Christie Blatchford, an award-winning journalist, has passed away at the age of 68 after a brief battle with lung cancer. Blatchford was an avid runner whose slightly crooked form could often be seen on Toronto’s roads and ravine paths, and from time to time her hobby of running would find its way into her journalism. At different points in her career, Blatchford wrote for The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the National Post and the Toronto Sun.
Blatchford was a longtime member of the Toronto-based JeansMarines run club, and she maintained friendships with fellow members for many years. She raced often, competing in anything from the 5K up to the marathon. In one column, she explains “10s and 1s,” a training method she employed that had her run for 10 minutes and walk for one. She used this approach at her first crack at 42.2K, Washington Marine Corps Marathon in 2003, but said she felt as though she’d “cheated something or someone.”
So, for Blatchford’s second marathon (the 2004 Chicago Marathon), she forced herself to run straight through—no walking allowed. She wrote that she did this “slowly, crookedly, [and] incompetently,” but that didn’t matter to her. For Blatchford, the marathon was about winning, which had a particular meaning for her.
“If you know going in that you aren’t good enough to win,” she wrote, “you then figure out a way to make yourself feel as though you have.” Running nonstop for the entire race, however crookedly and hunched over (or “Quasimodo-like,” as she described it), was Blatchford’s win. She wasn’t worried about the time or her finishing position or how she did in her age group. She just wanted to chase her own personal goal, and she made sure she was going to get the win.