The 44th Stewart McKelvey Fredericton Marathon returned in full force.
After going virtual for 2020 and another small marathon held in 2021, the marathon saw about 1,700 people register, according to one of the organizers.
The marathon started in 1979 and has continued as a major event, even acting as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
On Sunday, participants took part in one of three races. There was a 10 kilometre, a 21.1 kilometre and the full marathon at 42 kilometres.
The first 10-kilometre runner came through the finish line after about half an hour, while the first full marathoner broke his previous record with a time of two hours and 25 minutes.
Stan Chiasson, who won last year’s race held in September, beat his marathon time by four minutes. As he crossed the finish line, he let out a big gasp, raising both arms in the air.
“I knew I was going to be faster than last year, but I guess I didn’t realize that it was going to be that much faster,” he said on Sunday. “So when I saw the 2:25, the emotion just kind of hit me.”
Chiasson is from Bear River in Prince Edward Island and still lives on the Island.
“It’s an honour to be the one that finishes first,” he said.
He said he’ll be moving on to do a marathon in Berlin in September. Chiasson likes Fredericton because he thinks it is the perfect time of year for running.
“It was just so crisp for the start but also the course is so flat and vast,” he said.
Bruce Macfarlane is one of the organizers of the Fredericton Marathon and said it does seem people are in the mood to get back to running in events like these.
“We didn’t anticipate this large number,” he said. “Our numbers kept increasing all week, so you know, people are hungry to run.”
He said this has been a lot of work, especially for the volunteers and the committee members who had to turn this marathon around in just eight months.
The 2021 marathon got pushed back to September due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“When we got through that, we said OK take a deep breath, we got to plan another one in eight months,” he said.
“We want to thank the community for the patience. Our sponsors have been with us and it’s just great because look at this.”