(From a 2013 series of articles)
by Cheryl Paynter
As the fall crisp air creeps its way into our mornings and evenings, we find ourselves in the height of training season for the upcoming Prince Edward Island Marathon weekend. This is a very special milestone year, the 10th Anniversary of this ever growing event. This event has come a long way since its inception…in year one some tough recruiting saw 496 people line up at the start lines over the weekend. Fast forward a decade and we are predicting upwards of 2700 athletes to take part in race weekend on October 18-20 .
Along with all of the walkers and runners of all ages that will get to run down their goals on marathon weekend, there are literally hundreds of volunteers, spectators and a great roster of tremendous sponsors that make this weekend the marquee annual event for the running community. With nearly half of the registrants coming from off-Island, we collectively have grown a huge event for our City and Province.
So what is making this event and running in general so popular? Running events across the region, country and internationally have been experiencing tremendous growth as of late as the sport of running has been reaching more and more into the general public. It used to be that an organized running race, and certainly a marathon distance event, was reserved for the elite runners. Things have changed significantly…it is now very much the norm to see everyday people lacing up and heading out the door to meet like minded friends for a run. They are driven by improving their physical activity levels, weight management, setting and working towards a goal and spending time with friends. Running has become mainstream. It has arrived.
Prince Edward Island has a tremendous running community. With almost every weekend of the year filled with fun runs of various distances along with formal and casual running groups, there is ample opportunity to find a group to train with.
The Prince Edward Island Marathon weekend has something for everyone. From the heart warming Kids SPUD Run where you cannot help but be inspired to 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon distances along with walking, corporate relay and wheelchair events, there is literally a distance that fits everyone’s goals and abilities.
For the full marathoners, the Prince Edward Island Marathon boasts a very impressive 17% Boston Qualifier statistic. Runners wanting to run the premier marathon event in Boston must run a predetermined time based on their gender and age and a certified qualifier race. Let me be more clear….qualifying for Boston is hard…really hard. Runners seek out fast marathon courses to attempt this impressive feet and our event has punched many tickets to Beantown.
Now while the majority of runners in our event are weekend warriors of sorts and a small majority of them achieving that elusive Boston Qualifying time, Prince Edward Island also boasts an elite running community. Course records for both the marathon and the half marathon distances are held by Islanders. These same elite class runners you will see sticking around the finish line to cheer their fellow runners in.
The finish line is a magical place. If you are on the fence about whether running might be for you, I encourage you to make your way to the finish line to watch the raw and very real emotions on people’s faces as they achieve their goals. You will see everything from laughter to tears and sometimes both at the same time. It is exciting, inspiring and absolutely chilling to watch and feel.
From any race distance and at any pace, this event is yours to seize. We look forward to placing a well-deserved medal around your neck on October 20th .
Prince Edward Island Marathon Weekend. Your Race. Your Pace.