The athletes we featured in the 2015 edition of the Running Whys for Marathon by the Sea allowed readers and fans of this great event unique insight at their dedication and inspiration, all with an eye the 21st annual race(s).
It was our second collection of stories centered on MBTS and once again, the runners faced many challenges and hurdles but goal setting, training and perseverance played major roles in helping them achieve their aspirations.
The photo above is one of so many that captured the spirit of the race as the father-daughter tandem of Don and Elspeth Lemon crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, much to the delight on the spectators assembled in the Uptown.
“Loved the new route and it was a beautiful day for a long run,” Don wrote afterward. “We had some fun chatting with fellow runners along the course as we played leap frog most of the race, great atmosphere.”
We would like to thank all the runners who participated in the Running Whys for 2015, allowing the readers and fans of this great event a glimpse at their thoughts, battles and triumphs as they prepared for the weekend.
Runners in this series lost incredible amounts of weight, logged dizzying amounts of kilometres and changed their lives, all because they wanted to run Marathon by the Sea. Every story offered perspective into runners from all levels, runners from our area aiming to check the next goal off their private bucket list.
We reached out for some post-race comments, which are included below. We also assembled a series of comments from family and friends we read on line.
Once again, thank you for following.
(Thank you for all the photos, which came from personal cameras, the race organizers, Keith Hawkins, Al Gagnon and Heather Meger-Shadbolt and others.)
Another year of MBTS is over! I am super happy I got to this year’s race!!! I must say I had quite the journey getting to walk the 5km Into The Night!
I finished Chemotherapy treatments eight weeks before, trained the best I could and 10 days before the race, I was hospitalized for nine of those days. I was released on Thursday and by Friday evening, I was in the line up to start the race!
Talk about pre-race jitters!!! My friend Dianna Payne walked with me and of course she had more friends that walked with us! Now I have more people to walk with. They kept me on track the entire time! We made it in at 50 minutes and 40 seconds!
Never say never; anything is possible!
See you all again next year at MBTS 2016! Look for me running up a storm by then!
I was successful in my first event, the 5k Into The Night for Marathon By The Sea on August 7th. It was a great run! The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was excellent, the course was well laid out and marked, and my running coach was there to run it with me.
It was everything a new runner and first-time racer could hope for. I completed my training program (Couch to 5k), and was able to complete this run without stopping, finishing with a personal time of 33:13. Not quite the 30 minutes I originally wanted, but you have to shoot for the stars if you’re gonna hit anywhere close. I am very happy with my time on this course.
I was able to share this night with my wife and kids. My mom showed up too, and my neighbor and her little girl even came along to support me at the finish line.
Little did I know that my friends from the local chapter of the SCA (SCA.ORG), The Shire of Lyndhaven, had setup a motivation station for me a few hundred meters from the start and finish line.
I let everyone know what I was doing when I went on this adventure to 5k. It helped obligate me and motivate me to do the training. And when it came time to do it, I was very touched by all the people that offered me support.
We really do live in a great world.
What an amazing weekend! Words can’t even express the feeling of crossing the finish line on Sunday after finishing my first marathon! I’m even choking up as I write this.
For me, the marathon was a lot of competing against that little voice inside telling me to quit. Luckily, I was fortunate to have the amazing support of friends, family, fellow runners, volunteers and even strangers cheering me on every step of the way to the finish line, making the entire journey that much better!
I’m super happy I got to take part in the first Port City Challenge! Three races in three days and so many amazing accomplishments from runners all around! So inspiring!! I’m already looking forward to next year! Congrats to all the runners and a huge thanks to all the great volunteers who contributed to the success of the weekend!
I can guarantee you this girl’s “runners high” is going to last a while! 😉
Another great year at MBTS and hopefully a budding future on Water Street. Loved the location.
I set out this year with the thought of a fast half-marathon as I am training for a fall marathon in Lowell, Massachusetts.
I quickly came to the realization that Saint John is probably the most challenging course in New Brunswick. As I tried to keep the pace I wanted to, I learned to adapt to the hills of Saint John.
I am very pleased with my run on Sunday as I placed sixth overall and second in my age group. I was loving the volunteers out on the course and especially the lady that had a sign that read “slap me for power” just at the entrance to Rockwood Park. I want to also thank Korey Nixon who pulled me along the entire race.
I commend every participant who ran this year as I like to reiterate how challenging MBTS is.
Thanks for this opportunity and I hope to see many familiar faces at next year’s event.
Race day is a funny thing. There is an unwritten rule in the running community of ‘running your own race’. Once you hit the course, it’s every runner for themselves. Friends you have trained with for months suddenly aren’t by your side anymore to chat with or struggle up those hills.
I ran MBTS predominately solo, chasing my training partner who had gained some distance on me on the west side. I have found I race best if I know the course and can break the run down into mini stretches, telling myself I can re-evaluate my pace and how I feel at certain landmarks. For this race, I basically used each hill crest as my landmark- and boy, there were a lot of them!
In the north end, I started to get hungry (why didn’t I eat that half a banana before I left the house?). I feared I would gas out too soon and I really had to use the bathroom. I made it through the hills of Mount Pleasant and stopped at the next water station to regroup. I had some Gatorade hoping it would fill my belly some and continued on the course into Rockwood Park. I checked my Garmin – 3 miles left between me and the finish line.
I didn’t know the route through the Park (big thank you to whoever thought of mapping the course in chalk lines- very helpful, especially in the Park when you can find yourself isolated). I was also unsure of the inclines in Rockwood, so I paced myself. Once I was back on familiar territory, I picked up my speed and let the decline pull me down Crown St.
Only two major hills left, ones I had run time and time again in training. I struggled up the last hill on Lower Cove Loop and checked my Garmin at the top – 0.3 miles left. Really??? That was it? I could sprint for 0.3 miles!!! I am sure what felt like a full out sprint to me probably looked like a light jog to onlookers but I carried on at my top speed. I caught Vanessa with meters to spare and we crossed the finish line together at 2:04:10 – exceeding my 2:05 time goal and shaving almost 10 minutes off my finish from last year!
Marathon by the Sea gets better (and seemingly hillier) every year- the community involvement, the cheering you get from strangers and familiar faces along the route, the vibe at the finish line when you see your supporters who have come to watch you achieve your goal- all make the training worth it. To quote my favourite sign I saw along the route “Saint Johners Eat Hills for Breakfast!” – and that we did!
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the Organizing Committee and Volunteers for Marathon by the Sea this year.
What an Event!
Your hard work and dedication made this a weekend to remember. Congratulations! Job Well Done.
A year ago, Marathon by the Sea was my first half marathon, and this year it marked my fifth in 12 months. It’s safe to say I have the bug, given the two more I have on the schedule, and in October, I will be competing in my first full marathon at Legs for Literacy in Moncton.
This year, I ran a personal best 2:05, but it was really just background noise compared to the entire “race weekend” experience. From Friday night’s fireworks-punctuated 5k, to Saturday’s beautiful sunny morning walk with friends, it truly has become a destination event.
I’d like to dedicate this run to Evan Hachey, who came off the bench, being the busy new parent that he is, to honour a commitment he made a year ago to pace me though this year’s Marathon by the Sea. His help and encouragement through those tough hills and long kilometres is testament to the overwhelming generosity of the Saint John running community.
When a runner of Evan’s calibre thinks nothing of putting his own goals aside to help a rank-and-file runner like me chase my goal, you know you’re part of a special group of people.
Friday’s Into The Night race was amazing. I ran my fastest time EVER completing it in 33:15! And to be honest, had I not had Saturday and Sundays race in the back of my mind, I could have definitely pushed myself harder too. I was impressed!!! Last year, my time was 40:48, so a nice improvement. I was amazed at the support from all the other runners.
My knee started really bothering me the last km of into the night. About 200 m from the finish line, I just about stopped running until another runner – no idea what her name was but a huge thank you to her – came up and encouraged me to keep going so off I sprinted to the finish line.
Saturday’s 5k… didn’t go as I hoped at all but I still finished in 43:32. My knee worsened and I walked, stopping for a break twice… not a bad time considering that! Can’t wait until next year! Thanks a bunch.
It was wonderful to see and feel the buzz that the organizers created around this year’s Marathon by the Sea. The single greatest improvement that they made was moving the race back Uptown and into a venue that is second to none.
There are very few courses around that quite compare to Marathon by the Sea! It is such a challenging course that it pushes you to your very limits. This year was no different and I was very happy with my 1:39 finishing time.
It was great to see so many familiar faces and to be cheered into the finish chute by my running friends. I am now looking forward to my upcoming marathon at the Maritime Race weekend, followed a week later by a relaxing run across the Confederation Bridge to celebrate Terry Fox’s legacy! One of the main reasons “why I run!”.
All spring and summer long I’ve looked forward to this year’s Marathon by the Sea and it definitely did not disappoint. This was by far the most challenging 10km that I’ve run to date and it was also the first one in some time that I had run by myself.
Nonetheless, there was such a big smile on my face as we set out down Water Street. It might have faded by the time we got to our first hill going up Lansdowne Avenue by the Petro Canada but all-in-all it was a fantastic run. I’m always impressed with the rest of the runners. Their determination and focus kept me going to set a new personal best of 1:02:42. With all those hills I’m pretty proud of that time.
I’d like to sincerely thank Marathon by the Sea’s volunteers, everyone who came out to cheer us on and all of the sponsors. This event would not be the success it is without your time and efforts. Thanks Kevin Barrett for featuring me on the Running Whys. MTBS is truly the highlight of my running season and it gave me such an extra push to know I’d have to write a follow-up piece after the race.
I was incredibly glad to cross the finish line and see my man Brad and my father Roger waiting for me. To them, thank you! Looking at just some of the finish line photos, I can tell everyone shared that same feeling of hard-earned pride, satisfaction and victory. Thanks for a stellar event. See you next year everyone!
Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to the over 200 people Janet Thompson-Price and I counted who have reached out to me in the past two days. When all is said and done and I’ve had time to reflect, I had a great experience at Marathon by the Sea.
I tested my character and with much needed help, I resolved (and re-qualified for Boston, which let’s face it, is always a good day). To quote one of my good friends “when you watch one of your heroes struggle, it makes your own goals a bit more attainable”
I’m more amazed by the compassion and support from the Saint John running community and my friends and family than by anything I’ve physically accomplished in the past. Marathon by the Sea means an enormous amount to me personally and to the City of Saint John. The organizing committee did a fantastic job and I’ll definitely be back in 2016. I’m also re-running from the bridge to the finish line again this week. I need to re-do that before vacation.
I’m still beaming from this past weekend’s adventure! My emotions ran the gamut starting Friday night with the most spectacular fireworks display I’d seen in some time, to Saturday’s blistering but extremely fun 5k, culminating with Sunday’s 13.1 mile soul journey that started with the very moving and emotional Commemorative mile. I have no words to express the emotions in the air for that first mile. Thank you MBTS race committee for creating such a wonderful way to honour and remember…
I approached Sunday’s race the same way I approach every other one, with the mindset of ‘I paid to do this and I’m going to get my money’s worth!’ This race consisted of high fives, chats and laughs with random strangers who were not involved with the race in any way but were just out for their regular Sunday morning walks; stopping to chat with, hug and thank the volunteers manning the water stations; thanking each person (Salvation Corp & Safety workers) who made sure I could safely cross all side streets; cheering on runners who were and always will be, way faster than me as they made their way to the Harbour Bridge while I was still trying to make my way to the Manawagonish Road turnaround point; making a special effort to acknowledge each police officer from the first intersection to the very last one at the top of Crown and Union Street; and doing my best to thank every volunteer I encountered along the route, either on foot or bicycle, who loudly cheered and offered some much needed words of encouragement.
I attained the goal I’d set of reaching the bridge early enough to enjoy the moment. I walked it while taking pictures and enjoying the view of our little city. After the bridge, I then basically spent the last few miles alone, trudging up a plethora of hills on my way to Rockwood Park. While navigating the constant incline that is the park, I ran through my head exactly what I was going to say to a certain race director once I found my way out and located him at the finish line…
I was ecstatic to cross that finish line but a bit sad as well because the journey had come to an end. It was a weekend of laughs, tears, challenging hills, new friendships, surprise encounters with old friends while on the course and it was…fun. Honestly, the Port City Challenge was fun! When my husband came over to me at the finish I told him I had a great time on the course but wouldn’t do the half again, but maybe the 10k. While driving in to work the next morning, I looked at him and said ‘yeah, I think I want to do the same distance again next year because you don’t get the chance to cross the Harbour Bridge on foot very often!’ He looked at me and said ‘Okaaay…’
See you in 2016 MBTS!!
I ran the Half Marathon as a training run for my marathon training. At the starting line I began to get apprehensive, as I realized the MBTS hills far exceeded the other half marathons I had done. I decided to start very slow and enjoy myself.
By the 14th kilometre (after taking an energy gel) I realized I was getting a second wind and decided to crush it up the Rockwood Park hills…I managed a 4:44 split up the hill and cruised to the finish in 1:46:59.
Not a PB, but a good training run time made possible by the (perfectly) cool and overcast conditions. Perfect day for a race!
Friends and family reaction
The response online was fantastic and we thank everyone for that – from the runners who provided insight to the readers who flocked to the website twice a week or more for the latest installment.
Here are some of the many many quotes we read online.
“After reading this I no longer feel doing a half October 2016 is out of my reach (just did my first 5k on the weekend and I’m hooked!”)
“I loved your honesty and your words of wisdom. You’re an inspiration and you make me want to do better.”
“Running ambassador extraordinaire!”
“I am so proud to call this girl my best friend. This article is fabulous! You are so inspiring and motivating.”
“This is great.”
“She is a real inspiration and great support for all who know her. I am proud to call her a friend and wish her well in her upcoming races”
“I’m just so happy you started running .I’ve had so much fun running with you!!!! So proud you manage to find a balance between mommy, teacher and runner that works for you…”
“You should be really proud of yourself! I still remember the first day of the running program. You’ve come so far! Thumbs up to you!”
“Such a great story of perseverance and determination! Your children have some pretty amazing role models as parents.”
“So proud of him!”
“It just goes to show you that if you are determined and I mean DETERMINED in this case,.. you can achieve your goals! I still see him running on the weekends and he is often at the gym as early as 4:30am before his very busy job. NO excuses coming from this lad, he makes his lifestyle a priority!”
“Clear, focused, honest and achieving your goals!”
“Wow!! Very inspirational! The kids want to be like daddy. Every time I feel the mom-guilt about going out for a long run with my training buddies, I’ll remind myself that it’s a great example for the kids.”
“Tears reading this , its so great !”
“You are absolutely brilliant beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for the wonderful story!”
“Right on bro good work keep it up.”
“I’m just so happy you started running .I’ve had so much fun running with you!!!! So proud you manage to find a balance between mommy,teacher and runner that works for you…”
“So very proud of this amazing lady!”
“I love this girl. Great story. You’re so inspiring!”
“So many challenges in such a short time and you handled each one as it came with determination and drive. Always upbeat and ready for the next goal you set for yourself. You are an inspiration…”
“So happy I meant you through running and Triathalons! You are so positive.”
“You are a great motivator! Thanks for all the encouragement the last few years.”
“I hope you realize how much you are valued as a great runner! You inspire beyond measure! Great read! I cried;)”
“You go girl.”
“Choked me up.”
The stories proved motivational for some such as this entry:
“This definitely makes me want to try again. You are not JUST doing this for yourself, you are motivating others too! Xo
There is still some work to do.
“ALMOST makes me want to take up running,” said one reader. “ ALMOST…”
There is always next year. Once again, thank you.
In the lead up to this year’s MBTS, we also have profiled the legacy of Const. Doug Larche, Hannah Arseneault, Todd Price, Erica MacMillan Carol Lynn Landry, Donald and Elspeth Lemon, Carolyn Radcliffe, Andrew Estey, Corinne Fournier, Kevin McEachern, Sherri Colwell-McCavour, Jesse Davidson, Jason Kaulbach, Jacqueline Boucher, Jen Payne, Mark Clinton, Patty MacMillan, Haley Adams-Green, Dean Mercer, Caitlin Stevens-Kelly, Carla Harris, Dave Horgan, and Krista Sutton.