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Vancouver marathon officially largest in Canada
The BMO Vancouver Marathon attracted a rumble of 15,000 runners from 50 countries to the downtown core Sunday -- officially making it the largest marathon in Canada.
Registration for this year's race sold out for the first time since its inaugural run in 1972 when a mere 45 entrants ran five loops around Stanley Park.
Forty-one years later, two streams of runners enjoyed two separate routes both beginning at Queen Elizabeth Park, but at different start times. Two-thirds of the runners signed up for the 21-kilometre half marathon, while the remaining athletes doubled that distance in the full marathon.
Gezahgn Eshetu of Ethiopia won the full marathon race with a time of two hours, 21 minutes and 51 seconds.
Vancouverite David Palermo, who ran the Vancouver marathon for the first time, placed seventh at two hours, 36 minutes and 16 seconds.
"I'll just have to put it in the bank and head off to Victoria in the fall for another shot at beating my old man's personal best of 2-28-53," Palermo told CTV News.
Many runners also participated from Streetfront -- an alternative education program at Vancouver's Brittania Secondary School.
The program's goal is to produce marathon runners that are prepared for all facets of life.
"They'll get though it, and if they can stick with it, they'll be good parents, good employees, they'll be good students. They'll do everything you need them to be to be a successful person in society," teacher Trevor Stoke said.
Marathon emcee and Running Room founder John Stanton agrees marathons provide lessons for life.
"It's like life. You take one step at a time and you get to that finish line and enjoy the celebration with a bunch of friends," he said.
The marathon is ranked as one of the top ten marathons worldwide. This year's registration jumped 22 per cent since last year.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Peter Grainger