The Calgary Marathon returned to an in-person format Sunday, as more than 4,200 racers laced up for race day.
"It's been a long road to get here, no pun intended," said Kirsten Fleming, executive director of Run Calgary.
"Even though it looks a lot different with everybody being socially distanced and not being able to high-five people … you could still feel that positive energy of everybody being together again."
She says up to the day of the event there was trepidation about whether or not the race would be able to go forward.
Health measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission — as the province deals with the fourth wave of the pandemic — included staggered start times, mask-wearing and contact-free beverage tables.
Organizers also had fewer people participating, Fleming says there are usually double the amount of participants.
Run Calgary took advice from the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Run Ottawa and the Manitoba Marathon on how to safely have the event happen.
"We've been working towards this day for a little over 16 months. We've been working towards a COVID-safe event because we believe that we're probably going to be doing things differently for a long time."
Justin Kurek crossed the finish line first with a marathon time of 2:33:15, followed by female first-place finisher Lauren Barr with a time of 2:57:09; both are from Calgary.