Crowded field means staggered starts for P.E.I. Marathon events

Organizers of the P.E.I. Marathon are introducing staggered start times to this weekend's 15th annual event.

15 years later event is 14 times as big

Event in downtown Charlottetown becoming overcrowded. (P.E.I. Marathon)

Organizers of the P.E.I. Marathon are introducing staggered start times to this weekend's 15th annual event.

The marathon itself will still start in Brackley at 8 a.m. Sunday, but the various runs and walks that begin in downtown Charlottetown will start at different times. They include the half-marathon, 10k and 5k, along with the wheelchair event.

Race director Myrtle Jenkins-Smith said organizers are making this change after surveying participants.

"They have asked us would you consider staggered start times, because the volume of people when you have 2,000 people trying to get out of the gate down there, it's wonderful, but you could be 20 minutes from when the horn goes until you get to the mat," said Jenkins-Smith.

Staggered start times will make the events safer, says Myrtle Jenkins-Smith. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

"This will make it a lot less congested. It will spread people out quicker and it'll make it much safer."

In its first year the P.E.I. Marathon drew 173 people. This year close to 2,400 participants are expected.

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With files from Island Morning