The Final Marathon

Posted by martin.parnell |

Well this is it, Wednesday December 31st 2014, the final day of the 5 year “Quests for Kids” initiative. It all started on January 1st 2010 on a bitterly cold morning on the 1A highway just outside of Cochrane, Alberta. It was -31C and a group of us were huddled on the side of the road waiting for the marathon to begin. This was the start of Marathon Quest 250, to run 250 marathons in one year, raise $250,000 for Right To Play and I couldn’t wait to get going. Media from Cochrane and Calgary were in attendance and at exactly 9.00am Mayor Truper McBride blew the whistle and we were off. Five and a half hours later the 42.2 kms were completed and the journey had begun.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that day and I had mixed emotions heading down to the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre on the morning of the 31st. The set up for the 5th and Final MQ250 Run / Walk was pretty simple; mark the 2 km loop and set up the table for registration and donations. I was there at 8.00am and already several marathoners had arrived. Long-time supporters Angie, Hero and Lourdes signed up and by the time 9.00am came around there were 25 runners ready for the off. I did the count down from ten, blew my trusty whistle and away we went.

During the day runners and walkers came out to do their thing. Blanche Ellis, 82, did her first 2km run. Her son Roy gave her a hand because of the footing but she was thrilled as she crossed the line. Mums and dads brought out their kids and every child received a medal sponsored by the Calgary Marathon. We were lucky with the weather. In previously years we had run in the -20C and -30C but today it was -6C with a light wind.

My run was going well until the 32km mark. I hadn’t done a very good job of hydration or nutrition and I was feeling a bit light headed. I was running with my friend Ally and she was feeling the same. As we were moaning and groaning we met Gulled along the path. Gulled is from Somalia and was doing his first half marathon. He told us that as a child he had half a day a week free from work but even during that time he was not allowed to play. He totally believes in what Right To Play is doing and that it is a crime that children do not have the right to play in many areas of the world.

After speaking with Gulled, Ally and I were reenergised and pushed our way through the final kms. The last loop is called the “Cookie” loop and everyone one grabbed their cookie and ran. Sue joined me for the final 100m and she has been with me from the start line on January 1st 2010.

As one chapter ends so another one begins. I’m not exactly sure what it’s going to be but stay tuned.

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