Albertan wins Edge-to-Edge Marathon in Ucluelet

Aaron Baldwin ran a marathon for the first time on Sunday; he also won a marathon for the first time on Sunday.

Baldwin, a 32 year-old WestJet employee from Calgary, took first place in Ucluelet’s Edge-to-Edge Marathon by finishing the 42-kilometre race in 3 hours and 46 seconds.

Vancouver’s Hjalmar Kristiansen, who won both the 2013 and 2014 Edge-to-Edge crowns, narrowly missed out on a three-peat as he finished second with a time of 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 2 seconds.

Baldwin told the Westerly News after the race that he had run about five half-marathons but had never taken on a full one before and had never participated in an Edge-to-Edge event despite being a frequent visitor to the West Coast.

 â€œWe try to come out every few weeks so it’s like a second home here,” he said. “It seemed like a good place to run my first marathon.”

He said he felt strong at the start of the race but fatigue set in around the 25-kilometre mark

 â€œIt is a really tough course, there’s lots of rolling hills and going through the trails will do you in pretty good, especially the second set of trails; that definitely hurt the legs a little bit,” he said.

“When I did the turnaround I saw I had quite a bit of a lead on the next guy, so I felt I could ease back a little bit and not push it…I was just hoping he wouldn’t catch up until the end.”

Baldwin was unsure how far he was from the finish line when he turned the course’s last corner and saw his family cheering him in.

 â€œI was super happy. It gave me the boost to sprint across the finish line instead of crawl,” he said.

“I was feeling kind of tired and I wasn’t sure where the finish line was but when I ran around the corner I saw them all cheering so I was able to sprint through the finish.”

Ucluelet local Danny Osborne, 18, took top prize in the half-marathon’s Under-20 division and placed seventh overall.

It was the third time Osborne has run the Edge-to-Edge’s half-marathon and he finished with a personal best: 1 hour, 43 minutes and 16 seconds.

“Third time’s the charm I guess because this one has been the best so far with time and placement,” he said. “This is definitely one of the best years by far with the organization and all the spirit that’s been out this year.”

He said the volunteers and community members who were cheering the runners on helped boost the event’s positive and lively ambience.

“They’re really the ones that help tie it together and make it such a popular event,” he said. “It really gives you energy, having everyone cheer you on along the way.”

First time race coordinator Sally Mole told the Westerly on Monday that she was delighted with how the event came through and she attributed its success to the community’s support.

“I was approaching the event with some trepidation. It’s a huge responsibility and very much a big learning curve, but I was really overwhelmed at how the community pulled together and just made things happen,” she said.

“It was incredibly inspiring for me to see the community pull together like that…It was just an all around good showing of community support and teamwork and it was a bit overwhelming for me actually to watch it all come together in a hugely good way.”

She said the community spirit Ucluelet consistently shows during the day of, and lead up to, the marathon motivates runners to keep coming back.

“We’re known out there as friendly-Ucluelet and one of the feedbacks I’ve had from participants is how friendly people were,” she said.

“Everyone was smiling, everyone was helpful; it just makes us look really good and makes us live up to that friendly-Ucluelet reputation.”

She said the marathon’s race committee will debrief in the coming days and hash out strategies for making next year’s race even better.

“I’m toying with a few different ideas of how to get feedback from volunteers,” she said.

“Obviously we’ve all made little notes about what to tweak and what to look at. There’s been some great ideas floated out there so I think we need to bring that altogether and really embrace the feedback from everyone who was involved…there’s lots of knowledge out there to tap.”

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca