Runner Keith Parks, 60, crosses the finish with his daughter Victoria Parks (left) and his niece, Justina Parks, holding up the finish-line banner on Sunday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Runner Keith Parks, 60, crosses the finish with his daughter Victoria Parks (left) and his niece, Justina Parks, holding up the finish-line banner on Sunday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Runners complete Boston Marathon in South Surrey

Global pandemic caused the event to go virtual, but the reward of completing it is all the same

Of all the excuses to skip participating in a marathon event, a global pandemic, combined with a smoke-filled sky, is as valid as any.

But a group of runners, including South Surrey’s Keith Parks, didn’t allow anything to get in the way of completing the Boston Marathon virtual event Sunday morning.

It was pitch-dark at 5 a.m. when Parks, Dr. Janet Green from Courtenay, Rick Cooney from Sechelt, and Sherry Mahoney and her husband Jon from Vancouver, kicked off a 106-lap journey at the South Surrey Athletic Park track as part of the event.

Earlier this year, the Boston Athletic Association cancelled the in-person event, and instead presented a virtual run. Participants who registered and paid to enter the virtual event received an official number and were given one week to complete the 26-mile run.

A heavy cloud of smoke on the Semiahmoo Peninsula from Washington State and Oregon wildfires threatened the marathon, but the group agreed that Sunday was the day.

VIDEO: Smoky skies from U.S. wildfires continue to cast a pall over Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley

“I try to go to the Boston Marathon every year because after my first Boston, it was the most awesome, wonderful, special event in the world. I actually said I will keep doing this until the day I die,” Parks said, who has participated in 16 Boston Marathons.

With his daughter Victoria and niece Justina holding the finish-line banner, Parks threw his arms in celebration as he crossed with a time of 3:46:35.

His elated reaction demonstrated that it didn’t matter if only a few family members were in attendance, rather than the usual crowd of 500,000 people who line the route at the annual Boston event.

That level of elation, Parks explained to Peace Arch News shortly after he completed the run, can be experienced by anyone.

“The thing about marathons, when I started running I was given a statistic back in 1996, which was of everybody who runs in the world, one per cent will do a marathon… I’m getting emotional,” Parks said, still catching his breath. “Of that one per cent, one to two per cent will do a second. Most people say they will never, ever do that again, or they will say I can do anything now.”

“You learn that the body is an incredible machine, and if you just train it and treat it right, it will do great things for you.”

The runners he participated with are from an international group called Marathon Maniacs.

In total, Parks has completed 152 marathons, while Jon has completed 559, Sherry 290, and Cooney 181. Green holds the Canadian record for the most marathons completed by a woman with 444 under her belt.

While Parks finished with a time of 3:46:35, Cooney finished with a time of 4:31:15, Green with 4:45:02, Jon with 5:12:32 and Sherry with 4:58:29.

When asked how the smoke from Sunday’s run affected him, Parks said “I’ll find out tomorrow.”

Peninsula Runners

A day prior to the Marathon Maniacs run, a group of athletes from Peninsula Runners held their own virtual Boston Marathon event in the Semiahmoo Peninsula. Some of those runners were at the track early Sunday morning cheering on the Marathon Maniacs.

Starting at Ocean Park, the loop course – which had to be completed four times – took seven runners through Amble Green Drive and back west down 16 Avenue, ending in Kwomais Park.

South Surrey’s John Martin finished with a time of 3:56, Mark Mori finished at 4:04, Cathy Giles 3:32, Norm Dods 3:27, Brian Whitehead 3:41, and Bill Li with 4:14. White Rock’s Janet Weber finished with a time of 4:10. The race was directed by Anna Matheson from Delta.

SurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Judy and Ken Reid share a smile at Peace Arch Hospital in 2018. Judy raised concerns last month about how the COVID-19 vaccine would be rolled out. Now, she says no one is telling residents or families when they will start to see restrictions ease. (Contributed photo)
Timeline for reduced restrictions in long-term care a concern for spouse of South Surrey senior

‘We’re not yet at that point,’ says provincial health officer

Gurinder Mann. (Submitted photo)
Surrey man receives prestigious restorative justice award

East Newton resident Gurinder Mann one of five to receive a Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award

TEASE PHOTO: Teens at the Bumpers dance club in Whalley in the 1980s, in a photo posted to the "Bumpers / The Zone OFFICIAL Party Page" on Facebook.com.
SURREY NOW & THEN: Bumpers and other teen dance clubs were big in the 1980s

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events

Delta View Care Centre (Google Street View image)
COVID-19 outbreak over at Delta long-term care facility, says Fraser Health

Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre outbreak first declared on Nov. 1, 2020

Johnston Heights Secondary in Surrey. (Image: Google Street View)
Surrey school district getting second International Baccalaureate diploma program

New program to start at Johnston Heights in September

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read