Eight Sylvan Lakers attended the 38th annual, and final, Melissa’s Road Race in Banff on Sept. 23
The race, which has been named Alberta’s top road race in years past, made the difficult decision to end the race after 38 years.
One organizer of the race said the race ending was due in part to changing regulations in bot the Town of Banff and in Parks Canada.
When the race began, it was possible to just hold a race through the town and park, now Melissa’s race needs to have at least four business licences to host the event, which isn’t worth it to organizers.
Kendall Kloss, a teacher at Steffie Woima and a candidate for town council, said it is sad to see one of Alberta’s oldest races end.
“This was my first time competing in this race, and I didn’t even know it was going to be the last one until just before,” Kloss said.
The road race has three sections for competitors of various abilities. There is a 5 km, 10 km and 21 km run.
Kloss said the run was great, and was a unique opportunity to take in the mountain scenery.
The Melissa Road Race had bands playing at intervals along the route, which made for a unique atmosphere.
“It was really fun. While you were running through the park you would see a park ranger standing there and you would think, ‘Is there an elk or bear nearby?’” Kloss said.
Many of the Sylvan Lakers who participated in this final run were teachers at the elementary schools in town and their children.
Fox Run Vice-Principal Tracey Lynn and her daughter Hannah ran the 5 km race.
Fox Run teachers Aimee Sandham and Deeann Daniels, along with her daughter Alicia Daniels ran the 10 km race. They were joined by Scot McDermott and Lyle Katcher.
Kloss was the the only one to participate in the 21 km race.
Kloss placed ninths overall out of a total of 1,038 runners. He was also second in his age group.
He says he has run many different marathons in the past but it has been a while since he had run a half-marathon.
Running through the mountains was difficult, but he said the atmosphere was really like any other race.
“There was one runner a few seconds a head of me, and when he crossed the finish line he turnaround and high-fiver me,” Kloss said.
“That is what I love about races, the atmosphere and the camaraderie that comes out of it.”