Ken MacAlpine of Waterloo felt vindicated Saturday as he returned to his usual position as the first finisher of the annual Marden Marathon half-marathon race.
"This makes up for last year," MacAlpine said minutes after he won the event that started and finished at the Royal Distributing Athletic Performance Centre on a cold and windy morning. "Last year just wasn't a good year here. It started off as a good year, but sort of tapered off. This year hopefully things are going the right direction again."
He won the feature event of the Marden race, his first competition of the year, in a time of one hour, 18 minutes and 58.3 seconds to finish just over a minute and a half ahead of runner-up Barry Dalton of Milton. Dalton had won last year with MacAlpine second.
"For that wind that was out there today, it felt good," he said. "It was about what I thought I was running. I thought I was running about 1:18 or 1:19 and that should set me up well for Vancouver in three weeks."
MacAlpine is entered in the BMO Vancouver Marathon which is set for May 1.
"I'm hoping to run 2:44 or 2:45 there," he said.
This year MacAlpine has changed his training routine a bit as he's added distance to his workouts at the expense of speed work. That's helped him stay healthy and able to compete.
While it was a blustery day, the wind had a bigger bearing on the individual performances than the temperature.
"The cold, you have to dress a little warmer and maybe carry a little more clothes, but it was the wind," he said. "If we didn't have the wind, it would probably be shorts and a T-shirt for me."
MacAlpine, who scored his third win in four years as he was also victorious in 2013 and 2014, raced with a jacket, toque and leggings this year.
The race is an out-and-back event that features a nine-kilometre run to the north after the competitors start with a run of a kilometre and a half to the west. The run north was the toughest segment as it went straight into the wind.
"The last kilometre and a half coming back seemed to be in the wind again, it was kind of a side wind, but you were pushing it a little bit," he said. "But it's the same for everybody."
Top female finisher was Danica Metcalfe of Hanover who was 17th overall in 1:38:02.6.
Centre Wellington high school runner Eric Morris of Elora won the five-kilometre race in 17:01.9 while Mary Catherine Stewart of Guelph was first female finisher, 10th overall in 19:49.2. Both ran shorter distances this year as both were winners at the 10-kilometre distance last year.
Jake Cousineau of Fergus, runner-up in the 5K last year, took top spot in this year's 10K with a time of 38:48.0 while Brenda Dolderman of Elora won the women's class in 42:01.2. She was fifth overall.
The three distances featured a total of 515 finishers.