Tuesday, October 16, 2007

PEI Marathon - Newspaper coverage

Running with the Best
The Guardian's Photo Gallery

Marathoners turn capital into a beehive of activity
The Guardian

An autumn Sunday in downtown Charlottetown is usually tranquil and still — most businesses sleepily opening their doors no earlier than noon as the capital takes a break before starting another busy week.

But yesterday was not a quiet October Sunday. On this day, Charlottetown was abuzz with activity and energy at the P.E.I. Marathon finish line.

Barricades lined the streets, leading runners to the race’s end. Large tents housing lively bands allowed for cheerful music to pour into every corner of the city.

And hundreds of people came out to hail marathon participants huffing their way to the finish line.

As each contestant rounded the final curve of University Avenue to the finish line banner, the energetic crowd of supporters lined the barricades and greeted each finisher with loud claps and cheers through the day.

For Mark Smallwood, feeling this energy from the crowd’s hurrahs as he made his way to the end of the half-marathon kept him going.

“I was ready to give up a couple of times,’’ he said. “But I felt rejuvenated coming down the finishing stretch.’’
Some people used bright green thunder sticks to clap support for their friends or family members in the marathon.

Others just stood along the metal barricades, waiting to catch a glimpse of their loved ones as they arrived at the end.

Heather Bowlan stood quietly on University Avenue as she waited for her son Mark to make it to the finish line.

Her look of pride was unmistakable.

“I know how much he’s been working and training over the years, and he bikes, too.’’

This was his fourth year running in the P.E.I. Marathon, so she’s witnessed the marathon’s popularity grow ever year.

She said it was fantastic to see how many people came out to cheer on the participants.

“It takes a lot of work to run in this, and I think it’s great that every year more people come out to support them.’’

The crowd’s size and spirit also excited Kim Doyle of Charlottetown.

Doyle said it was energizing to see so many people in the downtown at this normally slower time of year.
“There are thousands of people around - it’s such a great day,’’ she said.

“I was down in Brighton and people around the community and in the neighbourhood had signs up for their friends to cheer them on.’’

These signs, scrawled with messages of support, could be seen scattered throughout the crowd, raised above people’s heads to mark their presence and support for the racers.

Two young girls ran alongside their father as he paced his way through the final stretch. They each held big brightly coloured signs - one that read, ‘Go Dad!’ and the other agreeing with a big ‘Yeah!’

Then as the runners finally came across the finish line, they were met by volunteers who draped an aluminum blanket around their shoulders and patted them on the back with a bright smile and a warm “Congratulations. You made it!’’

The participants were then guided around the corner to Grafton Street, where more volunteers presented them with drinks, fruit and cookies.

A warm feeling of celebration hung in the air around the successful marathoners, who wore their aluminum blankets and contestant numbers like badges of honour.

A woman holding a small child on her hip beamed with pride at her husband as he jogged into the finish line area.

“We’re so proud of you,’’ she said, handing him a towel to wipe the sweat from his face.

“I knew you could do it.’’
All in the family
With their children cheering them on, Kenny and Alison MacDougall
successfully complete the half-marathon on Sunday

The Guardian

Alison and Kenny MacDougall don't need their two young children to keep them on the run.

Rather, the Stratford couple lean on others to watch their offspring while they are running.

Alison ran her first full marathon in P.E.I. last year while her husband completed his second.

The pair opted to tackle just the half-marathon Sunday, but training was still a major feat. Alison and Kenny had to find the time and the help to allow them to run, hold down full-time jobs and raise two youngsters.

Kenny, a junior high vice-principal, would run early in the morning before the children got up. Alison, who does account management, used her lunch hours to train.

The pair would also hire babysitters to allow them time to run. And on Sundays, the couple would head off for their longest runs of the week while a grandparent or two tended to two-year-old Ella and five-year-old Riley.

Alison described the time management effort as “pretty big”.

Kenny said all the running in preparation for Sunday's half-marathon actually gave him more energy to keep up with his active children: Riley is into T-ball, soccer, swimming and hockey, and Ella is simply always on the go.

Alison's father carted Riley and Ella to different spots along the half-marathon route so they could see — and cheer on — mom and dad several times.

Alison hoisted her daughter into her arms after finishing the race in one hour and fifty-one minutes. Fatigue was apparent as she soon gently lowered Ella to the ground.

Kenny, who crossed the finish line 12 minutes faster than his wife, is planning to coax Alison to train for the full marathon in Halifax next May.

Any babysitters looking for some work?
‘If I had to crawl, I’d crawl over (the finish line)
Rugby player Jeff Boswell says the support he received from spectators was huge

The Guardian

Jeff Boswell has been on the run for a long time — but never like Sunday.

Boswell, 28, has pounded the pavement for many years to keep in good form for rugby, which he still plays on a senior men’s team.

In April, he started running with his eye on finishing the full Prince Edward Island Marathon for the first time.

Already in good shape, Boswell, a quality control technician, was able to cover 10 kilometres right off the bat. He bought a book on marathon running and tailored the advice to his own plan of attack.

On average, he ran five times a week, and biked another two or three times. He constantly worked at increasing the length of his runs while also upping the total distance covered each week.

A global position system watch helped him keep tabs on his progress by measuring distance, pace and time of each run. Water strategically hidden along his running route would be nabbed as need be.

A calf injury from pushing himself so hard was not enough to sideline the runner. He ran on with discomfort, and eventually pain, before heading to a physiotherapist. He was told he hadn’t been stretching properly.

His training continued and with several weeks before the big run, Boswell hit 34 kilometres. That would be his longest run — until Sunday.

He lined up for the start of the race on a morning with ideal marathon weather conditions — cool, dry and relatively calm winds — determined to add eight kilometres in distance to his previous best run in order to complete the 42-kilometre trek.

His game plan was to take it slow for the first half of the marathon, then pick it up and “leave everything on the course.”'

The first half was a breeze, but when he got to about 10 kilometres shy of the finish line, he had to give himself a good boot and a strong push.

He wasn’t going to stop.

“If I had to crawl, I’d crawl over (the finish line),” he said.

Supportive spectators that lined the route helped him keep his feet moving as well.

“They’re just telling you to ‘give it and go for it’. That’s huge,” he said.

Running Sunday with so many other people, he added, made for a much different outing than his usual solo runs in training for the marathon.

“It’s hard not to try to keep up with some of the faster runners because I’m a competitive guy,” he said.

Three hours and eight minutes after starting his first-ever attempt at running a full marathon, Boswell crossed the finish line on University Avenue in front of Province House. The accomplishment, he said, felt huge.

Physically, he felt “pretty good” but he was bracing himself for some cramping he anticipated would soon start creeping in.

Boswell said he hopes to run the marathon again next year, but even faster.
Chaisson leaves rest of the field behind
Charlottetown resident wins second straight half-marathon

The Guardian

One thing Stanley Chaisson wanted was to run faster than a year ago.

The resident of Charlottetown did and the rest of the field was left behind.

Chaisson captured his second straight half-marathon, finishing in a time of one hour, 12 minutes and 14 seconds.

Sunday’s event was held in conjunction with the BMO Nesbitt Burns P.E.I. Marathon.

Kensington native Rachael McCarvill retained her women’s crown, taking second overall, in 1:26:39 while Marco Lores of Charlottetown (1:27:52) claimed third.

Islanders took the top eight placings.

Shane Gill of Stratford was fourth in 1:29:47, Sheldon Opps of Charlottetown fifth (1:30:44), Dustin Gavin of Tignish sixth (1:33:02), Andre Chiasson of Summerside seventh (1:33:23) and Trevor Cameron of Summerside eighth (1:34:07).

“I ran faster than last year and that was my goal,” said Chaisson, who won the 2006 event in 1:13:52.

Using a kilometre pace of three minutes and 27 seconds, the Bear River native encountered only one bit of discomfort in beating a field of 396 half-marathoners.

“I started feeling it in my calves at about 15K, other than that I was fine,” said Chaisson, who set a record of 1:25:31 in winning the 34th annual Community Harvest Festival 25-kilometre road race earlier in the year.

McCarvill ran a 4:08 per kilometre pace in taking the women’s title.

“I am so happy with today,” she said. “It was just a fantastic day for running, the weather was perfect.”

McCarvill was the top Islander at the St. F.X. Invitational cross-country championship a week earlier with an eighth-place showing.

The two races, she said, aren’t comparable.

“It's a completely different way of running,” said the UPEI student. “That was my first time doing a cross-country meet. It was a really different way of running and I felt more tired after that 5K than I do now.”

Allyson MacDonald of Fredericton, N.B., was second among female runners, finishing 26th overall in 1:37:39.
On their feet
Summerside’s Scott Clark wins his first Prince Edward Island Marathon, following two earlier runner-up finishes, while Jennifer Vandongen of Maine is the first female to finish the event, placing 14th overall

The Guardian

Scott Clark has his marathon victory.

With a host of second-place finishes to his credit, the 44-year-old Summerside native moved to the top of the podium by winning the BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Marathon Sunday in Charlottetown.

“I set a personal best, too,” said Clark, who covered the 42.195-kilometre course in two hours, 49 minutes and 16 minutes. “I’m more happy about that than the win.”

Besides the full-marathon, sponsored by The Guardian, the event also included a half-marathon run and walk, a 10-kilometre run and walk, a corporate relay and the Kids Spud Run.

Clark, coming off two consecutive runner-up finishes in the Island marathon,
used the ideal weather conditions to open a lead on the field of 191 runners at 18 kilometres.

It was the second time in three years an Islander has won the provincial marathon after Rob MacKenzie of Cornwall took the 2005 event.

Peter Sullivan, a medical student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, was second in 2:50:09 while Donald MacIntyre of Sydney was third, another six minutes back.

Paul Baglole of Meadow Bank was fourth in 2:57:25 while the remainder of the top 10 included Timothy Tunney of Ellsworth, Maine (2:59:16), Kendall MacDonald of Stratford (3:01:10), Ian Holdway of Beechville, N.S. (3:01:46), Bryn Kowalchuk of Entwistle, Alta. (3:01:56), Tim Murphy of Montague (3:05:06), and Jeff Boswell of Charlottetown (3:08:54).

Jennifer Vandongen of Bath, Maine, was the first female finisher, placing 14th overall in 3:10:56. Jennifer Nicholson of Cornwall was second, 16th overall, in 3:13:24.

Penny Hart of Halifax was third among the women, placing 31st overall in 3:24:16 while Nancy Morris of Charlottetown was fourth (32nd overall) in 3:24:57.

The race produced 48 qualifiers for the 112th Boston Marathon April 21.

For Clark, it was almost a textbook finish, following his pre-race expectation.

“I planned on running a 2:50 marathon and I got in around 2:49,” said Clark, the runner-up at the Blue Nose Marathon at Halifax in May where he set his previous best of 2:49:22. “I was right on my pace the whole way.”

Clark, the top Islander at the 2007 Boston Marathon placing 401st in 2:51:25, admitted his legs were getting tight over the last kilometre but he fed off the crowd at the end.

“Fortunately, there is a bit of a downhill, but the crowd really brings you in the last little bit. The crowd pulls you through to the finish and you kind of pick the pace up. You just ignore the pain at that time and when you see them pulling the ribbon up it’s a pretty good feeling.”

Sullivan, a shorter distance runner competing in his first marathon, was delighted with his performance.

“Totally happy with it,” said the Ontario native. “I said before I don’t want to make a habit of running these marathons because I would like to keep some legs to run some 1,500s on the track and that kind of stuff which is more where I’m at. I wanted to run an interesting marathon for my first one and decided to come here.”

The intent was to start slowly but Sullivan said that changed quickly.

“I didn’t want to go out too hard and kind of got sucked in a little bit,” he said. “I caught (Scott) about 3K and stayed with him for the next 15. That was great . . . I felt good the whole time (but) he put in a surge in just before the half and I knew I didn’t have the legs to go with him so I let him go.”

Vandongen recorded her second-best marathon time to claim the women’s division.

“I kind of just went out to have a good day,” said the American. “I came through the half at 1:35 which is about usual when I run marathons. I was on pace there.”

The top female said the change from road to the Confederation Trail just past the midway point, was different.

“Running on the trail was a little hard,” said Vandongen.

“It was the change of surface, you have to change it up a little bit and then you hit the road again and it feels a lot better.”

Nicholson entered with a specific target.

“My goal for my first marathon was to qualify for Boston and I’ve done that,” said Nicholson. “It was lots of fun. I’m ecstatic.”

Runners were greeted with almost perfect conditions with temperatures around 12C and predominately sunny.

Children get a taste of healthy living
through family marathon activities
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Summerside runner win P.E.I. Marathon
Clarks also registers personal best time

The Journal Pioneer

CHARLOTTETOWN -- Scott Clark of Summerside only registered for The Prince Edward Island Marathon less than 24 hours before the race began.

Clark, who was runner-up in the last two Island marathons, won his first-ever marathon in 16 attempts Sunday -- and did it in a personal best time of two hours 49 minutes 15 seconds (2:49:15)

Clark had run a marathon in Saint John, N.B., three weeks ago and the race took its toll on him.

"I guess I was pretty sure I was going to race (today) but I had to re-focus on my training after the Saint John race, and wanted to prove to myself that I could run a sub-2:50 (two hours 50 minutes) race, which I did," said an elated Clark.

Almost 900 participants took part in the various legs of the event, which included a half marathon, marathon, 10-kilometre walk and corporate relay.

Jennifer Vandongen from Bath, Maine, was the top-placing female. Stanley Chaisson of Charlottetown won the half marathon in 1:12:14, and Rachael McCarvill of Charlottetown and formerly of Kensington was second overall.

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