Runners conquer Crown of Continent
Wednesday, Oct 14, 2015 03:28 pm
Three Yankee runners made their own “sacrifice” to bring awareness to the importance of preserving vast mountain environments from Montana to Banff.
The Crown of the Continent Traverse exploration had its own meaning for the three participants running it, but was focused by common goal. Much of the 73,000 square kilometres of the Crown that ranges from northwest Montana to southeast B.C. and southwest Alberta is an unbroken sea of wilderness.
Mountain runners Mike Foote, 32, Mike Wolfe, 37, and acclaimed photographer Steven Gnam, 31, all from Montana, completed a mountain route through the Crown never before attempted to try to promote the region’s vital ecosystem and mountain cultures.
The run started at their doorsteps in Missoula, Montana on Sept. 17 and they ran anywhere from 50 to 65 km per day leading up to their final jog into town and down Banff Avenue on Oct. 8.
After the near 1,000 km run up and down mountains that ate through six pairs of shoes for each runner, the trio rested next to their camper van in a parking lot by the Bow River, just off Banff Avenue and Buffalo streets.
With a little Canadian inspiration in the form of a Pamela Anderson poster inside the van, and the U.S. tunes of the band Creed playing on a cellphone as an inside joke, the runners reflected on their three-week journey.
“For completing the section that I did and doing the whole trip with these guys, it was a fulfilling dream,” said Gnam.
“Since I’ve known about the Crown continent region I thought it would neat to traverse the whole thing at some point.”
A quarter of the route was off-trail with as little equipment as possible and a handful of crewmembers. The run’s final stretch went through Sunshine and into Banff.
“We kind of felt like there’s a bunch of mountain communities within the crown,” said Foote. “We felt it was pretty neat to think of these two communities in a way that shared this huge backyard … and it brought attention to the region known as the Crown.”