Altheo Pheidippedes Marathon Award

The Altho Pheidippedes Marathon Award was donated to the club by past member Jack Albin and his wife Antonia. He described the criteria:

The criteria for this award are that it should be presented each year to a member of the Pacers who either as a runner or as a walker has completed a marathon of special significance during the year of the award. The award is most specifically to honour a Pacer who has dedicated him/her self to the training needed to complete a marathon.

The award could be presented, for example, for the following:

  • a Pacer who has completed their first marathon
  • a Pacer who has completed a personal best in the marathon
  • a Pacer who has placed in the top 5 of their age category
  • a Pacer who has completed an outstanding number of marathons



Sara Morrison runs marathons.  She runs a lot of marathons. From 2006 to 2016, she has done 51 marathons in North America. In addition she has run Around-the-Bay (30k) almost every year and lots of half marathons.  She has run the large marathons like Chicago and not-so-large ones like That-Dam-Hill.  Sara truly exemplifies the spirit of the marathon.


The Pheidippides winners for this year are Jackie McAllister and Frances Whiston. They began their running careers in the University Hospital Couch to 5K program and never looked back. They trained through a long summer, through downpours and searing heat. They were seen all over the London park paths and down the highway towards Port Stanley. Somewhere along the way they were given the nickname “the awesome chicks.” They ran their first marathon in Detroit in October 2015.


At the time of receiving this award, Sean Peicheff had run just two marathons. The first, in Ottawa in May of 2013 was a Boston Marathon qualifier at 3:07:17. In April of 2014 Sean ran the Boston Marathon. For a rookie at the distance he put on an exhibition on how to run the Boston Marathon. His splits were incredibly consistent for such a challenging course: first half 1:29:41, second half 1:28:47. He finished in 2:58:28, knocking nearly nine minutes off his first marathon time and getting nicely under the 3-hour barrier. He was the fastest of 16 Pacers at Boston this year, placing 2023 rd overall. And he did it wearing a Pacers’ singlet. Sean did the training, not easy under any circumstances, while balancing home and family in Dorchester with work in Vancouver.


This year’s winner is Rosemary Wedlake. Rosemary competed in the Hawaiian Ironman, the World Championships for the Ironman. She placed 2nd in her age group, the highest a Londoner has ever placed. In the process, after 2.4 miles of swimming and 112 miles of cycling, she ran the certified marathon course in 4:13:02, a Boston Marathon qualifying time. In addition, in May, Rosemary ran the Toronto Marathon, winning her age group by 29 minutes.


Don Ramsden, Doris Benson and Carl Keevil were the co-recipients of the 2012 award. They completed the Goofy Challenge, running the half marathon and marathon at the Disney race weekend in Florida in January and followed that up with the half marathon in Disneyland in California in September. For the tremendous dedication to and volume of training for this series of races, the three are very deserving recipients of the Altheo Pheidippides award.


The 2011 winner was Nick D’Ascanio. Nick excels at road races, cross country and track so it’s not unexpected that he would also excel at marathons. He tends to run one marathon a year but that is usually an exceptional one. In 2011 he ran Boston, finishing in 3:47:10 for 7 th place in his age group. (Age graded 2:47:02). This made him the 5 th fastest Canadian in the 70+ age division and 4 th fastest 70+ in Ontario.


Rita Melville started running when she was 50 and did her first marathon in 2003 when she was 53 years of age. Since then she has run marathons every year. She has completed 12 marathons, including Boston 4 times (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010). Her last three times she requalified in Boston. In the rankings Rita was one of only two London Pacers ranked nationally in the top 10 of their age groups (the other is Steve Beasley). She ranked in 9th place among the 60-69 women. Rita was also very successful in shorter races. She won her age group in the Runners Choice series in 2010. She ran on two Canadian Masters record setting relay teams and has run the Canadian Cross Country championships. She encourages others to take up and continue running (including her husband). But this award is about marathons. Rita is a smart, determined marathoner. Despite having run marathons for 8 years, and running them very well for the past 6, and being in her 60’s, she set a personal best in 2010 in Corning, NY.


Although Steve Beasley had only been a Pacer for 3 years he certainly had attained one of the criteria of the award, namely marathoning excellence. 2009 could quite possibly be the pinnacle of Steve’s marathoning achievements as he finished 3rd in the M50-54 category at the Boston Marathon. Even though Steve had achieved this once before in 2006 at age 50, this year he did it in a time of 2:46:41, breaking his personal Boston record time by just over a minute. Steve had competed in 4 consecutive Boston Marathons, finishing 3rd, 6th, 11th and 3rd in his age group. Steve’s Boston result would have been his peak accomplishment for this year but that fall he ran a PB of 2:43:14 to place 3rd overall at the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY. For those of you who can relate to age grading scores, his time was an impressive 88% which is equal to a comparable open time of sub 2:22. Steve’s time ranked him as the 2nd fastest 50-59 year old in Canada.


Jamie Harris was the winner for 2008. Jamie is an extraordinary marathoner. He excels in two of the categories of the award. He has run an exceptional number of marathons. In the year of the award he ran twelve including his 100th marathon. He was the first member of the London Pacers to achieve 100 marathon races. In doing this he qualified for Boston three times in twelve months. He placed 1st in his age group twice and 3rd three times in twelve marathons. And he generously shared his adventures with the rest of the club in the humorous stories he sent to the newsletter. Jamie runs all sorts of marathons, from the very small (70 finishers in the St John Ambulance Marathon) to the world’s largest (New York City). From the first time marathons (Niagara Ultra Marathon and Road2Hope) to the historic 53rd running of Pikes Peak and 40th running of Grandfather Mountain. He ran the flattest of flat courses (Niagara) to two of the most difficult marathons imaginable (Grandfather Mountain and Pikes Peak). He raced over a good portion of North America from Ontario to Florida to Texas and Colorado this year. His rate of yearly marathoning seems to be increasing as he has done over half of his races since 2001.


The winner for 2007 was Jim Burrows who in his words “finally got it right” in finishing the Akron Marathon in 2:44. Most of us would say he’s been doing a pretty good job of those marathons all along. A hallmark of Jim is his precision in training and in racing, definitely a thinking runner. He is richly deserving of the award.


Mark Faust set a goal to run a marathon in each state before he turned 50 (50 in 50 by 50). During his journey he kept the club apprised and entertained by writing a report of each marathon for the newsletter. During the process he ran Boston three times and set qualifying times many more times. He finished the quest in 2006 before hitting age 50 by running the daunting Pikes Peak as his 50 th state. That year he also set PBs in the 10K, half marathon and marathon.


Bella Rikley was the recipient of the 2005 award in recognition of her first marathon. Bella overcame tremendous challenges in training for and completing the Budapest Marathon. She was the first walker in the club to be given the honour.


Pat Connor won the 2004 edition of the Altheo Phidippides award for his Boston Marathon streak. He had run 10 consecutive Bostons. As of 2016 the streak continues.


The first recipient of the Altheo Pheidippedes Award was Gerry Fenwick. Gerry had run all ten editions of the Forest City Marathon. He was presented the trophy by the donors, Antonia and Jack Albin.