Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Greeting Winter at Winterstart - Banff Nov 3rd

photo credit
Winterstart is an annual 8 Km race that starts at 7pm, heads out of town and up Tunnel Mountain. If you haven’t done a walk/run at night, I’d highly recommend it, but do use a head-lamp!

Gather a crowd of like-minded exuberant participants, throw in some anonymity of darkness, camouflage with a costume if you choose and voila, guaranteed fun! Starting in front of the Caribou Lodge, you could feel the energy as running shoes bounced and danced from foot to foot in anticipation of the START. Participants were generally buoyed by the camaraderie they found with complete strangers. I think that there might have been the occasional fueling with substances other that water. (Overheard: “Oh, that Red Bull and pizza might not have been a good idea!”)

Carrying your glow stick, wrapped in Christmas lights or wearing a fluorescent necklace from a Loonie Store, everyone shared their own joy! The lights of returning runners down the mountain against the dark, raining skies gave those still heading UP the mountain the encouragement that was needed. Our running shoes were wet, our clothes were soaked, our glasses were smudged but we made it to the FINISH!

Setting a goal and running up any mountain in the pitch of night is a little scary. Just like any goal, there are unexpected bends in the road when surely you must be at the “turn-around”. The darkness of the unknown gave us the jolt to keep moving past the scary places, because the shining eyes at the side of the road could only be small animals, right? As conversation ebbed and our legs tired, seeing the lights of the town in the distance made us all quicken our step. Our goal was literally in sight. It was not the time to quit, one step in front of the other, the other, the other.

Whatever your race might be, however long it takes to get there, pat yourself on the back. The Finish line is always incredibly sweet.

Thank you Banff for a great party, the warm weather in spite of the rain, and the promise of another great race next year.

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