Date: Saturday, October 19 2019
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Location: Zoo Road Welcome Area

A collaborative event hosted in partnership with the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle and Parks Canada.

We run the Earth to connect – with nature, with one another, and with ourselves.

The Rouge is home to many historic and significant travel paths. Indigenous peoples used these paths since time immemorial, running from community to community delivering messages, for protection, for ritual and for sport. Then, and now, Indigenous athletes are considered masters of distance running, and are counted among the most esteemed runners in Canadian history. In celebration of this proud and enduring legacy of Indigenous athleticism, Rouge National Urban Park invites visitors to reconnect with nature and follow in the footsteps of more than 10,000 years of human history within the Rouge Valley.

Information for Runners:

The Earth Run in the Rouge consists of a 10km and 5km course. Registration for the 5km is FREE for youth 17 years of age and under! There will also be a free kids 1km run.

Choose your course:

10km – Cogwagee Course
Cogwagee - Tom Longboat (Photo Credit: Library and Archives Canada)

Named after the world-famous Onondaga distance runner, Cogwagee (English name, Tom Longboat) (1887 –1949). Born at Six Nations of the Grand River, Longboat grew up to become the greatest distance runner of his era. He was the first member of a First Nations community to win the Boston Marathon, beating the existing record by five minutes. He represented Canada in the 1908 Olympics and in 1912 set a world record for the fifteen-mile race, finishing in just one hour and eighteen minutes. Longboat spent his childhood in Canada’s Residential School system, escaping, significantly, by running away twice. Longboat gave up his athletic career in 1916 to join the Canadian forces serving in World War One, where his skills at running was utilized as a messenger on the front lines.

Throughout his career, he endured racist discrimination and criticism in the press as he rose to become one of the greatest distance runners of his generation. Longboat died in 1949, and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame six years later, being recognized as “Canada’s greatest long-distance runner”.

In Onondaga, Cogwagee means “everything.”

5km – Simpson Course
Fred Simpson 
Fred Simpson (Photo Credit: Alderville First Nation)

Named after Fred Simpson Sr. (1878-1945) – the renowned Mississauga Ojibway marathon runner from Alderville First Nation. Less than two years after taking up road racing, Simpson rose through the ranks to become one of the first Indigenous athletes to compete for Canada in the Olympic Games.

In 1908, he finished sixth in the Olympic marathon event from Windsor Castle to Shepherd’s Bust in London, England, out-distancing fellow Canadian Cowagee (Tom Longboat), and 50 other of the world’s best runners. Nicknamed the “Ojibway Thunderbolt,” Simpson ran in the North American professional circuit from 1909 until retiring in 1912 to spend time with his family in Hiawatha.

1km – Smoke Course

Register and learn more about the Earth Run in the Rouge.

Move through the fall colours, get active and enjoy an array of cultural programming throughout the day.

Join us at our Zoo road welcome are, where we have free guided walks starting at 1:30 PM! Registration for walks start 30 minutes prior to the respective walk time. Please register at the designated Parks Canada tent.

Guided walks:

1:30-2:15 PM
  • Club Parka (Kids Walk)
  • Fall Colours and Photography
1:45-3:15 PM
  • Stories from the Farm
  • Indigenous Creation Story
2:00-3:30 PM
  • Seven Generations
  • Say Yes to Fall and Winter Walking!
2:15-3:45 PM
  • Fall Colours and Photography
  • Sounds of the Rouge
2:30-4:00 PM
  • Restoring the Rouge
  • Xplorers (kids walk)

Visitors can even bask in the beauty of our onsite pumpkin patch where you can consider bringing a pumpkin home with you, or fill your bellies with incredible food thanks to our vendors. There is something for everyone at this action-packed event. Please bring cash for pumpkin sales.

We will also be collecting food donations for Feed the Need Durham’s food distribution program at the event. Please give what you can!

Desired Items:

  1. Canned Protein (tuna, salmon, peanut butter)
  2. Fruits & Vegetables (canned peas, fruit cocktail)
  3. Snack Food (crackers, granola bars, juice boxes, fruit cups)
  4. Breakfast Food (jam, hot/cold cereal, pancake mix, syrup)
  5. Hygiene Items (shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste)