Vanderhoof runners to Thanksgivng marathons

Braving stormy weekend forecasts, five Vanderhoof athletes competed in half and full marathons in Kelowna and Victoria on Oct. 11.

From left to right: Chris Sutton

While some might be tucking turkey legs into baking trays last Sunday morning, others stretched their legs for long distances in B.C.’s warmer parts.

Braving stormy weekend forecasts — and perhaps heavy stomachs for some — five runners from Vanderhoof competed in half and full marathons through Kelowna’s orchards and Victoria’s streets on Oct. 11.

For Chris Sutton and Debbie Stephen, the Thanksgiving run in Kelowna will be their very first marathon — at 42.2 km.

As part of the cross-country club in high school, Sutton had returned to running over three years ago, completing his first half-marathon last year.

He said running has improved his life in a thousand ways, as he had weighed between 200 to 210 lbs when he started again in 2012. “I don’t get sick as much anymore, more energy in the morning, [helped] my confidence and self-worth,” Sutton said, adding his eating habits has changed as well by cutting alcohol and having a proper diet.

Though it was Debbie Stephen’s first marathon, she had ran four half marathons in the past in Surrey and Kelowna.

“I’m quite nervous about it,” Stephen said, as her training process was only up to 32km. “After that, it’s mental.”

Stephen had first started running 10 years ago around Riverside Park, a mere distance of 1.2 km where she “almost died.”

Having health issues at that time, she realized she really needed to start exercising. “It’s a great way to stay healthy.”

Competing in the full and half marathon in Victoria respectively, Wanda and Brian Nemethy had just qualified for the Boston Marathon next spring — an event that would be celebrating its 119th anniversary and required qualification times eight months in advance.

Brian had qualified with the Vancouver Marathon in May. “Since then I have been injured, but my whole body is getting better,” he said.

Having competed in two ironman events, Wanda will focus on body monitoring. “Things can happen so differently with half-marathon.”

At his seventh half-marathon, Orrin Milne will be focussing on having fun. “I just look forward to it; I can do it right.”