While Cam Levins‘s run at Sunday’s Tokyo Marathon is the story of the weekend, he wasn’t the only runner to break a Canadian record at the race, as his fellow Olympian, Krista DuChene, lowered the W45 national best after a stellar 2:38:53 result. With her run in Tokyo, DuChene has now completed all six World Marathon Majors, and ahead of the race, she stated that it would mark the end of the “marathon chapter of [her] life.” Kenya’s Rosemary Wanjiru won the race in Tokyo, flying to a 2:16:28 finish and the sixth-fastest marathon in history.
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The top women
Wanjiru and six other women led the way in the early stages of the race, clocking a speedy 16:19 split in the opening 5K. Over the next 10K, the leaders picked up the pace a bit, slowly dropping a few women along the way and passing through 10K in 32:34 and 15K in 48:32. At 20K, it was down to Wanjiru and three Ethiopian women at the head of the race. After the 30K checkpoint, the overall pace had slowed and the leaders were set to run north of 2:17, but Wanjiru and Tsehay Gemechu charged ahead to dip into 2:16 range once more.
By 40K, Wanjiru was all on her own and 19 seconds clear of Gemechu, who was running solo in second place. Two kilometres later, Wanjiru crossed the line, smashing her personal best of 2:18:00 by a minute and a half and catapulting her up the all-time marathon ranks into sixth place. Gemechu finished 28 seconds later in 2:16:56, earning the seventh-fastest marathon in history. Last year’s Tokyo runner-up, Ashete Bekere, finished in third in 2:19:11, well back of Wanjiru and Gemechu, to round out the podium.
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One last hurrah
DuChene has had some great results at past World Marathon Majors, with an obvious highlight coming in 2018, when she finished in third at the Boston Marathon. Sunday saw her add yet another big run to her resume, with a 19th-place finish in Tokyo. Her 2:38:53 result lowered the previous Canadian W45 record by more than a minute, beating the 2:40:11 mark set by B.C.’s Catherine Watkins at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
As DuChene wrote in an article on irun.ca, “now more than ever is the perfect time to finish writing this marathon chapter of my life.” She was quick to note that she’s not done running, adding that “there will always be another marathon,” and that she hopes to run a cross-country race and a 50-miler at some point. But she’s saying goodbye to the life and training schedule required for an elite runner.
If Tokyo really is the last time Canadians get to see DuChene lining up in an elite field, she’s wrapping up a remarkable career that saw her become one of the country’s top marathoners. DuChene started her marathon career 20 years ago, when she ran a 3:28 in Niagara Falls, and over the next decade she improved dramatically, soon breaking three hours, then 2:40, and eventually cracking the 2:30 barrier with her lifetime PB of 2:28:32.
She raced in the 2016 Olympics, won multiple races over her career and ran into the Canadian record books, capping it all off on Sunday with her new masters record. She’s going to continue to chase personal running goals, she says, but most importantly, she’ll run “for the pure joy of it.”
For full results from the Tokyo Marathon, click here.