Brian Harms was a founding member of the Wapiti Striders Road Running Club of Grande Prairie and was the club’s president at the time of his death in November 1986. He began running in 1976 and became one of the top runners in provincial track and cross country.
Brian turned his efforts to road running in 1980 and competed in the first Jasper-Banff Relay that year. He never missed the event, competing in all seven. He loved running hills and for five of those years, he ran section 6. In 1981 and 1982, he doubled section 6 with another section. In 1985, he ran his best time (67:18), an average of 6:14 per mile and was the third fastest over the section. In 1980 he placed second and in 1981 was third over the pass. In 1984, Brian changed hills briefly to run section ten and averaged 6:00 per mile, passing nine runners in the process. In 1986, he avoided the hills to run section one and put the Striders in eighth place at the exchange with an average time of 5:49.
In 1985, Brian established personal bests in the 10 mile (52:11) and the 10 K (31:29.8). He won the Beaverlodge to Grande Prairie Marathon in 1983 (2:54.30), and was second in 1986 (3:08.16). He was also victorious in marathons in Slave Lake and Grande Prairie. He won three Press Runs – 1981 (32:41), 1982 (32:47), and 1985 (31:29.8). In the 1985 race, he edged out close friend Terry Smith by .7 of a second after a furious and hard fought last 500m.
Prior to 1987, the Brian Harms Memorial Run was known simply as the Wapiti Road 10 Mile Run. Brian won the race in 1981 (55:08), 1982 (54:03), 1985 (52:11.6), and was second in 1984 (56:02) when Terry Smith won in 53:19 and in 1986 (53:18.0), again behind Terry’s 52:38.9. In 1987 the race name was changed to honour Brian and his performances.
– Written by Bill Turnbull