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Melanie Myrand aiming for Olympic standard this weekend in Waterloo

This weekend, the Fast is Fun Marathon in Waterloo will see a stellar Canadian field

Melanie Myrand

This weekend is the Fast is Fun Marathon in Waterloo. Organizers are putting together a racing opportunity for Canadian elites who haven’t had one in months. This 14-person field is filled with Canadian talent, including London’s Chris Balestrini and Montreal’s Melanie Myrand

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After steadily improving over the course of three years, Myrand had a great 2019. She had her breakout year in 2017 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where she ran a 25-minute personal best to go from 3:04 to a blazing 2:39. She has since lowered her personal best to 2:33, the time that qualified her for the 2019 World Championships. There, she finished 27th in one of the most gruelling marathons in world championship history. 

Now, one year later, she’s hoping to run Olympic standard. Myrand says her goal is Olympic standard (and not the actual Olympics) for a few reasons. “First, there won’t be doping control at the race this weekend, so even if I run under 2:29:30, it won’t count for qualification. This was not my initial goal race for the fall, the goal was to run a race in Quebec that got cancelled two weeks ago. Then we pivoted.” Myrand explains that doping control is expensive, about $1,000, and she decided to run the event too late to secure it either way. 

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I think and hope we can all finally see the light at the end of this tunnel we have all been living for the last 100+ days. We have all had to deal with our own hardship and loss during this time but I hope and wish we can all come out of the pandemic with something positive or something learned. World champs brought me back to my first marathon. It resembled my first marathon in that it was hot, humid, with a nice blow up at the end. Despite the challenges we tend to learn most by these experiences versus the races that went perfectly. COVID brought me back to my original nursing roots, back at the bedside for a big portion of my work. I witnessed death again, patients last breath, managed patients care with the team, keeping patients safe and providing the best care to help them overcome this virus. Many moments were hard with the challenges the pandemic placed on us and the families of these patients but the team I worked with made it possible. I’m proud of the team I worked with. In the CISSSMO Montérégie Ouest not one CHSLD in the public sector had a case of COVID. The private residences in my region were affected and quickly the staff from the cisssmo took over. The nurse practitioners in my milieu stepped up either doing rounds like the doctors in the private residences or working as nurse clinicians back at the bedside. My respect for the role of the nurse auxiliaries and PAB’s has grown and my job wouldn’t be possible without their important work and care. The pandemic opened my eyes to the possibility of working more closely in the CHSLD’s as an NP in the future. NPs adapted to using telemedicine and virtual visits which is something that will stay for some of our appointments. This pandemic taught us how strong our team is and how quickly we were able to adapt to new teams, milieus of work, and a new virus. So just like running we often learn the most from our hardest races, we can come out stronger, we lost something but gained something as well. #staysafe

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Despite this setback, she says her workouts have pointed to being able to run under 2:30, and that remains her goal. “There are so many fast marathoners in Canada right now. Malindi’s run 2:24, Lyndsay achieved standard at worlds and Dayna is already on the team. My goal isn’t to make the Olympics anymore, my goal is just to run the standard. I achieved everything I wanted to at worlds in 2019.”

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She says she’s going to go out at 3:30 per-kilometre pace and see how she feels from there. If all goes well, she’ll finish around 2:29:00 – a big personal best and provincial record. “I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. I’m just going to put it all out there and see what happens.”

The entries

Chris Balestrini – London
Jean Francois Bemeur – Montreal
Jeff Costen – Toronto
Daniel Fournier – Waterloo
Arnaud Francioni – Montreal
Adam Hortian – Kitchener
Stephaney Hortian – Kitchener
Simon Lambert-Lemay – Montreal
Elissa Legault – Montreal
Marco Li – Toronto
Andrew MacMartin – Westmount
Melanie Myrand – Montreal
Ryan Schafbuch – Pincourt
Robert Wood – London

How to follow

The event gets underway at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday and will be streamed on the FastisFun instagram page. Results on Canadian Running to follow.