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Victoria Marathon named as official Canada 150 event

The 39th annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is expected to bring 9,000 athletes to Victoria

With just under five months to go until the 38th annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, race organizers announced today it has been proclaimed as an official Canada 150 event.

Held on the first full weekend of October, this race has continued to grow and attract athletes from all over North America and the world. This year they are anticipating up to 9,000 entries across the three main races (marathon, half marathon, 8K) and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run.

New this year will be a course change for the 8K road race, which like both the marathon and half marathon, will start in front of the Fairmont Empress and follow the other races to Beacon Hill, before returning along Dallas Road.

“Changing it from the old out-and-back course means that the 8K runners will have the same experience as the marathoners and half marathoners, and benefit from the crowd support on the route,” said Cathy Noel, General Manager with the GoodLife Fitness Marathon Society.

Athletes in the full marathon will run east through Oak Bay, looping around through Uplands before returning along Dallas Road and into downtown Victoria. This provided a chance for Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jenson to joke about changing the name of the event to reflect his community.

“We’re so pleased for Oak Bay to be part of it and we love to see everyone sporting what I call the new, official cloth of Oak Bay,” he said.

“Many of you know that tweed, at one time, was the predominant cloth of choice in Oak Bay. But right now, it’s spandex. We have never seen so much spandex as it comes down Oak Bay Avenue and we’re just delighted.”

Longtime business owner and marathon sponsor Rob Reid of Frontrunners thinks Victoria is a special place for hosting this type of athletic event, and that’s why so many outdoor activities flourish in the mild climate.

“Promoting health and fitness and getting people to set a goal for fitness really means a lot,” said Frontrunners owner and marathon sponsor Rob Reid.

“We have everything from bike lanes to running trails. We’re the perfect sized city for people being mobile themselves and getting fit at the same time, and Victoria is a really popular place to do that. From people like (former NBA MVP) Steve Nash to the national training centres for cyclists and rowers, it’s got a really athletic flavour as a city.”

A key community component of the annual marathon is the charity pledge program, which has raised more than $1.7 million through fundraising and donations since 2006. Eleven charities have been selected to take part this year: Autism Speaks Canada, BC Cancer Foundation, Cerebral Palsy BC, Greater Victoria Housing Society, KidSport Victoria, Lifetime Networks, MOVE Adapted Fitness & Rehabilitation Society of BC, NEED 2, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, Special Olympics BC, and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.

The marathon also has three official charities: KidSport Greater Victoria, GoodLife Kids Foundation and the Pacific Autism Family Network.

Registration is now open with fees ranging from $18 for the kids run to $100 for the full marathon. This event will also host the BC Marathon Championships for the ninth year in a row.

The men’s course record was set in 2013 by Lamech Mokono (2:13:42), while Lucy Njeri set the women’s record (2:37:56) in 2011.