Cain's Quest, the 3,000-kilometre snowmobile endurance race across Labrador's tundra, is set to return in 2023. But organizers they say they need the public's help to pull it off properly.
A total of 37 teams are scheduled to be on the starting line on March 4 for the race's first running since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Chris Lacey, chair of the Cain's Quest board, says that while it's exciting to be nearing the start of the race, organizers are scrambling to find volunteers to help the race run. A volunteer blitz is scheduled for this weekend at the Labrador Mall in Labrador City to try to get people on board.
"We need people at the starting line, we need people at the finish line, we need people organizing the banquet, we need people organizing the fan night, which is one of the biggest events that we have," Lacey said Wednesday.
The team also needs volunteers to work the race checkpoints, he added, including the remote areas of Labrador hundreds of kilometres away from residential areas.
Lacey said teams are excited to return to Labrador after three years away from the race which has garnered international attention and draws competitors from across Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Europe. He said one team from Finland is returning this year.
"Just knowing that we're able to do it again and get back on the snow and start bringing this hype again is something that's most exciting to me," he said.
To acclimate to the conditions, Lacey said, teams are known to arrive in Labrador long before the start of the race, which can be an expensive endeavour. Teams are usually made up of four to five people, and a run at Cain's Quest can cost more than $40,000.
Lacey said he's most excited for the Cain's Quest energy to return to communities across Labrador as people follow along with the racers, electrified by the spectacle of the endurance race.
"People can't fathom what it is until it starts happening and you start following them and tracking them," he said.
"Following the racers and seeing what they have to go through … every community and every checkpoint where they go through, how hyped they get. And then your Facebook feed is just full of it the full week of the race. It's just, it's amazing."