Canadian women work together for Pan Am standard

2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront MarathonFrom the start of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Lanni Marchant ran with the elite women. Behind her at a bit slower pace were two other Canadian women, working together to run Pan Am Games qualifying times.

Natasha Labeaud and Kim Doerksen finished as the second and third Canadians in times of 2:35:33 and 2:36:02, respectively. They ran through the halfway split together before Labeaud picked up the pace. Both finished under the Pan Am Games standard and may be selected to race for Canada next summer.

“Kim and I were able to shift positions behind the pacers to allow for each of us to spend less time in the wind,” says Labeaud of their race. “The marathon itself can be a very lonely event. Thousands of kilometers of training can be done solo before the race even begins. Having someone during the race to help push you along is an unbelievable positive force.”

Doerksen, a native of Gibsons, B.C., had similar sentiments: “Having the pacers with us was certainly helpful, but to have another female runner with you stride for stride is a totally different kind of motivation.”

Labeaud is from San Diego, Calif., but holds a dual citizenship, hoping to race for Canada in upcoming international events. She’s been selected to race at the Chiba Ekiden relay in November and plans to chasing on spot on Canada’s 2015 world cross-country championships team.

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While Labeaud prepares for more fall racing, Doerksen, 23, is shifting gears back to her education for the time being.

“Instead of racing and being in athlete mode, I have to switch roles and go into student mode. Not exactly my favourite mode to be in but I have to graduate one day”