Home > Runs & Races

Nancy Wells unofficially sets Canadian women’s age group record days after 70th birthday

Just two days after her 70th birthday, Nancy Wells set an age group record in the half-marathon running at the Chilly Half in Burlington, Ont. on March 6.

Nancy Wells

Nancy Wells, a member of the Longboat Roadrunners, a running group based in Toronto, had her eyes set on the Canadian women’s 70-74 half-marathon record as she prepared for the Chilly Half-Marathon in Burlington, Ont. on March 6.

The official time Wells was looking to beat was 1:54:38. Two days after her 70th birthday, the Toronto resident ran 1:50:43 breaking the previous record by nearly three minutes. That was held by Lenore Martin. She set it in Winnipeg in 1990.

RELATED: Age is just a number: 98-year-old sets age group record for 1,500m.

“Since my birthday was March 4, I thought it would be fun to do a half-marathon shortly after and have a big party if I were to also get the record,” Wells explained to Canadian Running. “I entered the race months ago since many runners from my club enter the race every year. This year was my first time running the Chilly Half so I had lots of friends cheering me on.”


For her pre-race meal, Wells keeps it pretty basic. Two cups of coffee, a piece of toast and half a banana. Keeping a consistent routine on race day proved beneficial for Wells during the 20th anniversary of the event, which attracts thousands of southern Ontario runners each year.

Betty Jean McHugh has run 1:44:34 for the women’s 70-74 age group but according to the Canadian Masters athletics association, that mark has never been ratified. Though her time was set in 1998, she can still submit paperwork to have her time added to the records.

Nancy Wells
Photo: Tony Serwatuk

RELATED: Burlington’s Chilly Half set to celebrate 20 years of running.

Nancy Wells
Photo: Tony Serwatuk.

The 70-year-old holds three other masters age group records including in the women’s 60-64 five-mile and the 15K and 10-mile records in the women’s 65-69 category.

RELATED: Things got spicy at Sunday’s Chilly Half-Marathon and Frosty 5K.

Interestingly, according to the Canadian masters database, the women’s 75-79 record is 1:50:00 set by Gwen McFarlan in October of 2009. See details of the records below:

Nancy Wells
Canadian women’s 70-74 road racing records as of February, 2016. Photo: Screenshot of Canadianmasters.ca

The race is one of the more notable March races across the country and offers runners and walkers the chance to begin 2016 on a fast course.

All photos courtesy of Tony Serwatuk.