PHOTOS: Thousands show for 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria

A runner shows off her Pikachu hat at the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
The frontrunners at the 8km Turkey Trot at the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Two runners chase their beer cans dangling in front of their heads while doing the 8k Turkey Trot. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
A group of kids wave goodbye before they run a 1km Fun Run at the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Volunteers handing out medals at the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Runners embrace at the finish line of the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Glenn Irwin, right, ran the half-marathon with his brother, who is a stroke survivor, at the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Chris Fraser, with CFB Esquimalt, celebrates at the finish line after running the 40th GoodLife Marathon wearing his navy dress uniform, including a respirator, air tank, and support harness. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Chris Fraser, middle, with his wife and son at the finish line of the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Alycia Bradley, from Calgary, moments after completing her first half-marathon. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Two runners at the start of the 8km Turkey Trot at the 40th GoodLife Marathon in downtown Victoria. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Look at them go!

More than 8,500 people were at the 40th GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, early Sunday morning in downtown Victoria.

Many were running for the first time, a considerable portion from outside the capital city.

“It was my first 8k, let alone run, in Canada,” says Chiyo Kikutake, a Vancouver woman who recently moved from Japan. “I brought my Pikachu hat for good luck, but it made my head so hot!”

READ MORE: GoodLife marathon helps enrich lives, share stories

In many instances, tears could be seen streaming down the faces of runners as they crossed the finish line. One woman started sobbing as she finished her half-marathon.

“I’ve wanted to run this for 10 years, but I got into nursing school and time just flew by,” says Alycia Bradley, from Calgary. “My cousin inspired me to sign up this year. I used to train people for the Sun Run for the longest time, but now it’s my time.”

The 40th annual event saw two new course records for the 8k, in both men’s and women’s. Justin Kent took first place for men’s with 23:15 and Sarah Inglis for women’s with 25:44.

In the full marathon (42.2km), Eric Finan nabbed the winning title for the men at 2:17:52 and Andrea Lee for women at 2:46:46.

In the half marathon, Will Norris took top spot for men’s at 1:06:20 and Cleo Boyd for women’s at 1:13:38.

ALSO READ: Victoria marathoner’s message one of hope

But the winners of the races weren’t the only ones with grit and determination. David Irwin, a stroke survivor, crossed the finish line arm-in-arm with his brother.

“I had a stroke the moment I finished my first full marathon eleven years ago,” says Irwin, a Victoria man. “I was in a wheelchair for years and couldn’t walk.”

Now, he’s completed three half-marathons since he started running again.

“This guy is my inspiration,” says Glenn Irwin, David’s brother. “This is my first time running a half-marathon and I can’t wait to do it again.”

As the race died down, Chris Fraser, a navy officer from CFB Esquimalt, came running around the final corner. He ran the full marathon with naval combat dress, including a respirator, air tanks, and support harness.

RELATED: CBF Esquimalt officer to run Victoria marathon wearing 30 pounds of navy gear

Not only did he raise money for the Esquimalt Family Resource Centre (MFRC), but he attempted to set a new Guinness World Record (Fastest Runner Wearing a Firefighter’s Uniform and Breathing Apparatus). He clocks in at 5:55:06 with the extra 30 pounds of gear.

“I couldn’t be happier to have finished this, but on the other side of my mind, I never want to do this again,” jokes Fraser. His navy uniform is soaked with sweat and part of his shirt is ripped from the breathing apparatus rubbing on his back.

“Once I hit halfway, I totally ran out of gas. The only thing that kept me going was knowing everyone that was supporting me and the fact I was doing this for the MFRC. It doesn’t matter whether I get the Guinness World Record, but it’d sure be nice.”

Now, he just has to wait until the Guinness officials respond to his submission.

“From our wheelchair athletes to our marathon winners, it’s been an amazing day,” says Jonathan Foweraker, president of the Victoria Marathon Society.

He says the society will consider making adjustments to the course, specifically around Oak Bay for next year.

“We’re looking forward to another 40 years. This run is about much more than the individuals, it’s about the community as a whole. It’s only going to get better from here.”

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


@iaaronguillen
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