Calgary's Benard Onsare won the Calgary Marathon for the second year in a row Sunday, finishing the 42.2 kilometre race in just 2:28:40.
Sunday marked five years to the day since Onsare arrived in Calgary. The Kenyan native beat a 21-year-old record when he won the race last year, finishing the race in 2:22:47.
"A win is very important, especially I'm a Calgarian," said Onsare. "I have to do this for the people of Calgary and my city. It's home."
The 30-year-old works as a janitor at Canada Olympic Park and has a two-week-old baby with his Mexican wife in that country who he is hoping to meet as soon as he can.
"I think all the crowds and everyone cheering, I think make the baby wake up in Mexico," Onsare said. "I'm so excited, so excited."
The first female to cross the finish line was Nadyia Fry, a Grade 3 teacher from Invermere, B.C.
She finished the marathon in 2:51:36.
"My friends are always bugging me, I'm usually second," Fry said.
Her students know that she runs marathons. Fry says it's been an interesting experience seeing their reaction to her runs.
"They think it's pretty cool. It's actually embarassing because they actually think I'm a hero but I'm not," she said.
Guinness World Record for linked team
The marathon also saw one team set a Guinness World Record for their group finish.
Ten runners for Team MitoCanada completed the race while linked together by a leash around their waists in 2:55:24.
"I can't believe we did that," said Blaine Penny, president and CEO of the MitoCanada Foundation. "When you're going through what we're going through with our families and mitochondrial disease, these are the kinds of things that lift you up and carry you through."
The MitoCanada Foundation works to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease through participation of team members in sporting events.
Penny's son was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease five years ago and he started the organization as a way to give support and hope to others dealing with the same challenges.
This year's team beat the world record for five people linked together during a marathon — the previous record time was 2:57:00.
"It couldn't have been a better day. It's a bit surreal," Penny said.
Event organizers say that this year's marathon brought in over $900,000 for charity, with at least 11,000 runners and more than 1,000 volunteers.