A Race and a Not-So-Fun Run

Last month, I participated in two organized runs. One was a race and one was a fun run (allegedly). The race was the Banff 10K. Due to some national park restrictions, the race registration is capped quite low – there were only 408 runners in the 10K. They originally advertised that the race would start in two self-seeded waves, but there were so few runners that separate waves were unnecessary and everyone just started at the same time. In addition to being thoroughly uncrowded, the course is flat and also stunning because Banff. It’s a lovely riverside route that goes out to Vermillion Lakes for the marathoners. I’m used to running the foothills of Calgary, so for me flat=fast. My running pals and I all achieved personal records. I finished 35th overall, and (brace yourself) 9th out of 292 women! To top it off, the race shirt is a Helly Hansen technical T that has quickly become my favorite running shirt. We (running pals and I) have our sights set on the half marathon for next year. I cannot recommend this race heartily enough to anyone who wants to run their first 10K, half or marathon. You will love it!

The “fun” run, was the Color Me Rad color run in Calgary. All the thumbs down. In the first place, there were roughly a billion participants in attendance. Battling traffic to get to the starting line was a harrowing experience. For anyone who didn’t want to drive, Color Me Rad arranged a shuttle from one of the C-train stops. How nice! Except that the shuttle took over an hour (non-Clagarians FYI this time is not justified by the distance travelled). There was little to no organization at the start of the run (not surprising with the amount of participants milling around). Also, the restroom options were a meagre set of overwhelmed outhouses. The race route itself was laid out in an asterisk-like pattern, where you ran out to a point, got powder thrown at you, turned around and ran back, then ran out to the next point. Yawn. All this may not have infuriated me if it hadn’t been a million degrees outside, but it was. Of the experience, a wise running buddy concluded, “A $50 life lesson with a cute tshirt = better than a kick in the head.” To be fair, the shirt is very cute and I’ve already worn it at least three times. And I didn’t get kicked in the head. So there you go.

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