This article was published on May 25th, 2014
Over 4,000 runners gathered on Sunday, May 25, in Abbotsford, B.C., taking to the pavement in 5k, 10k, half and full marathon race distances, with participants raising funds for clean water projects in Ethiopia.
Ryan Prachnau of Abbotsford, B.C. took home the first place finish in the marathon distance with a time of 2:39:07, a full six minutes ahead of second place finisher, Dave Stephens, of North Vancouver, B.C., who finished at 2:45:12. Rika Hatachi of Coquitlam, B.C. was the top female marathon finisher at 3:11:12, followed less than a minute later by the second place female finisher, Sharleen Balogh, of Prince George, B.C., clocking in at 3:12:03.
The morning started off with high overcast and moderate temperatures, but as the morning wore on, light rain set in, ideal conditions for the full marathon participants.
The full marathon course is one of the faster marathon courses in British Columbia, making it an ideal Boston qualifier course. Flat marathon courses are typically more difficult for marathon runners because there is little change in muscle movements for extended periods of time, which makes the muscles break down faster. What makes the Run for Water marathon course even more challenging for participants is the last 4km of the course is all incline, especially difficult after coming off over 30km of flat terrain.
The Abbotsford Run for Water course is unique because all four races, 5k, 10k, half and full marathon, all finish along the same route. The staggered start times ensure that the finishers chute isn’t jam-packed, especially for the long distance participants. The full marathon runners join up first with the half marathoners about 7km before the finish line, and then join the 10km participants at their half-way mark. Participants in the shorter distances are respectful by staying off to the sides and cheering on the long distance runners as they pass by. It’s a great, all encompassing feeling to have everyone on one course.
This year race organizers focused on improving the overall race experience, rather than growing the event. This was extremely evident in the organization of the race expo, the recruitment of extremely friendly volunteers along the course, and the race finish experience. The volunteers were fantastic in ensured participants were provided the nutrition and hydration they required, enthusiastically cheered on runners, and kept the course safe, especially important because many of the roads were open to traffic.
A solid improvement over 2013 finish time, the 2014 event was much more relaxed and gratifying. After having just completed the BMO Vancouver Marathon three weeks earlier, the results speak for themselves, than once trained, it is relatively easy to do multiple marathon races back-to-back, even without training in between.
- Chip Time: 3:43:46
- Gun Time: 3:43:51
- Average Pace: 5:19/km
- Half marathon: 1:45:40
- Overall: 62/202
- Male Overall: 51/158
- Male 30-39: 16/34