There's a second running boom allegedly sweeping North America. The first one, some of us remember, was back in the 1970s, sparked by people like Bill Rodgers and his four Boston Marathon wins and writer/runner Jim Fixx. On this side of the border, Jerome Drayton's 1977 Boston win and Jacqueline Gareau's victory there three years later — after officials disqualified Rosie Ruiz — inspired hordes of Canadians to lace up.
Now, figures compiled by MarathonGuide.com in the U.S. show that the number of people completing marathons has been rising steadily for years. In 2007, 407,000 people crossed the finish line of a marathon in the U.S. That's a jump of about 35 per cent since 2000.
While there are no comparable numbers on this side of the border, anecdotal evidence abounds. The Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, Ont. — held annually on the first weekend of March — has sold out two months in advance the past two years.
Canada's biggest road race — the 10K Vancouver Sun Run — attracted more than 53,000 entrants in 2007. They're looking to smash that record this year. It seems we're finally getting the fitness message.
Actually, we're not.