at the races Inside the Buzz at the Servus Calgary Marathon

Inside the Buzz at the Servus Calgary Marathon

Highlights from the 59th Calgary Marathon at Stampede Park in Calgary, AB on May 28, 2023. (Photo: Dave Holland/Run Calgary)

The oldest Canadian marathon is also, in some ways, its newest. The Servus Calgary Marathon dazzles and morphs every year, maintaining traditions—pristine timing, clockwork execution, roaring crowds and carefully designed courses—while adding elements of surprise and delight. From the 50K race distance addition in 2014 to celebrate the marathon’s fiftieth birthday to the Rocky Mountaineer collaboration in 2017, which gave racers a chance to explore the country in style to applaud Canada’s 150th, the Calgary Marathon remains steeped in tradition while bucking at change.

“Stoke is high amongst participants and we are trending to sell out. I think people know to expect big things from Run Calgary when a special milestone comes around,” says Kirsten Fleming, Servus Calgary Marathon’s Executive Director. “When you sign up for a Run Calgary event, you’re investing in a journey and an experience, not just a race.”

The race this year—offering distances of 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and 60K courses—has an exalted finish line festival area at Enmax Park. Fleming says this is just one of the year’s only-in-Calgary thrills that will delight first-time participants, and give familiar faces something new to enjoy. “Enmax Park makes for a phenomenal post-race party with epic views and an easy way for families to share in the achievements of their loved ones,” Fleming says. “We learned a lot in 2023 and the team has so many fun ideas to really maximize the space to make for one heck of a 60th celebration.”

One thing about this year’s celebration offering up emotion alongside the good times is the community still mourning the passing of founder Doug Kyle, pictured above. Kyle, a two-time Olympian, founded the Calgary Marathon in 1963 and, after winning the first race, was a long-time fixture at the race, manually recording the moments alongside his wife Carol from their finish line folding chairs. “He was proud of what the marathon became, blown away by its success and growth and, of his entire legacy, I think the race was one of his proudest achievements,” says James Kyle, Doug’s grandson, who’s volunteered alongside his father Baub at Canada’s longest running marathon for the past thirteen years. “It mattered so much to him that, through running, which he loved, he was able to touch so many lives.”

Lives change through training and racing, this is a truth that all of us runners know. And the Servus Calgary Marathon has provided a home for great, fast racing longer than any other event in the country. It’s a privilege and an honour to uphold tradition, says Fleming. Additionally, it’s a challenge to do exciting new things. After all, they have a tradition to buck—and uphold.

“We’re an organization that cares deeply about giving our guests an experience that will last a lifetime and while we aren’t going to share all of our secrets, participants should know this is a year in run history, and you won’t want to sit on the sidelines,” Fleming says. “It’s a community celebration of how far we’ve come together and will help mark the next chapter—one where all are invited and welcome and that each individual achievement is celebrated and cheered.”

To register for the Servus Calgary Marathon on May 26, please click here.