Curran repeats in ideal conditions at Okanagan Marathon

Calgary runner wins Kelowna race, Rhonda Loo of Alberta the top woman

Calgary's James Curran crosses the finish line Sunday morning at Kelowna City Park to win the BMO Okanagan Marathon for the second year in a row. More than 3

It wasn’t as fast as his first victory here, nor was the field as challenging as it was a year ago in Kelowna.

All the same, Calgary’s James Curran was happy to make it two in a row at the BMO Okanagan Marathon on an ideal fall morning on the streets of Kelowna.

Curran, who is originally from Cork, Ireland, completed the 42-kilometre course in two hours 51 minutes 10 seconds.

Curran led from start to finish and, with no serious challengers on his heels, finished more than six minutes back of his pace in 2011.

“It’s a great race, I ran faster last year, but I didn’t need to push it this time around and I had enough in me to win it,” said Curran. “I am pleased to repeat as champion and I will be back again next year to defend. Kelowna is a beautiful place to run and the volunteers and supporters on the course were amazing. It’s special to win two in a row.”

Two Calgary runners, Adam Kahtava  and Donovan Thorkelson, finished second and third respectively in 2:53:28 and 2:56:45.

The women’s champion, Newell Lake, Alberta’s Rhonda Loo, wasn’t far off the men’s pace crossing the line in 3:00:40 in her first try at the Okanagan.

“I have friends in Summerland and wherever I travel I look for a race,” said Loo. “This was happening, so I thought I’ll do it and I’m happy I did. It’s a great race, I’m happy I won, even though I would have liked to have run a sub-3.”

Kelowna’s Stacie Carrigan, who finished third last year, knocked seven minutes off her 2011 time to place second in 3:13:47. Liza Burgess, also of Kelowna, finished third at 3:16:59.

“I’m extremely pleased,” said Carrigan, 30, is originally from Osoyoos. “I was just hoping to do better than 3:17, so I think I exceeded that limit by quite a bit, for sure.”

Carrigan will now prepare for the New York City Marathon next month.

In the half marathon, Penticton’s Jeff Symonds won the men’s title for the third time in four years with a clocking of 1:13:56.

As a homegrown Okanagan boy, it’s a race Symonds does his best not to miss.

“It’s great to come out an support the local events, you know the fact it’s just a stone’s throw away makes it a no-brainer to come up here,” said Symonds, 27, who is also a competitive triathlete. “To have an event of this magnitude and to see the numbers of people participating, it creates an unbelievable atmosphere that I want to be part of year after year.”

Following in second place was Simon Stewart of Edmonton at 1:19:12, with Skeets Morel of Vernon placing third at 1:20:27.

Karen Ruckman of Burnaby was the women’s winner with a time of 1:28:55, Kelowna’s Tracy Dayman came in second with a time of 1:31:24, and Mary Edgar of Vernon finished third in 1:31:50.

The 10 k men’s was won by Sean Bergman from Kelowna in 34:47, followed by Nicholas Mottl of Creston in 34:55 and Joshua Sissons from Blackfalds, Alta. in 35:41.  First place Kelowna’s Deborah Buhlers was the women’s 10 k Kelowna who finished in 37:32 on behalf of her grandmother, who passed away during the week. Canoe’s Glynis Sim came in second at 38:19, followed by Amy Buzikievich of Summerland at 39:32.

Wearing bib No. 100, 58-year-old Richard Stewart of Prince George completed his goal of completing his 100th marathon in a time of 5:29:56.

He was thrilled with the support he felt on the course. “It was emotional near the finish line, I had so many people cheering me on. It has been an incredible experience for me and I have met wonderful people and close friends along the road.”

More than 3,100 participants took part in the weekend’s events, which featured the Running Room’s Free Friendship Run, 5K, and BMO ABC Kids Run on Saturday, and the marathon, half marathon and 10 k on Sunday.


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