Date: Aug 20-21, 2016                             Location: Edmonton, AB

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The Edmonton Marathon is a premiere racing event that draws runners from all over the world. With over 4000 participants they over different distances to suit any runner. The kids race on Aug 20, 2016, was a full 2 hours geared just for children. The event gave kids the chance to try running over hurdles, tossing bean bags, learning about food groups, 4 bouncy castles, and of course a 1K race complete with post race snacks and medals. The kids also got high quality wicking T-shirts. A great value at $10/child. We already registered early for 2017 and the early bird price is just $8!

On  Aug 21, 2016, the main event began in the morning. The full marathoners started first, headed east from the Shaw Conference Centre, followed by the 10K runners headed west down Jasper Ave. I started next, running the half marathon. The morning was full of energy and Running Room founder John Stanton announced the countdown to the race start.

I was feeling very strong and determined. I had completed my pre-race routine, carb loaded for 2 days leading up to the race, and was ready to go for my personal best. The course was very flat. It was exciting to run down Jasper Avenue. The streets were closed to traffic and police were watching each intersection. The course was very well marked and lined with hundreds of cheering supporters. I started very strong and was feeling good about my pace. We turned north on 108 St and then west on 102 Ave; north on 118 St and then west on Stony Plain Road. The route turned south on 142 St and then weaved through 2 residential neighbourhoods before returning back downtown. The water stations had water and GU drink, and although I was carrying my water bottle, I still grabbed a cup at each station.

The weather was a perfect 16 degrees Celsius with no wind. I had one gel at the 10K mark and a second gel at the 17K mark. I kept checking my pace if people were passing me and again if I was passing someone and I was pleased to see that I was maintaining my goal pace well. As I ran down the final stretch on Jasper Ave toward the Shaw Conference Centre, I knew that I had a new personal record and was just trying to finish strong and give it everything that I had left.

Crossing the finish each persons name was announced and I was awarded my medal. I shaved more than 2 minutes off my old personal best that I had set this year at the Woody’s RV World run in Red Deer. After composing myself with water and a banana, I went into the conference centre for the brunch that was included. They had fruit, cheesy scrambled eggs and ham. Not as good as the breakfast after the Edmonton Hypothermic Half, but better than the breakfast after the St. Patrick’s Day Trail Run in Edmonton. It was much appreciated. The 5K event did not start until well after I had finished.

I enjoyed every moment of the event and love when kids get their own day. Some events treat children as an after thought; the Edmonton Marathon organizers make sure that children come first. We will be making this an annual event for sure. Great course, great shirts, great medals, chip timing, on course photographers, tons of cheering fans, and food; couldn’t ask for anything more!

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