Running is a widely popular activity in Canada, both for pro athletes and amateurs looking for a challenge or out to achieve some fitness goals. Whatever category you fall in, here are some challenging routes that you should definitely give a sampling:

5. Half Corked Marathon, British Columbia

This meet happens in Oliver and Osoyoos, twisting and turning through some pretty vineyards in the city famed for wine-making. The vineyards make it a shadowed route, so there are no fears of wearing out under the sun as you race. The terrain is, however, pretty challenging over the 18 km stretch.

Half Corked is the best race for budding marathoners. Be sure to grab your tickets early when they are rolled out in February.

4. Yukon River Trail Marathon

This race offers options for either a full or half marathon, run individually or in relay teams. It registers only 325 participants and takes place in August. It can be quite draining as the rough road route follows the path along Yukon River.

3. Melissa’s Road Race, Atlanta

This is one of the most punishing marathon challenges with steep downhill and uphill sections across 10 or 22 km stretch. The upside, however, is the generous race dinner that follows at the Melissa restaurant.

2. Staircase Challenge, Quebec

As you may guess, there are no flats here. The race is run over a 19-km stretch and covers around 3,000 stairs (30 staircases) between the lower and upper areas of Quebec. It is a pretty punishing cardio event. If that sounds like too much of a challenge, go for the 13 km option instead.

1. Beat Beethoven Ru, Ontario

This one gets pretty interesting. The model sees the organizers play a 50-minute Beethoven symphony as runners try to complete 8 kilometers before the song is over. It is an exciting challenge that doubles up as Kingston Symphony Association’s annual fundraiser.