New Brunswick

Marathon by the Sea runners happy with grey skies, beautiful scenery

Every cloud has a silver lining, as the old saying goes, and that’s exactly what the organizers of the Marathon by the Sea have learned to embrace with Saint John’s frequently grey summers.

'Saint John, with the cool temperatures, it attracts runners from around the world'

More than 2,000 runners participated in the Marathon by the Sea on Sunday in Saint John. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Every cloud has a silver lining, as the old saying goes, and that's exactly what the organizers of the Marathon by the Sea have learned to embrace with Saint John's frequently grey summers.

While runners lined up for the final morning of races, the skies were grey and the air cool. Not the ideal day to head to the beach, but perfect for long-distance running. Even with the threat of rain, Don Murray shrugged it off while waiting to begin the half marathon.

"Rain never hurt anybody," he said, while runners shuffled nervously around him.

Marathon by the Sea runners race down Water Street under cloudy skies Sunday. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

The event has continued to grow over its 22 years, with more than 2,000 runners signed up for event, said Patrick Grannan, co-chair of the weekend-long race.

Rain never hurt anybody.- Don Murray

He said part of the success is due to expanding into new events, like this year's Friday night glowstick run.

The other, Grannan proudly said, is the the cool Saint John summer.

"Very few places in North America that you can do a summer marathon," he said while flipping through a roster of out-of-town participants.

"Saint John, with the cool temperatures, it attracts runners from around the world."

Elyse Baclar (right) and her friends didn't mind escaping the hot temperatures of Orlando for the cool weather of Saint John. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

This year, the marathon attracted runners from across Canada and the U,S,, but also from as far away as China, Belgium, Italy, and the UK. Grannan said this year had the most international runners, most of whom planned their trips around the race.

Elyse Baclar and her three friends travelled from Orlando, and welcomed the change in temperature.

Head to Canada to cool off

"It's cool up here, it's hot back home," said Baclar as she and her friends posed for photos amid a light drizzle.

"It was like over 100 degrees heat index (38 C) back home, so we figured we'd head to Canada for a week to cool off."

The cooler temperatures were greeted with smiles by the hometown crowd as well. Dean Strowbridge and his partner Sacha Hourihan finished in the top two spots of the 10K race.  

Dean Strowbridge and his partner Sacha Hourihan finished in the top two spots of the 10K race (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

"The rain kept us cool," puffed Hourihan from the finish line.

After running at the event 13 times, Strowbridge managed to pull off an elusive win this year.

"I've had seven second places and this would be my first first place," he said.

Good for training

It's not just the weather encouraging runners to attend the Marathon by the Sea. Moncton's Joanne Pitre has run more than 20 marathons and said the scenic, challenging route was good for training.

Pitre is running a 50K race in Kentville in October and took on Saint John for a tune up.

"I figured, why not run the actual event rather than just running 42K?"

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