WELCOME TO THE 33rd GOODLIFE FITNESS VICTORIA MARATHON!
As we look forward to the 33rd annual event, we must also reflect on the past 32 years and how the Victoria Marathon has grown. From a few hundred participants in 1980 to over 11,000 last year, it has truly grown in stature and quality. Our 30th Anniversary in 2009 was a record breaking year, which was surpassed in 2010 with over 14,000 registrations. Last year was also memorable with three new course records in the menís and womenís marathons, and a 22-year record broken in the womenís half marathon.
So what do we expect this year? Course records are there to be broken, and with Victoria attracting some top Kenyan runners we could see more excitement in the elite field. We stage a great event Ė whether you are running the Marathon, Half Marathon, 8K Road Race or the Thrifty Foods Kids Run for the first time or the 33rd time, we know you will enjoy this experience for years to come. Victoria isnít just about race day; itís also about enjoying the festival of activities on race weekend. The Race Expo is a must do so after you pick up your race package and we also have a full schedule at the free Speakers Series.
There are so many people to thank for making the marathon the success it is. We have a 50-strong organizing committee and 1,500 volunteers on race day. We also have an amazing charity program Ė our four Official Charities and the 20 charities in the Times Colonist Charity Pledge Program who tirelessly fundraise for their respective causes. We have developed some valuable partnerships over the years with the City of Victoria, Municipality of Oak Bay, the Downtown Victoria Business Association, community associations and our many sponsors.
We hope you enjoy your time in Victoria, stay awhile and enjoy our wonderful city and its amenities.
PRESIDENTíS REPORT — VICTORIA MARATHON SOCIETY
As the 33rd Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, Half Marathon, 8K Road Race, Thrifty Foods Kids Run approaches in October, runners of all shapes, sizes and abilities will start their training for one of the most runner-friendly events in Canada. The event has continually grown in prestige, stature and popularity over the 32 years to attract over 11,000 competitors from all over the world. GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is, and continues to be, the largest and most popular distance running celebration on Vancouver Island. In British Columbia, the BMO Vancouver International Marathon, held in May, and the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, held in October, complement one another in both numbers and services and they offer runners an opportunity to choose a quality spring and fall distance event.
GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon offers four different events for all ages and adds excellent features such as our popular Race Expo, attractive New Balance technical race shirts, a beautiful, scenic water-front race course, top-quality participant medals and awards, nearby hotels including the Fairmont Empress, massage therapy, recovery zone, souvenir apparel and a host of other race intangibles. You won't find a more perfect backdrop for a finish line than the historic Parliament Buildings, the Pacific Ocean with sailboats in the inner harbour, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the Provincial Museum and the majestic Olympic Mountains.
Last yearís GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon saw three new course records and 11 age group records set. Thomas Omwenga from Kenya dominated the Menís Marathon and broke Steve Osadiukís 2006 record by finishing in 2:14:33. The Womenís race saw Torontoís Lucy Njeri break the 22-year record set in 1989 by Val Chowaniek in a time of 2:37:56. The Womenís Half Marathon field was competitive with Port Moodyís Natasha Wodak breaking Marilyn Arsenaultís 2009 course record by just 12 seconds in 1:15:27. The Menís race was won by John Ricardi from Bloomington, IN, in 1:07:30. In the 8K Road Race BC triathlete Kyle Jones proved that he can run as well as swim and bike by finishing in 24:12. Hilary Stellingwerff, who recently moved back to Victoria from Switzerland, proved her top ranking by finishing first in 28:01. Eleven age group records were set, three in the Marathon, five in the Half Marathon, and three in the 8K Road Race.
The event saw 11,424 register: 1,968 register for the Marathon, 5,918 for the Half Marathon, 2,699 in the 8K, and 839 in the Thrifty Foods Kids Run for a total of 11,424. There were 10,042 finishers including Kids Run participants Ė 1,635 in the Marathon, 5,130 in the Half Marathon and 2,438 in the 8K Road Race.
The Board of Directors and Race Planning Committee combined is comprised of 52 hard-working, conscientious individuals. I am proud to be a part of this cooperative and energetic team. Our tremendous volunteer crew of over 1,500 is second to none in comparison to the hundreds of other special events and festivals that Victoria stages each year. The City of Victoria experiences a tremendous economic impact as over 60% of our participants are visitors from off-Island. An economic impact study conducted in 2010 concluded that the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon generates $7.2 million dollars annually for the City.
As a Society, we welcome athletes to Victoria, the "Running Capital of Canada" and the "City of Champions". We endeavour to host a first-class event and we sincerely hope that everyone returns home as a champion. The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is a popular destination marathon; it is a race "organized by runners for runners" with so many small, but very special touches. Best of luck to everyone participating in this 33rd annual event!