This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Servus Edmonton Marathon, a ‘signature event’ on the City of Edmonton calendar and a running event steeped in tradition. Once known as the Alberta Capital City Marathon in 1992, the early years saw hundreds of participants out on race day, which took participants to the finish line at Commonwealth Stadium. Now decades later, the event attracts 4,500 racers downtown to take in the vibe of a big city marathon from the Shaw Conference Centre. On the weekend of August 19 to 20, it’s expected the event will once again build on the buzz of record-breaking growth.
The event announced recently the signing of a new partnership with Servus Credit Union. Now the Servus Edmonton Marathon begins a new chapter, which Event Director Tom Keogh says will help take the marathon to the next level, “The race has grown and progressed since moving downtown in 2014, and now having Servus as a partner will improve and grow the race, delivering an amazing experience for our participants, spectators and the community in the years to come.”
Last year, for the first time, the event introduced cheer teams along the race route as Keogh explains these changes are welcome, “With the increase in participation, which very few road-running events in Canada achieve, we decided to build on the excitement and find new ways to cheer on the athletes.” He adds, “For us this was a huge success and brought more spectators out to boost runners during the race and especially when crossing the finish line on iconic Jasper Avenue.”
Organizers are thrilled the event will celebrate a legacy year and are planning for more cheer teams as well as some special events. According to Keogh, “We’re very proud that the Edmonton Marathon is turning 25 and we will be coordinating some festivities to bring out more runners and spectators, as well as acknowledging some of the veteran runners, who to this day hold a special place in the history of our event.”
One of those runners was Stefan Fekner, who won the very first Edmonton Marathon in a time of 2:28:16. The 2016 Marathon champion, local runner Brendan Lunty, finished in a time of 2:35:21, seven minutes slower than Fekner’s time. Records from the first event also indicate it snowed that August morning in 1992.
A key boost for the Edmonton Marathon took place when the event moved from Northlands to the downtown venue at the Shaw, and now runners enjoy City and River Valley views and runs through historical areas, as well as established neighbourhoods.
The Servus Edmonton Marathon, a Family Festival Weekend, was recently named one of Alberta’s Best Road Races by Athletics Alberta. It’s also a Boston qualifier race, and brings elite athletes, international running enthusiasts, and loyal locals out on race day.
For more information about how to sign-up, or volunteer for the 25th Anniversary of the Servus Edmonton Marathon, please visit: http://www.edmontonmarathon.ca.
By: Deirdre Rowland