Registrations for the third annual Leading Edge RunWild Marathon surpassed its 2012 totals with flying colours.
The final tally for Sunday’s competition in St. Albert is 1,762 for the 42.2-kilometre marathon, 21.1-km half-marathon, 10 km, five km and the WildOnes Kids MaraFun for six to 12-year-olds.
Last year 1,622 race participants laced up their sneakers and the inaugural event featured 1,650 confirmed entries.
“We’re getting more people every year and that is really great,” said race director Anita Cassidy. “We’re excited the community comes out to support us every year and local businesses sponsor us.”
The RunWild is hosted by Leading Edge Physiotherapy and all proceeds will benefit Edmonton’s Zebra Child Protection Centre and the St. Albert 50+ Club.
This year’s breakdown of runners is 118 for the marathon, 414 for the half-marathon, 417 for the 10 km, 397 for the five km and 416 for the Kids MaraFun.
The start times on St. Anne Street are 8 a.m. for the marathon, 8:05 a.m. for the half-marathon, 8:20 a.m. for the 10 km and 8:30 a.m. for the five km.
The grand finale is the Kids MaraFun at noon from the stage at the post-race Celebration Village at Lions Park.
“We’ve put on a real push this year to get the kids involved. We’ve gone to schools and done some pep rallies to get them excited about doing something that is community minded, being healthy and getting out there and raising money for these charities,” Cassidy said. “We have a lot of individuals racing but a lot of school teams with hundreds of kids on those teams have signed up. A lot of them are running their kilometres up until race day and then they’re running their last 1.6 on race day.”
The RunWild festivities include two pre-race events Saturday.
Grandin Theatre is showing Madagascar 3 and Racing Stripes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and tickets are $5.
A pasta night, or dinner on the run, goes from 6 to 9 p.m. at the St. Albert 50+ Club. The guest speaker is St. Albert’s Jennifer (Goose) Krempien, a former national team wheelchair basketball player who’ll be inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame on May 10. Musical guests are Emily Seal and the Groovy Gang. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors 60-plus and $10 for youths under 16.
“We added those two events as sort of a buildup to race day and all proceeds from that will go to our charities,” Cassidy said. “We’re excited. It’s helping making it a bigger event. Everyone can come out for the weekend, have a movie, have a pasta night and then come out on race day and enjoy themselves.”
The weather forecast for Sunday morning is sunny and calm race conditions.
“It can snow all it wants at the beginning of the week, as long as it’s nice on race day,” Cassidy said.
Recent flooding by the Sturgeon River forced organizers to reroute the marathon, half-marathon and 10 km to avoid the Boudreau, St. Albert Trail and Perron Street bridge underpasses.
“We’ve been working to make sure our routes are reorganized and our volunteers are going to know what the changes are,” Cassidy said.
Visit www.runwild.ca to view the race routes.
FAST TRACKS: Last year’s RunWild winners were Marc Meunier of St. Albert in the marathon (2:49:09) for the second year in a row, Robert Brunelle of Edmonton in the half-marathon (1:24:51), Nicolas Wang of Calgary in the 10 km (37:47) and Dan Vigliatore of Pickering, Ont. in the five km (19:11).
The fastest females were Janelle Brcic of St. Albert in the marathon (3:20:59), Kristen Hansen of St. Albert in the half-marathon (1:34:53), Natalia Szynkarczuk of Edmonton in the 10 km (41:40) and Debra Davidson of Edmonton in the five km (22:59).
The finish area is located on TachĂ© Street and the awards ceremony goes at 12:30 p.m. at the Celebration Village.