It took months of planning, but hundreds of runners showed up on Sunday to take part in the first in-person version of the Saskatchewan Marathon since the pandemic began two years ago, and organizers were pleased.
"Things went remarkably well," said race director Kim Ali. "We were so excited to get everyone together."
Ali said that 865 adult runners registered for in-person races this year, with a further 900 children entered in the MaraFun two-kilometre race.
While the numbers fell short of the record number of participants who ran in the 2019 marathon, she's grateful that people came out to participate.
"We certainly met and exceeded our goals from our predictions," she said.
Race organizers decided to continue its virtual race program as well. In the program, people can register for a racing package that allows them to compete in runs without having to deal with crowds.
"Some people are ready to race in-person and some people aren't," she said. "And I think we're going to need to accommodate that."
Anyone interested in running the virtual races will have until June 30 to complete their runs.
Those who braved the crowds were impressed with how the event unfolded.
Prabhjot Singh travelled from Edmonton to compete in the 10-kilometre race after he was invited to Saskatoon by a friend.
This was the first time Singh had ever competed in an organized race, and he says he would do it again.
"For the last two weeks, I've just been preparing at the gym, just running on the treadmill for five, six kilometres," he said. "I was hoping to finish the 10K race in under 60 minutes, and I did it in 57 minutes, so I'm pumped."
Singh's friend, Prateek Bawa, who began running in road races when he lived in India, says it's a great way to stay in shape.
"It keeps me motivated," he said. "I feel very positive when I'm running, when I have my earphones on and my music so it keeps me very positive and motivated."