PEI

'Very blessed,' says P.E.I. runner headed for Boston Marathon

Fourteen Prince Edward Islanders will be running the world's oldest annual marathon this year. 

‘One of those races everybody aspires to do,’ says runner Amber MacLeod

Islanders Kevin MacIsaac, left, Amber MacLeod and Blair Steele will all be running in the Boston Marathon. (Submitted by Kevin MacIsaac)

Fourteen Prince Edward Islanders will be running the world's oldest annual marathon this year. 

After two pandemic-disrupted events, the Boston Marathon is back for its regular spring running this Monday. It is not only the world's oldest, it is also one of the most popular, and participating takes more than just turning up at the start line. Runners must meet a particular time in a qualifying event.

"I know many who have tried and not got that qualifying time," said runner Amber MacLeod.

"It's kind of one of those races everybody aspires to do when you're a long-distance runner. It does feel pretty incredible and I feel very blessed and very fortunate that I am healthy and I am able to run it this weekend."

'It looks pretty easy'

MacLeod met the qualifying times in both the P.E.I. and Fredericton marathons.

Her regular running partner, Kevin MacIsaac, who qualified in both those marathons, as well the Barrington and Bluenose, will be joining her.

MacIsaac came to running later in life, which he said was an advantage because as an older runner his qualifying time is slower. 

He was inspired by Stan Chaisson, who he calls the best runner in the Maritimes and who MacIsaac grew up across the road from in Bear River.

MacIsaac was looking for a way to exercise more.

"That looks like a fun thing to do. It looks pretty easy," he said of his thinking at the time.

"I didn't realize until I started doing it myself how hard it is and how good Stan was."

'Surreal'

While the marathon is back to its regular date there are still adjustments for the pandemic. Participants must be vaccinated. MacLeod and MacIsaac said they will be wearing masks at the crowded start and finish lines.

"It does cause a lot of anxiety for me," said MacLeod.

"Even the thought of running with 30,000 other runners come Monday, you just kind of have that pandemic brain now."

She said she has run with a mask before, and once she gets going she doesn't really notice it. She has a mask she can easily put on and take off as she moves in and out of crowds.

MacLeod said she has set a time goal for the marathon, but the real goal is just to run the Boston Marathon.

"It's kind of surreal still and I guess I won't believe it until I'm actually there."

With files from Island Morning

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