Camrose birthday boy takes first at Edmonton Marathon
4,500 participants made for largest turnout in event's history
How does one celebrate a birthday?
For some, it would most certainly involve cake, for others maybe a get-together with family and friends. But for Brendan Lunty — well, for Lunty, it involves running long distances under a broiling hot Edmonton sun.
On the day that he turned 38 years old, the Camrose runner crossed the Edmonton Marathon's finish line in the quickest time, 2:35:21. It marked the second time Lunty has won the Edmonton race; he first did it in 2010.
"It's fantastic, I won six years ago and I'm getting old but I guess I can still keep up," said Lunty.
Right behind him in second place was Edmonton's Chris Stone who finished with a time of 2:36:49.
B. Kenny from Dundas, Ont. finished third.
On the woman's side Alberta reigned supreme.
Calgary's Dawn Ladds-Bond captured her first marathon title with a time of 3:10:32. Another Calgarian, Melissa Kendrick, finished just behind Ladds-Bond and Kim Marsh of Fort McMurray took third.
"The course is fast and flat and I love the vibe, it's always a lot of fun to be here," Ladds-Bond said. "It certainly has a big-city marathon feel and the fans are so supportive."
Ninety per cent of the registrants this year came from Alberta but some runners came from as far away as Switzerland, China, Brazil and Ireland.
The marathon saw almost 4,500 runners compete, the largest turnout in the event's history.
Running with her mother's spirit
For many, running the marathon is a solitary experience, but not for Rebecca Chelmick.
I just kept talking to my mom along the way and she gave me the strength to do it.- Rebecca Chelmick
The 40-year-old Chelmick, from St. Albert, ran the half-marathon carrying her mother's urn with her.
"I'm so happy and so sad at the same time. It feels like this is the first step in my healing process, said Chelmick.
"I just kept talking to my mom along the way and she gave me the strength to do it."
Her mother died this spring waiting for a liver transplant and Chelmick hopes that her battle with the half-marathon causes more people to become organ donors.
"If I can maybe encourage more people to sign up to be an organ donor, than my run has truly been a success."
With files from Emily Fitzpatrick