Callahan McKenzie finished third in the BMO Vancouver Marathon with a time of 2:49:28, an 18-minute personal best.
McKenzie, who is one of the more than 20 Yukoners who participated in the marathon, said it felt surreal crossing the finish line.
“I’m super excited and looking forward to what comes next,” she said. “This was the fastest I’ve ever run in a marathon before.”
This is McKenzie’s fourth marathon. She last participated in the Seattle Marathon in 2015.
McKenzie said she prepared for the marathon for a year in Whitehorse.
“I was on the treadmill a lot this winter and I have been running on the snow a lot,” she said. “Whitehorse is an interesting place to train for a spring marathon. It has its own unique challenges.”
Established in 1972, the Vancouver race is the second largest international marathon in Canada. This year’s race, which was held May 7, had over 20,000 participants, a new event record according to organizers.
David Eikelboom, who was McKenzie’s coach, said her performance demonstrates all the work she has already put in preparation for the marathon.
“It wasn’t unexpected for me,” he said. “Her outcome at the marathon wasn’t just some random event. She has been consistent in putting in the work in both physical and mental training. So, I was not surprised by how well she did.”
Eikelboom said they knew the course and made a good race plan which took into account where it was going to be hilly and flat.
“I thought it was a great race and she executed the plan really well,” he said.
Eikelboom said it was a fun experience for him to be down there and participate in the marathon.
“People know me as a runner more than they know me as a coach,” he said. “So, it was fun to be on the other side of the equation and get there as a coach and not run. It was an amazing experience.”
Geoff Dunbrack, another Yukoner who finished 13th overall, said he was happy with the outcome.
“It feels good to get out there and see what you can do and put in a good effort,” he said.
Dunbrack said he trained for a couple of months with his friends in Whitehorse when the weather started to warm up.
“It’s a great event with lots of energy and encouragement from people cheering,” he noted, adding that he is already preparing to train in the summer for the Victoria Marathon on Oct. 8.
Looking forward to future races, McKenzie said she is curious as to how fast she can get.
“I want to keep training and run in a couple more marathons,” she said.
“The hardest part was to keep running even when you wanted to stop along the way. The trail system in Whitehorse is such an incredible and amazing place to run and train.”
She told the News she likes running in the Klondike Road Relay and will be participating in this year’s event on Sept. 8.
McKenzie said she would advise those who want to participate in a marathon to start and build slowly.
“Find someone who can help you out. I couldn’t have done this without my coach because he helped me get to where I am. Take it one step at a time.”
Contact Patrick Egwu at firstname.lastname@example.org