June 2, 2012 was an exciting weekend, as I was the official photographer of the 8th annual Banff Jasper Relay. This incredible fifteen stage race brings teams from across the country to our beautiful province and gives people the opportunity to run two of Alberta’s most scenic highways (Highway 1A, Bow Valley Parkway and Highway 93, Icefields Parkway), while raising money for the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada.
I was incredibly excited to be chosen to help with the race, but knew that the logistics of photographing such a long race would be a big challenge. Recruiting my friend and fellow photographer David Austin, we met with the race committee and agreed that our goal would be to capture the aesthetics of the race as a whole. Distance, weather, and wild animals were some of the challenges we faced capturing this year’s Relay.
Quoting from their website, “The Relay uses fifteen stages split into two phases running simultaneously heading in a northerly direction from Castle Mountain Junction, just north of the Banff town site, to the town site of Jasper traveling through the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains contained in the Banff and Jasper National Parks.”
Broken up into two phases, North and South, David and I went our separate ways to capture as much as we could over the one-day Relay, with both of us completing our day at the finish line with food and beer. Approximately 46 teams consisting of over 700 runners took part in this year’s Relay. With the race taking place over a single day, each stage had a “forced start” time in order to give everyone time to meet up for the final banquet dinner. While it was impossible to capture every start and every racer, we did our best to document as many participants as we could. Battling the variable mountain weather of rain, fog, and sun (thankfully no snow!), these teams were giving it their all in our beautiful mountain range, making for some stunning photographs.
As the Relay takes place literally on the doorstep of the Canadian wilderness, race director Blair Shunk informed us that the possibility of seeing, or even coming in contact with, wild animals is likely. David was lucky enough to capture a few black and brown bears (with the help of amazing Relay staff communication keeping all runners safe and making sure the path was clear), and I managed to capture some elk just outside of Jasper.
After 260 kms and 12.5 hours, the Banff Jasper Relay of 2012 came to a close. The picturesque backdrop of the Canadian Rockies was punctuated by the spirit and inspiration of the runners and their support teams. I am honored to have participated in capturing the great moments and backdrops from this unique annual event. I would encourage everyone to participate in this amazing Relay for a great cause – who wants to sign up for next year?
For more information on the Banff Jasper Relay or the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada, visit their website, www.bjr.ca/
No related posts.