Hundreds of participants will descend on Haliburton Forest over the next couple of weekends, looking to push the pain threshold.

They will be competing in the trail race the Sept. 9-10 weekend, followed by Hurtin in Haliburton Sept. 15-16.

General manager tourism and recreation, Tegan Legge, said they are expecting 600 people for this weekend’s running races alone.

She added 2023 will mark the 30th annual occurrence of the event, which saw its inaugural race take place in 1993.

The race has grown steadily since its inception and once again offers racers the choice of 12K, 26K, 50K, 50 mile, and of course, their signature event, the Haliburton Forest 100 Miler.

“There is a certain primal beauty found along the trails at Haliburton Forest and the absolute best way to experience it is by foot as you run on the rugged trails. Heavily forested, hilly and filled with lakes and streams, it represents nature at it’s best,” the Forest’s website says.

For this year’s Hurtin in Haliburton, they have added a fat bike category. Participants that have a bike that has tires at least 3.8 inches wide are competing in this category.

It’s also now a weekend long event. Participants are expected to arrive Sept. 15 to pre-ride the course, pick up their race kit, meet sponsors and community partners.

Legge said on Saturday, after a long day in the saddle, participants can celebrate their accomplishments over food, beer and live music.

In its fifth year, the Hurtin in Haliburton gravel relay race has become recognized for its relaxed and beginner-friendly format featuring a 27km backcountry gravel loop. There are 330m of climbing per lap and people will be racing solo or in teams of two, alternating throughout.

“We offer a safe and social environment for our growing gravel community with the philosophy that all participants start together and finish together, encouraging participants to build friendships whether on the course, in the pits or at the post race celebration,” the Forest said.