The spirit of Cain’s Quest

Derek Montague
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Mark Nui refuses to go home after snowmobile accident

Mark Nui of Natuashish (Team 29) was forced out of Cain’s Quest after a snowmobile accident, which knocked him unconscious and broke his left foot. Despite his injuries, Nui will be traveling to Labrador City to see Cain’s Quest come to an end.

Sitting at a booth at Jungle Jim’s in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Mark Nui won’t be left alone to enjoy his beverage. People, including many who are involved with Cain’s Quest, keep coming up to shake his hand and wish him well.

On March 5, Nui, who is a member of Natuashish (Team 29), was involved in a dramatic snowmobile accident near Makkovik, which forced him and his partner Joachim Nui out of Cain’s Quest.

“I’m disappointed in a way. I understand that safety has to come first, so I’m good with it,” said Nui, who remained in high spirits.

After leaving the Makkovik checkpoint on March 5, Natuashish was among the group of contending teams, and were looking to take a lead.

 “I think I was second or third in Makkovik; again the boys (Team 00) were running ahead of me out of the checkpoint,” said Nui.

“I noticed just around the point, when I catch up with them … I was doing close to 100 kilometres (per hour) … ahead of me was a patch of ice or hard snow.”

After seeing the obstacle in front of him, Nui put on the brake, and the front end of his snowmobile hit one of the bumps. According to Nui, he was thrown 20 feet from his machine.

The crash knocked Nui out cold and broke his left foot. There’s also more than an hour of time that the Cain’s Quest racer can’t recall.

“The snowmobile started rolling and rolled on my chest. How I broke my foot, I don’t know. I was knocked out and I don’t remember anything for an hour and a half,” said Nui.

“I was told that I was walking around where the accident took place.”

The next thing Nui remembers, a nurse at the Makkovik clinic was treating him for his injuries. At this point, he had yet to realize the extent of his injuries, and had every intention of continuing the race.

“In the clinic, I was asked certain questions. I was asked if I should continue. Obviously, I said yes. I had not realized I had a broken foot at that time.”

“By that time, my partner Joachim had interjected and told me we’re not going.”

For Nui, who has now competed in six Cain’s Quests, this is the first time bowing out of a race, since his first attempt in 2008.

But rather than feeling blue about what could have been, Nui has decided to travel back to Labrador City, so he can take part in the closing ceremonies. Broken bones or not, it’s an event he wouldn’t miss for the world.

“I really enjoy taking part in the race but also the closing ceremonies,” said Nui.  “And I’ve been at it six races and I don’t like leaving it suddenly.”

Geographic location: Makkovik, Happy Valley, Goose Bay Labrador

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