Calgary runner is marathon champion

The 18th annual running of the BMO Okanagan Marathon took place under sunny skies Sunday in Kelowna.

Calgary based runner James Curran, who hails from Cork, Ireland, finished first, repeating as marathon champion. Curran finished with a time of 2:51:10, followed by Adam Kahtava of Calgary at 2:53:28 and Donovan Thorkelson also of Calgary at 2:56:45.

Curran was delighted to defend his title.

“It’s a great race, I ran faster last year, but I didn’t need to push it this time around and I had enough in me to win it.  I am pleased to repeat as champion and I will be back again next year to defend. Kelowna is a beautiful place to run and the volunteers and supporters on the course were amazing! It’s special to win two in a row.”

On the women’s marathon side, Alberta runner Rhonda Loo of Lake Newell won in her first appearance at the marathon with a personal best time of 3:00:40. 

This was Loo’s sixth marathon in total.

“It felt great out there for the first 10km’s, and I followed my own pace. I did have a bit of a cramp out there but I stayed mentally focused and willed it away.” Loo adds, “I really enjoyed the beautiful course, especially the crowds cheering us on and loved the camaraderie of the other runners.”

Stacie Carrigan of Kelowna, finished second having placed third last year, her time 3:13:47 besting last year’s 3:20:53, and Liza Burgess, also of Kelowna, finished third at 3:16:59. Runners overall felt the conditions were perfect on the day.

The 21.1 Men’s Run saw Jeff Symonds of Penticton finish first at 1:13:56, his third win at the marathon.

“I love this course, there were tons of people cheering us on and I really wanted to run at a good pace in preparation for an event in South Carolina next weekend. It was a great day for a run.” Following in second place was Simon Stewart of Edmonton at 1:19:12 and Skeets Morel of Vernon placed third at 1:20:27.

In first place for the women was Karen Ruckman of Burnaby with a time of 1:28:55. Ruckman is a competitive runner who has run for 15 years. Kelowna’s Tracy Dayman came in second with a time of 1:31:24, and Mary Edgar of Vernon finished third at 1:31:50.

The 10K Men’s Run was won by Sean Bergman from Kelowna in 34:47, followed by Nicholas Mottl of Creston in 34:55 and Joshua Sissons from Blackfalds, AB in 35:41. 

First place in the women’s event went to Deborah Buhlers from Kelowna who ran at 37:32 on behalf of her Grandmother, who passed away during the week. Canoe, BC’s Glynis Sim came in second at 38:19, followed by Amy Buzikievich of Summerland, BC at 39:32.

Wearing bib # 100, 58 year old Richard Stewart of Prince George completed his goal of completing his 100th marathon in a time of 5:29:56. 

He was thrilled with the support he felt on the course. “It was emotional near the finish line, I had so many people cheering me on. It has been an incredible experience for me and I have met wonderful people and close friends along the road.”  He adds, “It was a beautiful day and I couldn’t have asked for better conditions.  My family and friends have been amazing!”

As many as 3,150 participants took part in this weekend family festival and Boston qualifying event. 

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