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‘All smiles, all around’: Fundraising relay traverses Rockies from Banff to Jasper

Kate Stewart-Barnett with Cousins Rock! crosses the finish line during the Banff Jasper Relay near the Jasper Activity Centre on June 4. | P.Shokeir photos

Peter Shokeir |

Teams of runners undertook a relay race from Banff to Jasper on June 4 and ended up raising over $32,000 for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.

Race director Chelsea Medcalfe emphasized how the Banff Jasper Relay went incredibly and fundraising numbers would continue to rise this week.

“It was all smiles, all around from the runners, from the volunteers,” Medcalfe said.

“Everyone had a really good time the entire day. I couldn’t have asked for a better first live race being the new race director.”

The 260-kilometre relay is run on the shoulder of the highways facing traffic and completed in 15 stages, each one ranging between 13 and 21 kilometres.

The relay is split into two phases that were undertaken simultaneously so teams wouldn’t have to run at night.

Nicholas Kuhl with We Thought They Said RUM! jumps to grab the sign while crossing the finish line.

The South Phase, which included stages one to six, began at Castle Mountain Junction just north of Banff and ended at Saskatchewan River Crossing.

The North Phase covered the remaining stages, starting at Saskatchewan River Crossing and ending in Jasper near the Jasper Activity Centre.

This year, the relay had 25 teams with 15 people per team.

Although the forecast called for rain, Medcalfe described the weather as beautiful.

“We couldn’t have picked better weather,” she said.

“It didn’t get too hot. It got a bit sunny in the afternoon, so had to put some sunscreen on, but nothing too hot, nothing too cold and barely any rain.”

Medcalfe reported no issues with traffic along the road, noting how all the volunteers who supported the runners made sure to pull over their vehicles safely and wear safety vests.

Taylor Kimmett (left) with TC Trailblazers and Amy Soetaert with Reason4Running jog along the Icefields Parkway.

Parks Canada did warn organizers of bears, while wardens were present in both phases to monitor for bears, but runners managed to avoid any encounters.

“Anytime a bear was spotted, they were able to get in front of it and make sure everyone was safe,” Medcalfe said.

“And we had a protocol that we just had to put in once during the race where if there is a bear near the road and within 500 metres of a runner, we put a stop in before, runners get picked up and taken a kilometre up.”

The relay concluded with a dinner celebration at the Jasper Curling Rink.

Bad Hare Runners ranked first in the overall results.

The Hot Flashes was the first all-female team in the Masters category (40 and over) to compete in the relay, and the Fast & Fabulous was the first all-LGBTQ team to run the relay.

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s NDP, also ran the relay with the Tragically Glib.

Results can be found at

Alex Ellery with Reason4Running makes a peace sign as he completes his stage.

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