Sault Stryders
Running Club

Sudbury woman wins her 2nd Friendly Massey Marathon
Reported July 23, 2003 by Craig Gilbert for Elliot Lake Standard

Stephanie Koett came from Sudbury and ran to her second
consecutive Friendly Massey Marathon win on Sunday.
She finished the 26 mile course in 3:24:09.

The passing of the 27th annual Friendly Massey Marathon begs a question: can an official qualifying marathon for the Boston and New York events really adopt a 71-year-old American?

John Ingalls, of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been coming North for the marathon for 15 years.

"You don't wear out, you rust out," Ingalls says. "I come up here because of the friends I have here. Anything I can do, from serving at the spaghetti dinner or the pancake breakfast and setting up or taking down, I try to help while I'm here."

Ingalls says he comes up a few days early and stays a couple after to help out and visit.

"I come here for the love I feel."

Ingalls didn't win on Sunday, but he finished lifetime marathon number 84, and fully intends to be back next year.

"With a three-minute margin," Koett says, "it's hard to catch up in a race this long when you're consistently that far behind."

Helen Scissons took the last place on the women's podium with a time of 3:47:30.

The male overall winner of the marathon is Tom Lobsinger, of Orillia, who crossed the finish line after 2:52:07 of screaming lungs and burning legs.

Another Orillia man, Jeff Irwin, came in second with a time of 2:56:43 and Robert Braggs, of Wiarton, took third with a time of 2:57:03.

The winner of the 14th Annual Spanish River Half-Marathon must have had a wedding to get to.

Former Elliot Laker Bart Nichol, now of Parry Sound, ran the 13-mile loop in 1:12:19. Stan Trudeau, of Toronto, finished with a time of 1:13:55, and Todd Withers, of Lively, made it to the podium with a run of 1:20:35.

Karen Cowling wasn't very far behind her cross-town compatriot. The Hanmer woman came in at 1:24:50 to win the women's title. Lesley Callaghan, of Espanola, was the runner-up, finishing in 1:29:18 and Patricia Stevenson, of London, took third with a time of 1:32:27.

Event organizer Elizabeth Gamble, who coordinates the marathon each year with her husband, Leslie, says it takes about 150 volunteers and $20,000 to get the marathon off the ground each year.

"It's basically a year-round thing to organize," Gamble says. "I'll be working here for another couple days with all the paperwork, then I'll get about two weeks or a month off, then it's back planning for next year, getting the promotional package ready first of all."

Gamble says she gets small breaks here and there, but overall throughout the year work for the race is relatively steady.

"Everybody here is really supportive of one another; that's why it's called the 'Friendly' marathon. The atmosphere is really something special."