Banff Ekiden Relay Oct 18, 2014

This year I was excited to join the Little Bloggy Bluebirds relay team for Banff Ekiden.  Apart from the Running Elvi spectacle we made of ourselves I have never dressed up 'properly' for a race.  Tina was even lending me a Sparkle Skirt and Shwings were involved.

We started out with a rainbow & bluebird theme and it naturally evolved to include unicorns, sharting and bitches.

All the elements came together in a most splendid and colourful manner.  Michelle made headbands that I just love.  Gorgeous.

Includes pics from Cori & Michelle

Cori made these stickers for our tops, one for running and one after.  I am in awe of her crafting abilities.

Cori's pic

We headed up to Banff very early on Saturday morning.  Our timing was perfect as we secured a table and comfy chairs in the Banff Centre, race HQ and hub for all 5 relay legs.  Captain Cori had all our stuff neatly printed and organized into folders so we were able to collect our race numbers and chip easily.  Shortly after that a large queue formed.  We looked on smugly.

Soon it was time to get ready to run.  Ekiden is a marathon distance neatly split into scenic hilly legs.

Leg 1 - Me   7.8km recap below
Leg 2 - Lindsay   13km  recap here
Leg 3 - Cori   4.3km  recap here
Leg 4 - Michelle   5.4km  recap here
Leg 5 - Tina   11.7km  recap here

Shortly before I started a wonderful thing happened courtesy of Michelle.  The shart was born!  We decided to attach it to each runner.  Here is the very moment:

As if that wasn't enough, before you knew it our timing chip was strapped to a unicorn.

Leg one

With my shart and unicorn-chip securely attached I head over to the start line and find a spot near the back of the pack.  Headphones are not allowed at this race so I have a playlist going on my phone in the pack.  I expect to be panting pretty hard today and it distracts me.

 After a teeny uphill we are running down Tunnel Mtn Drive above the Bow River.  So pretty.  Despite my relatively speedy 5:28/km pace I am well and truly at the back of the pack.

The river is rushing by below, I wish I had time for photos.  We cross over a pedestrian bridge and take the riverside pathway toward Cave & Basin (hot springs).  The construction workers along the route are impressed with the rainbow unicorn theme.  I pass Trevor on the lead bicycle and shout something inappropriate.  There are positive comments from passing runners and the volunteers are awesome.  Someone asks me if there are more of us (you bet).

We turn around in the C&B parking lot and head back onto the pathway through the trees.  My legs feel really heavy.  As we cross the pedestrian bridge I have to stop for a couple of photos, it is too gorgeous.  I leapfrog with another runner for a bit, he's either tired or enjoying Super Trouper.

Our route takes us back through town before we turn right and hit an alarmingly large hill.  Ack.  It won't end.  Toward the top I am surprised by Cori who pops out and starts making me run.

 I can't keep up with this sprinty madness.  There's Lindsay who's taking over the rainbow for Leg 2.  The pit crew swap us over very efficiently and I get a rest.  It's just as well as I'm knackered.  It might be the elevation or the lack of training, or both.

Leg 1 is in the books!

My fellow Bloggy Bluebirds wrote recaps of their legs with even more awesome photos, so here's just a few highlights.

Lindsay stampeded through a herd of elk to maintain a blistering pace on Leg 2.

Lindsay's wildlife pic

Cori, who has had a fractured bone in her leg this year made her magnificent running comeback in Leg 3 after outrunning me on the hill in Leg 1.

Pic by Cori (no selfie stick required)

Michelle did not run Leg 4 in this outfit.  No.  She was saving it for a full marathon she was running the very next day.

Oh. My. Gosh. Lookit that shart.  Tina overcame some technical difficulties with the shart in Leg 5 to bring it home in style.  80's style.

Heaven knows who took this, whose hand is that?

Donnie W arrived with the sharting unicorn sock order and quickly became our race spirit creature.  Real Unicorn Donnie joined our team while I was picking up sinus meds, thank you Kev for recruiting him.  He's going on more adventures with Tina soon.

Post-race we picked up some food (cookies) from the event then headed into Banff for lunch/dinner at Nourish. (A vegetarian restaurant that plays porn music).  There is no medal for this race, BUT look what happened....

Cori made us the best medals!  How awesome is that. As if we weren't spoiled enough, Cori's friend made us the birdie necklaces too.

It was a VERY fun day and a truly magnificent end to the racing year for me.  Thank you for the invitation Little Bluebirds!

Thank you Lindsay for getting us together for this colourful group pic!

Fun with Bondi Band, Tina's pic


  1. I love it! Oh and that's my hand holding Donnie-on-a-stick! I enjoyed reading all about your leg of the run and of course you yelled inappropriate things to the lead cyclist, I would expect nothing less. It was great spending the day with you Sue!

    1. Ah! I do love that photo. It was such a fun day, I'm glad we got the chance to join in this year. I think the shwings are still on my shoes...

  2. You got some great mountain shots on your run! Thanks for capturing "the very moment!" ;) As always, your sense of humour made the great day even better. Thanks for joining us Sue!

    1. It was so pretty! Thank you for adding me to the group this year, it was an experience I will never forget.

  3. Sounds like you had such a great time! That hill at the end is a stinker, eh?

    1. Yep! Surely is. We missed you this year, one of these days we'll get to run together :)


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