Friday, October 24, 2008

Our marathon: a fall event with legsn

Our marathon: a fall event with legs
The P.E.I. marathon promotes tourism,
fitness and family fun.

The Guardian

Last weekend’s BMO Nesbitt Burns P.E.I. Marathon drew 1,600 runners — a phenonmenal turnout, and good news for at least three reasons.

One, the marathon has proven to be a highly popular event at a time of the year when P.E.I. is trying to boost its shoulder tourism season. What could be prettier than P.E.I. at the peak of its fall colours? The fact that the event has grown from 173 runners to more than 1,600, and has attracted the interest of thousands of others is proof that the idea from the beginning had legs, pardon the pun.

Two, this is an event that promotes physical fitness. It wasn’t just runners who trained and took part in the marathon. There were walkers, too. Collectively, that’s a lot of people getting off the couch and turning off the TVs and computers.

The third reason this fall attraction is good news is that it affords an opportunity for families and friends to do things together. Moms and dads ran with their kids and others who didn’t join in the run stood on the sidelines to encourage and cheer them on. That all adds up to the kind of fun that helps bond families and communities.
If there was a downside to the event, it was the traffic congestion that many motorists encountered because of the roadblocks for the runners. There’s no easy answer to this. If the Island is going to play host to such a high-profile marathon, organizers need to ensure that participants will be safe. That means certain arteries have to be blocked off for a specific period of time. But at the very least, more attention should be devoted to making sure the public knows what roads are off limits so they can arrange to take alternative routes.

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