Last Minute Updates
More Important Updates, Course Information, Parking, Contests and More

This is your last participant update for the Melissa's Road Race this weekend! Please read through these items as there are important changes and more updates. This is your race guide and will help you have the best experience! Any future updates will be on  Facebook  , Instagram and  Twitter  for new updates and announcements. In this update you will find information on:

  • Race Bib Pick-Up - UPDATED!
  • Social Media Contest - NEW!
  • Sustainability - NEW!
  • Shirts and Finisher Medals - NEW!
  • Race Bib Visibility - NEW!
  • Need To Transfer To A Different Distance? - UPDATED!
  • Important Course Notes - UPDATED!
  • Parking and Shuttles - NEW!
  • Wildlife Protocol- NEW!
  • Course Etiquette- NEW!
  • Strollers and Pets - NEW!
  • Course Nutrition, Hydration and Waste- NEW!
  • Things to Do in September - NEW!
  • Parks Pass - NEW!
  • VIP Experience - UPDATED!
  • Reminder: Race Bibs can Not be Sold or Transferred
  • Race Shirt Contest - UPDATED!
  • Schedule of Events
  • The 40th Anniversary Post Race Party
  • Volunteering
  • Banff Ave Brewing Co
  • Horseback Riding in Banff
  • 2020 Banff Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K Now Open for Registration
Race Bib Pick-Up - Please pick up before Race Day

Over 1000 people waited in line on race morning last year - for over 30 minutes! We strongly recommend that you pick up your race bib in advance of the event to avoid having to show up early on race day and deal with long race day line-ups - and it is looking chilly this year! And, new this year - Friday night race bib pick-up is at a new location - Wild Bill's! There is lots of room and some pre-race carbo-loading specials if you need a convenient place to fuel up!

Race Bib Pick-Up Locations:   *Reminder: Photo ID is required

Thursday, September 26th (Calgary only):
4:00pm-7:30pm - Calgary - Eau Claire Running Room - Unit A01, 200 Barclay Parade SW

Friday, September 27th (Calgary and Banff):
10:00am-1:00pm - Calgary - Eau Claire Running Room - Unit A01, 200 Barclay Parade SW
5:00pm-9:00pm - Banff - Wild Bill's Restaurant* - 201 Banff Ave, Second Floor
* New location this year

Saturday, September 28th (Race Day in Banff):
8:30am-9:45am - Race Start Area - Banff Recreation Grounds - Sundance Rd, T1L 1B9

Note: Race shirts for all participants are distributed on race morning on site

Picking Up Race Bibs for Other Participants
You are permitted to pick up Race Bibs for other participants provided you are in the event yourself and are picking up your race bib at the same time. You will be required to sign a proxy form stating that you have permission to pick up the race bib and that the race bib will be given only to the intended registrant. Giving or Selling a race bib to someone who is not officially registered is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification and the original registrant not being able to attend future races.
Share Your Pictures on Social Media
We want you to see your pictures and experiences - please share! We will have great prizes for the best shares and tags. Tag us on one of our event social media pages and also include the feed:

Sustainability at Melissa’s
A priority of the 2019 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”. Last year the SustainDriven team that operates the Banff Marathon sustainability program was developing a series of “benchmarking” standards while running the Melissa’s Road Race sustainability efforts. The strategy in 2019 is now to reduce the environmental footprint and mitigate where we can’t. This year’s programs will set it apart from most sporting events. These include:

  • Toward Zero Waste (TZW) – to lower the amount of waste and divert as much as possible from landfill. The 2018 Melissa’s result was 78%. This was a decent result and significantly higher than previous years, but with the Banff Marathon achieving an astonishing 100% in 2018 we are not satisfied. Can Melissa’s reach 90% this year? 
  • Melissa’s will eliminate the use of 10,000 single serve plastic water bottles that have been traditionally used in the event 
  • 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
  • And more!

These efforts are led by the Melissa’s Organizers in partnership with SustainDriven and can only truly be implemented by you!
Shirts and Finisher Medals
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 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.
Finisher Medals - Many of you purchased a Finisher's Medal. These will be available after the race at a tent designated specifically for medals. If you ordered a medal, there will be a tag on your race bib that you will redeem for your medal. Didn't order a medal? We ordered a few extra so there will be a limited number of medals for sale ($10) after the race. Check at the tent!
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!
Transferring To A Different Distance - STILL AVAILABLE

You can still transfer to a different distance! If you plan to run a different distance, you must do this or you will be disqualified (and even worse you will affect the results and placings of other participants). You can move up or down to a different distance for a small change fee of $5.00 (if you move up in distance you will also need to pay the difference in registration fee). You CAN transfer to a different distance by using the e-mail link you were sent on August 29th (it mentions a deadline of September 10th but it has been extended until the 27th - this method is strongly recommended) or at race bib pick-up (not preferred).
Important Course Notes
There have been some significant changes to the race routes for 2019. Please see below for the route updates and important considerations for your route. The race start will be well-announced, and the course will be well marked but it is ultimately your responsibility to know when and where you start, and the directions of your run route. The information below will assist you with this.
Course Changes
The race routes will all start and finish in the same location as previous years (Banff Recreation Grounds). The starts of each distance are also the same with the 5K/10K routes heading out over Banff Ave Bridge and the 21K route heading out Glen Ave to the Golf Course Road. The 10K route will have a small change by not turning left on to Otter Street but rather carrying on further down Wolf Street and turning left on Grizzly Street. The significant change in the 10K route occurs at the Pedestrian Bridge where the runners will now carry on straight over the bridge (no right turn before the bridge) and complete the route as per the 5K course. The 5K course will be generally the same but runners will not have to double-back on the Bow River Trail after the Pedestrian Bridge. They will now return on Glen Ave (as will the 10K and 21K runners). Confused? Check out the map . Still confused? Don't worry - it will be well marked and clear.
Race Starts
The 5K and 10K races will start together at 10:30am. You will self-seed so please line up toward the start line on Sundance Road but leave the area closest to the start line for the fastest 5k and 10k runners (runners that can run under 22 minutes for 5k, and under 45 minutes for the 10k). The Half Marathon runners will stay on the field or line up well back on Sundance Road behind the 5k and 10K runners, and self seed with the runners that can run under 1:45 toward the front. Once the 5k/10k runners have left there will be a few minutes until the start of the Half at about 10:45am or shortly before.  Please note it is important that everyone move briskly to get over the Banff Ave Bridge (5k/10k) and past Glen Ave (Half) because these roads are closed and need to reopen very quickly.
5K and 10K Turns
The 5k and 10k runs will start together and split at approximately 1.7km in to the course. The 5k runners will turn right on Muskrat Steet and the 10k runners will carry on straight.  5k Runners - remember this or you will be running up Tunnel Mountain on the 10k course!  The 5k and 10k runners will come back together on the pathway to the Pedestrian bridge (approx. 2km in to the run for the 5k runners, and at the 7km mark for the 10k runners). All runners will travel across the Pedestrian Bridge (*New this year for the 10K!)
Half Marathon Loops
Half Marathon runners! Once you reach the end of the golf course road (at approx. 5km in to the run) you will need to complete two x 5km loops before you return back along the golf course road toward the finish. Don't forget to run your second loop! Timing mats will be in place to keep track of everyone.
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.
All participants will need to walk or jog across the bridge to the start/finish area. Please allow yourself an extra 10-15 minutes to do this. Please use the following methods to get to the start line:
 Walk or Jog for a warm-up
Carpool and park in designated Town of Banff Parking Areas:  HERE
Use the green powered ROAM Transit System:  HERE
Use the “Melissa’s Express” Shuttle Bus (see below for schedule and locations)
“Melissa’s Express” Shuttles*:
Route #1
Start: 8:10am and rotate every 10 minutes (until 10:15am)
Voyageur Inn (555 Banff Ave)
Caribou Lodge (521 Banff Ave)
Royal Canadian Lodge (459 Banff Ave)
High Country Inn (419 Banff Ave)
Elk and Avenue (449 Banff Ave)
Central Park (Buffalo/Bear Street)

Route #2
Start: 8:10am and rotate every 10 minutes (until 10:15am)
  • Train Station Parking Lot (327 Railway Avenue)
  • Central Park/Town Hall (Buffalo/Bear Street)

*Please note that you once you are dropped off at Central Park, to proceed across the Banff Ave Bridge, then turn right on the Cave Ave sidewalk/trail toward the Banff Recreation Grounds
Wildlife Protocol
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.
The Wildlife Response Flagging System is used as a means to manage participant movement and safety along the event route. The flagging system is modeled on universal traffic control colours, green, yellow, red which will be present at each aid station and potentially other locations along the run route. Please be aware what each flag colour represents in order to proceed through the run with proper precaution. 
“Green” or No Flag
Assessment:  No wildlife concerns currently along the event route, or any sections of that area. Wildlife are not present in the area or species of special concern have passed through the area and are greater than 100 m away, or other wildlife is greater than 30m and are moving further away.
Response: Continue along route as planned.
“Yellow Flag”
Assessment: Wildlife are present in the area (species of special concern ≥100m, or other wildlife ≥30m from the course route) but there is a low risk of direct conflict between the wildlife and the event participants/staff/volunteers.
Response: The participants may continue along the planned route, but are to be warned of the wildlife sighting and to use caution in the area, potentially having to slow down, stop, or turn around.
Examples: Code yellow scenarios include (but are not limited to): 
·       Ungulates feeding >30m from the course in an area that is not typically managed by Parks wildlife staff. 
·       A bear, or other carnivore that is >100m, but known to be present in the area of the course route. 
“Red Flag”
Assessment: Wildlife are present in the event area and the risk of human-wildlife conflict is deemed by the RMO(s) as being high if the participant continues along the planned route or in that location.
Response: The participant is not permitted to proceed and all people must remain at a safe distance as designated by the RMO(S). Participants may be held at the start line, aid station or along the route. Participants may also be rerouted or turned-around early on the route.
Examples: Code red scenarios include (but are not limited to): 
·       A bear or wolf <100 m to the event route and staying in the area (persistent).
·       An aggressive female elk during calving season within 100 m of the race route, or an aggressive Male elk ≤100m of the course during the rutting season.
·       A bear, or other carnivore feeding on a kill (e.g. an elk calf) in the area at any distance from the event with a line of sight to the race route (maybe >100m); Animals will defend their kill with aggression and could charge participants even if they are outside of the 100 m buffer.
*Please follow all instructions as directed by Melissa's Road Race Staff, Volunteers, and Parks Canada Employees
Course Etiquette
Headphones on Course
Please note the Event prohibits the use of devices/headphones for the participant’s safety and the safety of those around them. There is no risk of disqualification for simple use, 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.
We highly recommend that you choose not to wear headphones due to the unique environment of a national park where being able to hear the natural environment around you and wildlife is important. Many participants have told us they were glad they did not wear their earphones so they could truly enjoy the peaceful beauty of the park and the mountain experience. 
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).
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.
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 lets all respect the environment and opportunity to run in this special place. Thank you.
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!
Things to Do in Banff and
Lake Louise in September

From changing leaves to Autumn breeze, September in the Rockies has its own unique and magical allure. This month continues to bring pleasant warm days, festivities celebrating summer’s abundance, and an energy in the air as the mountains slowly transition to another chapter of the year. Although the town does start to slow down, this quieter pace makes a visit here all-the-more appealing. Re-energise and re-centre as you embrace the finer details of the mountains with these events and activities.

Do you have your Parks Pass?
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.
Treat Yourself or Friends and Family to the VIP Experience

Do it right and treat yourself to the VIP Experience at Melissa's for you or your friends and family! There are only a few of these packages left. The VIP package includes all of the following benefits:

  • Express Race Package Pickup Service - ***At all Race Bib Pick-Ups there is a dedicated line for VIP - when you arrive, please locate the VIP check-in
  • VIP Lounge in the Start/Finish Area (heated) with Complimentary Food and Beverages (yes, coffee too for race morning!)
  • Exclusive Bathroom Area
  • Dedicated Event Day Bag Check
  • A Post Race Massage by certified massage therapists (with priority check-in – no waiting)
  • Commemorative VIP Pass and Lanyard
  • A VIP Gift Bag with exclusive sponsor gifts

VIP Experience Package: $75.00

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

We will have some amazing prizes for this one!!
Melissa's Road Race is famous for it's race shirts! In fact it may be one of the most famous collection of race shirts in the world. Do you still have some of your Melissa's Road Race shirts? We encourage you to wear the oldest one you have so we have a "sea of Melissa's shirts" on the race course representing the 40 years of the event. Can we see all 40 years represented?
Schedule of Events
Thursday, September 26th
4:00pm-7:30pm - Race Bib Pick-Up - Calgary - Eau Claire Running Room

Friday, September 27th
10:00am-1:00pm - Race Bib Pick-Up - Calgary - Eau Claire Running Room
5:00pm-9:00pm - Race Bib Pick-Up - Banff – Wild Bill’s Saloon - 201 Banff Ave

Saturday, September 28th (Race Day!)
8:10am - "Melissa's Express" Shuttle Bus begins - Voyager Inn, 555 Banff Ave
8:30am - Race Site Opens - Banff Recreation Grounds
8:30am-9:45am - Race Bib Pick-Up - Banff Recreation Grounds
10:30am - Races Start! - Banff Recreation Grounds
12:30pm – 5K Awards Ceremony - Banff Recreation Grounds
1:00pm – 10K Awards Ceremony - Banff Recreation Grounds
1:30pm – 21K Awards Ceremony - Banff Recreation Grounds
6:00pm – Melissa’s Post Race Party – Wild Bill’s Saloon - 201 Banff Ave (valuable prizes and live entertainment)

  **Timing subject to change. Please check back on race week
Celebrate in Style after the Run

Free Event! Brent Lee will be playing for the 40th Anniversary of the Melissa's Road Race Post Race Party at Wild Bill's Legendary Saloon on Saturday night! Brent has toured with Dwight Yoakam and The Tragically Hip and has shared the stage with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, The Everly bros, Travis Tritt, Marty Stewart, Prairie Oyster, Los Lobos, Celine Dion and many other top recording artists!

The party will also include some amazing draw prizes. This is a free and un-ticketed event so get there early to ensure your spot. Dinner is available from the menu. The party gets going at 6pm! Celebrate your race in style with your fellow runners. See you there!

Participant 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! 
Volunteer and receive the following:
·      The famous commemorative long sleeved retro raglan shirt
·      Lunch and snacks
·      A volunteer party at Wild Bill's with over $4000 in draw prizes!
·      Satisfaction of helping many people achieve their goals
If any of your friends or family are available to help us out, we would  greatly  appreciate that. Please contact:

Or click here to sign up for a shift:   VOLUNTEER
Banff Ave Brewing Co

Banff Ave Brewing Company is the Official Brewery of Melissa's Road Race. We are excited @banffavebrewing will be joining us at the finish line of the run! Banff Ave Brewing Co will be pouring their newest can releases, White Wit and Black Pil. Need a great meal and a beer while in Banff? Check out Banff Ave Brew Company...

Horseback Riding while in Banff
Include incredible horseback riding with your trip to Banff. Check out this great offer from Banff Trail Riders! If you are coming to Banff for Melissa’s or at another time for training, the Banff Trail Riders is offering you a special  20% discount  on any of their rides. Trail Rides are offered from 1 hour to 6 days. Cowboy Cookouts can be enjoyed by horseback or covered wagon, or Pack Trips take guests deep into the backcountry of Banff National Park for an experience like no other. Use the promo code “ Marathon ” when booking online.

Banff Marathon
Open! Banff Marathon, Half, 10K

The 2020 Banff Marathon, Half and 10K Registration is now Open and selling quickly! Experience one of the planet’s most beautiful runs in Banff National Park on June 21, 2020! The festival weekend also includes an amazing Kids Run, Fitness Expo, clinics, activities and more. A quick sell-out is expected - over 1000 turned away last year. The best prices are being offered now – but only for a short time! The award-winning Banff Marathon has become famous as the “Greenest Marathon on the Planet” and it’s interactive components of the event that highlight the beautiful geographical, wilderness and historical features of Canada’s first National Park.