IMPORTANT COURSE NOTES
Start times: 10:30am for the Half Marathon and 10:35 for the 5k/10k (new this year!)
Staging – Half Marathoners can start lining up on Sundance Road after 10:15am, 5k and 10k please wait to the far end of Sundance Road by the Horse Stables – You Start Later – Do not Start with the Half Marathon or you will be going the wrong way!
You will self-seed, please don’t start too far up the road!
Friendly reminder that no strollers or pets are permitted in the run
Your race number must be showing to start, and must be yours
Please race in the distance that you are registered for or you will really mess up the results
5k and 10k’ers
Please move quickly across the Bridge – we will need to open it soon after the start!
Remember you need to narrow to a single lane when you cross the bridge to narrow down for the Banff Ave Pedestrian Zone
The right turn at the end of Banff Ave is very sharp, please be careful here
5k and 10k, you will share the same route until a split before the 2 kilometer mark at Caribou Street. It is well marked – 5k’s go straight, 10k’s turn left on Caribou Street
Slower 5k’s – Keep to the Right! The 10k’s will be coming from behind trying to catch you!
Remember that you must do 2 loops of the Loop at the end of Golf Course Road (5k per loop) before your run back
Slower 10k’ers, please keep to the right toward the end of your course, the Half Marathoners will be coming up from behind
Washrooms on race mornings are always busy and hard to find.
Here are some spots you can find washrooms:
Sundance Road (near start)
East End of Playing Field
Rec Grounds Pavilion
Central Park Washrooms (corner of Bear St. and Buffalo St.)
Wolf Street Washrooms (corner of Wolf St. and Banff Ave.)
The Fenlands Recreation Centre
More Information HERE
Please do not use local business bathrooms on race morning
RACE BIB PICK-UP
Please pick your race bib up in advance of race day at one of the designated pick-up times in Calgary, Canmore and Banff.
Click HERE for the latest details on Race Bib Pick-Up (Please pick up before race day!)
We strongly recommend utilizing Race Bib Pick-Up on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday to ensure your registration is correct, you receive your correct shirt size, and avoid the stress of long lines on race morning. However, if you cannot make it, we will have your race bib available on race morning from 8:30am-9:30am. Distance changes are not permitted on race morning.
NEED TO TRANSFER TO A DIFFERENT DISTANCE?
Yes, you CAN transfer to a different distance . There is a $5.00 transfer admin fee (and difference in race fee if you are transferring to a longer distance event).
Click HERE for the latest details on Distance Transfers
VOLUNTEERING - FAMILY AND FRIENDS NOT RUNNING?
We need your help!
Participants, we are in need of some help for volunteers at the event. Banff is a very small community (only 7500 people) so drawing volunteers for the many events held here is very challenging – we could use the help of your friends and family if they would like to pitch in!
Volunteers will receive:
The famous commemorative Melissa's Road Race long sleeve technical shirt!
A post-race beer or other beverage
Over $5000 in draw prizes
Satisfaction of supporting the athletes and official event charities
If any of your friends or family are available to help us out, we would greatly appreciate that. Please contact: email@example.com
Or click here to sign up for a shift: VOLUNTEER
REMINDER: RACE BIBS CAN NOT BE SOLD OR TRANSFERRED
Selling your race bib, or having another person use your bib in the event is strictly prohibited. This act may seem well intentioned but has many negative implications to the organizers and participants including liability, timing, results, awards and many other factors. Race bibs will only be given out to those who have registered for the event. If a registrant sells or gives away their race bib to another participant, they will not be allowed to participate in future events.
MELISSA'S RACE SHIRTS
Melissa's Road Race is famous for it's race shirts! In fact it may be one of the most famous collections of race shirts in the world. Do you still have some of your Melissa's Road Race shirts? We encourage you to wear your favourite Mel's shirt or wear the new beautiful 2023 race shirt!
Your passport to adventure! Explore soaring peaks, turquoise lakes, delicious cuisine, and endless activities, across more than 6,000 square km of wilderness in Banff National Park alone, with your Parks Canada Pass. If you’re entering Banff National Park by personal vehicle, a park pass is required. We suggest purchasing your National Park Pass online prior to arrival for express entry into the park.
MELISSA'S OFFICIAL POST RACE PARTY
Celebrate in Style after your run at Melissa's!
Free Event! The Official Post Race Party of Melissa's Road Race is downtown Banff at Melissa's Missteak on Saturday night!
The party will feature live music with recording artist, Shannon Smith. Her music is influenced by the poise and traditionalism of Lorrie Morgan, the showmanship and flare of Shania Twain and the strength of Sheryl Crow.
This is a free and un-ticketed event so get there early to ensure your spot.*
Dinner is available from the menu.
*Dinner reservations required or first come/first served
The party gets going at 6pm!
Melissa's Restaurant - 201 Banff Ave, Second Floor
Celebrate your race in style with your fellow runners.
See you there!
SHIRT PICK UP
Shirt Pick Up - This can only be done at the "Shirt Tent" on the race site. You can pick up your shirt before the race start on Saturday if you would like to wear it for the run, or after if you would like to keep it fresh and clean for post-race relaxing. There is a ticket on your race bib to claim your race shirt.
FRIENDLY REMINDER - NO STROLLERS OR PETS
Banff National Park is a beautiful and unique location for a running event. However, this does present some challenges for the running course which is comprised of a combination of paved roads, paved and dirt trails, narrow sections, sharp turns and some curbs. For safety reasons, wheelchairs, baby joggers, strollers, Burleys, inline skates, bicycles, and pets can NOT be permitted on the course. Participants that bring any of the aforementioned items to the start line will not be permitted to start and will be disqualified. Thank you for understanding and respecting the safety of all participants in the event.
RACE BIB MUST BE VISIBLE AND YOURS
At the beginning of the race start, please make sure your race bib can be seen. The race officials must be able to see your race bib otherwise you will be stopped. Anyone running without a race bib will be removed from the race immediately. You must also run in the distance you have registered for unless you have officially transferred. And, please remember, you can only run with your bib, and in the distance you registered for, or everyone is affected. Thanks!
Due to the unique character of Banff National Park, a wildlife interaction, although unlikely, could occur on the race route. The following are some resources you should review and may find helpful HERE
Headphones on Course
Due to the event taking place in a National Park and the need for participants to be able to hear clear instructions from officials with regards to wildlife and other matters, the Event prohibits the use of these devices for the participant's safety and the safety of those around them. Over the ear/on the ear headphones are strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification. For earbud use, there is no risk of disqualification for simple use provided only one earbud is used, however, if a participant puts themselves or other participants at risk, directly or indirectly through the use of these items, the Event Organizers reserve the right to disqualify the participant.
Keeping to the Right on Trails and the Roads
Runners should be aware that there are narrow sections of the course on the Bow River Trails and at some other points on the course. Please stay on the far right side of the path/road and don’t run two abreast in narrow sections. This is especially important on the last 2 kilometers of the course with the 10K and Half Marathon runners approaching from behind. Be extra careful to stay to the right if you have headphones on as you will not hear other runners approaching from behind. You should always stay to the far right side of the trail/road unless otherwise directed. And please note that Glenn Ave will have 2-way runner traffic (divided by delineators) so please always stay to the right and do not run on the left side of the delineators (especially at the start of the Half Marathon and the end of the 5K on Glen Ave).
COURSE NUTRITION, HYDRATION AND WASTE
As per the direction of Parks Canada, the Melissa's Road Race does not offer any sport drink on the course. This is to reduce the potential of a wildlife interaction because sport drink, with its high sugar content, is an attractant to wildlife. If you feel you need calories on the course, please carry these with you responsibly and please DO NOT dump or discard any nutritional products or waste on the ground, it must be dumped into the waste bins.
GARBAGE ON COURSE - ***Important, please read…
During the run, ALL waste must be deposited at the nearest Aid Station. Participants CANNOT drop any waste (cups, gels, wrappers etc.) anywhere along the course (including KM markers or any other spots – even if you believe it will be found by organizers or see that others have done it). Aid Stations are located at least every 2-3km, and disposal bins will be located for you to drop your garbage. Any participant leaving waste along the course other than at the designated aid stations will be immediately disqualified and asked to leave the course. This is very important for wildlife protection and the safety of the participants and will be patrolled by monitors on bicycles and vehicles. Please remember that Littering in a National Park is an offence and can be fined under the National Parks Act, but more importantly, respect the environment and opportunity to run in this special place. Thank you
BYOB: BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE
Rather than just using the cups we will provide along the route, athletes are encouraged to bring their own water bottles on race day. There will be 6 aid stations along the route and volunteers are happy to assist with refilling bottles. It is one of the ways athletes can take an active role in being responsible and implementing the new sustainability programs in the event!
VIRTUAL EVENT BAG - PLEASE READ!
Check out what's waiting for you inside your Virtual Event Bag! There is race information and amazing deals for the weekend, valuable coupons and fun activities for you and your family to check out!
Promos will continue to be added through race week, so please check back here closer to race day as well.
Check out your Virtual Event Bag - HERE
SHARE YOUR PICTURES ON SOCIAL MEDIA
We want to see your pictures and experiences - please share! We will have great prizes. The pictures are not judged, they are entered into a contest draw. Tag us on one of our event social media pages and also include the feed:
SUSTAINABILITY AT MELISSA'S
A priority of the 2023 Melissa’s Road Race is to implement some of the world-leading programs that the Banff Marathon currently utilizes to be the “Greenest Marathon on the Planet”. The strategy in 2023 is to reduce the environmental footprint and mitigate where we can’t. This year’s programs include:
Toward Zero Waste (TZW) – to lower the amount of waste and divert as much as possible from landfill. The goal is 90% ! Please do your part.
Melissa’s will eliminate the use of 10,000 single serve plastic water bottles.
Elimination of plastic participant bags by adding the electronic Virtual Event Bag
Sustainability Education and Awareness to Participants, Suppliers, Sponsors and others by education, electronic and other. The best example we can give of this is at every TZW station we encourage the runners and guests to self sort the waste into 5 to 7 different bags. While this process is happening we discuss where each stream of waste ends up and how it is managed.
Adding bio-digestible cups that are corn based and degrade very quickly back in to the earth is an example of how easy it is to make a change.
Encouraging participants and volunteers to bring their own water bottles
Encouraging athletes to transit, carpool, bike and run to the event
During the race, only participants with a race bib will be allowed on Golf Course Road, Tunnel Mountain Road, and Tunnel Mountain Drive. Please tell your friends and family not to drive, cycle or walk to these areas. These areas can be narrow and environmentally sensitive so for the safety of everyone please let everyone know not to travel to these sections of the course as they will be denied entry (tell them to sign up for the run next year to gain access!). The runners are best viewed at the Banff Recreation Grounds at the main race site or in town along Banff Ave (for the 5K/10K) for the start of the run.
You are welcome to bring signs and cheer, but marking streets or paths with chalk is prohibited in the National Park.
PARKING AND SHUTTLES
The Town of Banff is very limited with its parking opportunities and can get quite congested with traffic, especially with a large event such as Melissa’s so please read carefully below some options that will get you to the event on time and stress free.
***DO NOT TRY TO DRIVE TO THE START AREA OR ACROSS THE BANFF AVENUE BRIDGE – THERE IS NO PARKING OR DROP-OFF AREA AND THERE WILL BE LONG LINES TO GET BACK ACROSS THE BRIDGE***
Please read HERE for Parking and Shuttle info.
COURSE TIME LIMITS
What are the time limits for the courses?
The participant must make sufficient progress on the course that will allow them to complete the Event in line with timelines set by the Event Organizers. There will be certain cut-off times along the course based on this time at which time the course will re-open to vehicular traffic and participants may be asked to cease their participation in the Event. There is no official Walking division in the Event however walking is permitted provided the participant is on the pace to achieve the course time limit. It is recommended that if the participant is walking, that they keep a brisk pace and do not stop along the route. Those who finish outside of the time limit will not be recorded as official finishers and may not receive full on-course support from Aid Stations and traffic personnel.
The Time Limits are as follows:
5K: 1 hour and 15 minutes
10K: 2 hours
Half Marathon: 3 hours (walking not recommended)
*Participants are requested to move briskly at the start of the event because of the time-limited road closures on Cave Ave (all routes) and the Banff Avenue Bridge/Banff Avenue (5k and 10K routes only). These road closures occur within the first 1 km of the run routes.