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Runners gauge fitness level in half marathon

Runners take off from the starting line during the Jasper Canadian Rockies Half Marathon on April 23. | P.Shokeir photos

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

The Jasper Canadian Rockies Half Marathon returned to let runners gauge their fitness level and have some fun on April 23.

Out of the 1,028 registrants, over 800 runners participated in one of the events, which were the half marathon, the 10-kilometre run, the five-kilometre run and the Family Fun Run (one kilometre).

“On registration, I think we were pretty much (at) exactly what we had in 2019, so in that regard, it was really good,” said Trevor Soll, owner/director of MultiSportsCanada, which organized the event.

“I think it was probably a big mix of a number of return athletes and just athletes who wanted to come out and try the event (for the first time).”

This is the fifth time the half-marathon has been hosted in Jasper, drawing visitors from further away than Edmonton into Jasper and helping fill the shoulder season.

The half marathon had been cancelled for the last two years due to COVID-19—from the last time the event was hosted to this year’s iteration, it had been three years and 10 days.

“So, it was definitely a big time away, definitely excited to be back in Jasper, and obviously we were able to fill as many of the hotels as possible and fill up the restaurants,” Soll said.

“Everyone just loves coming to Jasper. The feedback we’ve been having so far has been great.”

Sporting a number of majestic views, the route passed several local bodies of water, with the trails along Lac Beauvert, Annette and Mildred lakes featured along the way, before the route circles Edith Lake and heads back to Jasper alongside the Athabasca River.

Bryce Stewart won first place in the half marathon.

Meanwhile Brody Rogers won first in the 10-kilometre run, John Mijatovic won first in the five-kilometre run and Asher Layes won in the one-kilometre run.

The half marathon was in support of the Jasper Healthcare Foundation, with the goal of raising $15,000 towards the purchase of three emergency room hospital beds.

With moderate temperatures and only a slight overcast, runners were treated to near-perfect weather for racing.

The volunteer uptake was a little lower than expected, with a number of withdrawals at the last minute due to them catching COVID, but Soll said the event went smoothly overall.

“It’s definitely a great start to 2022. Hopefully, it continues on that way, and we’re just going to have our follow-up with Parks Canada to set our dates for the next coming years, and we’ll definitely be looking to be back.”

On June 4, MultiSportsCanada will host the Gran Fondo Jasper, a cycling event, with just under 300 cyclists already signed up.

The final details are also being put on a new running event coming in the fall.

Full lists of results can be found at jaspercanadianrockieshalf.ca/results

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