Marathon big on local runners

As usual, this year’s Woody’s RV Marathon and Half Marathon will have a distinctive Central Alberta flavour, with a generous group of runners heading to the starters line for the first time.

As usual, this year’s Woody’s RV Marathon and Half Marathon will have a distinctive Central Alberta flavour, with a generous group of runners heading to the starters line for the first time.

“We have about 500 competitors from Lacombe, Sylvan Lake and Red Deer, including a number of first-timers,” title sponsor Woody Paylor said Thursday, while looking ahead to the Marathon and Half Marathon, which starts at 8 a.m. near Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School.

“The Red Deer Runners Den (with support from the Red Deer Runners) had an 18-week clinic preparing for this event and they had 150 people enrolled. There’s also a group from Sylvan Lake that has entered, about 30 runners who were in a clinic there,” added Paylor. “We have lots of support from Central Alberta.”

The event is expected to attract more than 1,100 runners— including close to 200 for the 42-kilometre marathon —­ from four provinces and from as far away as New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

David Corbett of Sherwood Park will defend his men’s title, while 2006 winner Jack Cook of Edmonton and 2007 and ‘08 runner-up Brendan Lunty of Camrose have also entered this year’s marathon. Ian Blokland of Camrose is another anticipated front-runner.

“The men’s race will be very competitive,” said Paylor.

There are no former champions entered in the women’s category, leaving that portion of the competition wide open. Close to 60 per cent of the 2009 runners are women, which, according to Paylor, is up “two to three per cent” over last year.

“And something that’s a little unusual this year is that we have five 13-year-olds doing the half marathon,” he added.

While the overall numbers are down slightly this year, the Woody’s RV Marathon and Half Marathon remains popular with both runners and support staff.

“The appeal is still there,” said Paylor, “and we have over 300 volunteers who have again held their hands up to help us.”

The 2009 event is taking on a green look, Paylor added.

“The organizers have eliminated a lot of the posters and entry forms. They’ve encouraged people to register online to cut down on the waste of paper,” he noted.

“They are also encouraging the runners to bring a bottle that can be refilled at the water stations instead of having a bunch of cups to dispose of, and a lot of recycle bins will be placed around the course. They’re trying to make it as environmentally friendly as they can.”

Marathon memos: Paylor, the owner of Woody’s RV World and a world class triathlete, and Cook, a member of the national ultra marathon team, a three-time winner of the Canadian Death Race and current Death Race record holder, are among the list of celebrity participants that includes 2002 Olympic freestyle ski bronze medalist Deidra Dionne and mixed martial arts competitor Jason MacDonald . . . The youngest runner to enter this year is an 11-year-old from Saskatchewan, while the oldest is a 77-year-old from Calgary . . . The guest speaker for the Saturday night pasta dinner at the Black Knight Inn is Scott Jurek, the course record holder and seven-time winner of the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, and two-time winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon. “He’s very well-known in running circles,” said Paylor of Jurek, who is also the three-time defending champion of the Spartathlon event and winner of the Hardrock 100-mile Endurance Run . . . Phil Meagher of Fort McMurray holds the men’s marathon course record of 2:36.58, set in 1999. The women’s record of 2:59.42, set in 2001, is held by Sonja Frank, also of Fort McMurray.ß

Contact Greg Meachem at gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sasktachewan pup, who has extensive burns, makes her way to Red Deer

Donations accepted for Phoenix who has third degree burns on her body

Man dead in ATV collision in central Alberta

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a quad rollover collision that… Continue reading

One airlifted to hospital after avalanche on glacier in Yoho National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Parks Canada says it has responded to an… Continue reading

Hundreds of Canadian troops deployed to flood zones in Quebec and N.B.

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault will visit flood-damaged regions north of… Continue reading

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ reigns over weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “The Curse of La Llorona” (yuh-ROH’-nuh) had only good… Continue reading

New Brunswick premier urges caution as floodwaters continue to rise

FREDERICTON — Rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25… Continue reading

Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack

TORONTO — The survivor guilt settled in moments after he saw all… Continue reading

‘Shocking violation’: Parish prepares to re-bury remains after grave plundered

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Largely untended for decades, the toppled and faded… Continue reading

President attends Easter service following slew of tweets

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is using Easter morning to… Continue reading

Easter Sunday blasts kill at least 207 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds… Continue reading

Soldiers deploying to flood-prone areas as water levels rise in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — About 120 Canadian soldiers will soon be deployed in western… Continue reading

Soldiers deploy across Quebec after flood-caused sinkhole claims woman’s life

MONTREAL — Canadian Armed Forces are deploying in three regions across Quebec,… Continue reading

Most Read