Meunier fastest RunWild marathoner
St. Albert athlete celebrates third RunWild marathon title in the event's four-year history
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Monday, May 05, 2014 06:00 am
The third Leading Edge RunWild title in the four-year history of St. Albert’s only marathon was the best of the best for hometown favourite Marc Meunier.
The Paul Kane High School athletic director covered the taxing 42-kilometre course winding through the streets and trail system of St. Albert in two hours, 47 minutes and 26 seconds on chilly and breezy Sunday morning.
“It’s got to be the sweetest,” said a delighted Meunier after race director Anita Cassidy hung the RunWild medallion around his neck at the finish line. “It was a good race and I’m really happy with the result.”
Meunier, 41, was the runner to beat after losing out last year to Aussie ultra-marathoner Caine Warburton, who entered the RunWild while on vacation and knocked off the reigning champion with a course record 2:44:10.
Meunier was the runner-up at 2:48:26 after winning the inaugural 2011 race in 2:58:21 and repeated the next year with a clocking of 2:49:15.
“I’ve got the hometown advantage with the trails I run all the time. When I’m out there I keep telling myself, ‘Keep pushing, keep pushing. I know every turn and every bump in the road,’ so I really have no excuse,” Meunier said.
Alex Petrosky of Edmonton was Meunier’s closest rival at 2:51:43.
“Marc is a heck of a runner. Boy oh boy is he ever,” said Petrosky, last year’s third-place finisher at 3:06:41. “I want to catch him next year.”
Petrosky, 29, beat his pre-race goal of 2:52 with seconds to spare.
“It feels fantastic,” he said. “I was really happy with how I ran. It was exactly what I planned.”
Meunier’s 4:17-minute margin of victory was closer than it looked.
“There were some guys out there that were pushing so by no means was it an easy day,” Meunier said of the 15th marathon of his career. “There is always some guys, especially at the beginning, that I don’t know and they were in it for the long haul so I did a lot of shoulder checks today. I really wanted to make sure where I was at.”
Meunier never took the foot off the gas until he darted through victory lane in the Lions Park parking lot to a chorus of cheers saluting his arrival.
“To be honest with you I don’t think at any point I had it until the last two kilometres, and even then I did the odd shoulder check,” said the two-time Ironman worlds competitor.
“I had a really good Grandin hill this time around. I kept checking my pace and I didn’t feel like I was spent going up Grandin and I figured if I got up Grandin and there was nobody within 400, 500 metres I figured I’d have it from there, but even then after you get up that hill there is a downhill (on Levasseur Road) and some of those guys can really truck it down the hill.”
Petrosky had Meunier in his sights until the ascent up Grandin Road.
“I stopped being able to see him about the 36K mark. That was on the uphill and that’s part of what makes this run a little tricky is that 36 is tough on a big uphill like that,” said Petrosky.
In his last race before RunWild, the engineer at Sameng Inc. placed 17th overall at the 29th annual St. Albert 10-miler last month in 1:00:12.
“I try all the (race) distances, not very well anyway, but this race though is the highlight for myself so far,” said the Victoria School alumnus. “The volunteers were amazing and it was just a great run, but honestly the wind was kind of tough today.”
There were more marathoners wearing toques than shorts at the 7 a.m. start time as flakes of snow and a brisk wind created harsh running conditions. Seventy-six runners finished the race – 12 were listed as did not finish – compared to last year’s 102 runners/walkers who went the distance and 19 DNFs. This year’s marathon was restricted to runners only.
Meunier credits a fast start for fuelling his fire when the weather got sketchy.
“My pace did really well at the beginning, which really saved me today. The wind picked up and made it really tough,” he said. “The first 21K was no problem. It felt good but after that it really started to get cold. The quads, legs and hamstrings started to really stiffen up and I guess that’s part of racing in May. Without the elements I think I would’ve been a little bit quicker on the day but those headwinds just got really cold.”
Meunier will now recharge his batteries for the Surfer’s Path Marathon on May 18 in Santa Cruz, Calif. His personal-best marathon time is 2:41.
“Running at sea level will be good for the lungs and that will be nice.”
Fourth annual Leading Edge RunWild
Top 10 marathon results
Name Category/Rank Time
1. Marc Meunier M 40-49 (1/12) 2:47:26.6
2. Alex Petrosky M 20-29 (1/6) 2:51:43.9
3. Ian Blokland M 30-39 (1/12) 2:54:04.8
4. Vincent Bouchard M 30-39 (2/12) 2:54:04.9
5. Janelle Brcic F 20-29 (1/2) 3:12:24.5
6. Ken Wurst M 50-59 (1/14) 3:15:12.8
7. Derek Bakker M 20-29 (2/6) 3:16:17.6
8. Brody Sveinson M 30-39 (3/12) 3:18:14.1
9. Adam Demaniuk M 20-29 (3/6) 3:24:03.2
10. Shane Mascarin M 30-39 (4/12) 3:28:50.8
Total finishers: 76
Visit www.zone4.ca for complete results