Just 58 seconds made the difference

Jonathan Parsons
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Gander edges Clarenville to win Wilderness Adventure Race

It was a beautiful day on Wednesday, Feb. 26, in Terra Nova National Park as students from the Clarenville to Gander region participated in the sixth annual Wilderness Adventure Race.

The Clarenville team races off the mark to begin the first interval of three minutes.


The race, contested each year since 2009, incorporates snowshoeing, skiing and fire building into one timed event.

Each station must be completed by the entire team before moving on and teammates are not allowed to be more than 50 metres from each  other at any time. This is to promote teamwork and sportsmanship.

Each team consisted of five students with a teacher supervisor.

They began snowshoeing, leading off in  three-minute intervals, around a three-kilometre loop, stopping along the way to light a fire to bring a can of water to a boil.

From there, participants switched to cross-country skis to finish the event.

Students came from Holy Cross School Complex in Eastport, Glovertown Academy, Clarenville High School, Heritage Collegiate in Lethbridge, Smallwood Academy in Gambo, Gander Collegiate and St. Paul’s Intermediate, and Cottrell’s Cove Academy.

The students from Cottrell’s Cove traveled the furthest to come the event and have been doing so for years. The small, kindergarten to grade 12, school has only 26 students and still play an important role in this race.

The day saw broken snowshoes and ski poles, moose tracks, a helicopter fly-over and a fun race based on healthy, outdoor living.

The event was sponsored by School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador in an attempt to endorse non-traditional sports that are individualistic but still promote teamwork and exercise.

The message of the day was represented by members of the Gander team who wore pink to acknowledge anti-bullying.

Andy Poole, a teacher at Holy Cross, was an organizer of the event.

Poole told The Packet, "I think this year’s race was one of the best so far. Into our sixth year those of us who have been around since the beginning are really noticing teams are coming better prepared for the challenge and times are getting faster, but it’s still always the most fun I have at any school event.

“I'm biased I know, but the atmosphere at this event is always full of sportsmanship, fun and a little friendly competition. It still offers itself to those who want to push hard and challenge for the win or those who are motivated by the huge personal victory of finishing this unique physical challenge.”

Gander Collegiate won the competition this year, upsetting the defending champions, Clarenville, by only the slimmest of margins — 58 seconds.

They won six pairs of snowshoes, donated by Parks Canada as the prize for this year’s race.

The Gander team included biathletes who were accomplished skiers. Members of the Clarenville team were all members of their Nordic ski team.

A Parks Canada worked who manned the fire building station, says the margin between first and second place may have been secured at his station.

“Gander dug a hole (before building their fire).”

This perhaps was all they needed to direct the heat and get their water boiling faster.





Organizations: Glovertown Academy, Smallwood Academy, Cove Academy Parks Canada Holy Cross Nordic

Geographic location: Clarenville, Eastport, Lethbridge Gambo St. Paul

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