9 questions to discover a marathon : Saskatchewan Marathon

07 Dec 2008 21:30
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

Dave Stark, who is both an SRRA (Saskatoon Road Runners Association) executive member and an Saskatchewan Marathon organizing committee member is here this week to give us a quick overview of the race he is in charge of.

Saskatchewan Marathon
Credit : Saskatchewan Marathon

Hello, on May 24th 2009, you’ll be organizing the Saskatchewan Marathon . Can you tell us where it is located?

The 31st Saskatchewan Marathon (one of the longest-running marathon events in Canada) will be held on Sunday, May 24, 2009. It will start and end at Diefenbaker Park in south Saskatoon. The route is an out-and-back course, making extensive use of the roadways along the beautiful South Saskatchewan River.

This will be the 31st edition of the race. Why was it created in the first place?

The Saskatchewan Marathon started as a ‘warm-up’ event to test the route and organization for the Marathon event of the 1979 Western Canada Summer Games The first event was held in May, 1979, while the Summer Games event was in August of that year. A comprehensive history of our event is located on our marathon website: www.saskmarathon.ca.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The Saskatchewan Marathon event features three distances: 10Km, half-marathon and marathon. All the events start and end at the same location and share common parts of the attractive route.

Saskatoon has a beautiful river valley and associated parks and the events make good use of those features. As well, the course takes participants through attractive neighbourhoods and through our fantastic University of Saskatchewan campus.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

Our event had a record number of participants last year (2200) and we expect that number to be met or surpassed this year. All levels of athlete are encourage to enter. We attract word class athletes, but also encourage new runners and walkers to enter the shorter distances we offer.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

Our event is now held at a time of year when Saskatoon usually experiences ideal weather for such an event: May. Careful evaluation of weather records has shown that this is a great weekend for this event. Traditionally, we start at a cool time of day (2 – 5 degrees Celsius), with a daytime high of 10 – 20 degrees Celsius. We’ve had very good weather in recent years, with only a little rain and usually light winds.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?

The Saskatchewan Marathon has a number of events on the weekend. On Saturday, there is a warm-up run of 5 Km, in support of the proposed Children’s and Maternal Hospital in Saskatoon. After that fun run, participants can go straight to the Race Expo for package pick-up.

Race Day Sunday features three events, all starting and ending at Diefenbaker Park: a 10Km distance, the half-marathon and of course, the marathon. All the events begin at 7:00am. I should say that all participants are ‘chip’ timed.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

Our weekend Marathon festival grows each year. There’s a popular race expo at the race package pickup on Saturday afternoon, following a fun run in support of a local charity.

We have a great pasta dinner with an inspiring keynote speaker on the Saturday night. All the events are held at a location central to the start & finish of the Sunday events.

The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Saskatoon before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Saskatoon is a great destination in western Canada. The city boasts a number of first-class attractions and is noted for its fine restaurants and comfortable, classy hotels (like the world-famous ‘castle on the river’: The Bessborough Hotel).

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Saskatchewan Marathon?

The Saskatchewan Marathon is a great event, with a memorable course, a great weekend of activities and fantastic support, which would make a memorable destination for a first-time visitor or a returning participant. Our small to medium sized event is just the right size to make the participant feel welcome!

Thank you Dave

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