It was a quiet weekend on the triathlon race circuit, but a notable Canadian age-grouper won the Manitoba Half Marathon on Sunday.
Winnipeg’s Nicole Walker recently took the overall age-group title at Ironman North American Championships in the Woodlands, Texas. On Sunday, she ran a personal best to win the half marathon at the Manitoba Marathon, the last of the large Canadian spring road races for the year.
The 27-year-old comes from a large running family but prefers to train as a high-level, age-group long course triathlete. She crossed the finish line of the half-marathon in 1:23:48, averaging 3:58/km and finishing eighth overall among men and women. Walker recently raced Ironman 70.3 Florida this year, where her half-marathon run split was 1:32:22.
“This is my new personal best for a half marathon,” she told reporters. “I didn’t know what I could really do because I’m normally running much longer. Every year, I come out and watch my in-laws and my husband and his brother, and every time I’m here I wish I was running. So this year I didn’t care that I just raced (at the Ironman North American championships in May). I was going to do it any way.”
At May’s North American Championhips at Ironman Texas, Walker’s time of 8:07:39 on this year’s slightly shortened course not only earned her the age group title but a slot to Kona this year as well. She also beat 21 of the 29 pro women’s times at the race.
“I knew I was in good shape for this one, so I was really excited to be able to qualify to go to worlds,” Walker told reporters. “Who knows? Maybe after this I’ll dip my feet into the pro field. We’ll see.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a triathlete win a running race. Jeff Symonds and Brent McMahon both have a track record of winning local running races and earlier this year, retired triathlete Natasha Yaremczuk won the Walt Disney World Marathon.