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The reason Krista DuChene will be running the in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 20 tells me a lot about marathon running.
She told the story at a press conference on Friday morning that featured four of the elite Canadian athletes who are running to win.
It was 35 degrees with the humidex in Moscow this August when DuChene and the other marathoners set out on the 2013 World Championship course. She was in top shape and despite the heat, set her pace hoping to set a record. At 12 km in, she collapsed.
“It was good that I collapsed so early in the game, because I didn’t put through my body through that,” she said. “It can be looked at as a blessing.”
After the heat stroke induced vomiting and Russians waved smelling salts into her face, she realized that by not finishing the race, she’d be able to compete in the Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon. Then, she ran home from the hospital, travelled Europe for 10 days and resumed our training.
“We, as marathoners, know you just can’t control the way things happen sometimes,” DuChene said.
The story is inspirational and a little terrifying for someone, like me, who has is training for her first marathon. On the one hand, it’s comforting to know an elite runner can DNF a race that they’ve put their all into, and then pick up and keep running. On the hand, it must take extraordinary personal strength.
Natasha Wodak hasn’t run a marathon before, she’s a decorated cross-country and 10-kilometre runner, but only recently changed her focus to 42.2 kilometres. The story seemed to hit home with her too.
“The vomiting, the collapsing, all that stuff, its all part of the game, I guess. Hopefully it doesn’t happen to me,” said Wodak.
At first the distance made her “miserable,” “wanting to kill somebody every day,” but she’s “good now,” she said.
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will Rob Watson’s fourth marathon in seven months on Oct. 20.
After competing in Moscow, he quickly started training for Toronto.
“Maybe I was a little too eager. I took four days off, I had a 130 mile week and a 150 mile week and then last week I was running and I was like, what the hell am I doing, I’m exhausted. I was so tired, and thought maybe I made a mistake. But then I rested up and thought and I’m feeling good again.”
“There’s going to be ups and downs in the training. There are days you’re going to feel on top of the world and days you’re feel like, crap, you know?”
His advice for first-timers is to be conservative and patient, let the run happen and enjoy it. “Do as I say, not as I do,” he joked. “Be conservative, be patient, it’s a long, long way.”
Eric Gillis, who has competed in two Olympic games, is hoping to break the 38-year-old course record for a Canadian runner: two hours, ten minutes and nine seconds. His advice is to use the pacers available to keep yourself on track.
DuChene advised, “Trust yourself. You’ve done the work.”


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