FAQ about updates to the MEC race series

Why did MEC change the race program?

The MEC race series started with just a few small running races in 2012, and it grew to include over 150 races across Canada (that’s a ton of races!). While we love putting on running races, we took a step back and realized that running is just one of the ways that MEC can help get people outside – there were lots of activities we weren’t supporting since we were focusing so many resources on running events.

We want our stores and staff to support all kinds of outdoor activities – running included – so we made the call to zone in on some of our most popular trail running races across the country. We hope to make the 2020 races a more memorable experience, while still keeping them affordable for people to sign up.

Fewer races mean our stores will have more time and resources to plan clinics and events around other activities like skiing, hiking, climbing, camping and more. Like other organizations, your Co-op has a certain amount of resources and capacity to work with, so we want to make the most of it and connect with all kinds of members who want to get outside.

How are the 2020 races going to be different than past races?

Training for and finishing a race is an achievement, so we want to give racers more than just a start line and a banana – we want to give you a more memorable event experience. We’re hoping to find new ways to connect the running community with the races we are hosting. Some ideas? Events that lead up to the races, chances to meet up with running Ambassadors, ways for you to try out gear, stretch zones and warm-ups, and more of an outdoor celebration at the finish line. (The races still have low entry fees, and yes: there’ll still be bananas.)

Are there any other races coming in 2020?

The races you see on the MEC High Point Race Series page are the races we’re hosting in 2020. We haven’t created a schedule for 2021 races, so it might change in the future.

Why is MEC only doing trail running races in 2020?

When we made the decision to focus in on certain races this year, we felt that trail running was where MEC could have the most impact. Trail running as an activity is growing across the country (even for people in cities who head to local parks) and most regions already have many existing road running races for people to join. Our staff have lots of expert advice to help members get into trail running, so we made the call to focus on trails over roads for 2020.

Will MEC still carry road running products?

Yes, MEC will still carry road running products and brands, along with all the gear you need for trail running.

What happened to the race value packs and package discounts?

Since we changed the schedule of races, it didn’t make sense to offer race value packs for the entire race series. Instead, we’re offering early bird prices for individual races until January 31, 2020.

Will MEC have run clinics and run crews in 2020?

We’re taking a look at our run crews and run clinics for 2020 to see what makes sense for the Co-op and the race series.

You cancelled the race in my community. How is MEC supporting my community now that there aren’t races?

If you signed up for MEC races over the years, thank you – we’re grateful to all the racers and have heard feedback from many people that they enjoyed the events. Part of the reason for the change to our race series for 2020 is because we’re planning to build out events and clinics for activities beyond running.

In some regions, we plan to focus mainly on in-store clinics that help people learn new outdoor skills to help them get outside. Other regions will have events that happen both in stores and in the larger community.

Are there going to be any bike races or century rides?

We won’t be hosting any bike races or century rides in 2020. Again, this was a tough decision – they were fun and accessible events, but permits and logistics meant the resources to run them wasn’t lining up with the numbers of riders who registered.