Date: Sept 11, 2016                      Location: Drumheller, AB

WOW! This was the race of the year for me. This race is a hidden gem. Beautiful course, shirts, medals, goodie bags, chip timed, and tons of post race goodies. I couldn’t ask for more.

We picked up our race packages the day before and everything came in re-usable dinosaur themed shopping bags. My wife and daughter and some friends all did the 5K and they got cotton shirts; I was doing the half marathon and I got a great fitting performance shirt. My family couldn’t be upset though because the 5K was only $20 for adults and $10 for youth! The 10K and Half did cost more, probably to cover the cost of the better quality shirts, but it was still a great value considering what we were getting. There was also plenty of swag from sponsors in the bags.

Race morning was a little breezy but the large community centre and fitness facility was open to everyone all day. They had an early start for half marathon walkers and then the half marathon runners took off an hour later. I talked to some of the other runners while we waited for the countdown. The director called for a moment of silence before the countdown to remember those lost on 9/11, being that today was the 15 anniversary.

The half marathon started out with a few kilometres downtown, running past local businesses and lots of dinosaurs on every street corner. The course then headed onto a trail system along the Red Deer River, crossed the bridge and headed onto a dirt trail in the badlands. The scenery was gorgeous. We passed plenty of stations and each had both water and Gatorade. The volunteers were very enthusiastic. One of the water stations even featured a large group of volunteers dressed up as pirates. I am not sure of the connection between pirates and dinosaurs but it was fun. The badland area around the Royal Tyrrell Museum had a good number of hills and even one switchback hill. They were not that bad. There was even a water station right in front of the famous dinosaur museum.

The course then headed along the highway and back to town. We went over the bridge, past the World’s Largest Dinosaur and then I gave it all I had left and sped to the finish line. The crowd at the finish area was very loud and the announcer was cheering each of the runners across the line over the loud speaker.

At the finish there was water and bananas of course, but there was also a mobile McCafe serving drinks to order for free, a hot dog food truck with free food and pop, and even a mini donut food truck cooking free mini donuts for racers and spectators. Didn’t I tell you this was the race of the year.

I met up with the family at the finish area and I wasn’t the only one blown away. They had a great 5K race which also utilized the riverside trail system. The medals were distance specific and each distance had a different colour.

The race had 114 people for the Half Marathon, 113 people for the 10K, and 236 for the 5K. In total there were 463 participants. If word gets out how great this races is the number of runners could easily pass a thousand in the next year or two. I can’t wait to run it again.