Sault Stryders
Running Club

National Capital Marathon
4th Annual,
Ottawa, Ontario
May 14, 1978
as reported by 1979 Canadian Marathon Annual

The 1978 National Capital Marathon featured a new Canadian women's record, a heart-stopping finish with less than a second separating the winner and runner up, and 1,749 official finishers, including most of Canada's top distance runners and several of the country's best women and masters marathoners. When it was first held in 1975, the National Capital Marathon boasted 143 finishers, a large field for a marathon in Canada in those days. Every year since then the race has more than doubled in size, and its reputatin has grown with the field. The organization has been described as the best anywhere, and the course is beautiful and fairly fast.

The 1978 race had a spectacular finish when Brian Maxwell, a Canadian who lives in California, crossed the finish line less than a stride ahead of Paul Bannon form Toronto. They ran neck and neck for the last 3 miles finishing with a quarter mile sprint to the line. Both runners won a place on the Commonwealth Games marathon team.

Photo finish

Brian Maxwell edges Paul Bannon by 0.2 seconds.
At the time, this was the closest marathon finish ever recorded.

The women's race was also exciting. Two women broke Gayle Olinek's Canadian native record, set at Boston this year, of 2:53:20. Chris Lavellee of Sudbury placed well up in the world list of women marathoners with her 2:47:37, while Ellen Rochefort of Aylmer, Quebec became the second fastest Canadian woman ever finishing in 2:52:24.

Nil Lavellee of Sudbury and the husband of Chris Lavellee, finished 7th overall in 2:23:42.

Local finishers

Mario Festival, age 23, placed 102 in 2:45:12

Ron Quick, age 22, finished in 3:36:32.

Race Statistics
1749 finishers
4 under 2:20
21 under 2:30
258 under 3:00
784 under 3:30
1317 under 4:00
1598 under 4:30