Photo: Christine Cater/Canada Running Series.
By Paul Gains
“It’s icing on the cake that keeps getting thicker and sweeter,” Krista DuChene says of her stunning third-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 representing Canada at the 2016 Olympics.
The 41-year-old Brantford, Ont. resident had no hesitation about tackling her next challenge, the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. There, on Oct. 21, she will join fellow Olympian Reid Coolsaet.
Five years ago, on the streets of Toronto at Canada Running Series’ flagship event, DuChene ran 2:28:32, becoming 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.”
While some of the world’s best athletes buckled under the terrible Boston Marathon weather conditions, Krista demonstrated the toughness we have come to expect from the former University of Guelph hockey player. (DuChene won US$40,000 in prize money for third.) Who can forget the 2014 Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal when she finished third despite suffering a stress fracture in her left femur?
“I was hoping for top-15 and top-three masters (in Boston),” she admits. “Boston was definitely a good payday but if you look at my hourly wage over the last several years it’s not quite as significant.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Krista at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 2018, on the back of her remarkable Boston performance,” says CRS race director Alan Brookes. “I was so proud to hear Krista say at the post-Boston 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 Oct. 21, or come out and cheer like crazy for her. She deserves a super-special hometown welcome!”
DuChene’s children are now 12, 10 and seven. She’s aware of her influence upon them as they grow.
“It’s neat to know I am a role model for them [all three are in competitive sports], even though I am their mom,” DuChene says, “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.”
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 and Trevor Hofbauer among others.
Scott-Thomas and DuChene communicate regularly and he writes her training program. “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 9, and she just enjoyed a strong outing at Toronto Waterfront 10K. About twelve weeks before the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon she will begin her marathon buildup.
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 isn’t ruling out another Olympics. “Moving forward, I have no good reason to not try to make the next standard for [the] Tokyo [Olympics],” she said at the University of Guelph Marathon Night on June 12. And that would be sweeter still.