On July 1, 2023, Dominica’s wild nature and the Waitukubuli National Trail became the stage for one of the island’s most epic running and hiking expedition, ‘Toe to Tip’ by UK-based Rat Race. ‘Toe to Tip 2023’ took its Rat Racers snaking up the backbone of Dominica’s rugged terrain from Scott’s Head in the south, finishing at the Cana Heritage Park at Capuchin in the north. The goal was to complete just over 100 miles on foot in the Nature Island’s July jungle. The challenge was guaranteed.
Participants fended off the forest while traversing Dominica’s heritage trails carved and laid by Kalinago ancestors and the Neg Mawon (runaway slaves), many of which make up the longest hiking trail in the Caribbean. They faced deep gorges and river crossings, steep cliffs aided by ropes, precarious ledges, a road run from the Heart of Dominica descending more than 1700 feet through the Layou Valley, and of course, and abundance of water in the forms of rainwater, river water, hot sulfur water and invigorating waterfalls.
Rat Race creates extraordinary adventures that are designed for everyday folk. The internationally renowned Rat Race challenges can be physically and mentally tough, but they are all designed to be achievable. It’s about getting people to the start line, and not about how fast they get to the finish.Rat Race (Events) Ltd.
Toe-to-Tip is a fully immersive cultural expedition, much more than a grueling physical challenge. As with the past two years, the courageous group witnessed Dominica in all her glory and came away with a full flavor of the island. They feasted on some of the island’s best and most varied local culinary offerings provided by 11 different restaurants and caterers while staying at five different accommodations in the communities of Soufriere, Wotten Waven, Kalinago Territory, Salisbury, and Picard. Other highlights included expert massages, a sunset Shamanic Cleansing waterfall ritual, and a farewell celebration party among flambeaux and fireflies at the Indian River Bush Bar where Captain Jack Sparrow kicked back during the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ filming.
While Toe to Tip was expected to be intense for the participants and the organizers, it was also a labor of love. Since 2018, local in-country DMC Vetivert Inc has been working with UK-based Adventure company Rat Race (Events) Ltd. to develop their only Caribbean ‘Bucket-List’ event, Toe-to-Tip’s Dominica Expedition. Hailed a true success, this year’s event partnered with 33 businesses, organizations, individuals, and community service providers to provide what Dominica’s brand of tourism should be – regenerative. Not just ‘sustainable’ but ‘regenerative’ for the participants, service partners, communities, the environment, and the country’s economy on a whole. Projects like Toe to Tip allow everyone involved to take away a more transformative experience. One that has a lasting impact to enhance Dominica’s local services for future visitors.
From the inception of the Waitukubuli National Trail in the late 1990’s, it has been a dream to realize an intense running and extreme adventure event in Dominica. An event that perfectly welcomes visitors to experience the ‘living heritage’ of our island, our places, our people, our food, our spaces and our creative culture. It is truly an honor to be part of a 30+ strong team partnering with a prestigious company like Rat Race (Events) Ltd & Rat Race Adventures to make this bucket-list expedition a reality for our island for a second year running.Carla Armour, Director of Vetivert, Inc. and Rat Race’s in-country strategic partner & local DMC
The organizers are again grateful for the support of all partners involved, including the Forestry, Wildlife & Parks Office, the Waitukubuli National Trail team, Fire & Ambulance emergency services, the Discover Dominica Authority’s operations and marketing teams, and numerous other businesses and people across this island who played a role this year.
About Vetivert Inc: Vetivert Inc., is inspiring Dominica through Coaching, Curation & Management services to our ‘Orange Economy’; A NISE-certified DMC offering; Bespoke Heritage Experiences, Arts Curation & Management, and Regenerative Tourism & Villa Management.