This is the final story in a series profiling runners who competed in the 20th anniversary running of Emera Marathon By the Sea Marathon in Saint John on Sunday. The individual stories, which can be seen by scrolling on this blog, are also running on the MBTS Facebook page and MBTS website.
Those aching muscles feel slightly better today than Monday. Another night’s sleep made things much better and today, many of those who participated in the 20th Emera Marathon by the Sea on Sunday are thinking about their next run.
But before looking too far forward, we will take a look back with some of our participants in the Running Whys series and read their thoughts of the day, which included a touching and memorable tribute to the memory of Cst Douglas Larche, large participation numbers, a record time by Shelley Doucet in the women’s marathon and a victory by Ryan O’Shea in the men’s marathon.
And those hills. Yes, those hills.
We will start off with a story of getting to the start line from Kâté Braydon, one of those featured in the Running Whys and then move on with brief comments from a collection of others who offered their perspective on Sunday’s event.
Kâté Braydon – 12 km
My second official race started off like most of my days usually go. I was late.
I thought arriving at 7:30am (one half hour before race time) would be enough, but after driving in circles looking for parking for 10 minutes, I started to panic. I found a spot a good distance away from where the shuttle bus was supposed to be picking up runners. I, along with about 30 other participants, waited for the shuttle for about another 10 minutes. Finally the group dissipated, so I started walking really fast to the start gate.
I got there with about 5 minutes to spare, and really had to use the bathroom. The line was really, really long. But I really, really had to pee. So I waited. And as I was pulling up my pants, I heard the gun go off to start the race.
This is all hilarious to me now. But at the time of course, I was freaking. The most stressful part of the whole day was just getting there. After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing. I was so full of adrenaline and anxiety that I started off really strong, and was weaving my way through the crowd like a boss (roller derby skills!)
There are great moments of the run that are still prominent in my mind – people who I don’t know cheering for me, the sweet smell of roses along the Harbour Passage, the sun on my face, a sign that read ‘nipples are overrated’…
The last two kilometers were hard. I had to walk up a few hills, which I really didn’t want to have to do, but it was a brisk walk and was probably similar to the pace I would have ‘run’ up them anyway.
I finished with a chip time of 1:15:42 and feel really good about it. It was such a fun experience to be a part of something so big. I can’t wait for the next race!”
Shelley Doucet – Women’s marathon champion
“As I shared in my Running Whys story, the main reason I chose to do the Saint John Marathon was because I wanted to compete in a local race where I would have the support of my family and friends.
They have always been extremely encouraging of my racing and as usual came out in full force on Sunday morning.
“Additionally, the support of the Fundy Extreme Triathlon club took this support to a new level.
If only I could take them to Boston with me, I would be all set! I also want to give special thanks to ALL of the amazing volunteers that made this event possible :)”
Nicola Cassidy – 12 km
“Another race, another hill and another great Marathon by the Sea. 2014 was a time of deja vu (those hills!), fond memories, the touching Red Mile start and the support and laughter at the finish line.
Thanks Saint John for a great day!”
Tessa Stright – Half Marathon
“I did it! I ran a half Marathon! I’m amazed at what this body is capable of doing. Soon, I know I’ll forget my aches and pains, my fatigue and maybe even my finish time, but something that will stay with me for the rest of my life is the feeling of support and encouragement, that feeling I know I will never forget.
“Having so many family members, friends and coworkers wishing me luck, even people I had never met before out on sidewalks and roads, cheering, telling me I looked strong (I knew I definitely didn’t) It was nothing short of amazing.
The last two kms were the worst for me, but looking down to see the bracelet my kids made for me to wear on race day helped me push forward.
“I was so overwhelmed when I spotted my mom on the last turn, she was cheering for me just before the finish line, my family was all there, waiting for me. Even when I felt like I couldn’t, they all knew I could, and that is something I’ll never forget.”
Cat Smith – 12 km speed walk
Cat tackled the 12-km course but in speed walking style, not running.
Her distinctive approach was highlighted in her profile and she said the results were excellent.
“I had some pretty awesome feedback from my story.
I’ve had lots of people come up to me asking if I’m Cat Smith,” she said. “Then they were telling me they saw my Running Why story and how good and inspiring they thought it was.”
She took off according to her plan and cruised over the finish line in 1:22:35 in her first 12 km event.
“Thank you so much. It was an awesome experience.”
Marcie Holland – Half marathon
Marcie Holland enjoyed the entire process but admits the final stages were challenging.
“It took sheer will power to get me through the last two kilometres of the half marathon,” she said of her run, which came in at 1:42.53.
She was one of many who took part in the complete experience on race weekend.
“A highlight was the five-kilometre run in the night with the trail of lights and fireworks over us as we finished.”
Sheila-Perry Long – 12 km
“I’ve had great feedback from the story – I was reluctant to submit anything because my story just doesn’t seem all that interesting, but it’s amazing that you might actually be inspiring people by just trying to live a better, more active life.
If I can inspire just one person to be more active, that’s a great thing.
“I thought the race was awesome! It’s great to compete, but I really enjoy watching others achieve their goals. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with friends. Saint John has a wonderful running community that is so supportive of everyone, no matter how good you really are.”
Rob Long – 5 km
“Both Sheila and I were very humbled by all the attention garnered by the article. We received a lot of positive feedback for our piece and in turn we thoroughly enjoyed reading the other articles!
“Now turning my attention to the event: it was another banner year for Marathon By The Sea, and we had a great time!
“I started the morning competing in the 5km event, with a great result – 2nd in my age category and 20th overall, out of approximately 330 people!
“After finishing my race, I decided to help a friend of mine (Elaine Boulanger) who was attempting her first-ever half marathon. Well, not so much to help, but simply keep her company. So after collecting my medal, I dashed off down the half marathon route in hopes of catching up to her. Which I did with about 10km remaining. I ran with her the rest of the way and was so proud to see her finish with a great time!”
Marta and Frank Kelly – Half Marathon
“Well I have come to the understanding that the name Mike Doyle is synonymous with hills. I’m not entirely sure that he was responsible for the new route, however, I do know that whoever it was made it one of the most challenging routes I have ever done for a half at Marathon by the Sea.
I had only switched to the half on Monday after switching from the relay where I would have only had to run 7k. I was very skeptical of having a good race with the limited post shoulder surgery training that I have had but it was a beautiful day for a long run with friends.
“At any rate, Dad and I set off on our own because we got lost in the corral before the race. There was a very moving tribute to fallen RCMP office Constable Larche before the race started. The start is mainly downhill for the first few kilometres, so you trick yourself into thinking you are feeling good and thus running too fast. I was churning along at around mile 6 when I met Serge from Riverview – we chatted about what we were hoping to run and he indicated he was supposed to be pacing someone for a 2 hour half.
“Since he couldn’t find his friend, that person ended up being me – lol. We caught up to Dad and ran about 3 miles with him but the bridge was pretty long so Dad dropped back a little bit at that point. It was great to see the members of the Fundy Fog Chasers – our running group – at the water stop before the long uphill at the bridge.
“Serge ended up pushing me through to a 1:57:30 – and I can honestly say without him I would have walked quite a few times. Dad was under 2 hours as well and won his age group and a beautiful pottery mug. All in all – it was a great day.”
Alex Coffin – Marathon
“Great event! I tried to throw some smoke at Ryan O’Shea in the first five miles but he blew it away. I am so glad Ryan was able to hold off the runner from Paris. Shelley Doucet was incredible! Third overall! New event record!! SJTCers – Courtney Halfpenny was the second woman in the full, Hannah Arseneault was the first woman in the half, Reid Burrows was first in the 5K, and Maggie Oliver was the first woman in the 5K. Paula Keating won the 12K outright!! Lily Coffin was the top station helper although FETC did make me almost choke on my Gatorade laughing. ”
Tracy Beaulieu – Half Marathon
“I’m pretty happy with my very first half marathon. It was a beautiful course and was really tough. I’ll be back hopefully next year to better my time.
“My friend Karen stuck with me the whole route which absolutely helped me get through the “hitting the wall” parts. Saint Johners were unbelievably friendly, as I knew they would be.
“Great race. Loved it.”
Gary Keating – Half Marathon
“A wonderful weekend of fitness and fun in Saint John with Marathon By The Sea.
I’m not sure of the exact number of participants, but I would guess it was the largest number of runners thus far.
The 20 year anniversary certainly illustrated that MBTS is a wonderful fitness event for Saint John attracting runners and fitness enthusiasts from all over New Brunswick and beyond.
“Once again, a great job by the organizing committee and their awesome team of volunteers (could not be done without them).
MBTS continues to promote health, wellness and fitness for all to participate because of the many running events it offers.
Extremely nice to see Saint John Mayor Mel Norton and Liberal leader Brian Gallant promoting health and wellness by participating in MBTS (leading by example).
“Again, a great event today and I certainly plan to participate again in 2015. Stay Active!”
Joy Durdan – 5 km
The last word goes to the first person we profiled, – Joy Durdan, who finished fourth in her division in the 5k.
“I had an awesome 5k race,” she said. “If a person ever wants to find a large group of people who have incredible strength, find some runners. We are stubborn, strong willed and have huge hearts.”