Natasha Wodak thinks the fun of the process will be reflected in the results.
The 40-year-old from North Vancouver, British Columbia, who learned to love training for the marathon, broke the Canadian record for the distance in Berlin on Sunday.
Wodak finished 12th in the Berlin Marathon in two hours 23 minutes 12 seconds, lowering Malindi Elmore’s record of 2:24.50 set in 2020.
Wodak, who finished 13th in the marathon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has been a 10,000 meter specialist on the track for much of a decade and said she didn’t enjoy her first marathon experience in 2013.
“I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know how badly I want to do this,'” Wodak said.
“But as I get older, become a more disciplined runner and get into a better position in my life, I really enjoy training. And I had a lot of fun with each marathon build and challenged myself. Because it’s new, right? The switch to the marathon was a lot of fun, doing new workouts and challenging myself, and I really enjoyed it. And I think that’s a big part of why I was successful, is because I really enjoyed the training.
Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa won Sunday’s race in 2:15.37. Two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke his own men’s marathon world record to win the men’s race in 2:01.09.
Wodak, who is coached by Trent Stellingwerff, said her recent training indicated she could run 2:24.
On Sunday, she picked up the pace on the 42.195 kilometer course. His second half was over a minute faster than the first.
“I knew at the 35K, because we had slowed the pace significantly over the last 5K, that we were well below the Canadian record pace,” Wodak said, moments before having a celebratory drink with his family.
“I had a pacemaker, and he was just like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ And I just kept it. I was tired in the last 5 kilometers, I was working really, really hard. But I knew it was just because we were running fast.
“I didn’t think I could do 24.12…when I saw that time at the finish line, I was like, ‘oh, wow, what?'”
Wodak’s record comes amid an increase in women’s distance running in Canada.
The Canadian record has dropped by five minutes over the past nine years, although Wodak noted that huge improvements in shoe technology have caused distance running times to plummet across the board in recent years.
Still, Elmore finished ninth at the Tokyo Olympics and the battle between the Canadians to make that team was fierce.
“It’s really exciting to be a part of women’s distance running right now,” Wodak said. “We kind of feed off each other. If Malindi hadn’t run 2:24.50, I don’t know if I would have set my goal of running 2:24 flat.
“So now Malindi is going to run in Toronto (Waterfront Marathon on October 16), and she’s going to be like, ‘OK, I want to run under 2:23.’ We keep lowering the bar and it’s great when we all build each other up. She wished me good luck (Saturday) and said, “Hope you have an amazing race. It’s a really cool racing community to be a part of when we all support each other.
Elmore tweeted on Sunday: “Congratulations Natasha! Huge awesome race today!
Wodak planned to vacation in Germany with his family. She doesn’t plan on racing for a while and plans to compete at the Canadian Cross Country Championships Nov. 26 in Ottawa.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press