Not Since Moses – run across the floor of the ocean!

Update 2016: Not Since Moses will take place on August 21, 2016. 
Running across the floor of the Bay of Fundy during Not Since Moses in Five Islands, Nova Scotia is intended to be an unforgettable, unusual, and even spiritual, experience. For the uninitiated, it’s simply too much fun:

Do it!
Do it!

A dreary winter turns thoughts to summer sun and fun. Getaway? Yes. Totally unique? Of course. Spa treatments? Definitely. Budget friendly? Absolutely. Look toward the East Coast, and the answer to all four questions is a resounding “Yes!” Head to Nova Scotia and go to Five Islands, Cumberland County, where the daily rise and fall of the world’s highest tides – six hours between 14-metre high water and bare sand – set a dramatic stage for the most unique fun run in Canada. Plan to visit in late July, because when the water rushes out of the Minas Basin on a sunny Sunday morning, Not Since Moses begins. Not Since Moses is a 5km and 10km race across the floor of the ocean, recreating Moses’ journey through the Red Sea. The date varies from year to year to accommodate the tides, and to give participants enough time to complete the race without having to swim. The route also varies from year to year – some years, participants run to one of the islands and ferried back to land in a small fleet of volunteer boats. It makes for an unpredictable experience, one that encourages annual attendance since no two years are alike.

The 2011 route, don't expect a repeat!
The 2011 route, don’t expect a repeat!

For serious runners, it’s a timed event that will likely yield a “personal worst” 5k or 10k time, given the difficulty of running through several inches of mud. For everyone else, it’s mud bath. Participants wear their old running shoes and clothes, which will be stained forever with the rich, red mud of the Bay of Fundy.

Not Since Moses Five Islands Bay of Fundy Not Since Moses Five Islands Bay of Fundy
Not Since Moses Five Islands Bay of Fundy Not Since Moses Five Islands Bay of Fundy

The starter’s pistol fires and runners tear into sand that was deep under water a few hours earlier. Everyone gets dirty. Some lose shoes. Enthusiastic volunteers shout their encouragement and share their secrets for getting through the slickest, sloppiest mud. A section of smooth rocks is an obstacle course, made more challenging by the sun’s reflection. It is hard running, but a very pleasant, if muddy, walk. The tide rolls in with the finishers, with most finishing as the water reaches ankle to mid-calf. After the adult race, the kids take off in a shorter, messier race called the Basket Run. When all of the running is finished, everyone heads to higher ground for entertainment and a barbecue lunch hosted by the local fire department, included in the registration fee. A relaxing conclusion to day spent pursuing the unlikely: running across the floor of the ocean with the added benefit of salty air and a muddy spa treatment. I’ve run it a few times now and it’s always a ton of muddy fun. After several years of not getting our acts together, our small crew of “athletes” set out for Five Islands, only to be later rewarded in national media coverage in Canada. The web coverage included a picture of me and my friends, in which we are hilariously and erroneously referred to as “athletes.” Registration is always capped for logistical reasons and participants are encouraged to register online early to avoid disappointment.

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13 comments

  1. I’m really tempted to do this, but I’m so not a runner. Do you think someone would need to do the same amount of training for this 5k as any other, or is it more difficult because of the terrain? Or is it just more fun instead?

    • Focus strictly on the fun, it’s a pretty challenging run. I ran about 3/5k and spent the rest of the time admiring the scenery. Also, wear clothes and shoes you are not attached to, they will get very dirty.

    • Tidal bore rafting was like that, too – I ditched my clothes and shoes as soon as it was over.

      So if you end up walking some of it, you won’t be swept away by the ocean? Then I think I will be registering!

  2. hmm, sounds like fun. we are spending our vacaton In Hubbards, haven`t been so much up to the Bay, so I am definitely thinking of doing it. Neat to have the memories when we fly home again….

    • Hi Jill, I did this the first year they had it and it was fun! I am not a runner either, but I did the walk, if you walk at all it is fine, just wear old hiking shoes and of course comfy clothes, you never know what the weather will be. When we went it was early am, and freezing and windy, by the time the walk across the floor the sun was out and warm. We got to explore the island a bit too..well worth the trip.

  3. this really sounds like a memorable, fun & exciting adventure! A bucket list type of thing to do before we – – well you know, I must get in shape! I have a new challenge to add to my list 🙂

  4. I’m interested in doing this as it seems challenging and fun. I will be traveling from New York, so I need some info on where I would fly into and where I would stay. Any help will be appreciated.

    • The dates for July 2013 haven’t been set yet, but you can fly into Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) very easily from any of the NYC airports. Search for accommodations in the Five Islands area, I’d recommend the accomms search on novascotia.com

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