Every fall, Calgarians begin to anticipate an annual snowfall, yet the Harvest Half Marathon continues to celebrate its annual 21-kilometre run through Fish Creek Park with loyal participants ready for a day of running and fundraising. 

The 21st annual Harvest Half Marathon took place on Sept. 30. The event’s organizers and racers were determined to participate, come rain, shine or snow. 

As every Calgarian knows, fall in Alberta is unpredictable and this race is no stranger to some cold weather. 

Runners arrive at the top of the final and steepest hill of the course on Sept. 30, 2023. PHOTO BY ALEX JANZ

“As recently as 2018 we had snow on the race course,” says Tudor. 

There was no snow, but the rain rolled in early into the first few kilometres of the race. It rained all day, but nonetheless, runners crested their last hill, drenched but in high spirits. 

The race’s director, Nolan Tudor, says that the location is one of the things that makes this half marathon stand out. 

“It’s the only half marathon that runs through Fish Creek Park so it’s kind of unique in that sense,” says Tudor. 

After reaching the finish line, aside from bragging rights, runners were greeted with newly designed, Canadian-made commemorative medals and T-shirts. 

For the most part, Tudor says that the event has remained practically unchanged over its  21-year history. 

“We kind of go with an ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality.”

In fact, the event celebrates sticking to its guns, year after year, all proceeds are donated to the same charity, the Epilepsy Association of Calgary. 

The creator of the race first selected assocation to honour a late friend and active member of Calgary’s running community. Now, it has become a ritual event with participants returning to run in it every fall. 

The course map as found on the 2023 Harvest Half Marathon website

Many people participate time and time again because they either live with epilepsy themselves or run in tribute to family members who have or had the disease.  

This year, the organizers of the Harvest Half Marathon were hoping to raise $5,000 for the epilepsy association. Tudor says that although there were efforts both from race participants’ fundraising efforts and public donations, they, unfortunately, fell short of the goal. The event raised a total of $2,293. 

The race will certainly return next year with its same steady theme and loyal runners, though new runners and onlookers are always welcome. 

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