— St. John Ambulance (@SJA_KW) April 30, 2018
To celebrate its 20th anniversary yesterday, the Waterloo Marathon and Ed Whitlock Half Marathon in Waterloo, Ont. partnered with Achilles Canada and United in Stride, welcoming a new visually impaired category as well as a high school relay team category for the first time. The races took place amid sunny skies, cool temperatures and a brisk wind.
There were several VIPs on hand to help celebrate: Ottawa’s Jason Dunkerley, third-place finisher in the visually impaired division at the Boston Marathon, local ultramarathoner and accessibility advocate Rhonda-Marie Parke, and Clive Whitlock, son of Ed Whitlock, who died last year of prostate cancer. Whitlock (senior), who famously holds numerous age group records, broke the age group world record in the half marathon here in 2016 at age 85 with a time of 1:47. The half marathon has been renamed in his honour.
Dunkerley has participated in five Paralympics, medalling in each one.
Parke, who has eight per cent vision, is training for The Last Annual Vol State, a 505K ultramarathon in Tennessee in July, where she will run without an assistive guide, to raise awareness of accessibility issues for differently-abled athletes. She and husband Steven Parke met through running and were married after the Maritime Race Weekend Tidal 15K last September, in their race gear. Both ran yesterday’s marathon.
The full marathon was won by Teresa Fekensa of Toronto, Ont., in 2:58:38.
The winner of the half-marathon was Brendan Hancock of New Hamburg, Ont., in 1:17:32. Allison Prowse of Kitchener, Ont. was the first female to cross the finish line, in 1:29:59.
Four local high schools sent relay teams to the half-marathon, which was won by St. Benedict Catholic high school in 1:36:08.
Hosted by the St. John Ambulance, race proceeds went to the organization’s K-W Home Caregiver Support Program.