2018 Actif Epica Race Bible (Draft)

NOTE: Online entry form and waiver, along with entry fee, must be received by midnight CST, February 9, 2018. Entry fees are non-refundable.

IMPORTANT UPDATES Posted November 29, 2017.

Please note that the race bible as presented is considered a draft and certain aspects will be subject to change. Race directors will make every reasonable attempt to notify registrants about changes, but participants are responsible for understanding the contents of the final document.

That said, changes are likely to be minimal, and the current race bible will provide you with the information you need to be familiar with the race and its requirements.

GPX files and cue sheets from the 2017 edition of the event can be found in the MAPS SECTION


The Race

Actif Epica is a challenging self-supported ultra-endurance event in potentially extreme trail and weather conditions. Our goal is to promote communities in southeastern Manitoba and health benefits associated with outdoor activity in winter. You will experience true winter conditions across the sparkling southeastern Manitoba prairie on the historic Crow Wing Trail. Depending on distance chosen, the race starts in Emerson (200km), Ridgeville (162km) or St. Malo (125km) and finishes in downtown Winnipeg. Icy temperatures, windswept trails, big skies and huge landscapes await participants. Variable weather and trail conditions add to the mix, presenting a unique experience.

The Event

The ultramarathon is the centrepiece of a larger one-day winter experience called Actif Epica. Actif Epica is a celebration of human resilience, featuring numerous outdoor active events taking place along the race route.

The Crow Wing Trail

The historic Crow Wing Trail first opened in 1844 and stretched from Upper Fort Garry to St. Paul Minnesota. Trader Peter Garrioch and his friends, fearing the Sioux Indians on the west side of the Red River, decided to open a trail on its east side where there was a good supply of wood and water. This new trail quickly became popular as a main trading route. From Fort Garry it followed the eastern side of the Red River through what are now known as the communities of St. Adolphe, Niverville, Otterburne, St. Pierre-Jolys, St. Malo, Ridgeville and Emerson. The Crow Wing Trail Association was formed in 1999 to build the section of Trans Canada Trail from Winnipeg to Emerson. This regional trail association consists of representatives from the rural municipalities of Ritchot, Niverville, De Salaberry, Franklin, Emerson and Roseau River First Nation.

Organizing Team
[email protected]

Acknowledgement: Organization of Actif Epica is a group effort, and we are especially thankful for race founders, Ian Hall and David Pensato. This race was inspired by the Arrowhead 135. Thank you to Pierre and Cheryl Oster, Dave and Mary Pramann and others whose experiences and approaches have made planning a safe, fun winter race easier. See www.arrowheadultra.com for more information.


NOTE: racers are responsible for their own navigation. Although some trail sections and roads have signs, the course is not marked. Repeat: racers are responsible for their own navigation. To complete this race, you must know how to use a GPS and/or a compass. (detailed cue sheets and GPS tracks will be provided)

The 2018 Actif Epica race course begins in Emerson (200km- bike only), Ridgeville (162km- run only) or St. Malo (125km- bike/run/relay) and continues north to the Red River Floodway near St. Adolphe, Manitoba along the Crow Wing Trail. This section of the race course follows a wide trail, including dirt and gravel roads with occasional short sections of paved road near checkpoints , all with a common theme of being primarily across wide-open stretches of prairie.

Beyond the Floodway, racers will follow streets, trails and (weather dependent) the Red River to the finish in downtown Winnipeg. This final section of the course is urban but will still require navigational awareness.

You can expect the trail surface to be a mix of ice, snow, pavement and frozen gravel/dirt. Snowy sections may or may not be packed by snowmobiles/cars. Drifts can exceed 1 metre (3.3 feet) in depth.

To reiterate the first point, racers are responsible for their own navigation (detailed cue sheets and GPS tracks will be provided). This means you must have a compass/distance measuring device or a GPS with you and know how to use it (see required gear below).

Weather Expectations

Typical winter weather in this part of Manitoba is frigid with subzero air temperatures, even dipping to -30° Celsius (-22° F) ; however, windchill can result in effective temperatures of -50° (-58° F) or colder. Be ready for anything as an early thaw is always possible. Proper winter survival gear is critical. Checkpoints offer shelter and water but racers must plan to be self-sufficient between these checkpoints and be prepared in case of mechanical or physical breakdown.

Maps and Cue Sheets

Cue Sheets

(Latest Update: Feb 15, 2017, 22:38 CST)

GPX Tracks Files

(right-click and choose "download linked file as..." or "save link as..." or whatever similar option you get. Save (or rename) the file with a .gpx extension)

Full 200km Route with all checkpoints (2017)

Additional map sources

Google Map of Course 2017 Edition

Entire Crow Wing Trail Map

Southern section of Crow Wing Trail


1: Sign-in and Mandatory Gear Check

Sign-in and gear check starts at XX:XX at (location TBD, coming soon) and must be complete by XX:XX. We request that you check-in as early as possible to make sure we can complete everyone's sign-in and gear check before XX:XX to start the pre-race meeting as early as possible.

If you do not arrive before gear check on Friday, you will not be allowed to race without special permission from the race directors. You will need to bring all mandatory gear to this check.

Upon completing the gear-check, cyclists using the shuttle will load their bikes (with gear attached) into the transport trailer for storage in a secure indoor facility and delivery to your starting location on Saturday morning. NOTE: No bikes will be loaded on Saturday morning for transportation.

2: Pre-race Meeting

Racers must attend the pre-race meeting on Friday, February 16th. The Pre-Race Meeting will begin at XX:XX and will last 30 minutes.

3: Start Times

Start times vary by distance, as follows. Athlete's vehicles may be left at any starting point, but please note that there are no outlets for plugging in block heaters at any of the start points. Alternately, shuttle and bike transport are available— details are below.

  • 125km: Saturday, February 17th at  6:30 for runners, 7:30 for cyclists at St. Malo Arena (10 Chouinard Street). 
  • 162km: Friday, February 16th at 22:00 at Ridgeville Co-op Community Club (43 Main Street). 
  • 200km: Saturday, February 17th at 7:00 a.m. for cyclists at Emerson Co-op Community Centre (101 Church Street). 

4: Shuttle & bike transport

All bikes must be loaded on the trailer Friday immediately following gear check. They will be securely stored overnight and transported to the respective start locations and be available for racers upon arrival at their starting location with time to do any final preparation/loading/etc. on race morning before their event begins.

Shuttle Bus pick-up and drop-off schedule

Coming soon

Start Times:

  • 162k Run— 22:00, Friday (Ridgeville)
  • 125k Run— 06:30 Saturday (St Malo)
  • 200k Bike— 07:00 Saturday (Emerson)
  • 125k Bike— 07:30 Saturday (St Malo)

5: Race finish and cut-off times:

Finish is at a location TBD. Pending approval, time cutoffs are:

  • 200km:  
    • St. Pierre – cyclists must leave by 20:00 Saturday
    • Niverville - must leave by  01:00 Sunday
    • must finish by 11:00 Sunday (28 hours)
  • 162km:
    • St. Pierre – runners must leave by 15:00 Saturday
    • Niverville – must leave by 22:00 Saturday
    • must finish by 11:00 Sunday (35 hours)
  • 125km:
    • Niverville - must leave by 19:00 Saturday
    • must finish by 07:30 Sunday (24 hours bike/25 hours run)

Please don’t drive home sleepy; ask us for help if you need it. Race results to be posted online following cutoff. Awards for all finishers will be presented at finish line.

6: Outside Support will Disqualify You.

You may receive some limited support from officials, and racers are permitted to help each other out (riding in small groups or pairs for company and drafting each other is OK), but no external support is permitted. This means no support crews of any kind, no pacing and no rides/tows accepted from motorized transport except in emergencies as approved by race officials. Ultimately, this race is about you, the prairie and your inner dogged spirit! Finishing is an accomplishment. If you take a ride, you are disqualified.

Participants are encouraged to help each other. The buddy system is good way to do the race especially in the dark and cold. We encourage spectators, but assistance is not allowed at any tim— don't have a team (e.g. friends, family) meeting you at each and every road crossing (though by all means, encourage them to visit official checkpoints, take part in the broader event and visit points of interest identified along the route). 

7: No littering/no caching of supplies.

Note: you can purchase supplies from businesses along the route if desired. Leave no trace.

8: Mandatory Check-ins

You must check in at ALL checkpoints, this includes Ridgeville (for 200km cyclists), Senkiw (for 162km runners and 200km cyclists), St. Malo (for 162km runners and 200km cyclists), St. Pierre-Jolys (all), Crystal Spring (all), Niverville (all), St. Adolphe (all), St. Norbert (all). Some food will be provided at the Niverville checkpoint. Others will have water, and maybe more (don’t rely on it).

8: Short-cutting will Disqualify You.

If you leave the race course for any reason (including getting lost), you must re-enter where you left.

9: This is an Open Course with Motor Vehicles on Some Sections.

Snow machines and motor vehicles have absolute right of way. You must pull to the right side of the trail and let them pass. Stop at all intersections and obey traffic rules.

10: Racers may use snowshoes, but if used you must carry them and all starting gear to the finish with you.

11: Race Directors and Checkpoint Directors may delay or pull racers from the course for safety reasons at any point at their discretion.

12: Dropping Out

In the event that you decide to drop out of the race at any point, please notify race directors or volunteers at a checkpoint immediately (contact numbers will be provided at the pre-race meeting).

13: Weather Related Race Delay or Cancellation

In case of extreme weather conditions and if the race director(s) feel it is unsafe for participants to continue, the event may be delayed or called off. As a general guideline, a sustained effective windchill in excess of -40°C and/or visibility of less than 200m will be grounds for delaying or canceling the event.

14: Mandatory Gear Must be Carried at All Times

Racers must carry the required gear (see list below) at all times while on the course and must finish with at least 2000 calories of food, carried from the start. Racers may assist each other, however each participant must have their own mandatory gear at all times. Race Directors reserve the right to check a participant’s gear at any time during the event (including at the start/finish). Compensation for lost time during a random gear check will be made; any gear-check failures are subject to disqualification or time penalties at the discretion of Race Directors.

PART 4: Gear and Supplies

Mandatory Gear From Race Start to Race Finish:

The following gear is required from start to finish on the course. Each racer is responsible for ensuring compliance while on the course.

Relay teams may share mandatory gear, handing off at checkpoints. Team leaders are required to go through the necessary gear-check at the pre-race meeting and all remaining team members must sign a waiver indicating that they understand all required gear must be carried by them while on the course or risk team disqualification.


  1. Cyclists: A cycling helmet to be worn at all times when you are on the race course.
  2. In addition to your race-day clothing, you are required to carry an extra windproof, insulated jacket (not a soft shell). This is your emergency shelter, so it should be sufficient to keep you warm/out of the wind for a few hours at least. Options to fulfill gear requirement are:
    • An insulated jacket with hood (if hood is thin/stowaway, you will also require an extra toque)
    • A heavy fleece or equivalent with toque and a hooded, wind-proof shell over top.
    • An insulated jacket, no hood, with (extra) windproof toque and scarf
  3. Windproof (nylon or Gore-Tex) pants
  4. Insulated water container(s), total volume minimum 2 litres
  5. Headlamp or flashlight. Suggested minimum of ~100 lumen good for 12 hours at -30C.
    • For 162km runners and 200km cyclists, a spare set of batteries and/or a spare light is mandatory (a dim/failed light = disqualification)
  6. Flashing white LED light on front of body/bike. Light must have a minimum of three flashing LEDs (or one super bright LED; i.e. no turtle lights). Keep on at all times. (may require carrying extra batteries, dim/failed lights = disqualification)
  7. Flashing red LED light on back of body/bike. Light must have a minimum of three flashing LEDs (or one super bright LED; i.e. no turtle lights). Keep on at all times (may require carrying extra batteries, dim/failed lights = disqualification)
  8. At least 60 square centimetres of reflective material on front and back of you during the race. Can be on your pack, but not on a bike.
  9. Whistle on string around neck to call for help, because your mouth is too numb to yell.
  10. You must carry 2000 calories of food with you from the start. These must be edible calories (e.g. not something unpalatable or inedible in cold weather… be prepared to eat it).
  11. You must carry (and have the knowledge of how to use the option of your choice) either 
    • a compass and cycle computer/pedometer, or 
    • a GPS with extra set of batteries (lithium recommended)
  12. Course cue sheets (will be provided)
  13. Cold weather emergency shelter (e.g. SOL bivy) in case you need to survive long enough for a rescue (For 162km runners/200km cyclists only).

Recommended Gear:

  • Cold weather sleeping bag (suggested -20C rated)
  • Bivy sack or small tent
  • Extreme conditions mittens, head gear and outerwear
  • Ski goggles
  • Spare undershirt/socks
  • Over-boots, gaiters
  • Duct tape, Vaseline, sunglasses, lip balm, moleskin, ibuprofen, etc.
  • Reflective vest
  • Cell phone
  • Suggested 5,000-7,000 calories of cold-weather edible food

Sense of humour (most important)

Drop Bags:

One finish line bag including a small change of clothes for post race is allowed. Drop bags due, Friday, February 16 at the pre-race meeting. Otherwise, make your own arrangements to deliver them. Drop bags must be clearly labeled with racer’s name and race number and secured shut. You can share drop bags with another racer to limit waste.

Update Log

As they are added, updates will be included here to highlight changes in one location: