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Mel’s run back on

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January 15, 2018 – The Crag and Canyon. Story by Spence Van Dyk.

After more than four months of participants, volunteers, and organizers believing Melissa’s Road Race was done and dusted, it’s been revived thanks to another event organizer.

The Banff Marathon announced last week it has taken over ownership of the race in an effort to keep it going.

“When we first heard Melissa’s was going to end, the wheels started turning because that event is just such a classic — really a Canadian classic — running event,” said Banff Marathon organizer Paul Regensburg.

With the marathon taking place in the Spring, Regensburg said, it makes sense to have Mel’s become a complementary event in the Fall, with, he added, the “incredibly important” factor of keeping the Melissa’s Run group on board.

Race director Bunny Julius will stay on in his role.

“It was a very difficult decision to make,” said Julius, who had been involved for 35 years, when the race was originally cancelled. “We didn’t want to make this decision, people made it for us.”

Regensburg said Banff Marathon will keep what participants loved about Mel’s race while adding some of its own expertise, like parts of its sustainability program, traffic management plans, and it will market the event to the Spring marathon attendees.

“We want to really keep the things people love about it; it’s like a picnic in Banff National Park where you get to go for a run,” Regensburg said. “We want to keep all of that, the casual feel, the long sleeved shirts, the spirit, all of that.”

“Any reasons Melissa’s stated for not continuing, we’ll work hard to fix them,” he added. “We’ll do our best to overcome those challenges.”

The race, which was named Alberta’s top road race each of the past two years usher in almost 4,000 runners to the start line for the final time on Sept. 20, 2017.

The race starts and finishes at the Banff Recreation Grounds with 5-, 10-, and 21-kilometre runs over various routes around the townsite.

“There’s been an unbelievably positive response that the event will carry on,” said Regensburg, adding his mother, father, and brother, whom are not Banffites, all participated in the 38-year-old race more than two decades ago. “It’s a great testament to how sentimental this event is to the running community. There really is a special spot for this event, not only in the region but across Alberta and Western Canada.”

“Personally, having the other race in town, I almost feel a responsibility to keep the race intact,” he said. “Being in the running community, there are only a few gems out there and this is one of them, and we can’t let them die.”

The 2018 race will take place over the same weekend it always does: Sept. 22 this year.

Registration opens on Jan. 25 and all of the relevant information can be found at melissasroadrace.ca.

Original article sourced here.

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