Rob and Tamara Stichbury: Behind-the-Scenes for 25 Years

Calgary MarathonUncategorized 1 Comment

For the first time in 25 years, Rob and Tamara Stichbury arrived at the start line of the Centaur Subaru Half Marathon on Sunday May 26 and were on the participant side of the timing mat. They were two runners, in a sold out field of 13,600 runners, walkers and wheelers setting out from Stampede Park.

This married couple have insights into the race that no other participant could possibly have. While some stress about park access or porta potty lines, Rob and Tamara will have a competitive advantage after volunteering a combined fifty years. 

“This has truly been a significant and meaningful part of our lives for almost three decades,” explains the dedicated volunteers. The Stichbury’s have been a constant through four race directors (Angie Driscol, Jacqui Sanderson, Cheryl Lowery and the current race director, Jon Bird), four start and finish venues (Millennium Park, Fort Calgary, Bridgeland and Calgary Stampede), a date change from July to May and growth from 2000 participants in the late ‘90s to 13,600 in 2024. “We ran the marathon a few times back in the late 90s and volunteered on race weekend,” says Rob about how and when they got their start. Tamara added, “Rob joined the board in 2000 and continued to volunteer in the operations of the race and in the year 2002 we took on the title of Venue Directors and as they say, the rest is history.”

The Stichburys started out like most volunteers, driven by the enjoyment of running and a desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Their attention to detail, propensity towards leadership and love of working with volunteers resulted in a collective key volunteer role spanning multiple decades. And they have made it a family affair, most years, their siblings, and eventually kids, friends and extended family could be found putting out pylons, moving fencing and checking in volunteers all on the orders of Rob and Tamara. “We could not have done any of this without all of the selfless help of many, many friends and family members who have stepped up into our key venue volunteer roles over the years.” they graciously share. 

Their goal has always been to make the event the best experience possible for the runners. When they were told once ‘it doesn’t have to be perfect’ their response was, ‘we plan for perfect and then there will only be a few surprises on race weekend.’

“We have created equipment lists down to the last detail and production timelines down to minutes and seconds,” says Rob adding, “we like to believe we have created organizational documentation that has helped to enable sustainability of the event and has allowed us to pass our responsibilities on to the next generation seamlessly.” The Stichburys have spent the last two years transferring knowledge and their responsibilities to Jill Petkau, the Volunteer Director turned Venue Director, and part of an 8-person staff at Run Calgary. The transition was impeccably timed, as they welcomed their second grandchild last week, 10 days early! “We are proud to have been responsible in a meaningful way for such a successful and recognized event,” say the Stichburys, adding “we have enjoyed tremendously the privilege of providing leadership and mentorship to both new and returning volunteers. We have made so many friends.  We have developed relationships that will last well beyond our volunteering days. The best part is seeing everyone have fun, race participants and volunteers alike. There are smiles everywhere on race day.” 

After 25 years of being glued to the start and finish venue, we were honored to watch Rob and Tamara be the ones smiling when they cross the finish line in Enmax Park. We appreciate and love you Rob and Tamara Stichbury and on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of participants from over the years who had special race day experiences because of you both – THANK YOU!

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Comments 1

  1. The Calgary Running community owes a lot to this tireless, smart, and dedicated couple. We volunteered with them for many years and have witnessed the detailed binders full of lists, drawing and plans this couple puts together. Thank you Tamara and Rob for the incredible difference you make to the Calgary running community.

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