“It is icing on the cake that keeps getting thicker and sweeter,” Krista DuChene says of her stunning 3rd place finish at the 2018 Boston Marathon. “So with every marathon I do, I am pleased to be out there doing it.”
Boston was a performance, she contends, that was on par with her representing Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
With such an enviable record the 41 year old Brantford, Ontario resident had no hesitation about tackling her next challenge the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where she will join fellow Olympian Reid Coolsaet October 21st.
It is the event where she ran her personal best of 2:28:32 five years ago to become the second fastest Canadian woman in history.
“There are lots of reasons (for choosing Toronto): it’s close to home, it’s a Canadian championship, it’s a quality field but it’s just, no matter where I am racing, my thoughts are on this race,” DuChene reveals. “It’s the one I want to do even though I could pick any race in the world. That’s not to say I will do it every fall. I might, but I do need to choose my races wisely and this is one of those wise choices I can make.”
Over the past few years, besides her recent Boston triumph, she has traveled to London and to Rotterdam – she finished 3rd in the prominent Dutch race three years ago in 2:29:38 – and has fond memories of each experience. Naturally, finishing Boston and earning $40,000 US prize money was a surprise.
While some of the world’s best athletes, like 2017 New York champion Shalane Flanagan and defending Boston champion Edna Kiplagat, buckled under the terrible weather conditions, Krista demonstrated the toughness we have come to expect from this former University of Guelph hockey player. Who can forget the 2014 Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal when she finished 3rd despite suffering a stress fracture in her left femur?
“I was hoping for top 15 and top 3 masters (in Boston),” she admits adding with a laugh. “Boston was definitely a good pay day but if you look at my hourly wage over the last several years it’s not quite as significant.
Toronto Waterfront Marathon race director, Alan Brookes, was in Boston to witness DuChene’s incredible performance in such dreadful conditions.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Krista at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 2018, on the back of her remarkable Boston performance,” says Brookes. “I was so proud to hear Krista say at the post-race press conference that she hoped to run our race in the fall – her hometown race and her favourite marathon. We hope everyone in our great Canadian running community will be out to run with her on October 21st, or come out and cheer like crazy for her. She deserves a super-special hometown welcome!”
DuChene’s children are now 12, 10 and 7 and she is aware of her influence upon them as they grow. All three are involved in competitive sports – hockey or swimming.
“It’s neat that I know I am a role model for them, even though I am their mom,” DuChene acknowledges, “They see the choices that I make when I go to bed and what I eat and they have seen the success that comes with that but they have also seen the disappointments that builds character.
“All three are in competitive sports and I don’t think I need to remind them of the things I go through, but it’s likely going through their mind. In terms of what I eat they don’t necessary care to have a smoothie that is primarily spinach but they are adding one spinach leaf at a time when they make theirs now. It’s things like that, where I see my actions are influencing them, and how they approach their sport.”
After being guided for most of her career by fellow Brantford resident, Rick Mannen, she switched coaches following the Rio Olympics to explore other approaches. These days she is a member of Guelph’s Speed River Track Club under the expertise of Coach Dave Scott-Thomas, who has been responsible for the success of Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis, Trevor Hofbauer and many other prominent Canadians.
Scott-Thomas and DuChene communicate regularly and he writes her training program. Since she prefers to train alone her visits to Guelph are infrequent. But when she does visit she makes the most of it, getting in a supervised training session, visiting the club’s physiotherapist and undergoing scientific testing.
“Our communication,” she says, “in terms of workouts and races, is exactly what I need and I think if I asked for more I could get more but it’s working perfectly.”
DuChene will race a few shorter distances through the summer. Her Boston performance earned her an invitation to the prestigious NYRR Women’s 10k on June 9th, and she just enjoyed a strong outing at Toronto Waterfront 10k this past Sunday. About twelve weeks before the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon she will begin her marathon buildup. Come the fall she will once again be juggling family and athletic commitments, nothing new to this mother, who used to rise at 4:30 a.m. to get her training in before her husband Jonathan went to work. Now she has assumed a coaching position with her seven year old daughter’s hockey team.
“I am going to be the head coach of her team this fall which is going to be very rewarding and somewhat challenging but it’s time for me to give back,” she offers. “I will definitely be busy but I am glad to have this.
“Last year I was the team trainer. I was going for a long run of 30k, going to the arena, changing into my hockey clothes and then, sometimes, going back out to add on a bit more mileage if I needed more.”
DuChene always seems to find a way to get the job done even as she approaches her 42nd birthday. And she is grateful as ever for the opportunity to race world class marathons and use her performances as a platform to encourage others.
“I think that I am very content with being second fastest (Canadian ever) because that is a message that can encourage others and it’s more meaningful to hear that than ‘oh I am the best’ here’s how I did it,” she declares. “I am second best. There is no pressure on me whatsoever, I can go out there and do my thing and if it happens to the fastest marathon I have ever done great but if not that’s ok too.”
With the 2020 Olympic qualifying period rapidly approaching she doesn’t rule out another Olympics. And that, would be sweeter still.
For more information and to join Krista DuChene and Reid Coolsaet at the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon visit: www.stwm.ca