After the descending down through Lower Mount Royal, marathoners will turn left back onto 17th Ave rejoining the half marathon course a few blocks from where you left them to head south. After a short jaunt to 14th St, the race heads north, through the Beltline, back to the Bow River. A short dip under 9th Ave and a little climb up over the Bow and we are back on the north side of the Bow where we turn right onto Kensington Road and through yet another great neighbourhood. The residents of the trendy inner city neighbourhoods of Hillhurst and Sunnyside, as well as many other Calgarians and visitors, regularly take advantage of the stroll down Kensington to shop, eat and drink in a number of great locations. Heading down the road, on your right as you near in on the turn to Memorial Dr, you will pass the historic Plaza theatre that has served Calgarians for more than 75 years. It still has that serious old school feel! And across the street the Kensington Pub has been a favorite location for a nice post-run pint of Guinness.
Turning right, followed by another quick right and you are on one of the most scenic roads around. For the next 11 km for the marathoners and just over 6 km for the half, you will experience the beauty and energy of Memorial Dr. At this point in the race, you may think you have it tough? Well… Memorial Dr is dedicated to the women and men who sacrificed their lives defending our freedom!
After the First World War, Calgarians planted trees for each fallen soldier of the Great War, creating a living memorial. On May 11, 1922, the first tree was planted on Sunnyside Boulevard (now Memorial Drive). The planting continued through 1928 with and a total of 3,278 poplar trees being planted.
More recently, the City has added a number of features and improvements to both the roadway and the heavily used adjacent bike and running pathway that have made Memorial Dr that much more of a wonderful place to get in a run or a nice relaxing riverside stroll.
After heading west briefly, the half marathoners will make a quick return, marathoners and 50k’ers will continue on to a further turn around point. 50k’ers actually get to enjoy this section of the course twice. This is an area were all participants need to keep an eye out for where their event specific turnaround is. Memorial Dr should have a good party going so have fun but keep your focus!
After the turn around, runners continue back across 10th St heading toward the Centre St Bridge, where you will cross back over to the south side of the Bow. But Along the way you will pass by one of Calgary’s latest visual icons, the Peace Bridge.
(women’s leader at the Peace Bridge)
The Peace Bridge design followed strict requirements with no piers in the water in an effort to minimize the ecological footprint. In what was clearly a fortuitous plan, the bridge opened in 2012 and was designed to withstand Calgary’s one-in-100 year flood cycle… Barrier free, it allows access for people of all mobility types. The Peace Bridge’s unique design also features red and white as used in both the Flag of Canada and the Flag of Calgary.
(after crossing the Bow at Centre – China Town spirit)
At the historic Centre St Bridge, runners turn south on the lower deck of the bridge to make the final crossing of the Bow and into the last 3km of the race. Built in 1916 for $375,000, the Centre Street Bridge was designed with both the upper deck to accommodate vehicles from the top of the escarpment the lower deck for the riverside traffic. The bridge features four large cast concrete lions atop two pairs of ornamental concrete pavilions flanking each end of the bridge modelled after the bronze lions by Landseer at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London. The pavilions are ornamented with symbols of Canada and the United Kingdom: buffalo heads, maple leaves, shamrocks (Ireland), roses (England), and thistles (Scotland).
Now back through the East Village and the return to the Stampede Grounds, on to the finish!