Robert Hamilton Memorial
Robert Hamilton Memorial
Robert Hamilton Memorial Race (race is retired since 2017)
With regret, the Calgary Roadrunners have made a decision to cancel the 2017 Robert Hamilton Memorial 5 and 10 Mile Race. A proliferation of other race options has resulted in a low turnout combined with a lack of available and willing volunteers.
While it’s sad to see the Robert Hamilton Memorial race cease to continue, it’s had a great 43 year span.
About the Race
This race was founded in 1974 by the Calgary Roadrunners Club (CRR).
The course has changed over the past 40 years. Recently it’s been a flat and fast course along the scenic Bow River pathway.
The race had a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and was a bit “retro” in its feel. With this event, we honoured the distances run at the time the race was established: 5 and 10 miles. We did not use chip timing at this race, and results were meticulously calculated by experienced and dedicated volunteers using a timing clock.
Traditionally, we awarded runners with a delicious gingerbread cookie runner medal.
This race was about honouring a great Calgarian and celebrating running in our great city. Volunteers spent hundreds of hours every year to put this race together; this race was run by and for Calgarians who love running and all that it stands for.
Run the 5 mile or 10 mile race
Why 10 Miles and 5 Miles? In the 1970s when Robert Hamilton was winning cross country races, 10 Mile was a distance he did well in. Also, there has been a long history of 10 Mile races (plus a 10 Mile trophy). 10 Miles is approximately 16 kilometres, which is less than a half marathon, but more than a 10k. The shorter course is about 8 kilometres, which is a good distance if you’ve done a 5k race before. It might even be fine for a first race.
Robert Hamilton (1941 – 1974)
This race was proudly presented by the Calgary Road Runners in the memory of one of Calgary’s great runners
Robert Hamilton was born in Calgary on March 22, 1941 and lived here all his life. He attended Crescent Heights High School and won his first race in 1956, the 1 Mile at the Army Cadets Championships. This was followed by various wins in the 1, 3 and 6 mile distances. In 1966 he broke the record for the 10-mile at the Edmonton Highland Games, and broke it again in 1967.
His opportunities to compete nationally and internationally were hampered by a lack of travel money and sponsorship, but his contributions to running in Calgary went beyond his own accomplishments: he coached high school middle distance runners and encouraged others to exercise.
Robert competed in the first Calgary Marathon in 1963, and from 1968 to 1971 he won the Alberta Cross Country Championships. In 1966 he was selected for the Alberta Team to go to the Canadian Cross Country Championships where the team placed first.
The day before he died Robert was second in a 6-mile race, and on his birthday the next day he and a couple friends jogged to Prince’s Island Park to work out. At the intersection of Memorial Drive and 10th Street, a vehicle struck the three friends; two were badly hurt but Robert died from his injuries.
The grief in the Calgary running community was expressed in a legacy run in Robert’s name. In September of 1974 the fledgling Calgary Roadrunners Club ran their first 10-mile Robert Hamilton Memorial Road Race in Bowmont Park.
Robert’s brother Lloyd Hamilton has been working to get the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame to induct Robert Hamilton; we haven’t heard any updates regarding his efforts. Each year Lloyd (if he can keep up with the date and venue changes!) says a few words before the presentation of the trophy to express his family’s gratitude to the Calgary Roadrunners and all those present that we’re all running a race in his brother’s name.
(The trophy, by the way, was purchased by the Calgary Roadrunners with money they collected by passing a hat at the funeral)