This weekend Neil and I were out Banff for the Winterstart 5 Miler. The last few years that I’ve done this race we’ve lucked out with the weather. This year Winterstart was aptly named!
We drove out to Banff on Friday afternoon and kicked the weekend off with a visit to one of our favourite restaurants, the Grizzly House. The Grizzly House is a kitschy fondue restaurant but I love it. I always enjoy cooking up some elk and venison on a hot stone!
The weather on Friday was nice, but there was a snow storm expected on Saturday. Lo and behold, we woke up to this sight outside our window on Saturday morning.
It was the perfect morning to cozy up on the couch with a hot mug of tea!
Eventually we wandered outside in search of lunch. We decided to try someplace new to us, the Bear Street Tavern. One of their pizzas sounded delicious to me!
The food was delicious and we had a view outside where we were able to see the snow come down.
After lunch it felt like the snow was getting heavier. Winter was starting for sure!
On our way back to the hotel I got a text from Tina that a grizzly had been spotted on the race route and they would have to reroute us. First a crazy snow fall, now a reroute from a bear? This was turning into quite the race. I took a look at the new route and I remembered bits and pieces of it from Melissa’s and the Banff Ekiden. This reroute would be a lot tougher than the original course as we’d start climbing right away.
Before I knew it, it was time to start getting ready for the race. Despite all the snow it wasn’t super cold outside so I layered up for the chill and the damp.
Kelly, Mitch and their friends came by our hotel room so we could all walk over to the race start together. Group photo!
I had to bust out the light up bunny ears for another race!
We found our friends and I grabbed a glowstick…
…then it was time for our race to start!
Banff Winterstart 5 Miler Race Report
Hmm, what can I say about the race… The reroute was tough. We started climbing immediately and we just kept going up and up. The new course was so narrow and busy that you were pretty well stuck doing the pace of everyone else around you. The route hadn’t been swept and the road hadn’t been sanded. That being said, new route or old route, I wasn’t expecting the road conditions to be any different with all of that snow. I think it was remarkable that the town of Banff and the race director were able to pull off the reroute that late in day. Ultimately this race was all for fun and so long as I didn’t tear, break or pull anything I’d view that as a successful race!
The turnaround came much earlier than I was expecting at just past the 2 mile mark. When I started down the mountain I heard my name called and realized that Kelly and her sister-in-law Jill weren’t much farther behind me. The footing on the way down was super slippery! I opted to pull over to the side of the road and wait for Kelly and Jill to catch up and then we could all run down the mountain together.
4.17 miles and 53:58 later we crossed the finish line! I measured the course shorter than 5 miles, but given all the climbing we did I wasn’t very sad about that!
The funny thing is, if you would have asked me what my goal would have been if conditions would have been ideal it would have been to beat last year’s race time of 55:58. I guess I did achieve that goal!
We didn’t hang around at the after party at all and opted to head back to our hotel for beverages and dinner at Chili’s. I had about two sips of my margarita and my stomach turned so sour! I had to hurry up and eat some of my chicken to calm my tummy back down and then I was ready to call it a night. I am a terrible partier after night races (see every single race report for Winterstart and Tower of Terror for verification)!!
High fives to the race organizers for pulling off that reroute at the last minute! The volunteers were all amazing and enthusiastic. All in all it was a really great weekend in Banff!