Canada’s Malindi Elmore just ran 2:27:58 to finish 11th at the Boston Marathon, continuing a brilliant marathon career that saw her set a new Canadian record in January, 2020 (2:24:50) and finish ninth at last year’s Olympics in Tokyo.
Elmore is one of a few Canadian women who have broken the nine-hour barrier for a full-distance race. A 2004 Olympian over 1,500 m, the 42-year-old retired from the track in 2012 after representing Canada at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Pan Ams. After having her first child she turned to swimming and biking to stay fit and it wasn’t long before she turned to triathlon. Her race results were impressive – she won the Great White North triathlon in 2015 and took second at Ironman 70.3 Calgary that year, too. In 2016 she was second at Ironman 70.3 Victoria and Augusta, then went a blazing 8:57 for third at Ironman Arizona. The list of Canadian women faster than Elmore over the full-distance is short – Jen Annett, Lori Bowden, Angela Naeth and Sara Gross.
Here’s some of the coverage provided by Canadian Running Magazine’s Brittany Hambleton:
The race started out conservatively, but (Joyciline) Jepkosgei and (Peres) Jepchirchir (the top two marathoners in the world this year) didn’t wait long before they began cranking up the pace. Going through the first 5K in 17:40, they gradually sped up to 16:39 for the next 5K and 15:49 for the third 5K. Canadians Natasha Wodak and Malindi Elmore fell off the lead pack just before the 10K mark.
By 15K, what was once a group of 11 runners had been whittled down to four as Jepchirchir, Jepkosgei, Yeshaneh and Ethiopia’s Degitu Azimeraw.They were followed distantly by a chase pack, while American favourite, Olympic bronze medallist Molly Seidel faded to a third pack of two with British runner Charlotte Purdue.
By the halfway mark, the Azimeraw had dropped off and the lead group of three split 1:09:40 for 21K and left the chase pack completely out of sight. Elmore was a few minutes behind in 1:12:51 and Wodak went through the halfway mark in 1:13:27.
The top three women raced together until about the 37K mark, at which point Jepchirchir and Yeshaneh broke away to race for the win. The pair appeared to be speaking to each other, with Yeshaneh seeming to ask Jepchirchir to get out from behind her and run next to her. Both women ran with unbelievable determination and it was impossible to pedict a winner.
As the pair approached the iconic CITGO sign, Jepchirhir unleashed a monster kick, gapping Yeshaneh within seconds. Yeshaneh was undeterred, and quickly caught back up and overtook Jepchirchir heading into the tunnel. The two runners traded back and forth for the lead over the final couple of kilometres. It was a sprint finish, with the Olympic and New York Marathon champion beating Yeshaneh to the line in 2:21:02. Yeshaneh finished close behind her in 2:21:05 and Kenya’s Mary Ngugi was third in 2:21:32.
Elmore ran a very strong race and finished 11th in 2:27:58, officially qualifying her for the World Championships in Eugene, Ore. this summer. Wodak had a difficult second half, finishing in 19th 2:35:08, and Newfoundland’s Kate Bazely rounded out the Canadian squad in 24th in 2:38:26. American favourite Molly Seidel appeared to be struggling early in the race, and ended up dropping out sometime after the 25K mark.