Ryan Prachnau found the surroundings very much to his liking Sunday morning in Kelowna.
Under mostly sunny skies and near-ideal conditions, the Abbotsford runner became a two-time winner of the BMO Okanagan Marathon, posting a winning time of 2:39:49.
Running a fast pace, Prachnau, who last won the race in 2014, took the lead after the one km mark and never looked back inn the 22nd edition of the annual run.
“It was really nice out there today, the temperature was perfect, you couldn’t ask for anything more, said Prachnau, who enjoyed the support of the enthusiastic spectators and volunteers. “There was a lot of people throughout the course cheering you on. It was a really fun race.”
Red Deer’s Kari Elliott placed second overall and also took home the women’s division championship, running a personal best time of 2:52:47. Elliott, the head coach for the cross-country running and indoor track program at Red Deer College won the BMO Okanagan Marathon women’s title 11 years ago in 2005.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that good, it was a miracle out there today,” said Elliott.
Following in second place in the men’s division was Vancouver’s Mike Post who finished with a time of 2:56:17. Finishing third was David Purcell from Banff with a time of 2:57:09.
In the women’s division, two Edmonton runners placed next. Reina Ainsworth took home second place coming in at 3:01:17 and Savanna Boutin finished third running a time of 3:09:24.
The men’s Half Marathon saw a new Champion crowned as Chris Stone of Edmonton was named the Half Marathon winner finishing at 1:13:40. “This was my first time ever running here, I had heard the event was amazing and I wanted to experience running in Kelowna. It was awesome, flat, cool, everything you could ask for in a race.” Placing second in the Half Marathon was Scott Tremblay of Kaleden with a time of 1:17:55, followed by Vancouver’s Alistair Kealty at 1:18:23.
In first place for the women’s Half Marathon was North Vancouver’s Shannon Dale, with an impressive time of 1:23:22. She enjoyed the beautiful running weather, “I had a good race, I had a good feeling about it and was delighted to run a personal best time.”
Kelowna’s own Andrea McClintock finished second with a time of 1:28:17, and Kamloop’s runner, Karla Stevens finished third at 1:30:01.
Jackson Konkin, from Trail, won the 10km race in a time of 34:11. He wasn’t expecting to win, “I’m pretty pumped, I thought I might finish somewhere in the top ten, but not first.” First place in the women’s event went to Calgary’s Melissa Paauwe who ran a time of 39:13.
The BMO Okanagan Marathon is proud to support the work of The Sunshine Foundation of Canada, the event’s official charity. Eighteen-year old Hannah, a local Sunshine participant, her family, as well as the Sunshine Bear took part in race weekend activities distributing medals, and received a cheque from BMO on behalf of the Sunshine Foundation for $7,500. Over the years, fundraising activities associated with the event have raised more than $375,000 for the charity who has fulfilled 8,000 dreams across Canada.
Organizers say registration was as good as it was last year with 2,800 participants taking part in this weekend family festival and Boston qualifying event.
BMO Okanagan Marathon Final Results:
• Marathon Male
1st – Ryan Prachnau, Abbotsford, BC – 2:39:49
2nd – Mike Post, Vancouver, BC – 2:56:17
3rd – David Purcell, Banff, AB – 2:57:09
• Marathon Female
1st – Kari Elliott, Red Deer, AB – 2:52:47
2nd – Reina Ainsworth, Edmonton, AB – 3:01:17
3rd – Savanna Boutin, Edmonton, AB – 3:09:24
• 21.1 km Half Marathon Male
1st – Chris Stone, Edmonton, AB – 1:13:40
2nd – Scott Tremblay, Vancouver, BC – 1:17:55
3rd – Alistair Kealty, Salmon Arm, BC – 1:18:23
• 21.1 km Half Marathon Female
1st – Shannon Dale, North Vancouver’s, BC – 1:23:22
2nd –Andrea McClintock, Kelowna, BC – 1:28:17
3rd – Karla Stevens, Kamloops, AB – 1:30:01