01/23/2014 02:38 EST | Updated 03/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Scotiabank Calgary Marathon: Think of the Children

I love the Calgary Marathon. I first ran it in 2003 and the only reason I entered was because my brother Peter had challenged me to. At the age of forty-seven, running wasn't part of my life and I really wasn't that interested. However, when the gloves are thrown down by a younger sibling, you don't say no.

I had seven months to go from zero to 42.2 kms, so no time to lose. At the time I was living in Sudbury, Ontario. Not having a clue about training for any race, let alone a marathon, I joined the Sudbury Rocks Running Club. The club President, Vince Perdue could see I was in need of some guidance and became my running mentor. During the winter of 2002 and spring of 2003 I'd head out every Saturday with Vince and the gang. We'd trudge through the snow-packed streets of Sudbury and I'd be given tips on clothing, nutrition and hydration. Over the months Vince introduced me to hill repeats, tempos, intervals and the long slow run.

July 2003, I found myself at the start line of the Calgary Marathon alongside Peter and my other younger brother, Andrew, who had flown in from England. The gun went off and I flew through the first two kms. Then disaster struck, I stepped in a pot hole and went flat on my face. Not a good start. Getting to my feet, I picked myself up and finished in 3 hours 50 minutes. Brilliant.

Blog continues after slideshow

Martin Parnell

So far, I've completed six marathons in the city. I qualified for Boston at the 2009 race and, in 2013, attempted a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon in full lacrosse gear. This year being the 50th anniversary, there's a special 50kms race and I'm going to give that a go.

It's important to me that I use my love of running to help others and in this case it's disadvantaged children. This year, Right To Play are one of the featured charities at the marathon. Their goal is to have 50 runners sign up and raise $50,000. All it takes is $50 to give a child a Right To Play program for one year. Their motto is "Look after yourself, look after one another" and we could all aspire to that.

So, why not make this year's Scotiabank Calgary Marathon event a first for you? Whether it's a 5km, 10km, half marathon or marathon (sorry, the 50km is sold out) pick a distance that's right for you, give it a go and help kids.

To sign up, please go to: