Marathon With Some Interesting Challenges

Teens Stroller Pushed By Running Father

Mississauga’s first race lauded by participants

Mike Funston, Staff reporter
Toronto Star, May 17, 2004

Just walking 42.2 kilometres would be a major challenge for most people, but Mark Collis ran that distance while pushing his teenage daughter in a stroller yesterday at the inaugural Mississauga Marathon

Collis, 46, of Burlington, and Amanda, 18, who is mentally and physically challenged with cerebral palsy, were among 5,600 registered competitors in the marathon a 21.1-kilometre half-marathon, a 10-kilometre run and a 2-kilometre family run held under what organizers described as perfect weather conditions.

The marathon and half-marathon were officially started by Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion at the civic centre on Burnhamthorpe Rd., west of Hurontario St., and ended at Lakefront Promenade Park. McCallion, 83, even ran a short distance herself before taking a ride to greet competitors at the finish.

For Collis, a veteran of 14 marathons, this event was a special event because it was his first with Amanda, who has accompanied him on shorter runs before. A member of the Burlington Running Club, Collis decided to take Amanda with him on a training run four years ago and she’s been hooked on the sport ever since.

Judging by the wide smile on her face at the finish line, Amanda’s first marathon with her dad was just as special for her.

“We were doing okay until the halfway mark and then I conked out a little bit. It was tough sledding coming in for the finish, but we did it. I knew we would,” said Collis.

The pair finished in about 3 hours, 40 minutes, well ahead of many others in the field.

Axel Doerwald, 41 of Burlington, also faced a big challenge for his race, the half-marathon. He was the only competitor to do it in a wheelchair, in just over two hours.

Despite sore arms, Doerwald said he felt good after completing his first half-marathon. He had been training since Christmas. He became a paraplegic four hears ago after falling off a cliff while hiking on the Bruce Trail, he said.

Shingirai Badza, 30, originally from Zimbabwe, captured the men’s marathon in 2:24:37.5, 23 seconds faster than Kennedy Ondimu, 29 of Kenya. Torontos Charles Bedley finished third in 2:27:57.9.

“Good course. Very fast,” Badza said after the race. The women’s marathon winner was Martie Dunning of Georgetown, who finished in a time of 3:02:38.6 with Nadiya Sytarchuk of Thornhill second in 3:08:42.1 and Nancy Chong of Midhurst third in 3:11:53.5.

Sponsored by Canon and organized by the Landmark Sports Group Inc., more than 600 volunteers helped make it a success said Landmarks Elliott Kerr.

“We said if we got to 3,000 in the first year wed consider it a success, and we got double that,” said Kerr. “Its just blown us away.”