Marathoner Back at the Olympics After 17 Years

Olympian Malindi Elmore believes age is a help, not a hindrance in the marathon

By Wayne Moore, Kelowna News

Don’t let age fool you – Malindi Elmore isn’t past her prime – not by a long shot.

The only hills she’s over are the ones she is descending while training for the women’s marathon at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games.

As expected, Elmore, who turned 41 three months ago, was named to the Canadian women’s marathon team last week. Her nomination to the team was a foregone conclusion after she established the Canadian marathon record of two hours, 24 minutes and 50 seconds in Houston 17 months ago.

“I think we are starting to see some really amazing performances from women in their 30s and 40s where in the past we thought you hit your 20s, you’re past your prime at 30,” Elmore told Castanet News during a recent one-on-one interview.

She pointed to her Canadian marathon teammates, Natasha Wodak, who turns 40 this year and 34-year-old Dayna Pidhoresky.

“It’s an endurance sport so the more years you can put under your belt, run and get stronger, and learn a lot about your body and execute a good race – I think that all a benefit. I don’t think there’s a time bomb that goes off when you turn a particular age.”

The Tokyo Olympics also present a second chance for Elmore who ran the 1,500 metres at the Athens Olympics in 2004, but failed to make the Canadian team for the games in 2008 and 2012 in Beijing and London respectively.

Elmore retired in 2012 with her one Olympic appearance and a handful of medals from other international competitions, not ever thinking another Olympics was possible.

“Prior to that, absolutely not. I had entirely moved on with life.

“I really love running and the process of chasing goals and seeing how good I can be in different events. I moved from track and field in 2012 to triathlons. After my second child was born, I didn’t have time to do all that training for triathlon, I went back to running, but not with any great expectation of being at this level.

“I didn’t have these grandiose, oh I’ll make the Olympics doing this. That came later.”

That came with a “perfect race” in Houston and a Canadian record in only her second full marathon.

In fact, with COVID-19 shutting down competitions worldwide, Tokyo will be number three.

Despite not being able to compete, Elmore says she has had not trouble training.

“I don’t need facilities. I don’t need a lot, I don’t even need to run with other people, I don’t need to run with a coach, so I’ve been hitting up the rail trail, hitting up the Greenway, hitting up Kalamalka Lake on the rail trail in Oyama and Vernon,” she said.

Keeping my mind and body on the goal of being ready Aug. 7. I feel fortunate COVID, despite not having any race opportunities, hasn’t hindered my training.”

She also believes athletes will be safe while at the games.

“I think, at least from a Canadian perspective, we’re ready to go and be respectful of the Japanese population and be as safe as possible. I’m optimistic it can be done safely.”

As for her chances in Tokyo, her Canadian record is just over a minute off the current Olympic record. the world record in a women’s only marathon is 2:17:01, established four years ago in London.

And, always thinking ahead, Elmore isn’t discounting running in the 2024 Paris Olympics – her favourite city in the world.

“It would be amazing at that point, hopefully COVID is far enough behind us that my family could be there. I kind of owe it to my kids to see me in person. ”

Family members will not be allowed to attend the games this year.

Article courtesy of Kelowna News (https://www.castanet.net/)