?” I paused, my mind spiraling into the permutation and combinations of repercussions. “OK”, I replied. “Really??” the message came back. Seconds later we were both signed up for our first 100km trail run.

Fast forward some months later. Saturday May 25, 4:59AM to be exact, I find myself in an outhouse near the start line at the Cooking Lake Blackfoot Prov Rec Area. “Chad, I think they just started,” said Darren also dropping a pre-race deuce in the next outhouse. “I’ll wait for you.”

We walk quickly but casually over to the now vacant starting line, the race director standing there blinking at us. “Uh, we missed the pre-race meeting. Is there anything we need to know?” I ask him. “No, just GO GO GO!” he yells at us.

Knowing a couple minutes won’t make or break a 100km race, I slowly shuffle off down the trail. Darren-I-don’t-know-how-to-pace-McGregor sprints off ahead. “See ya at the finish!” I shout after him. A few minutes later I catch up to him as he latched onto a pack of runners shuffling along even slower than me. We keep pace with this group for a few kilometers before we decide it’s too slow. We find our own pace and settle in for a long day.

For those unfamiliar with ultra-marathon running (i.e., anything longer than 42.2km) the pace is typically slow. For mere mortals, you conserve energy by walking up hills, you stop at aid stations to eat, you run the rest, but slowly. We’re not Kilian Jornet. We don’t have a VO2 max of 89.5
Mortals suffer. Badly. Pain management is the name of this game. They say ultras are 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental. Some people think we’re totally mental.

My day is spent thinking about each and every footstep, trying not to trip or slip, trying to keep moving forward, somewhere. In the Blackfoot PRA the wetlands are too numerous to keep track of, the hills too insignificant to be memorable, the trail too consistently muddy to be recognizable. The only way to track my progress is by the aid stations spread at approximately 5km intervals around the 25km loop we have to do 4 times. 100km is too far to comprehend. 5km to the next aid station makes it mentally manageable. And with each aid station brings the satisfaction of fistfuls of salty potato chips, fruit and soup broth.

Hours blend into each other. My kids are waking up now and watching cartoons. I’m still running. Now they’re probably eating lunch. It’s starting to rain. “Is that all you got?!” Darren-I’m-too-muddy-to-care-McGregor screams at Mother Nature. Now it’s a downpour. I’m still running. It’s afternoon, I wonder if they’re napping. The mud is thicker and greasier. A cold wind howls. I’m still running. Finally, late afternoon and I see the finish line. I want to cry but I’m too tired. A small crowd cheers me in. I cross the line but find it hard to stop moving. Endorphins and adrenaline surging. I pace around grinning like an idiot. Oh man, this is going to be hard to kick…

Hello, my name is Chad and I’m an ultraholic, results here.