Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Canada's Krista DuChene a year older, 8 seconds faster at Boston Marathon

It wasn’t the dream-like finish of a year ago, but Krista DuChene did shave eight seconds off her time Monday, completing her third Boston Marathon in two hours 44 minutes 12 seconds. 'Today was more about survival," she says of the humid conditions.

Ottawa's Josh Cassidy 9th, fellow Canadian Tristan Smyth 12th in push rim wheelchair division

Canada's Krista DuChene, pictured here running in the rain and cold of last year's Boston Marathon, crossed the line in two hours 44 minutes 12 seconds on Monday, eight seconds faster than a year ago. (Ryan McBride/AFP/Getty Images/File)

It wasn't the dream-like finish of a year ago, but Krista DuChene did shave eight seconds off her time Monday, completing her third Boston Marathon in two hours 44 minutes 12 seconds.

The 42-year-old mother of three from Brantford, Ont., finished fifth in the masters (40-and-over) division and 46th among women to fall short of her pre-race goals of top three and top 15, respectively.

"I didn't know until yesterday that there would be 60-65 women in the elite/sub-elite field, instead of 40 like last year," DuChene told CBC Sports. "With my time goal of 2:40, a top-15 result wasn't realistic. If I had researched the competitive masters field, I would have also adjusted that goal."

Rain, cold temperatures and 45 km/h wind gusts were forecast for the women's race but improved substantially by the time runners took the line shortly after 9:30 a.m. ET as the temperature hovered around 14C with an 18 km/h wind.

Last year, DuChene sat 10th through 35 kilometres before charging late in the rain, cold and wind of Boston, finishing third out of nearly 14,000 women in 2:44:20. Jacqueline Gareau (1980) remains the only Canadian to have won in Boston.

WATCH | Lawrence Cherono wins Boston Marathon:

Lawrence Cherono edges Lelisa Desisa to claim the 123rd Boston Marathon. 1:02

Giving a 'consistent effort' the focus

"Last year's weather worked for me, having trained in wet and cold conditions," said DuChene, a registered dietitian who was running her 17th marathon. "Although there was no rain [today] there was humidity, which was apparently around 90 per cent at the start of the race. I immediately adjusted my goals as I've done this long enough to know that humidity and I do not get along.

"Today was more about survival. I was concerned the humidity might take its toll on my stomach but thankfully it didn't, so I'm pleased I executed another successful nutrition plan. I just put my focus on giving a consistent effort."

Making world champs and the [2020] Olympic team isn't something I'm fighting for. With the depth of Canadian women's distance running, I'm incredibly proud and pleased.— Veteran  marathon runner Krista DuChene of Brantford, Ont.

And dropping out of the race wasn't a consideration for DuChene, whose husband Jonathan and their three children — Micah, 13, Seth, 11 and Leah, 8 — were waiting at the finish line.

DuChene hopes to run the marathon at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar, in September but will let her coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, decide. She is one of eight Canadian women who have met the 2:37:00 qualifying standard after clocking 2:36:46 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon last October.

From there, DuChene hasn't ruled out trying to run under 2:29:30, the new women's qualifying time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"Making world champs and the Olympic team isn't something I'm fighting for," she said. "With the depth of Canadian women's distance running, I'm incredibly proud and pleased. When fellow Canadian Kate Gustafson [of Vancouver] passed me in today's race [en route to a 35th-place finish] I was happy for her and immediately thought about how well our Canadian women are doing."

Among the achievements by Canadian women in 2019:

  • Gabriela Stafford broke the mile and 5,000 metres in a three-week span in January.
  • Jessica O'Connell smashed the 3,000 mark at the Millrose Games in New York on Feb. 9.
  • Jenna Westaway shattered the 800 and 1,000 records in February over two weeks in Boston.
  • O'Connell teamed with Gen Lalonde and Natasha Wodak to help Canada's senior women to a silver medal at the NACAC event in Trinidad and Tobago on Feb. 16.
  • Rachel Cliff set a Canadian women's marathon record of 2:26:56 at the Nagoya Women's Marathon in Japan on March 10.

DuChene was the only elite Canadian runner, male or female, competing on Monday. Anne Johnston of St. John's (37th) and Ailsa MacDonald of St. Albert, Alta. (74th) were the other Canadians to finish inside the top 100 in the women's race.

On the men's side, Karl Augsten of Canmore, Alta., and Matt McNeil of Saint John were 48th and 73rd, respectively.

Ethiopia's Degefa crosses line 1st

Ethiopia's Worknesh Degefa broke away from the rest of the women's field early on Monday and ran alone for the last 32.2 km (20 miles) for the win at the 123rd Boston Marathon.

Degefa crossed the finish line in Boston's Back Bay in an unofficial time of 2:23:30 to become the eighth Ethiopan woman to win the race, and the third in seven years.

It's her first major marathon victory. She won the Dubai Marathon in 2017, setting an Ethiopian national record in the process.

Defending champion Des Linden placed fifth in 2:27:00. She was the first American woman to win the race since 1985 when she crossed the finish line first last year.

WATCH | Worknesh Degefa win's women race:

Worknesh Degefa claims her first Boston Marathon victory. 1:06

Kenya's Cherono wins men's sprint to finish

In the men's race, Kenya's Lawrence Cherono outsprinted Ethiopa's Lelisa Desisa over the final few steps for the victory.

Cherono crossed the finish line in an unofficial time of 2:07:57, just ahead of Desisa, the 2015 champion, in 2:07:59.

It was the Boston debut for Cherono, a winner of six marathons, who most recently won the 2018 Amsterdam Marathon.

Canadian men crack top 15 in wheelchair race

Daniel Romanchuk won the men's push rim wheelchair race with the fastest time ever by an American in Boston, crossing the finish line in an official time of one hour 21 minutes 36 seconds.

His victory breaks up the recent dominance of Hug and Ernst van Dyk, who between them have 14 Boston Marathon victories. Hug had won the previous four Boston races.

Ottawa's Josh Cassidy clocked 1:29:59 to place ninth while Tristan Smyth of Lake Country, B.C., was 12th in 1:32:23.

Cassidy and Smyth finished 1-2 at the 34th annual Los Angeles Marathon in March. A two-time Paralympian, the 34-year-old Cassidy broke the wheelchair world record at the 2012 Boston Marathon in 1:18:25 to beat 10-time champion Ernst van Dyk of South Africa.

Smyth, 32, was fourth in the marathon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and helped Canada to a bronze medal in the 4x400-metre wheelchair relay in 2016 at his Paralympic debut in Rio.

Manuela Schar, meanwhile, is on her way to a sweep of the World Marathon Major women's wheelchair races.

Schar won Boston for the second time in 1:34:19 with no one else in sight. She is already the defending champion in Berlin, Chicago, New York and Tokyo. If she wins in London in two weeks, she will have swept the series.

About the Author

Doug Harrison

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Associated Press

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