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Melanie Myrand surprised herself at Chicago in the best way possible

Melanie Myrand took a whopping five minutes off of her personal best in Chicago last weekend, beating some of her running idols and finishing in 9th

Melanie Myrand
Melanie Myrand
Photo: Tim Huebsch

Canadian Melanie Myrand of Lachine, Quebec was ninth in the women’s race at the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a huge personal best of 2:34:08. That’s just over five minutes faster than her previous personal best of 2:39:10. Sunday was also her birthday, and a personal best is every runner’s favourite present. 

RELATED: Canadian Melanie Myrand places 9th at Chicago on her birthday

Myrand said via email that if you had told her she would run under 2:35, she wouldn’t have believed you. “Last year Toronto went so smoothly for me that I couldn’t imagine another big jump.” At the Canadian Marathon Championships in Toronto in 2017, Myrand placed third and ran a strong race, finishing in 2:39:10 after entering with a personal best of 3:04:57.


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Myrand is a nurse practitioner in primary care who decided to give the running thing a chance after a breakthrough in 2016. “Chicago played out better than my expectations. My plan was to go out in 3:42 per kilometre pace, knowing I was able to hold that in workouts.” That comes out to a 2:36 marathon. 

As the race progressed, Myrand realized how fast she was running. “At 5K I was 30 seconds ahead of pace, at 10K a minute ahead, and halfway two minutes ahead. I was definitely hesitant, as I am someone who naturally likes to lead and go out aggressively. I kept telling myself not to doubt myself and to trust what my body was doing.” 


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She continued, “The American women didn’t go out at a very aggressive pace, so I was able to have them in sight for a long time. I was able to work with Alexi Pappas and Gwen Jorgensen. Both women are runners I look up to. Seeing them up ahead and slowly catching them was a big motivator.”

Myrand also touched on her mental state during the race. “I was never overwhelmed by the time left in the race, I was just ticking off 5K at a time.” In the last 10K she always has a list of people in her head who are important to her. That helps her through the final stages of the race. “It’s something to pull me out of my own head when it gets hard and lonely.”

Going forward, Myrand is giving running a real go until the end of the next Olympic cycle, and hoping to make a senior national team in the process. Myrand trusted herself this weekend, and her willingness to take a risk paid off huge.