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.
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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Happy National Coaches Week. I'm giving a special shout out to my coach John Lofranco This picture was taken in 2014 when I ran my first half marathon in 1:23:58. Thanks for believing in me even when I didn't believe I could reach certain goals myself. Thanks for pushing me and putting me in situations that would help me learn and reach my potential. You don't just make the plan but help guide me through the process of being the best runner I can be ❤️ Ps: always remove the shoulder number before washing the singlet @athleticscanada #ThanksCoach #CoachesWeek #runavm
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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It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to 😉 No race photo yet but a big thanks to all that have reached out. I am overwhelmed with love and support by friends and the running community! I will get back to all of you ❤️So thankful to have my parents, coach and awesome teammate Shelley Doucet who ran an incredible PB 🎉 here with me! Congrats @runner.mom.nurseprof 🎉 @chimarathon #runavm #fitbitch
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.