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Denise Robson smashes Canadian W50 marathon record

Saturday was an excellent day for Canadians in Indianapolis

Denise Robson of Dartmouth, NS smashed the Canadian W50 marathon record at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Saturday, finishing in 2:49:05, more than six minutes faster than the previous record of 2:55:16 set last year by Calgary’s Allison Blackmore at the Eugene Marathon in Oregon. (The record has yet to be ratified officially.)

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This was the first time Robson had run this race. A training partner had recommended it as a fast, flat marathon, and seven members of the Halifax Road Hammers travelled to Indianapolis to run the half or the full.

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Has she been targetting this record? “I knew the record was there,” she says, “I knew it was possible.” Robson had been hoping to try at the Houston Marathon in January, but she’d been battling an Achilles tendon issue in both legs for two and a half years, and could not train consistently. “I would run one day, then need two days off,” she said. Robson recently found relief using a nitroglycerin patch intended for heart patients. Nitro is a powerful vasodilator that studies have shown can be effective in treating tendinitis. “It has been a game changer for me,” she says.

Robson split 10K in 41:50, the half in 1:26:16 and 30K in 2:01:59, a more than three-minute negative split, which she says she’s only done twice in her running career. Her average pace was 4:00 per kilometre.

It was a good day for Canadians in Indianapolis. Rayleen Hill won the W45-49 age group in the full in 3:02:44, and Linda MacDonald won the W50-54 age group in the half-marathon in 1:32:02. (Both women run with the Halifax Road Hammers.)  Victoria Coates of Hamilton finished third in the half-marathon in a personal best 1:12:38. (Coates was the 2017 Canadian 10,000m champion, and she won the Indy Half that year as well.)

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Blackmore, the previous record-holder, when she heard about Robson’s result, had this to say: “That is fantastic, congratulations to Denise! It so great to see women of our age able to push boundaries. It really inspires me, and others I’m sure, to keep training hard to see where it can take you.” When asked if she has any plans to re-contest the record, she hinted that she plans to try at the London Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, April 26, 2020.

The races were also the site of 39 successful US Olympic Trials qualifiers, 22 of them women in the full marathon running the Olympic B standard of 2:45 or better. The Trials take place in Atlanta on February 29, 2020.