PEI Marathon Guardian Coverage PEI Marathon Guardian Coverage PEI Marathon Guardian Coverage

PEI Marathon Guardian Coverage

Monday, October 18, 2004
A runaway hit
By Matt Veno, The Guardian
David MacLennan of Scotsburn, N.S., crosses the finish line Sunday in Charlottetown to win the Prince Edward Island Marathon in a record time of 2:39.12. (GUARDIAN PHOTO BY BRIAN MCINNIS) It couldn't have been a better day for the Prince Edward Island Marathon, an overwhelming success with runners, organizers and fans alike.

David MacLennan of Scotsburn, N.S., crossed the finish line first overall in the full marathon with a record time of two hours, 39 minutes and 12 seconds, good enough to qualify him for the Boston Marathon in the spring.

"I'm feeling good, but I'm a little tired," he said with a laugh after completing the course from Brackley to Charlottetown.

Long Creek, P.E.I.'s Rob MacKenzie was the top Islander, crossing the line second in a time of 2:48.10.

Denise Robson of Dartmouth was the top female, placing ninth overall in 3:13.27.

Pam Power McKenna of Charlottetown was the top Island female, finishing in a time of 3:21.44.

The win was MacLennan's seventh win in eight marathons this season. He said Sunday's conditions were perfect for the event.

"The conditions were excellent, with the exception of a little wind. The humidity was low and the temperature was almost perfect," he said while eating a banana and drinking water to re-hydrate himself.

He was equally impressed with the course.

"It was an excellent course," said the 41-year-old grocery store manager. "It was pretty flat, a few hills, nothing too major. The biggest thing for me today, in a couple spots, was the headwind when we turned into it."

After winning six of the seven events he entered prior to the Prince Edward Island Marathon, MacLennan said he believed he had a shot at winning the P.E.I. event.

"I thought there was a good chance because I knew what my competition was for the most part," he said. "You can get on the Internet and look at the confirmation list and see who's on it, so I had a good idea."

MacLennan turned the experience into a family affair, bringing his wife and kids, as well as his parents to the event.

As runners approached the finish line on University Avenue, just in front of Province House, fans armed with balloons and noise makers cheered the runners during the final few hundred metres home.

It was something that Robson said stood out for her.

"You need it, you so need it," said the Dartmouth resident. "I couldn't wait to come out of the trail because the supporters in there were few and far between. It was nice to come out of the trail so that you can have the encouragement because you so need that. You thrive on that to come through."

The event was Robson's first marathon, which has her even more excited about her result.

"I'm just floored, I trained very hard for this and I'm just still in shock actually," she said.

Robson ran into uncharted waters during the race. The most she had ever run during training at one time was 20 miles. The Prince Edward Island Marathon is a 26-mile event, leaving her unsure she would even make it to the finish.

"I was thinking ‘oh my gosh, how am I ever going to finish these last six miles,'" she said. "I was hoping first to finish and then I was thinking maybe I might be able to qualify for Boston at 3:45, and then to come in at 3:13, I'm still in shock."

MacKenzie continued his streak of strong finishes at the event. He adds his second place finish to his win last year and a second-place finish in 2002.

"I was really happy," he said. "I knew it was going to be a tough run. There was a lot of really good competitors that came over for the marathon and I'm happy to finish where I did."

With their finishes, MacKenzie and Robson also qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Co-organizer Myrtle Jenkins-Smith was beaming with how well the event came off.

"It was absolutely fabulous," Jenkins-Smith said. "We could have never dreamed for it to go so well. It exceeded all our expectations that's for sure."

The organizing committee had initially set a goal of 400 runners, but by the time registration was complete there were about 1,000 entries.

"We made this an event," Jenkins-Smith said. "This isn't a run where you're coming in for a couple hours and then leaving. This is two days, it's an international event, it's a Boston qualifier and road runners like that, they're attracted to events."

She said the committee has been getting endless compliments on the event.

"People have said that they're coming back next year and they're bringing their friends. That's what we wanted to hear, that P.E.I. can do this and we can do it right."