Krista DuChene plans for fall marathon after Rio Olympics

Krista DuChene has just announced that after Rio, she is squeezing in one more marathon before she turns 40. This year's Waterfront Marathon in Toronto is going to be a big one for fans in the crowd.

Krista DuChene running in Ottawa
Krista DuChene running in Ottawa

By Paul Gains

After realizing her dream of representing Canada at the Rio Olympic Games, marathoner Krista DuChene has chosen the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for her next challenge. The IAAF Gold Label race is set for October 16th and, if that seems rather soon following the Olympics, DuChene disagrees.

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“Part of me felt I can wait until I am forty to run my next marathon,” says the 39-year-old from Brantford, Ont. “But January seemed too far away.” Since recording her personal best time of 2:28:32 at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (the second fastest Canadian time behind Lanni Marchant) she is a runner Canadians take seriously. She says that heading into Scotiabank, she is not taking this race lightly and is being smart with her training approach seeing as there has not been a lot of time to recover since Rio.

“I felt really fresh after my recovery from Rio and mentally, I didn’t feel like my season was over,” she says. “A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that the last marathon I did was my qualifying in April 2015 (2:29:38 Rotterdam). Some other athletes had to do spring marathons to qualify. I didn’t have that fatigue behind me.”

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DuChene and long-time coach, Rick Mannen, were pleased with her performance in Rio. Finishing 35th in the Olympic marathon is no small feat especially since she ran 2:35:29 in searing heat. Most of the women’s field ran five or six minutes slower than their best owing to the twists and turns which the course presented along with the weather conditions.

DuChene knows she will have to be at her best for the Toronto race as it doubles as the Canadian National Championship. The next generation of Canadian women are lining up to compete against her. Kenya-based Tarah Korir, Rachel Hannah (the Pan Am bronze medalist and fastest Canadian this year) Leslie Sexton, Dayna Pidhoresky and Erin Burrett have all confirmed their entries.

The lure of a Canadian championship medal has been sweetened too by the prize purse. The first Canadian will earn $5,000 with $3,000 and $2,000 going to the silver and bronze medalists, respectively. It is yet to be determined whether Athletics Canada will select the team for the London 2017 IAAF World Championships based on this race. They haven’t yet announced their standards which are normally superior to the IAAF standard of 2:45:00. The qualifying window opened in January of this year.

“I don’t have a set time goal yet,” DuChene says about her Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront race. “I think it’s safe to say I’d like to go under 2:30 and obviously be on the podium for top Canadian finishers. I am not sure what kind of field there will be internationally but I know there are going to be some strong women from Canada which makes a great national championship.” She adds that she would like to run at the IAAF World Championships next summer.

If there is every any talk of retirement, DuChene dismisses it. Having come from a university hockey background and switching her focus to running later on, she feels her experience has been different from a lot of athletes. Right now, she still gets joy from the long runs. If that starts to diminish, she’ll start thinking about stepping away from competitive running.

“I look at people like Meb Keflezighi and Jo Pavey and Bernard Lagat. Those guys are still running well in their forties so they are an inspiration for me,” she says.