Royal Victoria Marathon : Sandi Heal’s interview

17 Feb 2008 23:14
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

Today, I’m publishing an interview with Sandi Heal the Administrative Manager of the Royal Victoria Marathon.
Sandi Heal was born and raised in Victoria, BC. She has been with the Royal Victoria Marathon since the 2004 event and has a background in event planning, administrative services and acute-care nursing.

Royal Victoria Marathon : Sandi & Bob

Sandi Heal and Race Director, Rob Reid

Hello, on October 12th, you’ll be organizing the 29th Royal Victoria Marathon. The marathon is now 29 years old. Why was it created in the first place?
A local running club, the Prairie Inn Harriers started the Royal Victoria Marathon in 1980 from the simple premise that Victoria lacked races of provincial or national importance and therefore needed its own marathon. The event was to promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle through participation in physical activities, especially running.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The route starts in beautiful downtown Victoria, near the Inner Harbour, Fairmont Empress Hotel. It follows a scenic waterfront route through the communities of James Bay, Oak Bay and Fairfield. The Marathon and Half Marathon pass a memorial statue of Terry Fox and our cruise ship terminal before finishing in front of the and BC Legislative Buildings. The route has some mild undulations but no big hills. The marathon can be used to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We expect to attract 10,000 runners on race weekend. It’s a wonderful impact on our city. Our event is walker and runner friendly. Participants of all fitness levels are welcome.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?
We host a Marathon (42.2km), half marathon (21.1 km), 8km Road Race and 1.2km Kids Run.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
Perfect weather to run a fall marathon in. The average high temperature on race day is 14°C, or 57°F. Typically it will be between 6°C and 10°C at 8:30 a.m. when the marathon starts. Rain is unlikely, but not out of the question, so we recommend that participants be prepared in the event of showers.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
Race weekend kicks off on Friday, October 10 at the Victoria Conference Centre. We have a Race Expo for participants and the general public. It’s free! Saturday, October 11, the Expo is still open but we also have Course Tours, Pre-Race Massage, and a Carbo Gala Dinner (seats 300).

The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Victoria before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
veErywhere we go to promote our event, the one common comment we receive from people that have been here for our event before is: “We LOVE Victoria!”

We have a whole host of exciting attractions. Butchart Gardens, the Royal BC Museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria Art Gallery, high tea at the Empress Hotel, local golf courses, spas, salons, shopping and dining. A great restaurant to visit is Milestone’s on the Inner Harbour or the Bengal Lounge in the Fairmont Empress. Tourism Victoria is a wonderful resource for those looking for accommodation, attractions, packages and things to do. Visit www.tourismvictoria.com.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Royal Victoria Marathon ?
A top notch, destination marathon event that has a personal touch; great for first timers one and for returnees.

Thank you very much Sandi for your time and good luck for the organization of the marathon.

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