Thousands of runners pound the pavement at 14th annual Blue Nose Marathon
Nearly 11,000 people laced up their sneakers in Halifax this weekend for the 14th-annual Blue Nose Marathon, making it one of the biggest turnouts yet.
Past events have seen challenges from the elements, but this year the weather was on the runners’ side.
"The weather is perfect for running,” says Blue Nose Marathon chair Rod McCulloch. “Spectators might be a bit chilly, but they can bounce around and cheer to keep them warm."
With six different races over two days, anyone can participate in the Blue Nose, regardless of age or skill level.
"You've got little people, big people, heavy people, skinny people and every one of them has a big smile on their face when they come across that line," McCulloch says.
One thing all Blue Nose participants have in common is they are running for a cause. This year's event raised an estimated $600,000 for 73 different charities.
Newcomers to Canada could be seen on the sidelines cheering on the runners as part of the YMCA's immigrant services program. A high school band from Manitoba was also in town on a school trip, and took to the street to motivate runners.
"We don't really have this in Manitoba. We're from a smaller town so we don't really have big marathons, so seeing this is really cool,” says Madison Lambert of the Partage Collegiate Institute.
The Blue Nose has grown to one of Canada's biggest marathons, attracting runners from near and far. Kenya's Johana Kariankei set the Blue Nose 5K record in 2015. This year, the 25-year-old world class distance runner won the half marathon, but came up just short of the course record.
"I'm still happy. I was looking to break the course record in the half. It was really windy, so I was pushing but not moving in the last 5k," says Kariankei.
Halifax native Greg Wieczorek tied a Blue Nose record by winning his fourth full marathon. But his first victory since 2013 was a special one.
"My girls are here, my twin daughters just turned two last month, so I love having them watch me,” says Wieczorek. “It's great to feel the excitement of the hometown crowd."
Along with the end of race proposal, there was also a family reunion for the ages. Fourty-six members and four generations of the McNutt and Boyle families travelled from across the country to participate in the 10K walk.
"It's a way to celebrate the love of our family and all the happiness we share together in an active way,” says Trudy Boyle.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Allan April.