Runners tackle new course and personal goals
Author: Erica Focht — Contributor
On Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 the 15th annual Queen City Marathon took place. At 7:00 a.m., walkers and runners from all over the province gathered together to race in the event.
This event was established in the winter of 2000, when local runners decided Regina was ready for a national-level marathon. The first Queen City Marathon was held on Sept. 1, 2001, with 1,275 participants in the race. Participants were given the option of running a full 42.2–kilometer marathon, a marathon team relay, or a kid’s marathon. The following year, a five kilometer race was introduced, giving community members a chance to run a shorter, but still challenging, race.
This year, a new ten kilometer race was introduced, giving the participants another option to challenge themselves. This year, the marathon had the most athletes ever, with a total of 5,600 participants. About half of these runners were running their very first marathon.
19-year-old University of Regina student, Britney Musleh, was not a first time runner. This was her third time running the five kilometer race.
“I wanted to improve my time from last year and I like the mental and physical challenge it gives me”, she said.
Some runners, like Musleh, take a more challenging approach to the race. While other runners, like Jade Koch, also a 19-year-old University of Regina student, said, “We just did it to do it.” Koch ran alongside her mom and competed for her first time in the ten kilometer race.
This year, the committee designed a brand new track, giving the participants new scenery. Although some runners may have liked the change in scenery, Musleh said, “I liked the old route better because there were more people through the residential areas.”
Running a marathon is both a physical and mental challenge. Musleh ran the five kilometer race and her training was still extensive.
“I’ve been training for it all year and this year I actually started a group with Track and Trail to help train me for it. I did three times a week of running, and then I went to the gym and did cross-training six times a week.”
We can only imagine what kind of training someone who ran the full 42.2-kilometer marathon would have done.
Often times during a race, runners will have second thoughts about finishing. Sometimes it is personal goals that make the runner keep going, and sometimes it is someone or something along the way that helps the runner. Musleh had some complications on the way, but also had some help alongside her.
“My favourite part was running with my boyfriend,” she said, “I had a knee injury and that was getting to me closer to the end of the race. If I didn’t have someone there pushing me to keep going, I don’t think I would have finished in the time that I did. I think I would have stopped more and rested more.”
The Queen City Marathon did a great job making sure they encouraged the runners. They had signs set up along the track with inspirational and encouraging words on them.
“There was a couple times where I thought I would start walking a bit instead of running and it was actually the signs along the way and the other runners encouraging you to keep going. The whole spirit of it just makes you want to keep running,” said Koch.
Planning for an event of this size always has some complications. The runners had a few comments on what can be improved for next year.
Koch said, “The process of getting water was kind of awkward with having them stand there. If they could run alongside you a little bit to give you water would improve it.”
While Musleh said, “I think they could work on better parking, because it was really congested and lots of people actually started late for their race.”
Although there is room for improvement, the runners agreed that the overall organization of the event was very well put together.
This marathon has become a very large and successful event in the city of Regina. It has a very positive effect on the community and runners in the race. Many people use this event as a qualifying event for Boston, because of Saskatchewan’s flat terrain. This helps bring in people, not only from all corners of the province, but also people outside of the province. This helps the community grow not only the running community, but also the community as a whole in Regina.
“I think it creates its own community,” Koch said, “everyone was strangers, but at the end of the race everyone was hugging everyone. It’s as if you all accomplished something together so I think it brings people together and helps them create goals and finish goals together.”
Running a full 42.2-kilometer marathon is a lot of work. Koch and Musleh have their hesitations about doing it, but both said that it is a goal.
“My dad did his first full marathon this year, and after seeing him go through it, I am still on the fence on whether I want to go through that type of pain. But a big goal for us is to run the full together and qualify for Boston,” said Musleh.
Many people question running the race and often decide not to.
Although it’s a big decision, Koch says, “Do it. Even though it’s kind of stressful thinking about doing it, as soon as you cross the finishing line it’s a huge accomplishment mentally, physically, emotionally because it is something you work towards and all of a sudden you actually get to finish it. The atmosphere was so incredible. There are people of all nationalities, cultures, sizes and everyone was working towards the same goal. It’s really nice being surrounded by that. “
Although it was challenging, both of these runners had a positive experience and both want to run it again next year.