Calgary Marathon

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Event:

Lacrosse Quest 24


  • Start: 7.00pm Friday May 4th

  • Finish: 7.00pm Saturday May 5th

  • Location: South Fish Creek Recreational Centre

  • RTP Fund raising target: $50,000

The first Calgary marathon was held on August 10, 1963 when nineteen men lined up at Glenmore Stadium. This was also the first marathon ever to be run in Western Canada. Only twelve men finished the race that day, which took them on an out-and-back course, through the traffic, along Macleod Trail. Thirty-year-old Doug Kyle was the victor in a time of 2:45:54. The rest of the pack ranged in age from 17 years to a spry 38 year old.

The marathon was Doug's brainchild. At that time he was one of Canada's fastest runners, having competed for Canada at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter distances. He was nearing the end of his competitive career and looking for new challenges. At the 1960 Pan American Games, after competing in the 5,000 and 10,000 meter events, he decided to enter and run his first marathon. He placed seventh! Upon returning home, he somehow convinced his friend Bill Wyllie to join him in his efforts to hold a marathon in Calgary; after all, how difficult could it be? In Bill Wyllie's words, "the two of us 'beat the bushes' to come up with our 19 entrants."

In 2003, Calgary hosted its 39th marathon and my first. I had been challenged by my brothers Pete and Andrew to race and on July 23rd, we lined up at the start. The gun went off and I flew from the start line. After two kilometres, I was well ahead of them but, as I looked back to see where they were, I stepped into a pothole and crashed to the ground. I managed to get up and finished the race, not a great start to my marathon career. I returned to the marathon in 2004, 2009 and 2010, this time staying on my feet.

On January 11th this year, I went to the unveiling of the new Scotiabank Calgary Marathon course. It was held at Eau Claire market and the keynote speaker was John Stanton. John is the founder of the Running Room and hasn't always been a running machine. As a former two-pack-a-day smoker, John was overweight and out of shape. But in 1981, after struggling through a 3-km fun run with his sons and seeing the look of concern in their eyes, John was inspired to make a complete lifestyle change. Today, John has over 60 marathons under his belt and spends a larger amount of his time visiting his 111 stores in Canada and the USA.

Nowadays, around 10,000 runners compete in the annual Calgary marathon events. These include the Centaur Subaru Half marathon, Jugo Juice 10km and AstraZeneca 5km. There's even a Scotiabank Kids marathon where children walk or run one km at a time and complete the last 1.2km on May 27th, race day. Now that's sounds  a great way of completing a marathon!

I look forward to running the race again this year and experiencing the new course.

Maybe I'll see you there.

Quote of the Day

"Identify the ideal and work with reality"


Hanging out with Kip Kangogo at the 2010 Calgary Marathon Expo.

Calgary Marathon

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