We all know the Bible story. Moses leads the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, chased down by the resentful Pharaoh’s army to the shores of the Red Sea. Here, Moses raises his staff and one of the great Biblical miracles occurs: The sea divides, allowing the Israelites to pass safely across the ocean floor. The pursuing army are swallowed by the sea, and lo, the Israelites are free…to wander the desert for 40 years, but that’s another story. Now, let’s substitute the Red Sea for the Bay of Fundy, which we already know has the world’s highest tides. Instead of the Israelites racing for freedom, picture joggers covered up to their ankles in red mud. For the pursuing soldiers, we’ll use Time itself, which relentlessly ticks forward until the Bay begins to fill, drowning rocks and mud up to 15 metres underwater. Not Since Moses has there been a race against such a powerful foe, hence the name of this quirky and extreme 10 kilometre annual run along Five Islands, Nova Scotia.
Over a thousand competitors must race along the ocean floor – over mud, seaweed, rocks, muck and slime – to reach the finish line before high tide. These conditions make it particularly treacherous, but the well-organized event takes great pride ensuring that no-one is forced to swim to safety. Participants in the 10 kilometre run, or the less frenetic 5 kilometre walk, follow a path amongst five islands that sit off the coast – Moose, Diamond, Egg, Pinnacle and Long Island. If you stop long enough to admire their surroundings (and not slip on a seaweed), you’ll see eroded muddy cliffs, sandbars, and distinct islands of rock, and probably a jogger knee deep in sludge, his or her shoes lodged firmly in the mud. The volunteer driven event is a festive affair, culminating in live music, hot food, a poetry reading, and a popular children event. Run times typically range in the 60 – 90 minute range, the winner clocking in around 45 minutes, the last runner in around two hours, by which stage the kids are already enjoying a burger and the annual Basket Run. Conditions can vary year to year: strong winds once had competitors wading through a waist high tidal river, with volunteer stations along the route known to turn back slow runners. Fortunately, boats are on hand for rescues, since this is not a triathlon, yet.
How great would it be to see a race on the ocean floor that starts on foot, and finishes with a stroke? Not Since Moses benefits local schools, draws athletes from around the world, and relies on the uncanny ability of Nova Scotians to, well, run with it. Besides the sticky terrain, runners are cautioned to expect strong wind and bring their own water (or alcohol, if that’s the fuel you need).
It may not be a Biblical miracle, but Not Since Moses still crosses the mud-splattered line to finish on The Great Canadian Bucket List.
Sign up for Race Day on August 4th, 2019! More information at https://www.notsincemoses.com