One of the first interviews I wrote on this blog was with Sandi Heal for the Royal Victoria Marathon.
We’re comming back on the Vancouver Island in British Colombia – Canada to learn a little more about the Edge to Edge Marathon. Danielle Stothers kindly accepted to answer my questions.
Danielle is working for the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce as the Special Events Coordinator focusing primarily on the Edge to Edge Marathon. She arrived in Ucluelet 3 years ago, coming from Ontario and fell in love with the scenery and local charm of the area. She is also passionate about the outdoors, fitness and community.
The marathon starts in the small town of Tofino and ends in the small town of Ucluelet. A perfect 42.2 km apart from each other through the beautiful Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
You will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year. Why was it created in the first place and how has it evolved during the past years?
2009 is our 10th anniversary and we have come along way with this race. It all started with locals tossing the idea back and forth for some time and in 2000 the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce received a millennium grant to help with the start up costs, marketing etc.
The race was created to introduce a healthy, active event to the west coast that both Tofino & Ucluelet could share. It is a sport tourism event for the area and is considered a destination run for many runners. Locals on the west coast take a great deal of pride into this event and we have almost 300 volunteers who come out and help put on this massive event.
The race has since grown from 250 runners to almost 800. The 5 person Team Relay has always been an early sell out at 60 teams, and in 2006 the half marathon course was introduced. Last year we sold out of half marathon spots and are opening it up to 400 runners in 2009. The Edge to Edge is a fun and true west coast event; hopefully that will never change.
This beach is nice hard packed sand with views of the open Pacific ocean, a true highlight for most participants. After the beach they head back to the road where they run through the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Old growth rainforest trees and a few glimpses of the Pacific Ocean make this the ultimate scenic marathon.
Once out of the Park runners are now headed towards Ucluelet along the paved bike path. Water Stations, traffic control and first aid volunteers are set up along the way cheering runners on, ensuring the safety of each and every runner and providing water, energy gels or first aid if needed. The marathon ends in the quaint downtown harbour of Ucluelet. Post race food and celebrations follow.
How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
In 2009 we are expecting 800+ runners. The race usually attracts experienced runners who consider this race a “destination marathon”; one to see and check off their list once accomplished.
Corporate teams or groups of friends take the relay challenge just for fun. Also, Vancouver Island has a very large and enthusiastic running population. A large percentage of runners come from the Island either returning from the previous year or after hearing from a friend how challenging and rewarding it is.
100% of participants surveyed said they would return to the Edge to Edge in the future.
Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?
The Half Marathon is 21.2 km, also Sunday, June 14th, 2009.
The Relay is a 5 person relay totally 42.2 km. each leg is approx. 8-14 km in length.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
The weather on the west coast can be very unpredictable. In June the weather is typically warming up (15-20 C) but the chance of rain is always prevalent.
The West Coast can be very rainy and foggy at times and this means cold, damp conditions for running. In 2008 we had near perfect weather with light rain in the morning and sun in the afternoon making it not too hot or too cold for participants and volunteers comfort. We tell runners to be prepared for rain, sun, hot and cold.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
On the Saturday prior to the event we have a Carbo-Load dinner for the runners. We have local sponsors BBQ fresh salmon, cook heaps of spaghetti with homemade sauce, fresh salads, refreshments and the fabulous table of home made desserts made entirely by our community.
There is live music, a loonie/toonie draw and great door prizes.
Post-race there is the awards ceremony and possibly in 2009 a post race street party to celebrate the 10th anniversary with more live music, food and prizes.
The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Tofino before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
Each runner receives their race information with local maps, a “Where to Eat” flyer and brochures from local tourist providers.
That being said, I would recommend everyone take some time in the National Park- hiking, running, surfing, bird watching etc. It is endless with possibilities- don’t forget your camera!
Also, enjoy some local fresh seafood; both Tofino & Ucluelet sell local seafood either for you too cook yourself or in one of the many fabulous restaurants on the West Coast- salmon, halibut, prawns, oysters, crab etc. Not to be missed!
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of 42k195 to make them register for the Edge to Edge Marathon?
The E2E is the ultimate scenic race, a very challenging test of endurance with limited registration not to be missed by true adventure enthusiasts.
Thank you Danielle
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