At Muskoka Marathon over the weekend, Branna MacDougall made her marathon debut, winning the race in 2:33:40. This was a solo effort from start to finish, as she broke away from the small field after 12 km.
Last year she won the Muskoka Half Marathon in 1:11:42, setting the U23 Canadian half-marathon record along the way.
MacDougall, who just turned 23, had a prolific cross country career at Iowa State and Queen’s University, winning the U Sports team title in 2019. After graduating, she continued training in Kingston under ex-Queen’s coach Steve Boyd and Physi-Kult. She has established herself as an elite Canadian distance runner, representing Canada at the U20 World Championships in 2016, where she ran her personal best of 15:48.80 over 5,000m for a 10th place finish.
Clarence Hung of Scarborough, Ont., was the first male across the finish line in 2:37:35, finishing three minutes and 55 seconds behind MacDougall. The second-place woman Meghan Tait, finished the race 30 minutes behind MacDougall in 3:03:50.
In a Canadian Running article last year, when asked about her future, MacDougall cited that she is inspired by the great careers of Canadian marathoners Natasha Wodak and Rachel Cliff. “Wodak and Cliff have run well on the roads and have run an amazing 10K on the track,” MacDougall said.
She has now emerged on the elite stage of Canadian women. This result will get her into World Athletics gold and platinum label races, allowing her to inch closer to that world championship standard (2:29:30). She’s currently ranked ninth all-time in the national half-marathon rankings, and 26th all-time in the marathon rankings. This young Ontario runner has a very bright future ahead of her.