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'Sudbury Rocks' rocks the downtown core once more

The running shoes were laced, the bibs were pinned and it was a beautiful morning for a race on Sunday as the Sudbury Rocks Race, Run or Walk Marathon returned as an in-person event in the city’s the downtown core.

Sudburians turned out in droves in the city's downtown core to celebrate the Sudbury Rocks marathon returning to in-person racing and to raise money for cancer research. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)The last few years were virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Golly, in March 2020 we saw our world changed and we still hoped that year to be a feet-on-the-ground run, we've had three virtual runs since,” said race founder Vince Perdue.

“(The) 2020 was well-attended from afar, 2021 slightly less, 2022 drastically less so we were wondering what are we doing in 2023. Are we bringing it back, does the community want us to be here? And as you can see, the community was waiting with open arms to have a race downtown again so we are pretty ecstatic."

As of Saturday, they were sitting at somewhere between 1,200 and 1,300 fully paid registrants which was roughly 100 down from 2019.

Perdue told CTV News that for him it is a very personal thing. He lost two people close to him in 2020 including the original founder of the race.

"I never expected to lose my wife in the same year and so the 10k is dedicated to Lise, the whole race is dedicated to Steve and Lise. It's very important to me and it's obviously deep in my heart," he said.

Participants couldn't get over the weather. The temperature was forecasted to hit 30°C later in the afternoon.

Kyle Marcus is Downtown Sudbury’s executive director. Saturday saw Marcus attempt running his first-ever 5 kilometre race.

"It's wonderful to see this amount of families and people and everyone out and enjoying downtown. I know our membership is ready for the influx of people downtown," said Marcus.

"It's phenomenal, all the energy that is out there, the 1,300 participants coming back to downtown to do this race. It's an awesome feeling to see the community getting back together to support such a great cause," said Mayor Paul Lefebvre.

"This is up there, with one of the best years they've ever had."

Among those running were Chantal Giroux and 23 of her closest family members. They were running in honour of her dad Al, a regular half-marathon runner who passed away tragically earlier this year.

"He ran this half marathon for many years in a row… our family got together and had wonderful t-shirts made as a tribute to my dad and walk the 5-K together," she said.

"It's been a fantastic experience, thank you to all those who organized it."

Kyle Hanley won the 5-kilometre race.

"Oh this is fantastic - it's a community event,” said Hanley.

“It gets people motivated with a goal in mind for May to run, gets us all out in the sunshine and having fun.”

The race also drew out some of the more notables or 'celebrities' in the city who came out to help raise awareness and funds for the cause.

For Pure Country 91.7's Bryan Cooper, affectionately called ‘Coop,’ the cause is near and dear to him and his family.

Pure Country's Bryan Cooper ran the 5-kilometre race Saturday. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)"I wanted to cross the line and just support the cause," he said.

"Northern Cancer Foundation particularly, any cancer foundation is personal hit home scenario. My Dad passed away when I was 7-years-old after a short but very tough battle with cancer and so anytime I have an opportunity to take part in an event like this and encourage others to take part and really take an hour out of their day just to show support for an amazing organization like the Northern Cancer Foundation and so I'm really happy to do it.”

Sudbury MPP Jamie West said you could feel the excitement with the event returning to an in-person race.

Sudbury MPP Jamie West competed in the 2023 Sudbury Rocks Race, Run or Walk marathon on May 28/23. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)"It's great to see all the people come together,” said West.

“You know the last two years doing it virtually, I would challenge Coop from Pure Country to try and raise awareness but it wasn't the same, we'd time each other but to see people here and just the happiness of it. I jogged part and had to walk part, there were people who walked it. I watched moms pushing carriages passing me and this is great. The energy you see in the downtown core is awesome."

Organizers said they anticipate when it's all said and done, they will have raised at least $50,000 for the Northern Cancer Foundation.

For more information on this event, visit their Facebook page.

CTV News and Pure Country 91.7 are both owned by Bell Media. Top Stories

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