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BMO Vancouver Marathon

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2012 Vancouver Marathon

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.”-Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist

The BMO Vancouver Marathon is an annual race held on the first Sunday of May each year in Vancouver, British Columbia. As the largest international marathon event in Canada, it has a certified running distance of 26 miles and 385 yards long. The marathon is certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations and Association of International Marathons and Distance Races as a qualifying marathon race.

The race began in 1972 when a group of 46 runners ran five loops around Stanley Park to complete the first Vancouver International Marathon, formerly known as Lions Gate Road Runners International Marathon. The marathon grew to 300 participants in 1977, but suffered a setback in 1976 when a participant, Dr Leslie Truelove, collapsed mid-race and died due to an aneurysm. In Truelove’s memory, the Dr Leslie Truelove Memorial Trophy has since been awarded to the first male finisher in the 50+ age category.

In 1983, the race became known as the “Long Marathon” after runners were misdirected during its running, adding an extra 561 yards to the race. There are two options for runners: the Full Marathon at 42 kilometres, and a Half Marathon at 21 kilometres. The Full Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifying event.

The marathon’s current title sponsor is BMO Bank of Montreal. The event is hosted by the Vancouver International Marathon Society, a non-profit organization managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and Society staff. Each year, it takes approximately 1800 volunteers to run the marathon. Volunteers assist in areas such as food services, medical stations, set-up and take down, water stations, and the awarding of shirts and medals to runners.

All participants use a staggered time system to ensure timing accuracy. Various safety officials are positioned along the race course, including paramedics and amateur radio operators from the Vancouver Emergency Community Telecommunications Organization.

The award ceremonies are held on race day, with cash prizes presented to the top three male and female full and half marathon runners, and merchandise awarded to the fastest relay team.

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