Crocs Canada Winter Gifts 2011

Amherstburg "boutique" marathon (con't)

Boutique marathons with participants numbering only 4000 or 5000 runners compared to the tens of thousands that enter marathons in cities like Detroit, Toronto or Chicago.

“I think there’s a tremendous market out there for boutique small town marathons,” Uszynski says.

“I mean you can run Chicago with 50,000 of your best friends or New York but what’s the point?” he says.

”Those are always fun once, but to run marathons that size is a real pain.”

Uszynski says running by nature is a “solitary” sport.

But “when you’re lining up in the starting block with 35,000 people and you’re doing a wave start it’s like ‘ahhh!’

“I think there’s a real big need out there” for smaller, more manageable runs.

His solution is small town or rural marathons that limit the number of participants and provide a beautiful natural setting.

The Amherstburg run is the perfect model.

“What we’re offering is like a limit of only 4000 runners, a flat course, good crowd support, good amenities, a little bit of history,” he said.

While more than 600 participated in last September’s run it’s hoped 4000 will register for the 2012 run when the Alzheimer marathon will be teamed with a celebration of the War of 1812 and a special runner’s medal commemorating the event.

Amherstburg and Essex County figured prominently in the War of 1812 and the marathon will celebrate “two hundred years of friendship and peace” between Canada and the United States, says the run web site.

The official name is the World Alzheimer's Day 'Run for Heroes' Marathon.

And the goal is to be the “largest ‘small town’ marathon” with a maximum of 4000 runners.

Uszynski is ecstatic about the marathon – and shorter competitions such as the half marathon - potential because of the “stunning” course, which has a route that goes alongside bucolic wetlands, the Detroit River, and through Amherstburg’s old town and historic Fort Malden.

The run is also only one of 12 in Canada that qualifies for the Boston Marathon.

Uszynski had the course officially measured and certified.

He lauded the potential of Essex County as an ideal spot for running because of the extraordinarily flat terrain.

He said surveys of runners who participated in the Alzheimer run last September showed that people loved how “gorgeous” the area was.

The fact the route was so flat meant than 51 per cent of participants had personal bests.

The course only varies in height 31 feet.

Even Uszynski’s website accentuates this ideal running terrain.

It’s called

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