The two-day event features a variety of athletic activities, ranging from a five-kilometre run/walk event to a marathon.
On Saturday morning, 250 people of all ages took part in the five-kilometre event in City Park beside Okanagan Lake. Crossing the finish line in first place, with a time of just under 16 minutes, was Ian Sharp of Kelowna.
Sharp said he had two goals on Saturday: Break 16 minutes, which he did by three seconds, and the second was to support two childrens’ homes in India.
“I had a donor who said he’d give $400 for the home if I could break 16 minutes, so I just got it,” said Sharp, adding he normally runs for a charity — Child of Mine — which supports the homes.
A teacher at Kelowna Christian School, a married man with three children and a life-long runner, Sharp says he normally participates in two to three big events a year to help raise funds.
Sharp said he’s been running since he was 12 years old, adding, “I’m 40 now, so all those 40-year-olds out there, looking at this, you know what? Get off the couch, let’s get some running in you.
“It’s great fun and it’s good health.”
Sharp said prior to Saturday, his personal best time for the five-km was 16:39. He said the donor helped motivate him and that he trained hard for six weeks.
Asked if he’d run for longer distances, Sharp said “if someone wants to support Child of Mine, I will run it.”
Renee Rioux was the first female across the line in a time of 20:59.
“This is a really fun race,” said Rioux, stating she took part in the 10-km events the past three years.
“This year, I wanted to go a little faster and just do a 5k, so it was really good.”
Rioux said the event “is really motivating because there’s a lot of people, the venue is really fun, it’s super flat … it’s just a great day. Fitness with friends.”
Okanagan Marathon race director Tara Melville said “we’re celebrating 25 awesome years of a first-class running event.”
Sunday’s events include the 10-km, half marathon and full marathon — which is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon in 2021.
“You get fast times,” Melville said of Sunday’s marathon in Kelowna. “It’s a flat course, so you do get people qualifying for Boston.
“It’s a great end-of-season event. So you run all season-long and this is a great way to cap off your running season.”