Hello, on June 16, 2012, you’ll be organizing the Millarville “Run To The Farmers’ Market” Half-Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
The event is a point-to-point race in rural Alberta, running through the Foothills of the Canadian Rockies, with start and finish lines about 35 minutes drive southwest of Calgary.
The race starts in a small town, Black Diamond, runs through another nearby small town, Turner Valley, and then takes backcountry, paved roads to finish at the Millarville Farmers’ Market just as it opens for its 30th summer season (note the Farmer’s Market finish line is at Millarville Racetrack, operated by the non-profit Millarville Racing & Agricultural Society, about seven kilometers from the village of Millarville).
Our Farmers’ Market, in spite of our purely rural location, is the oldest and second largest outdoor market in Alberta, with more than 170 vendors, and is a very popular Saturday stop for urban Calgarian’s looking for a day in the country.
It will be the inaugural edition of the race, why was it created in the first place?
I’ve been running much of this route most weekends for years. One beautiful summer morning a light bulb went on and I thought finishing off a half marathon at the Farmers’ Market would be a fantastic way to meet our non-profit Ag Society goals of supporting local agricultural producers and food artisans through raised awareness of our Market while also promoting health & wellness, volunteerism and community building within our rural area.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
It is a point-to-point race, briefly passing through two small towns but mostly rural in nature, with 50% of the course on normal pavement, both road and pedestrian pathway, and the other 50% on “soft” pavement.
The terrain is undulating, with the highest point approximately 3.5 km into the race and a net loss of altitude by the time you reach the finish line at the Millarville Farmers’ Market. However, runners should expect some hills, with the longest a roughly 1.1 KM climb near KM 14.5.
This is true ranch country and you can expect to see cows and horses in the pastures along the roadside. Wave and say hello!!
For the convenience of runners, we will have shuttle buses operating between the Racetrack and Black Diamond pre and post race, allowing you to park in either place.
How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We have a race cap of 500 for this event and, with the attraction of the Millarville Farmers’ Market as an end destination, which is popular with urban dwellers from Calgary, we may well see that many in our first event. We have prizes to make it enticing for the better runners but mostly we want everyone, fast or slow, to say they had a fun day, both during the race and at the Farmers’ Market after.
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?
We do not have other running races as yet and we are best known for our Farmers’ Market and Christmas Market as well as the 107th Annual Millarville Races (historic horse races and turn-of-the-century family events on July 1, Canada Day), the three day 16th Annual Millarville Rodeo and our 105th Annual Priddis & Millarville Fair, one of the last, great Agricultural Fair’s in Canada.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
On this date in our area through the last 15 years, the average low temperature was 7.2°C, the average high was 19.1°C and there were three measurable days of rain on this date in that time frame. June 16 is still early summer for here and temperatures can vary widely due to the close proximity of the Rockies, but generally it is pleasant and very, very green.
Have you planned festivities around the half marathon?
The finish line is at our rural Millarville Racetrack facilities where you will find our popular Millarville Farmers’ Market, with more than 170 vendors. We will have the normal post-race refreshments and activities for participants but the extensive food, music and crafts of a normal Farmers’ Market day also await you. As many urban Calgarians know, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning in a purely country atmosphere. The Farmers’ Market attracts over 70,000 through a normal season, every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., June through October.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to the Millarville area before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
We know you will linger at the Farmer’s Market for much of the morning after your race but Calgary, a city of 1.1 million, and its great urban attractions are only 35 minutes away. Kananaskis Country in the Canadian Rockies is only a half hour away, west of Turner Valley. A circle drive on Highway 40 through Kananaskis Country, via Longview, a short distance south, is one of the great, scenic mountain drives in the world. Banff National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites within are about one hour away.
International visitors might be interested in knowing our Millarville Racetrack also serves as a setting for the internationally syndicated television series “Heartland” while our local area has served as a backdrop for many Hollywood productions, including Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven,” Kevin Costner’s “Open Range” as well as Brad Pitt’s “Legends Of The Fall” and “The Assassination of Jesse James.”
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Millarville “Run To The Farmers’ Market” Half Marathon?
Running through the Foothills of the Canadian Rockies on a bright, early summer morning, with an end goal of finishing at Alberta’s second largest outdoor Farmers’ Market, ensures you will be participating in a fairly unique and enticing destination event.
Interview with Rick Charlton.