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P.E.I. Marathon organizers thrilled with number of participants for weekend events

Participants in the 14th annual Prince Edward Island Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017
Stan Chaisson crosses the finish line after winning the 2017 P.E.I. Marathon.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The 15th annual P.E.I. Marathon weekend is shaping up to be the biggest one yet, says the race director.

Myrtle Jenkins-Smith said Thursday numbers of people taking part are up across the board.

She’s especially excited about the Kids Trot Run on Saturday that will kick things off.

“It’s unbelievable the numbers coming in for that,’’ she said. “We had hoped to have 500 (kids) and it’ll be closer to 600, I would think. It’s really, and honestly, shaping up to be the largest (weekend) ever.’’

The marathon weekend will offer 10 categories to choose from, with participants coming in from all across the world to take part. The P.E.I. Marathon isn’t simply a big event in the province, it’s also one of Canada’s top five Boston Marathon qualifiers.

“Where people are coming from, it’s really amazing. It’s mind-boggling, actually. They’re not coming here for a day from Australia, so it’s shaping up nicely.’’

The marathon headquarters will be set up at a new location this year, the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown.

The marathon weekend actually begins today at noon, opening to all participants and the public with the healthy lifestyle expo. This free expo runs until Saturday at 7 p.m.

On-site registration will also be housed at the same location, and all participants can pick up their race kits during that time.

RELATED: P.E.I. Marathon 15th Anniversary Edition

Also new, there will be staggered start times for the different categories. The marathon itself starts at 8 a.m. Sunday. The 10-kilometre walk-run goes at 9:10 a.m., the five kilometre at 9:20 a.m. and the wheelchair component at 9:30 a.m.

“Our numbers have grown so much that it’s all about safety and about getting people through quicker and spreading them out along the course and this really helps, the 10-minute intervals,’’ Jenkins-Smith explained.

The race director declined to say how many people have registered for the actual marathon.

“Numbers are looking very strong I can say and there are a lot of people in the marathon category looking to qualify for Boston. There’s a lot of people coming here with that hope. We are considered a fast and flat course even though there are a few inclines.’’

The marathon awards ceremony will also be taking place at a new location, The Mack at the corner of Great George and Grafton streets.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to show their support for the marathon participants by putting up motivational signs and coming out along the route to cheer everyone on. Participants are expected to start crossing the finish line around 9:30 a.m. and it will continue until 2 p.m.

Motorists are also asked to allow a little extra time if travelling on the marathon route Sunday as traffic could be delayed a bit due to the volume of participants.


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