Woody’s marathon a favorite for top athletes

Brendan Lunty and Adela Salt are both returning to defend their Woody’s RV Marathon titles. The Alberta marathon staple will be ready for its 17th edition this Sunday — rain or shine — with a few new twists, adding a kids run and a marathon relay.

Brendan Lunty and Adela Salt are both returning to defend their Woody’s RV Marathon titles.

The Alberta marathon staple will be ready for its 17th edition this Sunday — rain or shine — with a few new twists, adding a kids run and a marathon relay.

Organizers are prepared for a field of 1,500 runners to take part in what has become a favourite race for many an endurance athlete.

“Our course is made for runners and not for cars,” said race director Jason Hazlett. “You’ve got the beauty on the right or your left for just about the entire course, you’re looking at the Red Deer River or you’re looking at woods and forest or at the golf and country club; the beautiful scenic trails all through the area. There’s very little road that we actually have our runners on.”

The reputation is well earned.

Lunty told Hazlett that this is one of his favourite races of the year, and that he makes a note of it to come down from Camrose for it. Last year was his 10th year in the marathon and fourth straight men’s title.

Salt, who moved to Calgary from England two years ago, was transfixed by the atmosphere and scenery of the race.

“She felt she was with nature the entire race,” said Hazlett of a recent conversation with Salt. “It wasn’t racing with competitors, in a sense, it was racing with nature.”

They will be competing against 160 in the 42.2 kilometre marathon this year, while there are 750 registered for the half marathon. The 10K, meanwhile, sold out its 500 spots in March.

Hazlett says the race has a large participation with runners from Central Alberta, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. This year there will even be a few international participants from Belarus and Australia.

Four years ago organizers added a 10K event to the day to help feed the half and full marathons. This year, they are striking for an even less experienced demographic with a 1.2 kilometre kids race. The Kids race is part of an even larger competition called a marathon quest, encouraging kids to run regularly, finishing the 42.2 km quest on Sunday. The event filled its 100 slots.

“We want to get the kids involved with running and the atmosphere and feeling it, because we have many parents that are encouraging their kids to get out and run,” said Hazlett. “We’re thinking, start at the bottom up and bring them up and support athletics and fitness in Red Deer and Central Alberta.”

One of the other new wrinkles is a pair’s relay, with one runner doing the first half of the race, and the second runner finishing out the final 26.1 kilometres.

The idea is to allow those who have only ran the half marathon to finally see the entire course.

However, through his own experience, he says this can be an intimidating experience for those running the whole marathon.

“I’m running and these fresh runners all of a sudden come out that got tagged off by their relay partner,” said Hazlett, who first saw the format at the California International Marathon. “You think you’re doing well and then you (get passed) by these fresh runners, but you see them later on in the race.”

All of the races begin and end at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. The 10K has a 7:45 a.m. start time while the full and half marathons starting at 8 p.m. with the kids race slated for 10:30 a.m.

The full course encompasses loops of Heritage Ranch and River Bend while using the city’s trail system. Among some of the better viewing areas include River Bend Golf Course and Discovery Canyon and Heritage Ranch for the full marathon while every single race will go through Bower Ponds.

Those looking for parking are recommended to do so in the Michner area by the cemetery and walk down to Lindsay Thurber, where there is limited spots available.

For many, this will be their first marathon experience and Hazlett says that in and of itself can be a daunting mental challenge for many runners. His advice is simple: Don’t change anything you’ve done in training, use the same shoes, socks, gels.

“Treat your body right, don’t change anything and stay hydrated,” said Hazlett.

For more information, including a map of the course, go to www.reddeermarathon.org

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said allowing Red Deer College to become a university  would create a gap in programming.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer College continues 2021-22 budget planning

Red Deer College is continuing its 2021-22 budget planning, a day after… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP were dispatched to a report of a break and enter in progress on Sunday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer woman among two arrested by Didsbury RCMP

Two people are facing drug-related charges after RCMP searched a home in… Continue reading

Satnam Singh Sandhu, 42, was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter on Friday in Red Deer Court of Queens Bench. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake man sentenced to six years for choking his wife

Satnam Singh Sandhu pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Some workers are terrified at the prospect of returning to work at Olymel, where hundreds were infected with COVID, says a worker.
Advocate file photo
Second death linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Health confirms

A second death has been linked to the Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

Canada’s vaccine rollout received a boost Friday with the approval of a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

This image released by Briarcliff Entertainment shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary “The Dissident.” (Briarcliff Entertainment via AP)
US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based… Continue reading

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US strike, first under Biden, kills Iran-backed militiaman

BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a… Continue reading

Conservative member of Parliament Michael Cooper holds a press conference as he is joined virtually by fellow members of Parliament, Canadian geriatricians, mental health professionals and Indigenous leaders in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, regarding the Senate amendments to Bill C-7, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Address anti-Indigenous racism in health care before expanding MAID: advocates, MP

OTTAWA — The federal government should not expand access to medical assistance… Continue reading

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Most Read