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Largest-ever marathon kicks off running season

DSC_0476Forget the commercial space cap, Jasper is quickly racing toward its marathon cap.

The 2017 Jasper Half Marathon drew 845 runners to the mountain town on April 8, about 20 per cent more than last year.

Defending champion, Charly Allan, won the half-marathon with a blistering time of 1:15:28, or 3:35 per kilometre, followed by Mike Trites almost a minute back and Seamus Garland about four minutes behind him. Danielle Thiel, the fastest female, finished fifth at 1:25:03.

Coordinator Trevor Soll said the race’s field was capped at 1,000 and the spike in attendance this year actually created some “good problems to have” for organizers behind the scenes.

Despite it being about 20 degrees cooler than in 2016, it didn’t seem to dampen spirits with a noticeable increase in the number of spectators.

“Last year there were a few people at the finish line but this year, it was jam-packed for two blocks,” Soll said.

Half Marathon06_Evan MatthewsThe undeniable backdrop of the Rockies coupled with Jasper’s enduring small town appeal bode well for the race as the 2018 event comes into focus. Soll said the social media generated by the event and its participants was enough for Canadian Running Magazine to take notice and run a story.

As for local businesses Soll said from what he’s heard it was a successful weekend for them as well.

“The hotels were almost full, the restaurants were packed,” Soll said. “The numbers are going to keep rolling in over the next couple of weeks but the few businesses I’ve talked to are pretty happy.”

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