Three times might be charm for Mike MacKinnon.
The Miscouche native shoots for the trifecta in the BMO P.E.I. Marathon which goes Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. on the north shore.
He’s completed the 42-kilometre route twice for wins in 2008 and last year. Best time so far is two hours, 39 minutes and 28 seconds set in 2008.
So is he trying to top that in 2012 in defence of his title?
“I wouldn’t term it like that. We’re all amateur runners here. I’m prepared to run the marathon I’ve trained for,” said MacKinnon. “I don’t like to use the word defend at all. I’m not worried where I finish. I’d just as soon finish third or fourth… or 10th.”
MacKinnon is the most recent winner in a five-year string of male Islanders crossing the finished line first.
Scott Clark of Summerside won in 2007 and 2012, and Stanley Chiasson of Stratford won in 2010. Chiasson’s time 2:32:58 is the current record.
On the women’s side, Jen Nicholson of Cornwall - she holds the female record of a blazing 2:53:44 set in 2009 - won titles in 2008 and 2009.
Nicholson, who won the 2011 Sport P.E.I. masters athlete award in March, is sandwiched between Jennifer Vandongen (Bath, Maine) in 2007, and Rhonda Loo of Whitecourt, Alta., and Kathy Armitage of New Maryland, N.B. in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Sunday’s weather looks to be cloudy with possible showers and windy with a high temperature under 10 degrees Celsius.
MacKinnon, 39, isn’t too concerned about his marathon time because his training focus has switched to triathlon, a combination of running, swimming and biking.
He’s competed in three triathlons so far and yet keeps returning and finishing with decent mid-pack results, despite his horrible swimming skills.
“I’m just a nervous wreck in the water. I always finished near the end of the pack,” he said. “(But) the law of averages is a real nice thing.”
MacKinnon had also won two previous editions of the Island Marathon when it was under different sponsorship. His two victories in this story are categorized under the BMO sponsorship label.
Other Sunday events include the Recharge with Milk Half Marathon, a 10K run, the Gemini Half Marathon Walk, the Heart and Stroke Foundation 10K Walk, the Nordic Half Walk the Nordic 10K Walk, the Egg Farmers of P.E.I. Run, the Home Safe Living 5K Walk and the Brown’s Volkswagen Corporate/Team Relay.
The Kids Spud Run presented by the P.E.I. Potato Industry which goes today at 11 a.m.
Because of Sunday’s marathon, Parks Canada will close Gulf Shore Parkway from Brackley to Dalvay, Robinson’s Island Road, the north end of Bayshore Road and the north end of Stanhope Lane from 7:30 to 11 a.m.
Traffic will not be permitted to enter the park at the Dalvay gate after 7:30 a.m.
To accommodate the corporate relay teams, the south lane of the Gulf Shore Parkway will remain open to one-way, east bound traffic from Bayshore Road to the Dalvay Gate.
Contact organizers at 316-2299.
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