One of Canada’s top female distance runners was in Boston this weekend. But unlike over 2,400 fellow countrymen and women who toed the line for Monday’s marathon, her race was already over before 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Rachel Hannah of Toronto was the top Canadian in the B.A.A. 5K where she ran an impressive 16:45, good for 16th place overall in the women’s race.
We recently caught up with Hannah and asked her about the race, her training and her upcoming plans.
CR: Congrats Rachel on your race in Boston. Tell us a bit about how it went?
RH: The B.A.A. 5K was a perfect opportunity to get a solid effort in and to chase a world-class field in an off-distance (for me). Unfortunately I had a bad head cold and chest congestion the entire week of the race, which is quite unusual for me, and so it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped for. I had trouble breathing throughout the race so [jokingly] I guess it was an indirect form of altitude training. The glass is still very much half-full and I’m hoping for better things from this point on.
CR: Boston is a long way from home for you. Why did you decide to come race here in Beantown?
RH: I raced in Boston before winning the 2014 B.A.A. Mayor’s Cup XC [cross-country race] so it was a nice opportunity to come back but for a different race experience. To engage with a world-class field and get out of any comfort zone is always a good opportunity. New race experiences also keep things exciting over the long-term as well as help with my overall athletic development.
As one of my main sponsors, it was also a great way to connect with the New Balance crew in Boston as well as provided a wonderful opportunity to be part of the Manulife-John Hancock employee team on Marathon Weekend. The organization as a whole does great work and I’ll definitely be back racing more B.A.A. events in the future.
CR: You’ve built up a solid reputation as a top Canadian marathoner after running 2:32 in Houston earlier this year. Why 5K? Why now?
RH: It was only last year that I ran my first marathons, so I wouldn’t identify myself as a specialist marathoner at this point. I still have a lot to learn and the time needed to get where I want to be. I really like racing a wide range of distances and on varied surfaces. I believe event diversity can help with longevity and success in the long run. The 5K race in Boston was a way to give a bigger and better effort than I ever could in a workout. Shorter distances have also been a good counterbalance to the winter marathon training that led to the 2:32:09 PB in Houston. At this point, I’m still building volume for the next phase of training.
— Rachel Hannah (@RachelHannahRD) April 17, 2016
CR: What else did you get up to in Boston over the weekend? Did you watch any of the marathon on Monday?
RH: One very special opportunity I had over the weekend was to take in a baseball game with the Manulife-John Hancock team on Saturday. We actually got to run a lap of the infield at Fenway Park during the Red Sox vs. Blue Jays opening ceremonies. Additionally, we got to spend some time behind-the-scenes with Meb Keflezighi, Desi Linden, Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg on Saturday afternoon. This was incredibly inspiring, no question!
On Monday I was actually back to work in my Registered Dietitian role [in Toronto] so I didn’t get to see the marathon but will definitely catch up on the results! I’d like to send a special shout-out to the entire Manulife Canada running team who were competing, including Coach Derek Myke. I know they worked really hard to prepare for Marathon Monday and I hope everyone had a wonderful experience.