More than 8500 runners expected at this weekend's GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon
Thousands of people from all over the world are expected to compete in this year's 40th annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon (CTV News)
More than 8500 people are expected to run in this year's GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on Sunday.
Since it's creation 39 years ago, more than 53,000 runners have finished the marathon and ran more than two-million kilometres combined.
One of the strengths of the event that keeps bringing people back is the scenic race course. The marathon shows off much of the beauty of Victoria and Oak Bay.
Participants in the half-marathon travel along the waterfront of Dallas Road. Meanwhile, runners in the full marathon have the Beach Drive waterfront in Oak Bay to admire while their feet pound the pavement.
Race organizers say that they always strive to produce an event that all can enjoy.
"The very first year when I started we only had a marathon and an 8K, no half marathon," said race director Cathy Noel.
"We added the 8K in 2000, so when we look at that and all the different events it gives people something to choose."
This year, however, construction related to the water treatment plant along the Dallas Road section of the course presented challenges for race organizers. The CRD Project Team and the construction project contractor had to work with race organizers to ensure the road conditions were safe for this year's event.
"The Wastewater Treatment Project accommodates a number of events along Dallas Road throughout the year," said Elizabeth Scott, Deputy Project Director of the wastewater treatment project.
"These special events were incorporated into the requirements for the construction contract, and so there are no additional costs or schedule impacts to the project."
With temporary paving along the affected sections of the road and the street being swept by the City of Victoria, organizers expect the course to be race ready on Sunday.
"They were so supportive," said Noel. "We went out and walked the route, explained what needed to happen and they said, 'okay,' and it was done."
For one man running in the 40th annual event this weekend, it is more than a race, it is the comradery with other runners that he is looking forward to most.
"It is a case of enjoying the journey and it is important to me," said 89-year-old Maurice Tarrant. "I love the community, the people, just the whole excitement and its lovely coming down that finish chute."
The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is also a huge draw for visitors to the region. From hotel stays, car rentals and meals in restaurants the event is an economic boon.
"The exact dollar figures from this event are very difficult to ballpark but [they are] in the millions of dollars and that just benefits the entire region," said Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Commission executive director Keith Wells.
"With people going back to countries around the world with memories of Greater Victoria, it's dynamite."
The marathon and the half marathon events begin at Menzies and Quebec Streets, beside the BC Legislative Buildings, at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the 8K "Turkey Trot" road race starts at 8:50 a.m. at the intersection of Government and Superior Streets.
For information about the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon visit their website here.