New Brunswick became the land of the fast age-group milers today at the Miramichi Mile. Raymond Caissie, 71, broke the Canadian age group record he set just last weekend, by seven seconds, completing the mile in 5:47. And Patty Blanchard did the same for the women’s 60-64 age group, running a 5:44 mile, and breaking Ontarian Liz Schad’s record of 6:41 by 57 seconds.
Blanchard, who turned 60 last year, has now broken nine Canadian age-group records since last October, including the half-marathon record and the 1,500m. (Blanchard ran 1:33:21 in Lowell, Mass. in October 2017, breaking Ontarian Dawn Hamel’s 2015 record by more than two minutes, and she ran the 1,500m in 5:26.66 in Oromocto, N.B. in February, breaking Ontarian Jeanne Horne’s 1993 record by almost 30 seconds.)
“It’s been really exciting to do all these races since I turned 60 last September, and my body’s cooperating beautifully,” Blanchard says. The former middle school teacher retired in 2014, and has been revelling in having the time to focus on training and competing. “It’s like I turned 35 or 40, not 60,” she jokes.
Blanchard’s husband and coach, Marc Beaudoin, had a long career coaching track and cross-country at the University of Moncton. Both will compete at the World Masters Track & Field Championships in Malaga, Spain in September–Blanchard in the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m, and Beaudoin in the road 10K and track 5,000m. “We make it like a vacation,” says Blanchard, who enjoyed meeting some of the 150-odd other Canadians attending when she competed at the Canadian Masters Track and Field Championships in Surrey, B.C. last month.
Blanchard says her husband is more ambitious for her than she is for herself. “When I do well, he gets excited, and we start planning more meets,” she says.
Watch this space for news of Blanchard’s performances in Malaga.