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If you do call yourself a runner, can you handle the truth?
Jasper to Banff

Check out www.bjr.ca for the information.

Jasper-Banff Relay

Jasper to Banff Relay 2000 was rumored to be the last running of the event. Bad news on the front page of the May 9, 2000, Edmonton Journal. According to the organizing committee this will be the LAST Jasper-Banff Relay EVER! They list a number of reasons, however a key one seems to be Parks Canada's requirement for an environmental impact assessment which the organizers claim would cost them $80,000. An Environment Canada staff member who has also run the race feels that the EIA would only take someone who was familiar with the event about one day to pull all the info together. The sponsorship with Telus ends this year as well. Supposedly all of the organizing committee and 400 volunteers are also resigning after this year. Something strange is happening and I hope that this announcement is just some saber rattling on the part of the organizers. More pressure than ever to finish under the 24 hour limit.

Follow-up story in the Edmonton Journal, May 10, 2000.

New photographs of Jasper-Banff Relay added from the lost roll of film!

Terry offers Bruce his choice of gear for the weather ahead...pajamas come out of the bag!
Terry offers Bruce his choice of gear for the weather ahead...pajamas come out of the bag!

For a guy who never runs in long sleeves...

...he's loving that Italian yellow bike jacket now.

All I want's my blankie
But really all he wanted was the blankie.

Race Report: 21st and Final Jasper To Banff Relay
Jasper to Banff 2000 Start
Bruce approaching the handoff
Hand off Bruce Manclark to Gordon Denby
Team support T-Bone
The Rage doing team support
Thank you volunteers sign on van
Metric Morons Team Photo

Say it ain't so. Sorry. It's true. The best organized and most beautiful relay race in the world anywhere, anytime ever is over. Nobody will be able to match this one ever again.

Athabasca Falls The volunteers of this class event were the reason that teams came from all over the world, including Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia to participate and kept coming back. Sure, the country is some of the most beautiful in the world. But the volunteers made it happen. Without them, no runner would have experienced the unique 177 mile, seventeen stage trek from Jasper to Banff (Alberta, Canada). If you think I am overstating this, you might just start making a little to-do list of what it takes to get over 2,000 runners safely through rain, snow, altitude, heat, bears, cars, hills and down the Trans Canadian Highway and see how quickly you might change your mind. Runners can only hope that somehow, someway, they will do it all again someday. It was great to see a heightened appreciation for one last relay, which has been happening for the last two decades. I would venture to guess that runners snapped a few more pictures than in years past, savoring every moment.
Under these circumstances, Team Metric Morons, having participated in the last eight JTB events, was determined to make JTB 2000 one to remember. U.S. Team Metric Morons

This year, five runners from Eugene would join eleven others from Seattle and Canada. Bruce and I were joined by Tommy, Ron and Bill and all flew into Calgary, rented one of two support vehicles the team would require and then made the five hour drive to Jasper. For someone who has not made this drive before, you spend most of it with your mouth hanging open, especially when you see the hills you are going to be running up. I got tired driving up them.

We arrived in Jasper and met our fellow Morons and received our official leg assignments. As we each pondered our assigned leg, the CEO of the team sponsor (GeoEngineers out of Redmond, WA), laid down a gauntlet and challenged the group to beat the Geo team record of 22:30. I looked at my predicted time and gulped a bit. It was 1:21 and I had leg 11, the second most difficult according to the course ratings. The lengths range from 8.4 to 12.5 miles. The elevation ranges from 3,500 feet to the maximum of 6,714 which is the finishing point of leg 11. Now, I think of myself as a pretty capable runner, but I know my strengths, and long steep hills ain't one of them given my parakeet calves. The gulp happened right after I realized that 1:21 flat was eight seconds faster than the team record, held by Terry Parks and about a half minute faster than Carla Woodworth's record. Terry's a 2:50 marathoner. Carla, while I don't know her specific times, has competed at the collegiate level. I knew I was not in her league watching her run last year. I thought, "yeah, right."

I was wondering what Bill, Bruce, Tommy and Ron were thinking. I especially was in awe of Terry, not when I noticed he signed up for his usual two legs, but the fact they were BACK TO BACK. Running two legs was not unusual for this group of runners, but back to back? Man. I ran two the previous year (#3 and #10) and melted down badly during the last three miles of #10. Alan Mills saved my life with some hilarious drive-by trash talking, not to mention him and Bert Pschunder darn near carrying me to the van after the finish.

The runners on the first five legs were going to have to deal with the heat, which followed closely behind the crystal blue sky that greeted us in the morning. Layne Alphonso, Art Dunn, Bill Welch, Dave Cooke and Ted all ran well. We made sure we doused them real well to keep them hydrated and cool. Trash talked early in their respective leg and then, reluctantly resorted to encouragement inside of three miles to go…not being totally heartless. The motivation technique of the weekend, however, went to the woman who greeted their runner with the cry of "Welcome to the Grand Tetons!" just before she flashed him.

Everyone was talking about the heat, but the runners all seemed to be running real smart. Bruce, always the voice of experience and reason on these things, tempered Gordon Denby's goal with a footnote of not having anyone taken to the hospital. I am real glad he said it, because it stuck with everyone in the support vehicles, who were all over the runners with water, sponges and Gatorade. At a minimum, it sure is nice to see when you're out there running in the heat, having folks calling out distances run and remaining and telling you that you look like absolute shit. The other rule for the weekend was this: "If you have something nice to say, shut up."

All of us seemed to be motivated by negative reinforcement. Bruce took the baton at leg 6. This one has Bruce written all over it. You run four miles and then go straight up for three. You smell nothing but burning brakes and then head down the other side, to the Columbia Ice Fields. He fought off a side ache for the first four miles and shook it on the hills and hoofed it into the wind for the rest of the way. While he was not happy with his time, he was the only one who wasn't. Everyone was damned glad he was running it. Bruce can run hills and kept us ahead of schedule.

Waiting for Gordon Denby to finish leg 7, Bruce and I saw a poor dude come by with a bloody singlet, which also contained what was left of his nipples…a perfect photo opportunity missed for the pages of 10kTruth. Lucky you…and poor guy.

Terry took the baton and started what was planned to be a two leg effort. Two miles into the first leg, he confessed he felt bad, having flu symptoms and was running anyway. Terry is no stranger to The Truth. At the 5k, we started talking about how to cover leg nine. Several options were tossed about and Terry clearly knew it would be best to keep our hill runner fresh to make up any lost time. If he could somehow make it halfway through, we would have one less five minute penalty for runner substitutions. It was no surprise to me he covered all of leg 8 and half of 9 with the flu. Art Dunn covered the last five miles and covered them very well, I might add. Tommy hammered leg 10, which is nearly all up hill. He just puts his head down and goes. No big deal. Oh, what it would be like to have strength.

I started my warm-up for 11 and learned we would have to have a van escort on the second half of the leg as a young male grizzly was sighted. Cool. They had to shut down leg 11 in 1998's race due to a female with cubs. Running at night in these circumstances was a little spooky, but I finished in one piece and gladly handed off to Gord Nelson. Leg 11 was no fun. My time? 1:20.15...and it almost killed me. I don't know how Terry ran leg 4 and 11 one year, which means my time should have an asterisk by it to set the record straight. Gord, Ron Wilson, Susan Nelson and Boyd finished off the evening legs. Susan tolerated our trash talk, even dishing out some of her own…but you really had to listen carefully. Being a father of two myself and clearly understanding Parental Truth, I was not about to trash talk anyone too hard who was leaving right after her leg to get home before her young children woke up. Under these circumstances, not to mention after watching her throttle leg 14, Susan gets the Team Morons' Truth Seeker Award.

But The Truth Leg of the Weekend Award has to go to Alan Mills. He was clearly hurting before he even started, with some pretty sore knees, and managed to pump out 7:40's keeping us within striking distance of the Team Morons' record.

And then there was Robert "Take Us to the House" Miyahara, pulling anchor. With the five minute penalty, it was going to be close. Robert nailed his leg and we came in at 22 hours 27 minutes, including the five minute penalty. Team Metric Morons sought and found The Truth. That makes us true morons. But that was the only moronic part of the 2000 Jasper To Banff Relay. Our sincere thanks and appreciation are extended to each and every volunteer that gave us and 50,000 runners over two decades of memories.

Thank you Volunteers

Jasper-Banff Relay Hand-offs from 1997.



The face of the race


 

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Date and time page last updated: 03/14/2013 4:44 PM