The Thunder Bay Marathon is a prime opportunity to show off what the city has to offer and bring in some tourism dollars along the way, say event organizers.
Barry Streib, president and chair of the Thunder Bay Marathon: Miles with the Giant, said the race weekend serves as a significant tourist event for the city.
“We wanted runners to come into our community and see what we had to offer for the world,” he said on Sunday during the running of the event. “It’s a showcase, but it creates some economic development and some tourism. Our restaurants and retail services are impacted by that, so when we have a lot of runners come in we’re looking at about $800,000 coming into our community, which is significant for the weekend.”
Since its inception, the race has promoted itself as a competitive fall marathon, and has sought elite level athletes.
This year was no exception, as Evans Maiko Momanyi, a Kenyan runner based out of Hamilton, claimed the marathon crown. He bested two-time defending champion Gilbert Kiptoo, who has participated in every year of the race since its inaugural edition in 2010.
Six elite athletes were specifically extended invitations and elected to attend, not to mention other runners that decided to come to Thunder Bay.
One of those was Aimie Shaw of Seattle, who was the women’s 10-kilometre winner and finished fourth overall.
“That’s the whole point of what we did when we got this race started,” Streib said, who added that registrants ranged not only from Kenya, but to all around the United States and Canada.
“It’s exciting to see that. It’s nice to have that elite runner part of our event.”
This year’s festivities drew nearly 1,000 entrants to compete in the event, which was composed of the marathon, half-marathon, 10-kilometre, 5-kilometre and marathon relay.
Spectators also filled the Prince Arthur Landing to cheer on their friends and family, and along with volunteers lined the course to provide morale support.
“We’re happy with the total,” Streib said of this year’s registration. “It almost matches last year and we’re in a good position to continue to improve and grow this event.”
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