© Submitted photo
Eleven-year-old Tyler Heggie, right, ran the Toronto Marathon Sunday with Steven Baglole.
Eleven-year-old runner completes Toronto Marathon a day after cross-country event
By Charles Reid
Most people don’t like to get out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, let alone run a marathon in a province half way across the country.
Tyler Heggie doesn't seem to mind.
The 11-year-old returned to P.E.I. Monday night after running in the Toronto Marathon on Sunday. The Sherwood elementary student finished in 1,676 place out of 3,6,56 runners with a time of 4:01:43. Not bad considering he ran in and won the novice boys division of the P.E.I. School Athletic Association cross-country provincials on Saturday.
“I am very happy with my time. My legs were probably still tired (from the provincials) so running a 4:01 marathon, that's pretty good,” said Heggie. “The Toronto course was so flat. There were lots of people around so it was very hard to get lost. It was marked very well. Just a really good marathon.”
You may remember Heggie ran tip-to-tip across the Island this summer to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis, which his mother, Rhoda, was diagnosed with more than two years ago.
He did that run in seven days.
Heggie also drew attention two years ago when he ran in the P.E.I. Marathon as a nine-year-old. That action prompted the Island marathon organizers
last year to disallow runners to participate that were under 16-years-old.
The Grade 6 student was running into the same age restrictions this year when he and his father Andrew went looking for a marathon to enter.
Ten events turned him down.
Toronto did originally, too, as its rules didn’t allow young runners. But Andrew’s urging and a change of heart by the Toronto organizers resulted in a rewrite of the regulations five weeks ago to permit underage participants.
That said, there were no runners around Tyler’s age that Tyler noticed along the course, but five weeks isn’t much time for anyone of any age to prepare for a 42-kilometre run.
But Tyler, who returns to school like any other ordinary 11-year-old, said he didn’t feel out of place.
“I didn’t hear any negative comments. Lots of ‘good job’ and ‘keep it up’, and cheering us on, too.”
Steven Baglole, a Heggie family friend and longtime Island marathoner, ran with Tyler as Andrew couldn’t cycle beside his son along the course as he had done on the tip-to-tip run.