Malindi Elmore’s running career has had many phases. The Kelowna, B.C. native was a talented high school runner who attended Stanford University before returning to Canada to do a masters degree at the University of Calgary. She competed for Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Pan Am Games. She was a 1,500m specialist who ran one of the fastest times ever by a Canadian woman, at 4:02.64. After retiring from professional running in 2012, Elmore describes struggling with the sport and being unsure about her future in running. But on Sunday, seven years since hanging up her spikes and her middle-distance career, she ran a blazing 2:32 marathon debut at Houston.
Elmore says it was a long road to get to the marathon. “It has always been a bucket list item. I was thinking of doing it years ago, but it took longer than I anticipated to come back from having my first child. In the meantime I competed at triathlon.” The former track runner says in her time away from running, she found cycling and swimming easier on her body while she adjusted after having a baby. Elmore had her second child only seven months ago. “I didn’t have big plans to get back into running after having my second child in the summer. But I slowly started running again, as it was easier to run than get to the pool or go on a long ride.”
Most track runners consider running the marathon crazy. It’s so long, and something that’s entirely out of a track runner’s comfort zone. Elmore was no different. “I thought racing the marathon when I was a 1,500m runner was nuts. At the time, I loved the speed and the hard session in spikes on the track. Now I’m really enjoying this other kind of work. Long-course triathlon really changed my perspective.” She also added that training for the marathon made her realize the importance of event specificity in workouts. “When I would jump in a longer race as a 1,500m runner I would hurt so badly.”
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Elmore is back in love with running, because she’s running on her own terms now. “After track, I had to come back to why I loved running in the first place. I love being outside and having time to myself and setting personal goals. Running professionally had politics involved. But now it’s different. I can pick a challenge for only myself and see what I can do.”
The runner says she loved her experience in Houston. Her husband, Graham Hood, was her coach during this build and they worked Elmore’s training into their family time. “I would do long runs and my husband would give me bottles while he watched our kids play in the park. It was a project our family really enjoyed doing together. I’d like to do another marathon in the fall. Running wasn’t the priority for six or seven years but it feels good to be back.”
Elmore currently coaches with the Okanagan Athletics Club and Run Smart Project. “I’m coming back to running now feeling much more refreshed. I’m enjoying the process and seeing what I can do without worrying about results.”