BANFF – Despite the chilly conditions in Banff on Saturday (Sept.28), the atmosphere was warm and welcoming for the more than 4,000 runners at the 40th annual Melissa's Road Race.
"It was another really amazing and fun event this year," said race organizer Paul Regensburg. "There was tons of spirit and tons of smiles out there, and it was still green, which is a bonus."
The townsite of Banff was spared from much of the snowfall that fell throughout Southern Alberta over the weekend. Regensburg was thankful for the clear conditions and described Banff as a "fall oasis" on Saturday. The mercury was hovering around -3°C at the start of the race.
"We have run this race in everything from plus 30 C to -20 C, so the temperature wasn't too big of an issue."
Regensburg was pleased to see many of the athletes take part in the group warm-up. Something he contributes to the "chilly" temperature and says it created a "strong sense of camaraderie" among all the runners.
The entire event had a party atmosphere. Along the course there were five live music acts entertaining spectators and the athletes.
"It was just a hoot," exclaimed Regensburg. He commented the atmosphere at the seven water stations was also loud and encouraging.
In attendance at the Bow Valley's largest sporting event was runner Jim Fry, who hasn’t missed a single Mel’s race and Melissa Borden Viallon, for whom the race is named after.
Also attending the event was Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen, MLA Miranda Rosin and MP Blake Richards.
"We have never had all three members of government at the race. It just goes to show how important this race is to Banff."