In their first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything online three years ago, the Sudbury Rocks Marathon returned to downtown Sudbury on Sunday.
Not only did it return, but it came back in full force, race director Brent Walker said, noting they brought in approximately 1,500 racers.
This includes approximately 100 kids who ran a one-kilometre race around the block, many of whom with their parents (and in some cases, carried by their parents for at least part of the race).
“We couldn’t be happier with the turnout, the crowd support,” Walker told Sudbury.com. “The energy is electrifying.”
“It is incredibly exciting to be back on the streets of Sudbury,” he said, adding that while the virtual events were nice to have, “you can’t match the energy and enthusiasm and excitement and music and people cheering and clapping, and people walking around with a smile on their faces.”
Vince Perdue co-founded the annual event with Steve Matusch in 2005, and was on hand during Sunday’s event cheering on racers.
Perdue told Sudbury.com he went into this year’s event worried the city had moved on.
The past three years of virtual events saw interest dwindle, from approximately 1,000 registrants in 2020, to 800 in 2021 and only a few hundred people last year.
Sunday’s turnout, however, revealed that people are still eager to participate in-person.
At approximately 1,500 total racers, he said turnout is back to its pre-pandemic level.
The idea to plan the first event in 2005 was sparked by a belief there weren’t enough big events taking place in the Greater Sudbury area.
The region “didn’t appear sports-minded to people looking into us from the outside, and even some people in our community,” Perdue said.
“Our goal was to come downtown and kind of be in the way of people, but not insulting people, so they know people want to have an aerobic event in Sudbury.”
Reflecting on the years leading up to the pandemic, and this weekend’s big return, Perdue considers their mission to have been a success.
The volunteers behind the event are already planning next year’s effort, he said, adding there’s “no question” the event, which requires approximately 300-400 volunteers, continues.
Sudbury Rocks raises funds for the Northern Cancer Foundation. Although organizers have yet to determine how much they’ve raised this year, Walker said they’re hoping to give the charity at least $40,000.
The charity was selected because it’s local, and just about everyone has been affected by cancer in one form or another, “either personally or someone they know and love,” Walker said.
“It’s something that I personally had to experience, and experience the good work the cancer treatment centre does,” he added. “The people that treat you are nothing but first-class people. They treat you with the utmost kindness and respect and treat you as a person going through a journey, and they’re with you every step of the way.”
Top runners in the Equipment North 5 Km Run/Walk
- Ted Hanley (Sudbury), 18:33
- Julian Luoma (Greater Sudbury), 20:33
- Noah Lapierre (Sudbury), 20:34
Top runners in the Perdue Family Lise's 10K Run/Walk
- Nicholas Lambert (Elliot Lake), 36:54
- James Larmer (Sudbury), 44:06
- Todd Withers (Lively), 44:52
Top runners in Steve’s Half Marathon Run/Walk
- Eric Leishman (Lively), 1:14:22
- Dan Whalen (Val Caron), 1:23:04
- Corey McGee (Timmons), 1:25:56
Top runners in the CIS Sudbury Rocks Marathon
- Darcey Brunet (Timmins), 3:05:43
- Danny Brunet (Timmins), 3:05:44
- Scott Rienguette (Val Caron), 3:16:36
For a full collection of results, click here.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.