With his daughter, Victoria, running the last few metres by his side, it was a moment Keith Parks assures he’ll never forget.
As the 54-year-old crossed the finish line Sunday morning at the BMO Okanagan Marathon in Kelowna, it marked the completion of his 100th marathon.
Parks ran his first marathon exactly 16 years ago to the day, on Oct. 12, 1998.
“I didn’t expect it to be so emotional,” said Parks, who lived in Kelowna from 2003 to 2014, before moving to White Rock. “Victoria was with me and it was just a spectacular moment. It felt great.”
Parks, who served as a pace rabbit for Sunday’s marathon, completed the 42.2 km race in three hours 28 minutes 53 seconds.
With the sun shining and family and friends there to support him, Parks couldn’t asked for a better outcome.
“The whole weekend was glorious,” he said. “From the race conditions, to the way we were treated…to was just wonderful. The way (organizers) John Stanton and the Running Room treated me was just phenomenal.”
When Parks reached the 60-marathon level at age 50 four years ago, he knew then the timing of the Okanagan Marathon would be ideal. It meant running about 10 races a year, leading to Sunday’s race in Kelowna.
“I always knew Kelowna would be the race I’d try and run my 100th,” he said. “It’s pretty cool that it turned out that way.”
As for the secrets to running 100 marathons in just 16 years, Parks pointed to: “Being patient,” persistent, “and having realistic goals.” Of course, having passion for the sport hasn’t hurt Parks, either.
His next major goal pertains to the Boston Marathon, a race he has run 10 times previously.
“I have 10 consecutive Boston Marathons, and on my jacket I have room for 20 more. I hope to make it there every year for the next 20 years.”
Prachnau wins marathon…
Abbotsford’s Ryan Prachnau ran away from the field to capture the overall title Sunday at the 20th edition of the BMO Okanagan Marathon.
Uncontested much of the way, Prachnau won 42.2 km event in a time of two hours 39 minutes 33 seconds.
Edmonton’s Jason Britton was second in in 2:55:40.
Danielle Bourgeois of Edmonton was the first woman to finish, placing 11th overall in 3:02:42.
Melanie Bos was the first Kelowna runner, male or female to cross the finish line Sunday, placing 19th overall. Bos was fourth among all women competitors in 3:12:11.
In the half marathon, Jeff Symonds of Vancouver was winner in 1:13:06, while Alistair Hill of Calgary took second in 1:14:19. Jillian Brady of Edmonton was the top woman, 14th overall, in 1:28:50.
West Kelowna’s Glenn Forsyth capture the men’s 60-69 group in 1:47:55, Kelowna’s Liz Borrett won the women’s 70+ category in 1:57:17, while West Kelowna’s Eric Bramble won the men’s 70+ division.
In the 10 K, Kelowna teenager Sean Bergman showed the way, winning the race in 33:10.
Kelowna’s Jeff Vogt was second in 35:59, while Vernon’s Lori Youdell was the top woman in 42:04.
More than 2,000 runners completed the marathon, half marathon and 10 K races.