Eric Gillis’s long awaited marathon debut was well worth the wait, as the Guelph, Ont.-based runner from Antigonish, N.S. blazed a 2:13:56 at the Chevron Houston Marathon, Sunday in Houston, Texas.
In near-perfect conditions, Gillis was like a metronome in his early pacing, sticking to his pre-race plan as he moved through the first 30K on pace for a 2 hour 14 minute and 30 seconds debut. Over the last 10K, Gillis began to gradually pick up his pace, with his last four miles being progressively faster, finishing with mile 26 the fastest of his race. A textbook way to run a marathon, his second half was 25 seconds faster than his first.
After the race, Gillis called the experience a positive one that bodes well for his future at the distance.
“I [always] thought the marathon would be my race,” he said. “This brings me a lot closer to being able to say that for sure.”
Gillis’s run ranks him 14th all-time in Canadian history and is the third fastest time performance by a Canadian since 1996. Although it is not a widely tracked statistic, it is believed that this is the second fastest debut marathon in Canadian history, behind only Peter Fonseca’s 2:12:07 debut in 1990.
Gillis and Coach Dave Scott-Thomas will be speaking about his race and the preparations for it, next Sunday at the monthly Guelph Runners’ Brunch hosted at Shakespeare Arms in Guelph, Ont., starting at 10 a.m.
For more of Gillis’ first-hand accounts of the race, check out his blog.
(with files from Mihira Lakshman)