By: Magi Scallion
It seems that the autumn means relays and cross country races – all fun in my book! One of my favourite relays is the Banff Ekiden, a 5-person, 42 km km, mountain adventure in Banff, Alberta. I organized it for a couple years before I got a “real” job and have always enjoyed running in it. Relays are fun because they’re a combination of team spirit and individual performance.
This year I ran the Whistler 50 (mile) relay on the same team as last year: just a casual group of pretty amazing runners from the Vancouver/Victoria area. We call ourselves Team BAC: Bad… and Casual to illustrate our participation in the sport. We’re pretty casual as we do it for fun but a few of the people on the team are pretty amazing runners to boot… all with the right attitude for fun and fitness!
The Whistler 50 is a pretty great relay, too, as it is run on a 20 km loop. There are 8 legs: four loops split into a 13 km segment and a 7 km segment. It’s a great course for cheering and easy to get between the two exchange zones. The event started at 8:00 am this year… in the snow! It snowed throughout the day and just barely abated by the time I started my leg (8th and final). Bad weather seems to unite the team even more as we all suffer together… right?
At the end of Leg 4 we were already holding steady in 3rd place overall and 1st place in the women’s field. We had a men’s team pass us on leg 5 so we were briefly bumped back into 4th place overall, but our leg 7 runner threw down pretty hard and brought us back into 3rd place. I had a pretty fun run home and maintained our position.
If you get a chance to go to Whistler for this event, I highly recommend it. It’s slow season in Whistler so accommodations are reasonable (go for the weekend) and all of the restaurants seem to have great discounts. The weather is normally decent at this time in October, so don’t be scared by the snow. I’m sure it was an anomaly for this year… and it was fun anyway! There is also a great post-race party with a bar and dancing hosted by the organizing committee that is simply not to be missed!
If you don’t get enough racing in the Whistler 50, you can also check out the “Lumpy’s Classic” trail running race in Pemberton the next day. The winner of the 12 km event gets a bag of Pemberton potatoes and the finish line snacks include home-baked banana bread and cookies! Not to mention the registration fee is less than $20 and can be paid in cash at the start line.
Get out there and enjoy the last little bit of running season!
Born in Nova Scotia and emigrating to British Columbia via Ontario and Alberta, Magi has been running the entire way. Primarily defined as a cross country ski racer, Magi has competed nationally and internationally in that sport. The highlight of her career was competing in the World University Games and the World Cup races in Canada in 2007. Cross country skiers rely heavily on running for cross training and Magi has become an accomplished trail and mountain runner, representing Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships in 2005 and the winning numerous national championships medals.
Today Magi runs for fun… and it’s a lot of fun! Epic mountain runs, city cruises with friends, and more keep her happy and occupied outside of work and school.