History

A Change of Season

The first marathon was held in mid-May, 1979. Its timing allowed for the qualifiers in that event three months to ready themselves for the Western Canada Summer Games marathon, held on August 15, 1979. Tradition kept the event in mid-May the following year. For reasons not clear to the editor, the date of the marathon was moved to a fall date the next year and stayed at that time of year until 2003. At that time, competition with the ‘other’ marathon in Saskatchewan (the Queen City Marathon, also a fall event), necessitated a move of date for the Saskatoon event and it’s been held in late May since. The date for the event was chosen after a careful review by Norm Zepp, of the weather data for May dates. The weather for the late-May date has been favourable three of four years (with only May 28, 2006 being somewhat dismal – with drizzle, wind and a cool temperature).

It is anticipated that the May event will be kept in the future.

Race Directors and Sponsors

The editor is still working on a “wall of fame” to present and thank the sponsors of the 30 SaskMarathons to date and especially to thank and truly honour the tireless and selfless individuals who have acted as volunteer race directors. These memorable events could not have happened without both groups.

Anyone who can help the editor compile a comprehensive listing is invited to contact him; and it’s greatly appreciated. It’s very important to ensure that no group or individual is inadvertently excluded.

The Future

The SaskMarathon has a rich history. The organizers of the 30 events can be proud of all they’ve accomplished. There’s no reason to think the Sask Marathon will not continue as an important annual event in Saskatoon’s sporting calendar. The event will always welcome athletes of all levels in all three current distances: the 10Km, the half-marathon and the marathon. The SaskMarathon will likely continue to grow in numbers of participants, as well as in the overall scope of the event, with a festive weekend atmosphere evolving.

The current organizers are hoping that as Saskatoon grows and more roadways and bridges are built, a point to point or preferably, a loop, course will be developed that can be kept (with only slight modifications) from year to year.

The Origins Of The Marathon

by Dan Graetzer (Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Montana at Missoula)

The marathon race commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides, from a battlefield near Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Pheidippides collapsed and died at the end of his historic run, thereby setting a precedent for dramatic conclusions to the marathon.

When the Olympic games were inaugurated in 1896 in Greece, the legend of Pheidippides was revived by a 24.85 mile (40,000 meters) run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic stadium in Athens. Traditionally the final event in the Olympics, the first organized marathon on April 10, 1896 was especially important to the Greeks. Greece was hosting the first Olympics, had yet to win a medal, and had one final chance to bring glory to their nation. Twenty-five runners assembled on Marathon Bridge, the starter mumbled a few words and fired the gun, and the race was on. “The excitement of the crowd waiting at the finish line at the ancient but refurbished Panathenaic Stadium was beyond description” writes the Greek historian Quercetani. Spiridon Louis, a Greek postal worker from the village of Marusi and veteran of several long military marches, crossed the finish line a full seven minutes ahead of the pack. His time was 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds for the 40 kilometer distance (average pace of 7:11 minutes per mile). When it was all over – nine runners finished (eight of them Greeks), the host nation was ecstatic, and the marathon was born.

The United States was one of nine nations at the 1896 Athens Olympics, thanks to sponsorship of athletes by the Boston Athletic Association. Middle distance runner Arthur Blake was the only American to enter the first marathon. Blake won a silver medal in the 1500 meters 3 days before the marathon but unfortunately this left him exhausted and he dropped out after about 14.5 miles. The seed was planted, however, and organization for North America’s first marathon began on the boat back to the United States.

The first annual Boston Athletic Association marathon was conducted on April 19, 1897, the date chosen to commemorate the famous ride of Paul Revere in 1775. The topography of the 24.7 mile course (Metcalfe’s Mill in Ashland, to Boston’s Irvington Street Oval) was remarkably similar to the Athens course, although about 250 meters shorter. Fifteen runners started the original Boston marathon race (eight finished) with John J. McDermott winning the 39,751 meter distance in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds (average pace of 7:05 minutes per mile).

At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City stadium, with 385 yards added on so the race could finish in front of King Edward VII’s royal box. After 16 years of extremely heated discussion, this 26.2 mile distance was established at the 1924 Olympics in Paris as the official marathon distance. Boston Athletic Association officials, attempting to comply with Olympic standards, also adjusted their course distance in 1924 but were devastated when it was discovered a few years later that the Boston course was 161 meters short. This situation was immediately corrected, but records for a full 42,195 meter marathon can officially only be taken from Boston marathons after 1927.

Modern ultra-events such as Hawaii’s Iron Man Triathalon (2 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile marathon) have shown that athletes are no longer satisfied with simply running a “mere” marathon. If a “simple” marathon is conducted, events such as Colorado’s Pikes Peak marathon (which climbs 7,700 feet to the summit of 14,110 foot Pikes Peak) have been designed to present more of a challenge. An interesting recent trend is that more and more people you never thought even knew how to run are lining up at marathon starting lines. Because elite marathoners generally run their best times at age 32 to 34, more and more “thirtysomething” weekend warriors are now giving it a try. This craze probably began in 1984 when Steve Jones of Whales broke Alberto Salazar’s world record while running his first marathon. During the monumental 1984 America’s marathon in Chicago, Steve Jones ran the 26.2 mile distance for first time during either training or competition in 2 hours 8 minutes, and 5 seconds (average pace of 4:55 per mile). This eclipsed Salazar’s record of 2:08.13 which most experts thought would stand for several years

Editor’s Note: Dan Graetzer is the Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Montana in Missoula, a major testing center for competitive marathoners in the Northwest.

The above material is copyright 1994 by Dan Graetzer. Used here by kind permission of the author. May not be reproduced further without the expressed permission of the author.

The current records in the Marathon are:
Men’s: Haile Gebrselassie; 2:04:26; September 30, 2007
Women’s: Paula Radcliffe; 2:15:25; April 13, 2003

 

The graph shows two interesting things:
1) record times are obviously decreasing; and
2) men’s and women’s records are obviously approaching each other
(graph from Marathon Guide)

 

Year 38 – 2016

May 29, 2016

male winner: Sergii Vashurin; 2:31:35 female winner: Erin Gardiner; 3:04:34 In a marathon leaderboard repeat from 2015, the winners were once again Saskatoon’s Erin Gardiner and the Ukrainian visiting athlete Sergii Vashurin. Half-marathon winners were Ruslan Kramariuk in 1:12:19 and Nicole Bletsky in 1:33:39. The ten Km winners were Ibrahim…

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Year 37 – 2015

May 31, 2015

male winner: Sergii Vashurin; 2:37:55 female winner: Erin Gardiner; 3:00:21 In an effort to bring an international flavour to one of Canada’s longest-running road races, a small group of Ukrainian athletes were invited to the Saskatchewan Marathon. This world-class contingent of male athletes did very well, with members of the…

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Year 36 – 2014

May 25, 2014

Year 36 – 2014

male winner: James Funk; 2:49:26 female winner: Erin Humphreys; 3:08:18 James Funk, local teacher and Race Committee volunteer, won the 2014 Saskatchewan Marathon in a time of: 2:49:26. This was possibly our closest contested race in some time with the top three guys coming in within 1 minute and a…

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Year 35 – 2013

May 25, 2013

Year 35 – 2013

male winner: Brian Michasiw; 2:48:23 female winner: Erin Humphreys; 3:03:35 Brian Michasiw won the 2013 Saskatchewan Marathon in a time of 2:48:23 while Erin Humphreys won the women’s division with 3:03:35. Dylan Wykes and Reid Coolsaet competed in the London Olympics in 2012, and were brought to the 2013 Saskatchewan…

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Year 34 – 2012

May 27, 2012

Year 34 – 2012

male winner: Brendan Lunty; 2:34:58 female winner: Lori Soderberg; 3:12:32 In the men’s marathon, past multiple winner Brendan Lunty won yet again. In the women’s division, Lori Soderberg – a solid runner in her own right, but never a Saskatchewan Marathon winner – won in 3:12:32. The event organizers had…

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Year 33 – 2011

May 29, 2011

Year 33 – 2011

male winner: Brendan Lunty; 2:35:08 female winner: Jamesy Patrick; 3:20:25 Another close race in the marathon was run between repeat champions Brendan Lunty and Brian Michasiw. Lunty won this year’s event with Michasiw close behind in second (2:36:55). Winning in the women’s marathon was the relative newcomer, Jamesy Patrick. At…

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Year 32 – 2010

May 30, 2010

Year 32 – 2010

male winner: Brendan Lunty; 2:37:42 female winner: Brandi Pozniak; 3:06:46 A change to the start and finish location and to the route overall was required this year, due to the closure of the city’s Traffic Bridge. The Traffic Bridge had been a South Saskatchewan River crossing on many occasions for…

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Year 31 – 2009

May 29, 2009

Year 31 – 2009

male winner: Brian Michasiw; 2:42:30 female winner: Lindsay Byers; 3:21:18 Another record was set for entries this year – approximately 2300 people registered for one of the three events: 10 Km, half-marathon or marathon. Even with an increasing number of events to choose from on the local scene, the Saskatchewan…

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Year 30 – 2008

May 25, 2008

Year 30 – 2008

male winner: Brian Michasiw; 2:45:24 female winner: Nancy Chong; 3:18:32 The 30th Saskatchewan Marathon had the largest number of entries ever (about 2200 in the three events), reflecting the ever-increasing interest and participation in fitness activities and organized running and walking events. The events started and ended at Diefenbaker Park…

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Year 29 – 2007

May 27, 2007

Year 29 – 2007

male winner: Brian Michasiw; 2:45:27 female winner: Andrea Moore; 3:17:04 Marathon winner, Brain Michasiw (taking his third Saskatchewan Marathon), spent one week in February having “…the best running week of my entire life”. During a visit to Kenya, Michasiw and Jason Warick trained together, putting on incredible mileage. Warick reported…

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Year 28 – 2006

May 28, 2006

Year 28 – 2006

male winner: Brendan Lunty; 2:46:58 female winner: Tobi Rempel; 3:18:33 This year’s event will be remembered as having perhaps the worst weather (at least in recent memory). A constant fairly cool temperature was accompanied by a moderate wind and cloud, drizzle and even rain. The course had a unique start…

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Year 27 – 2005

May 29, 2005

Year 27 – 2005

male winner: Vince Cole; 2:52:53 female winner: Tobi Rempel; 3:18:50 Tobi Rempel set a PB in winning the women’s division of the what was now known as (just for a couple of years) the Saskatchewan International Marathon. Many friends and family applauded Rempel as she finished. One of the supporters…

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Year 26 – 2004

May 30, 2004

Year 26 – 2004

male winner: Vince Cole; 2:46:21 female winner: Jody Urbanoski; 3:16:33 Turner Valley, Alberta resident, Vince Cole won his third Adidas Saskatchewan Marathon in four years, at age 50. Cole was running alongside defending champion Kevin Morgans and 1986 winner, Jim Jasieniuk, until he took charge at the half-way mark. Morgans…

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Year 25 – 2003

August 31, 2003

Year 25 – 2003

male winner: Kevin Morgans; 2:42:40 female winner: Brandi Pozniak; 3:24:17 Spokane’s Kevin Morgans won his first-ever marathon, beating previous champion, Brian Michasiw (2:44:23) by 1 minute 43 seconds. Two-time champ, Vince Cole, still recovering from a foot injury, finished third, eleven minutes back. Brandi Pozniak dramatically improved her marathon time…

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Year 24 – 2002

September 2, 2002

Year 24 – 2002

male winner: Vince Cole; 2:47:12 female winner: Celene Sidloski; 3:23:10 wheelchair: Colette Bourgonje; 2:17:50 For the first year, Colette Bourgonje tackled the marathon distance in the wheelchair and came in first overall. Vince Cole returned to win his second consecutive marathon. Celene Sidloski won her second consecutive event as well…

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Year 23 – 2001

September 3, 2001

Year 23 – 2001

male winner: Vince Cole; 2:44:10 female winner: Celene Sidloski; 3:18:54 “It’ll be a hot tub and a cold beer tonight, I can tell you”. Those were the words uttered by Saskatchewan Marathon winner, 47 year old Vince Cole. He would go on to win the male division four times in…

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Year 22 – 2000

September 4, 2000

Year 22 – 2000

male winner: Brian Michasiw; 2:47:52 female winner: Karen Zunti; 3:05:28 (this is the current Saskatchewan Marathon record for women) Brian Michasiw won his second marathon, in less than ideal weather. In recent years, Michasiw had been very active in helping organize the event, but this year said, “…one of the…

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Year 21 – 1999

September 12, 1999

Year 21 – 1999

male winner: Kevin DeForge; 2:39:10 female winner: Joan Cochrane; 3:16:00 “I’ve finally won!”, said first-time marathon winner, Joan Cochrane. “This is the fifth time I’ve run this race. I`ve finished second and third every other time”, Cochrane said after finishing in 3:16:00. “I’m so happy to win this marathon. I…

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Year 20 – 1998

September 13, 1998

Year 20 – 1998

male winner: Tarrant Crosschild; 2:45:00 female winner: Celene Sidloski; 3:20:07 “If you see me at the start, I’m going to be at the finish line”. So said the “Marathon Man”, Ray Risling, as he prepared to run his 100th marathon, this year’s Star Phoenix Saskatchewan Marathon. Mayor Henry Dayday even…

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Year 19 – 1997

September 7, 1997

Year 19 – 1997

male winner: Dirk Handke; 2:51:52 female winner: Kathy Griffiths; 3:05:36 Competitors in this Star Phoenix Saskatchewan Marathon had to deal with strong winds (at times gusting to 60 Kmh). sunny 9am winds: west 9Kmh, 7am: 7°C, 11am: 20°C Second place finisher, Mike Losie (2:56:24) said he tried to catch eventual…

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Year 18 – 1996

September 8, 1996

Year 18 – 1996

male winner: Ron Balezantis; 2:48:51 female winner: Sharyn Hewitt; 3:09:55 Using the same course as in the previous four years, there were about 200 competitors in this year’s event. mostly cloudy 9am winds: south 7Km, 7am: 5°C, 11am: 17°C Sharyn Hewitt won the women’s marathon for the third straight year….

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Year 17 – 1995

September 10, 1995

Year 17 – 1995

male winner: Dane Samuel; 2:37:23 female winner: Sharyn Hewitt; 3:14:26 Sharyn Hewitt won her second of what would be three straight marathon victories (1994-1996). Dane Samuel won the marathon on his second entry in the Saskatchewan Marathon. Samuel was nowhere near his target Atlanta Olympics qualifying time of 2:25:00, but…

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Year 16 – 1994

September 11, 1994

Year 16 – 1994

male winner: Bruce Raymer; 2:25:03 (current saskatchewan Marathon record) female winner: Sharyn Hewitt; 3:08:22 Marathon winner Bruce Raymer finished eight minutes ahead of the second place finisher, Darren Yakimishyn and set a record for the Saskatchewan Marathon. Raymer was formerly a middle distance runner, specializing in the 3000 and 10000…

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Year 15 – 1993

September 12, 1993

Year 15 – 1993

male winner: Dane Samuel; 2:42:22 female winner: Heather Stilborn; 3:25:38 This second Star Phoenix Saskatchewan Marathon featured some of the most uncomfortable weather conditions of any in the 30 year history. The temperature didn’t change by more than one degree Celsius and there was intermittent drizzle and even snow. As…

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Year 14 – 1992

September 6, 1992

Year 14 – 1992

male winner: Brian Michasiw; 2:43:13 female winner: Heather Stilborn; 3:28:55 From this year through 1995, the event was known as the Star Phoenix Saskatchewan Marathon, as a new major sponsor came on board. This was the second year that a relay event was offered, but the 10Km distance was eliminated….

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Year 13 – 1991

September 6, 1991

Year 13 – 1991

male winner: Richard Webb; 2:31:33 female winner: Heather Stilborn; 3:28:55 Marathon winner, Rick Webb said: “This was a pretty good time for me… The difference between a comfortable marathon and a painful marathon is about two or three minutes… The difference between blowing up and doing terrible and doing well…

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Year 12 – 1990

September 9, 1990

Year 12 – 1990

male winner: Richard Grabowski; 2:44:56 female winner: Donna Grisak; 2:59:36 In this year, there was no local newspaper coverage and while a record of the event certainly exists, the editor couldn’t find it (and would be very happy to hear from the race director or anyone else involved in this,…

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Year 11 – 1989

September 10, 1989

Year 11 – 1989

male winner: George Parker; 2:39:21 female winner: Patricia Wilson; 3:21:19 Last year’s race director, the “Marathon Man”, Ray Risling, competed in his 53rd marathon in this year’s Saskatchewan Canada Goose Marathon and finished in a time of 3:31:52. In doing so, Risling set a provincial record for most marathons completed…

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Year 10 – 1988

September 11, 1988

Year 10 – 1988

male winner: George Parker; 2:38:14 female winner: Lorraine Lees-McGough; 3:15:52 The Saskatchewan Marathon has had a few names in its 30 year history. From 1988 to 1991, the event was known as the Canada Goose Marathon. The 1988 race director, Ray Risling, had a desire to promote the growth of…

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Year 9 – 1987

September 13, 1987

Year 9 – 1987

male winner: Mike Byers; 2:32:36 female winner: Zdena Price; 3:12:58 This was the last year until 2001 in which the event started and ended on campus, at the field house. Seventy runners completed the marathon. The Saskatchewan Marathon would welcome wheelchair athletes through the years. This year was the first…

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Year 8 – 1986

October 12, 1986

Year 8 – 1986

male winner: Jim Jasieniuk; 2:30:17 female winner: Joi Belyk; 3:07:34 The name of this event reverted back to simply the Saskatchewan Marathon. Race director, Bob Carmichael was hoping to top 400 entries for the three events, but with just one day to go, only about 200 athletes had registered. Bob…

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Year 7 – 1985

October 13, 1985

Year 7 – 1985

male winner: Jorgen Lorensen; 2:39:21 female winner: Patricia Wilson; 3:16:01 After a couple of years participation by Molson’s, sponsorship changed and the event became known as the Turbo Saskatchewan Marathon. A total of 256 athletes registered for the three events (61 for the marathon), again starting and ending at Riverview…

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Year 6 – 1984

September 8, 1984

Year 6 – 1984

male marathon winner: Jim Jasieniuk; 2:31:38 female marathon winner: Marie Wolfe; 3:37:12 This year, the Molson Saskatchewan Marathon was held in early September and just one month later, on October 7, an event known as the “Molson Medley” was held. That event featured distances of 5, 10 & 20 Km….

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Year 5 – 1983

October 9, 1983

Year 5 – 1983

male winner: Michael Graham; 2:32:50 female winner: Sherry Wright; 3:15:19 The first of a string of sponsors came on board for this event – it became known as the Molson Saskatchewan Marathon (Molson Brewery had been a sponsor of Regina’s Marathon since 1978). The event moved from the University start…

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Year 4 – 1982

October 10, 1982

Year 4 – 1982

male winner: Robert Moore; 2:26:06 female winner: Dale McNeil; 3:16:57 Earl Ripley finished in 16th place (3:06:08) in the first Saskatchewan Marathon and acted as race director for this year’s event. The course was similar to the first three years’, but started and ended at the Saskatoon Field House. The…

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Year 3 – 1981

October 4, 1981

Year 3 – 1981

male winner: Glen Chilton; 2:42:41 female winner: Gwen Pelican; 3:13:27 The course for the third Saskatchewan Marathon was the same as in the previous years, being tried and tested three times. The half-marathon ended at the turnaround point near Assiniboine Drive. Regina resident, 22 year old Glen Chilton led 105…

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Year 2 – 1980

May 11, 1980

Year 2 – 1980

male winner: Ross Spence; 2:28:22 female winner: Dale Lyons; 3:21:07 The second Saskatchewan Marathon was run over the same route as the first event and the Western Canada Summer Games Marathon one year earlier. There were 68 entrants in the marathon and a half-marathon distance was incorporated in this year….

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Year 1 – 1979

May 12, 1979

Year 1 – 1979

male winner: Ted Hawes; 2:33:02 female winner: Sandra LeClaire; 3:18:03 This, the inaugural event, was a qualifier for the Marathon event of the Western Canada Summer Games. The event was hosted and organized by the Saskatoon Road Runners Association (established in 1975). The organizers of the Western Canada Summer Games…

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