Historically, only mad dogs and Englishmen were crazy enough to go out in scorching summer heat – but come July, runners will achieve that same level of resilience during the first annual Kamloops Marathon.
The City of Kamloops and TRU are pairing up to bring back the 42-kilometre marathon along with five-kilometre, 10-kilometre and half marathon routes on July 28 and 29.
“Years ago Kamloops hosted the Where the Rivers Meet Marathon and we thought this idea was worth repeating,” said TRU president Alan Shaver.
The City is donating $10,000 and use of its facilities and traffic control personnel, and the anticipated 500 participants is expected to translate to an economic spinoff of $500,000.
“People have already said to me ‘Oh it’s going to be too hot then,’” said Mayor Peter Milobar.
“But from what I understand, the extreme side of it and the heat will actually be a big draw for us. People are looking for that challenge and I think the Kamloops weather will provide that in spades.”
With the event, the university anticipates raising $5,000 in bursaries and scholarships for the university’s WolfPack cross-country running team.
WolfPack cross-country coach Dwayne Seibel said the funds will be going to worthy recipients.
“Any sort of bursary or scholarship that can acknowledge the incredible amounts of time and effort they put into this on top of studies I think is icing on top of the running cake.”
TRU is the lead organizer role with Phil Hiom of Dirty Feet Trail Race taking on key logistics.
Hiom, a running enthusiast who relocated to Kamloops from Calgary two years ago, echoed Milobar’s belief that the heat will draw competitors – especially those from cool climates.
“When we first came out here and checked out Kamloops we loved the idea that at 10:30 at night you can sit outside in shorts and T-shirts,” said Hiom.
The event is unique in that it’s the only full marathon to be held in Kamloops, but as an urban foot race it shares similarities with the Boogie taking place this Sunday.
However, rather than view the new Kamloops Marathon as a competitor for attracting participants, it’s viewed as just another means for people to get healthy, said Boogie organizer Jo Berry.
“I am very excited about the Kamloops Marathon coming back and plan on working with the TRU team to build community wellness and another terrific event for the City of Kamloops,” said Berry.
The first annual Kamloops Marathon starts Saturday, July 28, with a route for newbies, who can tackle five kilometres, and for novice runners who can try 10 kilometres – both routes circumvent the TRU campus with start and finish lines at the Tournament Capital Centre.
Race day for high level athletes is Sunday, July 29, with a choice of a half marathon or full marathon routes taking runners from McArthur Island Park to Westsyde Road and the Dunes Golf Course, back to the Rivers Trail, across Overlanders Bridge, down Lorne Street to River Street, back to the bridge and back to MacArthur Island Park.
Runners will take a pathway to avoid disrupting traffic along the bridge.