Nathalie Long: Creator of Canada's First Expedition Race
Hi Nathalie! Could you tell us how you became interested in adventure racing?
I was living in Australia in 2009 and had just started doing triathlons when some friends introduced me to paddling and trail running. A few months later, they asked me to join a team for a multi-stage event. A year later, I was asked to join a team to race in my first Expedition race in Cairns.
In case some of our readers aren't familiar with adventure or endurance racing, could you paint a picture of what it looks like?
Adventure racing is a mix of Mountain biking, paddling and hiking with Orienteering (map and compass). Usually, there are also some ropes (rappeling, climbing or zip lining) involved.
Expedition racing is adventure racing on a longer scale. Teams of 4 tackle routes 400 km-800 km long and have 3-8 days to complete the course. The teams decide if they sleep, where and for how long. These races are a true test of endurance, as everyone's physical limits are pushed to the max.
You have a lot of experience in racing around the world. What have been some of your most memorable experiences and locations?
I have done about 18 Expedition races around the world, each one being between 3 to 10 days long. Some of my favourites have been the World Championships in Costa Rica and Ecuador as well as Australia. I also enjoyed racing in France, the US and Fiji a lot.
You are a pioneering Canadian woman - setting up Canada's first adventure race in the Okanagan! Tell us what led you to start Expedition Canada and what makes it so awesome?
Racing on the World Circuit for the last 12 years and yet the fact that Canada did not have an expedition race despite living in the perfect place for it were the two factors that pushed me to create Expedition Canada. I think the fact that I am a racer and I test my entire course myself is what makes my races awesome. I can make sure there is just enough of that gruelling component, majestic views and exciting fun that makes a race an awesome race.
We are proud to sponsor your packrafts along with MRS. How have you found the Barracuda R2 Pro so far, and what tips do you have about paddling in endurance races?
I have been loving my experience with the Barracuda R2 Pro so far and I can't wait for the ice to melt a bit more to get back into it quickly.
Choosing the right packraft is a game changer in a race. Our team lost so much time with the wrong packrafts in our last race, and it cost us our spot on the podium. Double packrafts are almost twice as fast as singles, and the Barracuda is the fastest packraft I have seen so far. It tracks the water very well and is just a great and light boat all around.
What things are you looking forward to in 2023?
My team and I have a full agenda with our main races being Expedition Ozarks, Endless Mountain and the Worlds in South Africa.
In between that, we have some shorter races and have Expedition Canada to set, proof and run (May 23-29, 2023).
Any final words?
We are so happy to have partnered with MRS, and Camping Hiking Adventures. And we can't wait to share our upcoming adventures with you!!! Happy 2023 !!!
To reach Nathalie and find out more about Expedition Canada go to expeditionracecanada.ca