Kenyan runners won both the men’s and women’s races at the BMO Vancouver Marathon yesterday.
Thomas Omwenga won it for the third time, finishing the 42.2-kilometre race in 2:16:55 to take home the $2,000 top prize.
Squamish’s Jason Loutitt finished second among the men and Vancouver’s Graeme Wilson was third.
The women’s race was won by Emmah Muthoni in 2:37:17. Suzanne Evans of New Westminster finished third.
More than 14,000 runners endured rain and 9 C weather in the 39th annual race that blocked traffic at various downtown intersections.
Toby Gobeil, a participant from Winnipeg, said she actually found the rain refreshing.
“The hills were what bothered me … I got through it with an ‘I just can’t give up’ attitude,” said Gobeil.
Kip Kangogo of Lethbridge, Alta., an Olympic hopeful for the 2012 Games, won the men’s half-marathon, narrowly beating Langley’s Steve Osaduik, a three-time Canadian half-marathon champion.
In a new personal best, Krista Duchene of Brantford, Ont., won the women’s half-marathon.
New this year was a visually impaired (VI) category.
Rose Sarkany, who helped launch the VI category, said she hopes to inspire and encourage others to join her.
“I know these athletes are equal to the task, even with the additional challenge presented by a visual impairment,” Sarkany said in a release.
A cheerleading team, a live band, and numerous friends and family members supported runners at the finish line.
Some cheered, some cried and others just collapsed as volunteers congratulated them and handed out participant medals.
The first Vancouver Marathon was run in 1972, the course being five laps around Stanley Park.
1) Thomas Omwenga, Kenya, 2:16:55
2) Jason Loutitt, Squamish, 2:25:47
3) Graeme Wilson, Vancouver, 2:28:17
1) Emmah Muthoni Kirkuki, Kenya, 2:37:17
2) Sharleen Jackson, Prince George, 2:50:13
3) Suzanne Evans, New Westminster, 2:53:00
1) Kip Kangogo, Lethbridge, Alta., 1:06:33
2) Steve Osaduik, Langley, 1:07:13
3) James Finlayson, Victoria, 1:07:16
1) Krista Duchene, Brantford, Ont., 1:16:40
2) Lisa Harvey, Calgary, 1:19:15
3) Heather Gallagher, Calgary, 1:19:17