Earth Run & Fall Festival
Date: Saturday, October 19 2019
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Zoo Road Welcome Area
A collaborative event hosted in partnership with the Rouge National Urban Park First Nations Advisory Circle and Parks Canada.
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.
Move through the fall colours, get active and enjoy an array of cultural programming throughout the day.
Not a runner? Take part in a series of free, drop-in guided walks with Indigenous content and fall themes!
We run the Earth to connect – with nature, with one another, and with ourselves.
Information for Runners:
The Earth Run in the Rouge consists of a 10k and 5k course. Registration for the 5k is FREE for youth 17 years of age and under! There will also be a free kids 1k run.
Choose your course:
10k – Cogwagee Course
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
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
Named after Albert Smoke (1891-1944), a Mississauge Anishinaabe long distance runner from Alderville First Nation and raised in Curve Lake. While Tom Longboat and Fred Simpson were at the height of their fame, Smoke was just beginning his career as an amateur road racer, competing as a junior in the Peterborough Examiner Road Race. Though small in stature (only 4’ 10”), Smoke was considered one of the best long distance runners of his time and went on to represent Canada at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp. He would be the last Mississauga Ojibway marathon runner to compete in the Olympic Games.