Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lace up those running shoes - Annual P.E.I. Marathon takes place Oct. 13-14


Lace up those running shoes
Annual P.E.I. Marathon takes place Oct. 13-14
04/08/07
DAVE STEWART
The Guardian

Close to 1,300 people are expected to lace up their running shoes this fall when the annual P.E.I. Marathon takes place Oct. 13-14.
The marathon run category starts on the Island’s picturesque north shore and ends with a massive party atmosphere on Grafton Street in Charlottetown featuring the best in P.E.I. music.
All other categories start in downtown Charlottetown on Grafton Street by the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
There have been marathons taking place across P.E.I. for more than 20 years but it has now become a huge weekend festival over the past four years.
“When I was asked to take over in 2003, at that point they had the largest marathon to date, they had 173 people,’’ said Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, the event co-ordinator.
Since then, participation has grown from 800 to 1,000 to 1,109 last year.
In 2004, organizers changed the marathon and half marathon, adding a 10- km race, a kids spud run, festivities like a health and wellness expo and a pasta party.
In 2005, they added two dedicated walking categories — a half marathon walk and a 10 km walk.
Last year, organizers got the business community involved, adding the corporate relay challenge. Title sponsor BMO Nesbitt Burns has entered a team and challenges other businesses to follow suit.
“We had set a goal of having 15 teams in the corporate marathon and we’ve already surpassed that goal. The business community is really stepping up to the plate and that’s what we need,” Jenkins-Smith said.
Jenkins-Smith says they are already 50 per cent ahead of last year’s pace for registrations.
“To date, we have people coming from nine provinces, 11 states and some international.”
Adding to the credibility of the P.E.I. Marathon is the fact it is a certified qualifier for the prestigious Boston Marathon.
“I got a call (recently) from a dentist in Toronto. He tells me he’s run in 176 marathons (but) he’s never run P.E.I. It’s great because his wife didn’t realize we have a walking category. That’s the whole point. You get one spouse doing one thing and now we have something that can accommodate the other spouse who walks, it’s perfect.”
The marathon festival is also a boost to the province’s tourism industry, bringing 3,000 people in (if you include the families) during a slow period in the season.
Jenkins-Smith said they’ve added some great entertainment this year. Grafton Street, between Queen Street and University Avenue, will be closed to make way for a tent featuring Island bands and artists. There will also be music at the pasta party, located this year at Confederation Centre.
Other new features include an updated logo and dri-fit shirts for everyone who registers in a half or full marathon.
The Guardian newspaper, which is sponsoring the full marathon, will be publishing a special insert on Sept. 21. In addition, more than 1,200 copies will be printed for every participant that registers.
Jonathan Ross, one of the event co-organizers, said the marathon festival weekend has something for everyone.
“There is something for everyone — a kids run, walking events, corporate relay, the half and full marathons and new this year we will have live bands playing at the finish line,” Ross said. “There is no reason not to participate in this year’s marathon weekend.”
Jenkins-Smith said the P.E.I. Marathon is the only marathon, at least in Eastern Canada, that has designated walking categories in both the 10 km and half marathon.
Participants are permitted to walk in the running events but aren’t allowed to run in the walking events — that amounts to disqualification.
Ellen Sherren, another organizer, said it’s going to be the biggest marathon event yet.
“I’m hoping the introduction of our Tuesday evening training clinics will give people who never had an opportunity to participate in our longer events, the opportunity to achieve their own personal goals in either the corporate relay or 10K distance,” Sherren said.
“It all helps, the running tips, the guest speakers, camaraderie, to make it
fun.”'
Those planning to register for the P.E.I. Marathon are already training and have been doing so for almost two months.
Organizers conduct a free clinic every Tuesday night for runners and walkers for those looking for a little help to prepare. Those interested in registering can do so by checking out the P.E.I. Marathon’s website - www.princeedwardislandmarathon.com or by calling 628-1861.

1 comment:

mcewen said...

Eek! Just thinking about all that expended energy makes me break out in a sweat! [sorry, er...glow]
I don't know about running shoes? Maybe I could don some skates or whizz along in one of those motorized scooters. There again I shouldn't wish to 'pollute' the event.
Have a great time.
Best wishes