The last Queen City Marathon (QCM) to take place in-person holds a special place in Jan Steenkamp’s heart.
It was there in 2019 that the 58-year-old ran his 100th marathon.
It was a milestone that took him just six years to accomplish and one that made the two years he’s had to wait for another in-person QCM, for lack of a better word, exhausting.
“It was devastating,” Steenkamp said of losing the in-person marathon experience both in Regina and abroad.
“We were used to doing 10-12 marathons a year and then all of a sudden it all just shut down.”
But the mood among those in Regina’s running community is a bit more upbeat this week.
The Queen City Marathon is back for a weekend full of in-person races, with events taking place from Sept. 8 to 15, and Steenkamp is more than ready to get back on track.
“The people I’ve spoken to, they’re all excited, they can’t wait, they’re looking forward to it, for some people it will even be their first marathon,” Steenkamp said.
The race won’t look completely normal, though.
Several precautions have been put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Among them are a mask requirement at the start and finish lines, and what race organizers are calling a “modified pulse start” so that runners begin in small groups as opposed to all at once.
But still, Race Director Shawn Weimer said the in-person experience is a long time coming for those who signed up.
“Nothing is quite the same as coming back together collectively and celebrating, and experiencing it with the other runners out there on the course,” Weimer said.
Read more: Returning to in-person racing in Regina
Meanwhile Steenkamp, whose 200th marathon finish line is now a little bit closer, has a few tips for those whose 2021 Queen City Marathon may be their first.
“It’s your race, your pace. Take your time, do what you trained for and just enjoy the experience,” he said.
“If it’s your first race it’s going to be your personal best so don’t worry about getting out fast or anything. Just enjoy it.”
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