Alberta’s longest trail race is getting a boost from the city.
 
Fort Saskatchewan council passed a motion at Tuesday’s (Mar.27) meeting to help fund the first annual Athabaska Ultra 100 Relay.
 
Council approved $7450 of in-kind support and $5200 in out-of-pocket funding for the event.
 
The Athabaska Ultra 100 is a 175-km trail run that starts in Fort Saskatchewan and follows the Trans-Canada trail to Athabasca. The city’s in-kind support will come largely in the form of staffing to help with logistics such as keeping the trail clear, firing the cannon at the West River’s Edge starting line and providing emergency services. The $5200 cash will help cover the cost of equipment, transit shuttles and bringing in RCMP to assist with road closures.
 
Athabaska 100 organizers say the run will promote tourism in communities along the race route. They estimate that the event could bring up to 1500 runners and spectators to the city on race weekend.
 
Mayor Gale Katchur pointed to the benefits of the race.
 
"Sports tourism is one way to start to begin to diversify our economy," she said. "And I think by supporting this and making this hopefully an annual event kicking off from our West River's edge, it's really going to profile our community."
 
Other communities along the route include Gibbons, Sturgeon County, Westlock County and Athabasca County.
 
Pre-race activities begin in Fort Saskatchewan on July 27, with runners taking off from the West River’s Edge starting line on July 28. One lane of the Highway 15 bridge will be closed for an hour and a half that morning as runners make their way along the route. Athletes can take part solo or as relay teams. The race will end July 29 in Athabasca.
 
Race organizers had presented a request for assistance at a previous (Mar. 13) council meeting.

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