After an emergency meeting this morning, officials at the inaugural Banff Marathon decided to cancel Sunday’s event due to the emergency situation resulting from extensive flooding in southern Alberta. “This decision was made upon review of many factors including safety, accessibility to Banff, the condition of the race route, and the allocation of local resources,” the marathon organizing committee members said in a press release.
As of this morning, race organizers thought the marathon could still go ahead, but as flooding conditions worsened, and the closure of the Trans Canada Highways linking Calgary with Banff showed no sign of reopening in the near future, it became clear that the race had to be called off.
Organizers say they considered other factors with their decision to cancel the race, including avoiding a draw of resources away from Canmore, the needs of local organizing committee members and volunteers affected by the flood in neighbouring communities, the delivery of equipment, and conditions potentially deteriorating on the race route.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said race director Laurin Duncan, a resident of Canmore, “and even though we are extremely disappointed to cancel the event, we felt it was the most responsible decision. We would like to thank all our participants for their understanding, as well as our team for the three years of hard work they put in trying to make this event happen.”
Duncan said the race route itself, which featured a picturesque interpretive run from the Banff town-site through the Bow Valley Parkway, was still in relatively good shape, although some sections of the route were becoming affected by the heavy rains.
Organizers also announced that they will be donating all of the race PowerBar and Gatorade products to the emergency efforts in Canmore and are asking the marathon volunteer force to assist with relief efforts in their communities.