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Posted: May 7, 2018:  

Athletics: Watson, Zheng, Towett, Wodak: Champions at this year's record-breaking BMO Vancouver Marathon

Vancouver, BC: May 6, 2018 - A record-breaking number of runners registered for this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon as the event broke the 17,000 mark for the first time in history. What started as 32 finishers completing five laps around Stanley Park has grown into a world-class event with runners from nearly 65 countries.

Local Robin Watson (CAN) took home Marathon gold with a time of 2:27:38, as well as the top spot in the BC Marathon Championship in conjunction with BC Athletics. Watson’s win bookends his 2015 Half Marathon title at the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

"It’s nice to have that double," says Watson. "It was a really nice 30KM and a really hard 12KM today, but I’m happy I pulled it off. It’s a great event, and I’m happy to be able to take the win."

Canada took the top five spots in the men’s Marathon, with last year’s Top Canadian Mike Trites finishing in second, followed by Robert Brouillette, Ed McCarthy and Craig McMillan.

21-year old Zhiling Zheng (CHN) became the first-ever Chinese runner to win the BMO Vancouver Marathon, crossing the Finish Line well ahead of her competition at 2:43:50.

"This is the most exciting course I’ve ever been on," says Zheng, through a translator. The 21-year-old, was also the Shanghai International Marathon’s Top Chinese Woman this year. Margarita Quintero (MEX) finished second, followed by multi-time Top 5 finisher Catrin Jones (CAN).

In the Half Marathon, it was Olympian Natasha Wodak (CAN) who took home her fourth win in a time of 1:14:01, with Course Record Holder Jane Murage not far behind at 1:16:39. Wodak just came off a five-place finish at the Commonwealth Games last month, and was a late addition to the elite field.

"It always seems to be a beautiful day on BMO Vancouver Marathon weekend so I couldn’t help myself, I had to run," shares Wodak. "The energy here is so great and everyone’s out there having fun. I’m happy to be here, and I was fortunate enough to come out with a win against some stellar girls."

On the men’s Half Marathon side, George Towett (KEN) crossed first in 1:04:03. Daniel Kipkoech (KEN), who swapped distances after winning the Marathon the last two years, finished second in 1:06:40, ahead of local elite Anthony Tomsich (USA) and defending champ Kip Kangogo (CAN).

15-year old Maya Kobylanski won the women’s 8KM with a fast time of 33:35, while Jeppe Harboe topped all runners with a time of 27:19 in the sold-out 8KM.

"I was completely surprised," says Kobylanski. "I was with another woman for part of it, and then I passed her, but I did not expect that would put me in first."

FSRC Record Breakers won the Relay race in 2:45:12. The team crossed the Finish Line together, and are the defending champions after posting 2:35:57 last year.

A marriage proposal also occurred right after the Finish Line between locals Connor Hasegawa and Chantelle Adamson. Adamson, who ran the Half Marathon earlier in the day, met with Hasegawa at the Finish Line to present him with his medal after winning a ‘random’ draw to get into the event’s Prestige Club presented by Porsche.

"Running is not her favourite sport but she did it for me," adds Hasegawa, who carried a ring with him the entire 42.2KM to surprise his girlfriend. "This just seemed like an amazing opportunity to propose."

The BMO Vancouver Marathon is well-known for its scenic views, and has been named a ‘Top Destination Marathon’ by the likes of Forbes, CNN, and USA Today. Locally, it is voted Vancouver’s Best Race by the Georgia Straight.

Organized by the local non-profit Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN®, the BMO Vancouver Marathon relies on the support of nearly 4,000 volunteers annually.

Community Challenge presented by Chevron awards will be announced shortly, rewarding community groups and fans who came out on race day to cheer.

"What a celebration of community and sport," adds Eric Chéné, Race Director of RUNVAN®. "Thanks to the 17,000 runners who RSVP’d to our party. Vancouver was really on our side today, with the warm weather and all the spectators that came out to cheer on our record number of runners."

"Thank you to the nearly 4,000 volunteers, community stakeholders, and all those who make Vancouver’s only Marathon a true success and world-class race for runners from around the world."

About the BMO Vancouver Marathon

The BMO Vancouver Marathon features races for everyone with Vancouver’s only marathon, a fast Half Marathon, 8KM race, Relay, and Kids Run. Recognized by Forbes, CNN, USA Today and others as one of the world’s top destination marathons, the event is renowned for its unique scenic views including snow-capped mountain ranges, cherry blossom trees, and 70% shoreline views. Race Day: May 6, 2018.

About the Vancouver International Marathon Society

The Vancouver International Marathon Society RUNVAN® is the non-profit organization responsible for the BMO Vancouver Marathon, Granville Island Turkey Trot, and Fall Classic Run at UBC. The Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and delivers running events with a mandate to inspire healthy living, and to celebrate the value that sport delivers to our communities.

About the title sponsor, BMO Financial Group

Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $710 billion as of October 31, 2017, and more than 45,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

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