BMCS - Grizzly Ultra Marathon and Relay

The Grizzly Ultra Marathon and Relay is a 50 km race hosted in Canmore each October. Buck Mountain Central School has participated in this event by sending teams of staff, students, and parents over the past 7 years.  Each year, there are 2-4 teams of up to five that make the drive down to Canmore to challenge themselves with different legs of the race, ranging 5 km (leg 5) to 13 km (leg 1). 

At this year’s event, the school had two teams enter, a two person team: Mr. Meyers (Principal) and Cole Dooper (Grade 12 student); and, a five person team: Rylan Miller (grade 8), Briana Patterson (grade 9), Lily Alexander (grade 10), Zack Siegel (grade 7), and Mrs Klatt (cross-country running coach and teacher).  The school also had several students form family teams, including Kenzie Dooper, Keston Loewen, Maddie Hutchinson, and Mrs. Hutchinson (educational assistant). 

One the highlights for the Buck Mountain Central teams was that Mr. Meyers and Cole Dooper ranked 6th in the category of “male, two-person teams”.  Both runners shared that the challenge of the fresh snowfall and, on some of the legs of the race, the single track running added to their expected finish time, but that they were very proud of their accomplishment--and a bit sore! Other staff and students agreed this year’s run was especially challenging.

The greater source of pride for the small school is that this event, and other races like it, represent a sense of community, tradition, and comradery among staff, students, and families.  When runners hit the trails, or in their ample training leading up to the races, they have the whole school rooting for them from back home, and in some instances, even from the sidelines.  Many people make the trip down to Canmore for the weekend to support their friends and family even though they do not participate in the run itself. 

Buck Mountain Central School is always represented well at this event, which includes many alumni students who participated in past years with the school, returning to run and support the BMC community.  In the 2017 event, Cameron Johnson (in his grade 12 year), completed the 50km race solo.  For being a small, rural community, Buck Mountain Central School is a strong advocate for the sport, which is representative of school staff going above and beyond in their volunteerism, simply because their is a will and passion for running among students.

At the front of the pack is always Mrs Erin Klatt, outdoor education, physical education, and science teacher.  In her 13 years at Buck Mountain Central school she has shared her love of the sport with staff and students, encouraging them, training them, challenging them, and supporting them to run races, distances, and elevations that they never thought possible.  In her own running, Mrs. Klatt enjoys trail running and cross-country; she is always pushing to get to the next level and challenges herself with events like the Grizzly, as well as others. For example, a few years ago, she completed the 54 km Blakspur Ultra Marathon in Kimberley as a soloist. 

There is no doubt that next year, Buck Mountain Central School staff and students will be back for the 2019 Grizzly Ultra Marathon and Relay.  Everyone is welcome at the weekly running club to build up stamina, strength, and distance; let the training begin!

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