Marathon close and numbers are looking great

The Kamloops Marathon is more than a week away, but the excitement in Christopher Seguin's voice would indicate that he could run a marathon or two right now.

Seguin, the vice-president of advancement at TRU and an organizer of the inaugural event, could hardly contain his excitement for the marathon weekend, which will feature four long-distance races.

The first are the five- and 10-kilometre races, which run July 28 in and around the TRU campus. The half-marathon and marathon competitions will go July 29, starting and ending on McArthur Island.

"We're doing great for registration," Seguin said Thursday. "We have hundreds of runners ready to go . . . and lots of high-quality talent."

Some of that talent belongs to Ryan Day, who Seguin said is planning to run in the marathon. Day, a member of the Secwepemc Nation who now lives in Victoria, finished third at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May.

Day posted a time of two hours 29 minutes 22 seconds in Vancouver, and wasn't far behind winner Gezahgn Eshetu of Ethiopia (2:21:51) and silver-medalist Benard Onsare, a Calgarian originally from Kenya, who finished in 2:22:16.

"We have great numbers for the full marathon," Seguin said. "There are some international runners coming to compete, and we're confident it's going to be a great run."

Seguin said around 300 athletes have signed up for the races, and organizers are still hoping to get to their goal of 500.

Seguin has been keeping an eye on the shorter races, which haven't been filling up as quickly as the half-marathon or marathon.

"I don't think a lot of people know we're having 5km and 10km races," Seguin said. "Those races start at 8 a.m., so heat won't be as much of a factor.

"And there are lots of water stations - too many. I want people to be sick of being offered water by the time they're finished the race."

Organizers made the big announcement for the marathon in April, and have been working hard to take care of registration and race logistics since.

Funds raised will go toward bursaries and scholarships for the TRU WolfPack cross-country team, which is hoping to join the CIS in 2014.

"We created this for three reasons," Seguin explained. "First, we wanted a way to fundraise for student-athletes. Second, we wanted to cover a niche in Kamloops for runners.

"And third, we wanted to create a signature event and a healthier community."

The second two reasons will be widely on display at the Kamloops Marathon.

The shorter races, scheduled to start at 8 a.m., on July 28, will be followed by a "Run Expo" at Hillside Stadium. It will feature tents from running stores and other local races and groups, all with the goal of promoting the sport in Kamloops.

There also will be a barbecue at 11 a.m., before Day speaks to the crowd about training and other running-related stuff.

"We want runners and those interested in running to come out and watch and learn," Seguin said.

The 5km and 10km routes will start at end at Hillside Stadium.

The loop, which 10km runners will complete twice, will head from University Drive to McGill Road, and out past Bunker Road and down Hillside Drive. The course returns to TRU's campus just past the 2km mark, before circling back to McGill Road, down Dalhousie Drive beside the Tournament Capital Centre and onto University Drive.

"Half the course is on campus and the other half has a great view of the city," Seguin said. "And the finish is near the stands (at Hillside Stadium), so we're hoping to create a cheering environment."

The marathon and half-marathon - the gun will go off at 6 a.m., on July 29 - will start on McArthur Island, with runners heading north on Singh Street before turning east on Halston Avenue. The course heads north to Westsyde, with the half turning back at Oak Hills Boulevard and the marathon going all the way past The Dunes golf course.

The half-marathon will come back to the North Shore down Rivers Trail along Schubert Drive, before heading west toward McArthur Island along Royal Avenue.

The marathon also will make use of Rivers Trail, but instead of turning back toward McArthur Island, will continue over the Overlanders Bridge to Riverside Park and east to Rivers Street. The course will follow the same route in reverse over the bridge, from which it will head west down Royal Avenue back to McArthur Island.

"They're going to Westsyde, through North Kamloops and the South Shore," Seguin said, "so you're going to see a lot of Kamloops.

"That was the goal - make the race a bit of a showcase for the town."

Every finisher will get a medal, with the top male and female finishers in the marathon winning trophies. Also, Seguin said, there will be a trophy for the top Kamloops finisher in the marathon.

The race's website is www.kamloopsmarathon.ca.

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca

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