David MacLennan had a time in mind, but in the end he was just happy to take the win.
The 54-year-old Scotsburn, N.S., resident was first across the line in the 15th annual Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax, breaking the tape in 2:50:10. It was MacLennan's fifth time winning the race, which is a record for the marathon.
It rained on and off throughout the race, but MacLennan and others said they didn't mind — the rain helped keep them cool and the wind was mostly to the side. For MacLennan, the bigger issue on the day was physical.
"I started out with a tight hamstring and I tried to go at the pace I wanted to go early and then I had to cut it back and go at a pace my leg wanted to go at," he said.
The course has changed from the years of MacLennan's previous wins in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009, a change he said is "much more runner friendly" because there are fewer hills.
Despite those changes, Sarah Latonas still noticed the hills.
In her first time running the Blue Nose, the Calgary resident was the top woman finisher with a time of 3:22:21.
Latonas said the course was "beautiful."
"Really hilly, but really scenic," she said.
Like MacLennan, Latonas didn't mind the weather, especially having the reference point of having run the Boston Marathon a few weeks ago, where conditions were particularly challenging this year.
More than 300 people took part in the marathon, with thousands more taking part in other distances on Sunday, including a half-marathon, the 10K, the 15K and team relay events, as well as family-focused events on Saturday. The Halifax run has always billed itself as the people's marathon, and Sunday was no different.
Emotions were high for many people as they crossed the finish line and a sense of accomplishment set in.
Jessica Major of Isle Aux Morts, N.L., was in tears as she completed the 10K, her first-ever race. She called it the "most emotional moment of my life."
"In March, I had never run no more than a minute in my life."
Inspired by her aunt, Major joined Team Myles, a program that helps newcomers to running prepare for the event.
"She encouraged me to get out and do it and I can't thank her enough for getting me out there," said Major.
After three months of training with the group, Major was ready for Sunday.
"I was able to run the entire 10-kilometre course," she said.
If Major was the definition of a race-day rookie, Patrick Charlebois may be the definition of a veteran.
The Quebec resident was running his second marathon in as many days, part of a plan to run 10 marathons in 10 days in 10 provinces.
Charlebois said he draws inspiration from the story of Terry Fox and wants to help keep Fox's legacy alive.
"It reminds people that to give to cancer research is very important," said Charlebois.
He had lots of praise for the volunteers and people who showed up along the course.
"That made a big difference," he said. "They had the tough job today, not the runners."