Whistler Half Marathon still feeling the local love

Thousands crowd Olympic Plaza for now-global running race

With thousands of participants and spectators travelling from all over the world for the Whistler Half Marathon on Saturday morning (June 6), locals are becoming harder and harder to spot at the finish line. But amongst the sea of bright shirts and running shoes, a brother and sister team from Whistler has made the race an annual tradition.

“This is the second (10K) run we’ve done together,” said Chris Dickinson, who ran with his sister Jackie. “We’ve both done the half marathon (distance) independently in years past. I always forget how much fun this is.”

“This is my fourth year I’ve competed out of the five doing two half (marathons) and two 10Ks,” added Jackie, who last year ran while she was pregnant with her now-infant son. “It’s neat to see this little guy at the finish line this year.”

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Having both completed the half marathon distance before, the siblings felt they could experience the best part of the day without subjecting themselves to the entire 21.1-km course this time around.

“It’s such a beautiful course and you get the best of it (in the 10K),” said Jackie. “Those beautiful hills, those beautiful curves and you get to spend the rest of the time enjoying the view and being with your family. We love it.”

Chris said his favourite part of his day was the long climb up Blueberry Hill a few kilometres south of Whistler Village.

“It’s such a rewarding feeling when you get to the top and you’re making your way down,” he said. “It’s so early in the race; it gets you jacked and you just want to keep going.”
Jackie agreed. “The best part of that hill is you can spot the locals because you all know what’s ahead. We all make eye contact with each other. It’s awesome. We’re so proud this is an international race, but what makes it special is it’s just such a great way to celebrate our community.”

Race director Dave Clark couldn’t have been happier with the how the day went on Saturday between the Half Marathon, the 10K and the 1K Little Rippers Kids Run. The warm and sunny conditions didn’t disappoint.

“Weather like this adds so much to the event,” said Clark. “It gives us an opportunity to use this glorious outdoor space and the lawn (at Olympic Plaza). The runner feedback today has been amazing, we’re super excited. I’ve talked to people from Los Angeles, New York, Florida, Australia... It’s awesome to see so many people coming from so far away to be part of it.”

On hearing about the Dickinsons’ now-annual tradition of running in the event, he replied: “We definitely want to have the locals out. I love that fact that they’re making it a family tradition. That’s what we want to see. We’ve got kids that are coming out here now, so we’re hopefully creating memories that last for years.”

Five-year returning half marathoners received a special package with a bottle of wine and a letter from Clark himself thanking them for their loyalty and support since the event’s inception. The Whistler Half Marathon also raised approximately $12,000 for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada for 2015, making the total funds raised over the five years more than $80,000.

Jim Finlayson from Victoria won first place with a time of one hour, 11 minutes and 14 seconds. The first woman over the finish line was Marilyn Arsenault, also from Victoria, with a time of 1:21:46.

The fastest locals in the race were Dean Eggleton (1:22:47), Chris Bowen (1:27:01) and Kevin Hodder (1:34:21) on the men’s side and Claire Daniels (1:34:21), Vicki Romanin (1:40:40) and Katie Mills (1:40:43) on the women’s end.  

For full results head to whistlerhalfmarathon.com.

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