Running marathons takes commitment and hard work. Finishing a marathon with a broken leg is a whole other grueling story.Krista DuChene, who has the second-fastest female marathon time in Canada, finished third in the Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Montreal on April 28. She hobbled over the finish line through a femur fracture, which required surgery that night.
The Brantford native was in Waterloo last week to speak to the Runners’ Choice Marathon Group preparing for Waterloo’s Harvest Half Marathon on September 13 in St. Clements.
The half marathon will raise funds for the Kenyan Kids Foundation, a charity created by Wesley and Tarah (McKay) Korir to improve the lives of people living in poverty in the Cherangany region of Kenya. Tarah grew up in St. Clements and has been running competitively since she was a teenager.
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Wesley grew up in Kenya and studied at the University of Louisville where they met. They both attended on athletic scholarships. Wesley won the LA Marathon in 2009 and 2010 and the Boston Marathon in 2012. They now split their time between Canada and Kenya, where Wesley is an MP for the Cherangany region of Kenya.
DuChene’s injury left her unable to run for the time being. But while she heals she’s keeping fit with water running, elliptical training, and speed walking. She has her eyes set on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Every year I got more mileage and more intensity,” said DuChene. “I looked at the standard for the 2016 Olympics years ago and thought you know, throw in a baby, do the math. And we did have the four-baby plan but a broken leg and the Olympics being so close, it’s kind of out of the picture.”
She ran track in high school and chose hockey in university because she was more passionate about it. After she got married she got back into running and entertained the idea of doing a marathon.
DuChene ran her first marathon in 2002 in three hours and 28 minutes. Now, 12 years and three kids later, she’s down to two hours and 28 minutes.
“When I was really young I had a lot of energy like some of my kids and my mom used to lock me out of the house and make me run laps and then let me back in,” she said.” I’ve always had high energy and loved being active. Even when I was in the hospital I was doing laps on my crutches and counting it and setting little goals.”
She competed in the world championships in Russia last August with Lanni Marchant, from London, Ont. She said she was in the shape of her life but the heat ended up being the deciding factor in her early finish. She took a break, went to Europe with her husband, and returned to train as hard as she always did.
Marchant was just ahead of DuChene during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where they both broke the record for the fastest female marathon time in Canada.
“I think we both agreed that the reason the record went down that day was because we were pushing each other,” said DuChene. “I know when she had it just ahead of me and I came around the corner and saw the clock I was like ‘she’s not the only one getting this record today.’”
DuChene finished fourth with a time of 2:28:33 just behind Marchant, and two non-Canadian runners. The record was previously set by Sylvia Ruegger in 1985.
“If I had known I had a stress fracture I definitely wouldn’t have raced but it’s all history now.”
Michele Craddock, marathon training group coach, leads the group twice a week on long distance runs and hill and interval training in Waterloo.
“When I saw the video of you finishing the Scotiabank half marathon in Montreal hobbling, I thought that is the epitome of taking heart to get to the finish,” Craddock said.
DuChene will be speaking at the Harvest Half-Marathon’s pre-race pasta dinner on Sept. 12 at Calvary United Church in St. Jacobs. She said she always builds a half marathon into her schedule when training for full marathons, and this will be a great opportunity to prepare for bigger races.
“I loved running on the country roads so this race is appealing for that sense,” said DuChene. “Sometimes it’s nice to get off the hard surface and just run and enjoy the scenery. There’s nothing better than running alongside the fields and the cattle and just enjoying the outdoors.”
She offered tips to the runners as they build their distance this summer. She emphasized the need for consistency in running. Taking a week off from running and trying to make up for it the following week can lead to injuries. Cross training is important for times when you’re healing from an injury to help keep you in shape through less strenuous exercises, like stationary biking.
“Set goals, run for a reason, tell people,” she said. “I know that helps me. When I write on my blog what my goals are that keeps me accountable to all the people who follow my blog.”
Her last piece of advice, ironically, was to listen to your body leading up to the race.
“When I say listen to your body I feel hypocritical now because I broke my leg and finished a race but the finish lane was in sight and I hopped to the finish line,” said DuChene.
There will also be a quarter marathon and a half mile for kids in conjunction with the half marathon.
All funds raised will go to the foundation that supports early childhood education programs, high school and post-secondary scholarships, operating clinics and medical facilities, providing education in health and hygiene, creating access to clean drinking water, and improving farming practices.
To sign up for any of the three races visit www.kenyankidsfoundation.ca or www.runwaterloo.com.