Rejean Chiasson, a native of New Brunswick who now lives and trains in Toronto, was the surprise first-place finisher–in 2:30:10–at the Erie Marathon in Presque Isle, Pa. on Sunday. It was a surprise because he only registered to run less than 12 hours before it began.

RELATED: Registration for the 2018 Boston Marathon opens today

Chiasson is the head coach of Toronto-based running club Pace and Mind as well as Adidas Runners Toronto. He was in Erie to support a handful of athletes he coaches but made the decision to run himself at the last minute.

“I was thinking about it all day Saturday since I was already driving to Erie to cheer on my runners and had to get my own long run in any way,” says Chiasson. “I signed up around 11 p.m. that night.”

He adds that he wasn’t planning on running a marathon at all this season and instead was focused on “training for the training” for spring 2018.

“Originally I was hoping to run between 2:40 and 2:45 to get an idea of what kind of fitness I’m in without beating myself up too much,” he says. “But when I could still see the leaders at 5K, my ego got the better of me and I decided to push the pace a bit. Effort wise I’m really happy with how this felt and that I’ve maintained more fitness from the spring than I thought.”

It seems Chaisson’s performance also set the tone for his athletes. “I had two athletes from Pace and Mind racing and they both qualified for Boston. It’s always great to see their hard work pay off. Being the first marathon of the season, this really sets the tone for the whole team going into the fall.”

First place overall winner

Posted by Erie Marathon at Presque Isle on Sunday, September 10, 2017

When asked about what’s next, he admits he’s not quite sure. Chiasson recently became a father and welcomed a baby girl into the world in late August, so training and racing isn’t exactly his top priority right now. He hasn’t yet decided if he’ll race much more this fall but is open to the idea of running a few cross country meets and maybe a late half marathon or 10K. “I’ll see how consistent my training is and how well my fitness comes back. My focus is all on Boston 2018.”

Erie is a popular race among those seeking a last minute Boston Qualifier (BQ) time. There were 1,500 finishers yesterday and according to the website MarathonGuide.com, 668 earned their BQ, a qualifying rate of more than 44 per cent. Full results can be found here.


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