Local student completes international marathon, wins title, supports local charity

October 31, 2013   ·   0 Comments

This was no jog in the park.

At 42.2 kilometres, a full blown marathon is the grand daddy of long distance races.

Local student Clayton Rolston did what few people can say they have done. He entered the Niagara Falls International Marathon and completed the distance in 3 hours and 53 minutes, finishing in 269th place in field of around 1500 competitors.

The race started at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, then crossed the Peace Bridge into Fort Erie and continued down the river side Niagara Parkway ending near the famous cataract.

The 17 year-old Centre Dufferin District High School student has been training – on his own – for this event for the past 15 months.

He has been running for a few years after becoming interested in the sport through an older cousin who also is a runner.

“I went to Blue Mountain and did the half marathon and did pretty good in that,” Clayton said. “Then I did another half marathon and thought I could do a full marathon.”

He started training, he said by “going out by myself and running through the streets of Shelburne.”

He runs between 10 and 12 kilometres every time he goes out.

He learned the nuances of long distance running – the pacing, the timing, how to make sure you have enough gas left in the tank to finish the course.

When he heard of the marathon in Niagara he thought it would be exciting to enter an international event.

“I spoke to my parents about it,” he said. They backed him up on his plan and he began training in July 2012.

He had completed half that distance in other races, but going the full length of a marathon was a lesson in discipline and determination.

“Around the 18th or 19th kilometre mark my legs were telling me not to go,” Clayton said. “I started to push myself and finished – I felt pretty good about that.”

While Clayton did accomplish a personal goal, he also ran for another purpose. He was raising money for the David Gregory McKinnon Foundation.

David McKinnon was a young man who was in need of a kidney transplant but died suddenly on the day of his scheduled transplant.

The funds raised go toward helping kids with similar illness with their treatments and other expenses.

Clayton was moved by the story of David McKinnon because they were the same age.

“He was the same age as me – 17 – when he died. He had his whole life ahead of him,” Clayton said.

He was especially moved when he gave the funds to David McKinnon’s mother who gave him a tearful hug of thanks.

“That made me feel very good,” Clayton said, “If I could do another run for charity, I would in a heartbeat.”

Long distance running is now part of his lifestyle with more events planned in the future.

“I’m going to keep on training,” Clayton said. “I want to do one full and two half marathons per year.”

By Brian Lockhart


Runners cross the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, New York to Fort Erie, Ontario near the start of the Niagara Falls International Marathon.

Runners cross the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, New York to Fort Erie, Ontario near the start of the Niagara Falls International Marathon.



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