Three years ago, with the help of family and friends, Trevor Wakelin recorded his 70th marathon finish.
At the time he crossed the finish line in a wheelchair, suffering from the debilitating symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS.
Prior to his diagnosis, his wife Pauline described him as being a vibrant, active man with so much to live for.
He loved running, mountaineering, travelling, his job and most of all his family.
On Sunday, Oct. 9, his son Soren Wakelin will honour his dad’s memory and run in the BMO Okanagan Marathon wearing bib number 70, the same number his dad wore for his last race.
The BMO Okanagan Marathon always held a special place for Trevor – he called it “a beautiful course” – and he also loved Kelowna.
Now, it holds a special meaning for Soren as well. “I remember at that time, when we pushed my dad around the course for his 70th marathon, I decided I was going to run a marathon and an ultra-marathon. I also ran my first half marathon here and so it seems fitting to come back and run the marathon in my dad’s honour.”
Soren also hopes to raise awareness about the devastating impacts that ALS leaves on the families left behind.
“ALS changed the dynamics of our family and I think us being there to love, and support and be there for my dad brought us all closer together. We were warned about how difficult it would be, but nothing could prepare us for what was to come.
“Yes, we need more money for finding cures, but I think more support and resources are needed for the families and individuals fighting ALS. Every dollar goes a long way.”
Soren will have extra motivation to run in his seventh marathon after training long and hard, and he knows his dad will be encouraging and supporting him. “I was very lucky to have such an amazing role model and I am looking forward to achieving a personal best time and running in the BMO Okanagan Marathon.”
Close to 3,000 participants will lace up for race-weekend activities. The main event, the 42.2 kilometre marathon, takes place Oct. 9 starting at 7:40 a.m., while the half marathon commences at 8:10 a.m. and the 10-kilometre run/ walk will begin at 8:40 a.m.
The BMO Okanagan Marathon has an event for everyone – from the recreational, advanced and competitive runner, to children and adults. Every participant will receive a t-shirt and a finisher’s medal. The race is a great way for groups to build team spirit and raise money for a great cause, The Sunshine Foundation of Canada.
Spectators are encouraged to come out and cheer on all of the participants at the BMO Okanagan Marathon, a Boston Marathon Qualifier. The Sports Expo located at City Park, 1600 Abbott Street is open on Friday, Oct. 7, from 3 to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6: p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Running Room Free Friendship Run takes place at 9 a.m., the 10km run/ walk starts at 10 a.m. The BMO ABC Kids Event (Outdoor Fitness Activities followed by a Fun 1km run/walk) begins at noon.