High participation numbers and spirit at the 45th Vancouver Marathon

Vancouverites were treated to an incredible weekend of great weather and fun, while celebrating the 45th year of the Vancouver Marathon. Nearly 16,500 registered participants, from over 60 countries, signed up for the 2016 BMO Vancouver Marathon this weekend representing 40% growth in participation since 2011. While the marquee Marathon is the hallmark event for the weekend, runners in all six races thrilled the crowds.

With races for everyone, from a Kids Run, to a 2.5KM Walk, 8KM race, Relay, Half Marathon and Marathon, the event touched 12 neighbourhoods igniting crowds from Cambie to Kits, and from False Creek to Coal Harbour. Locals created crazy signs and neighbourhood cheer stations to encourage runners under the blue skies and sunshine.

“In 1972, the Vancouver Marathon had 32 finishers,” says Charlene Krepiakevich, Executive Director of the Vancouver International Marathon Society. “This year, the six unique race experiences led to one of the highest number of finishers recorded in the event’s history at nearly 14,000 total finishers.”

Organizers of the event, the local non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society, made special effort this year to help celebrate the event’s rich history, including interviewing the early founders in a Legacy Talks video series, and by continuing to recognize Legacy Club members who have run the race 15 times or more.

Tom Howard, the first-ever Marathon winner in 1972, 1973 and 1974, fittingly took home first in his age category of 65-69 with a time of 36:42 in the 8KM race, exemplifying the history and growth of the event.

Runners of all abilities joined in, including numerous youth, students, and more than 1,000 participants over the age 60. More than 700 were Run4Hope Charity runners supporting different local and national causes. Fans lined the streets to cheer them on.

The marathon weekend started with a free three-day Health, Sports & Lifestyle Expo at the downtown waterfront Vancouver Convention Centre West, and concluded with a Street Festival with lots of fun and celebrations.

“It is incredible what can be created through a passion for community and sport,” says Krepiakevich. “We are proud to build on this legacy created 45 years ago, and to expand the race experiences to athletes of all abilities, young and old. We are grateful to have such support from the City of Vancouver, sponsors, and locals.”

Out in front of the packs, Kenyan Daniel Kipkoech won the men’s Marathon title and Hirut Guangul of Ethiopia won the women’s Marathon title. Kenyans Paul Kimugul and Jane Murage claimed the Half Marathon titles for the men and women.

Lisa Brooking and Terence Attema won the BC Half Marathon Championships.

Other countries represented included Japan, the UK, Australia, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Spain, and many others.

Winners of the #runvanfan contest with the Neighbourhood Challenge presented by Chevron will be announced over the next couple of weeks, along with winners in the Team Challenges and the Camosun Hill Challenge along the marathon course.

Organized annually by the local non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society, the BMO Vancouver Marathon is truly a team effort. The event relies on the support of 4,000 volunteers, and many stakeholders including the City of Vancouver.

“Our community is incredible, our team of 4,000 volunteers should feel nothing but pride,” adds Krepiakevich, in her fifth year as the event’s Executive Director. “From the bottom of our hearts, we thank every person who contributed their time and energy this weekend.”