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Banff Jasper Relay - The Most Beautiful Race in The World!

Do you love running, outdoor adventure, connecting with locals and travelling with purpose? Are you searching for a reason to visit the Canadian Rockies and explore Banff and Jasper National Parks? Why not join the 15th running of the Banff Jasper Relay on Saturday, June 1st, 2019? The Relay supports the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the many that have been or continue to be impacted by this disease. Not only is it for a great cause, but this unique and inspirational run is also privileged to be one of a very few such events allowed within the wildness of a Canadian National Park. Participation in this event will put you deeply in touch with the beauty and spirit of this place in ways that are unlike any other tourism experience. 

There is still an opportunity to enter a team (you'll need 15 enthusiastic runners to travel with you), join a team that is looking for runners or volunteer at one of the exchange points. If you are still undecided here are further details and 3 reasons why participating in the Banff Jasper Relay would make for an amazing and worthwhile trip or weekend getaway in the mountains. In keeping with the Re-CreationWORLD responsible travel philosophy - it's all about the people, places and purpose.

1. People

Either as a runner or a volunteer, you will have a chance to meet other incredible like-minded individuals. You can expect to find an exciting blend of locals and others who have travelled from afar. There will be serious runners and many not so serious teams with names like 'We Peyto Run' (Peyto is the Instagramable lake, above, along the route), 'Bear Bait' (there are protocols to prevent serious encounters) and 'Old Dogs' (Race Founders and very old friends). If you decide to run, you will be on one of 60 teams each comprised of 15 runners and supported throughout your run. As a volunteer you will work in teams of 4 or 5 at each of the exchange points, helping with timing, traffic control, ensuring everyone is safe and the runners are dressed for success (numbers visible and safety vests on) and set to go when their teammates complete the previous leg.

There is nothing like a shared activity to break down social barriers and get the conversation started. New friends will be made and you will be welcomed into the Banff Jasper Relay Family. Plus there is always lots of cheering, hi-fives and thank you's and everyone celebrates with their new friends and teammates at the afterparty at the Jasper Community Centre/Finish Line.

2. Place

The Race is 260 Km long and comprised of 15 stages. So that the race can be completed in daylight 2 phases run concurrently. The South Phase legs are on the scenic Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A) through the Lake Louise Townsite, up the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) over Bow Summit (with its stunning view of Peyto Lake) and then down to Saskatchewan River Crossing.  The North Phase legs begin at 'The Crossing', wind up past the waterfalls at Weeping Wall to the Columbia Icefield, then down along the Athabasca River and into Jasper.

No matter your role this tends to be an awesome deeply-breath-in-the-fresh-mountain-air experience. It's so much more than watching the scenery pass by your car or campervan window.  Heightening the real-life experience will most likely be wildlife encounters (well managed for everyone's safety) and hot and sunny turning to snow weather extremes.  Most of the relay exchange points are located at or close to scenic viewpoints so everyone will have a chance to appreciate these locations and plan to come back the next day for hiking, a raft trip or other exploration.  Runners, no matter which leg, will be guaranteed one of their most dramatic runs ever and those that run 'Big Bend', which climbs steeply up to the Icefields, likely their most challenging.

3. Purpose

The Banff Jasper Relay is organized to help raise money for the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada. The Foundation is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to reaching every person in Canada affected by a brain tumour with support, education and information and to funding research searching for a cure and better treatment.  The story of why the race is run and its impact goes much deeper than a financial contribution. Many who are involved with the race have been deeply impacted personally by the tragedy of brain tumours. In fact, the Banff Jasper Relay is specifically dedicated to two avid runners, once actively involved, that lost their battles with brain tumours. More on their stories and inspiration for the race at Why We Relay.

When you participate in the race you not only support the Brain Tumour Foundation, but you are also supporting the businesses and communities on the race course. The town of Jasper, especially, benefits greatly from the event, and organizations and businesses in the community of Jasper return the favour by organizing and providing the post-race dinner, race course volunteers, bar service, and locally crafted beer that is sold at the dinner party.

Have we convinced you?  As a participant, you will support a great cause, have a fabulous fun time, make new friends, see stunning scenery and enjoy a homestyle dinner and local craft beer - a winning combination for any tourism experience!  The bonus is that you will have an insider's experience in one of Canada's hottest tourist destinations. Those that are inspired can find out more about the race, register a team or sign up to volunteer at the Banff Jasper Relay website. If you would like to find a spot on a team that is already registered, join the BJR Facebook Forum - teams searching for runners will be actively posting.  Can't make it this year? Mark the first Saturday in June on your calendar and start planning for next year!

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