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Runners battle the elements as Calgary Marathon celebrates 60 years

More than 13,000 runners took to the streets throughout the city on Sunday for the annual Calgary Marathon.

The marathon has been a tradition in Calgary for 60 years – with the first race taking place in 1963.

The race got off to a favourable start early in the morning, but rain eventually rolled in.

“Obviously, weather puts a little damper on things but, hey, we’re here for it and it’s Calgary and we’re tough runners and we can make the best out of anything,” Kirsten Fleming, the executive director of Run Calgary, who organized the race, said.

The race offered several distances, including a 60-kilometre ultra, 42.2-kilometre marathon, 21.1-kilometre half-marathon, 10-kilometre, five-kilometre family run and walk and 1.2-kilometre kids’ marathon.

In total, there were 13,600 runners – the largest field in the past 10 years.

Fleming said 35 per cent of the runners participating were new to racing.

“Running is on the rise globally,” she said.

“But today a lot of people went out and ran their very first race, and we want to congratulate each and every one of them.”

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the race, a 60-kilometre ultra marathon distance was added for this year only.

Tyler McDonough, from Calgary, won the long-distance race, finishing in four hours and 12 minutes.

“It’s super cool, I’m a Calgary guy born and raised, it’s really fun to be here supporting what’s an awesome tradition in the city,” McDonough said.

“Looking forward to the 70th anniversary to do 70 (kilometres).”

This was the first ultra-marathon he’s participated in. He said he was looking for a challenge and trains on the route the race was held.

“It’s cool to be able to be able to come out and have a good effort like that in your own backyard,” he said.

Jordan Clay won the marathon distance. Originally from London, England, Clay has been in Canada for the past six months.

“It’s nice to travel around and do different races whilst I’m here, it was pretty cool to win, I wasn’t expecting that,” he said.

This was Clay’s first major city marathon win. He said he wanted to do the race to see Calgary because he’s never been here before – but winning was a nice bonus.

“It’s quite surreal,” he added.

“I saw the times from last year and I thought, ‘It could be possible, you never know who’s going to turn up.’”

The race also serves as a fundraising opportunity for 109 charities.

The Servus Charity Challenge, the fundraising arm of the marathon, set a goal to raise $800,000 this year, to reach the $10 million mark since the charity’s inception.

From the inaugural diaper dash that was held on Saturday through to the marathon on Sunday, Fleming said the ages of participants ranged from 11 months old to 88 years.

With files from CTV News Calgary’s Tyler Barrow

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