The 17th annual running of the Okanagan Marathon featured a first-time marathon winner and a series of runners from Calgary to Fruitvale and Prince George, who crossed the line first in the popular running event.
Every division featured a new winner at the event which took place Sunday morning under a mix of sun and cloud.
Calgary-based runner James Curran, who hails from Cork, Ireland, finished first overall in the BMO Okanagan marathon the first victory of his marathon career.
Curran finished with a time of 2:44:54, followed by Thomas Evans of Penticton at 2:47:44 and Jamie Baxter of Canmore at 2:48:25.
“It’s a great race,” said Curran. “It’s very well organized and it was my first time finishing inside the top 200. It was well worth the drive from Calgary and it worked out lovely for me. Kelowna is beautiful and the people are so friendly. All in all, it was a perfect day.”
On the women’s marathon side, B.C. runner Heather Johnson of Fruitvale won in only her second marathon race with a time of 3:010:20. Her first place finish surprised Johnson.
“It was a bit of a shock,” she admitted. “I came in feeling confident thinking I had a chance for a podium finish but I was not expecting to win today.”
Johnson ran her first marathon in 2005 and is more comfortable running in the half-marathon. But the course suited her well.
“The course is nice and flat, there are not a lot of hills, and it’s quite scenic so I had a lot of fun out there.”
Paige Howat of Prince George came in second in a time of 3:20:39 and Stacie Carrigan of West Kelowna was third at 3:20:53.
After an overcast start at 7:15 a.m., the sun peaked through along with periods of light drizzle to keep runners fresh and cool. Runners overall felt the conditions were perfect on the day.
The 21.1 Men’s half marathon saw Dave Matheson of Penticton finish first at 1:17:50, his first win at the BMO Okanagan Marathon in the half.
“I feel amazing, especially because I was not expecting to win, so it’s extra special,” he said. “The temperature was good, the conditions perfect, and there was no wind.” Stacey Rishaug of Sherwood Park with a time of 1:24:05, while local runner Christy Lovig of Kelowna was third in the women’s half at 1:26:53.
The 10K Men’s Run was won by Gordon Minaker from Kelowna in 35:40, followed by Sean Bergman also of Kelowna in 36:53 and Chad Bergen from Maple Ridge in 37:32. First place in the women’s event went to Tanya Humeniuk from Vancouver at 38:15, followed by Emilyn Sim of Salmon Arm at 38:22 and Avrelien Schilles of Kelowna at 38:57.
As many as 3,500 participants took part in this weekend family festival and Boston qualifying event. On Saturday the Running Room’s Free Friendship Run, 5K, and BMO Kids for Kids events went off without a hitch.
The BMO Employee Charitable Foundation presented the Sunshine Foundation: Dreams for Kids with a cheque for $17,000 as the sole charity for the event.