Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta along with supporters of naturopathic medicine united to run sections of the bow valley trail and the ice fields parkway on June 6th. Together, the individual sections each runner covered, brought the team from Banff to Jasper. It was beautiful. It was community. It was tough.
This iconic relay is known as the Banff to Jasper Relay (http://www.bjr.ca) and it has been relaying runners since 1982. It’s an amazing way to experience the Banff and Jasper national parks.
Furthermore, the race is a also an opportunity to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada http://www.braintumour.ca. Teams, including the Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta help to raise over $32,000.00 for this great cause.
Here are some benefits I discovered through this event and what a race like this can do for you.
- Exercise – the importance of exercise is immeasurable in my eyes but spans the list of improving mood, cardiovascular health, blood sugar markers, mental emotional well-being and just plain feeling great!
- Goals – working towards a goal is a great way to provide a bit more structure and consistency to a workout plan.
- Community – involving yourself with others in the pursuit of a common goal helps to keep things fun! Fun is important as it will help to ensure continued commitment to the cause (ie running) and it will also help you on race day. Nothing better then someone yelling you’re awesome from a support car as you race through the Rockies! Big thanks to Gaia Naturopathic Health Care (http://gaiahealthcare.com ), Natural Terrain Naturopathic Clinic (http://www.naturalterrain.com) and of course Naturmend (naturmend.com) for fostering that sense of community and awesome spirit throughout this race.
- Support – your team, the course, and the weather
- FOOD The team was comprised of naturopaths and those that live naturopathically. Food and drinks therefore had to be mindful of food sensitivities and tasty – runners were fueled with fruit and these homemade energy orbs!
- Weather – The weather was HOT!! So hydration prior to the run and during was key. Ensuring runners could fuel with water and / or electrolytes (we used endura ) and had ice cold water buckets with sponges to ensure a quick douse of water could quench the overheated and stave off heat exhaustion. Use of a good sunscreen was also important. We used The Perfect Sunscreen by Consonant
- Celebration – this I believe, is very important. To provide closure and celebrate the unique experience the team endured is an excellent way to fully integrate the event and compare notes as to other people’s experience. Again, it’s fun so it’s important.
- Goal review – reflecting on goals is also imperative for future goal setting. Here it was a matter of reviewing individual and team goals. The team was not awarded an official finish as one of our runners was unable to complete their leg due to injury and a miscommunication on how to manage this situation. This was saddening, absolutely, but it also good. Good in the sense that the process (the training, the camaraderie, the individual performances) is also equally as important as the final result.
- Gratitude – having the opportunity to reflect and assess goals invariably leads me to gratitude. Being grateful for the ability my body has to carry me in many speeds throughout space and time, the wonder of living so close to accessible natural beauty and the honor of being part of the naturopathic community.
Running the Banff to Jasper Race was great and something I would recommend to most people interested in such events or challenge to those who aren’t used to such an event. Either way involving yourself in a challenge with great people focused on physical activity and the great outdoors is a win – win situation!
Dr. Sarah Kent is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor specializing in your health. She blends traditional knowledge with current scientiﬁc understanding to generate wellness within her patients. She has received specialized training in naturopathic sports medicine, applying the principles and tools of naturopathic care in treating athletes.