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Canadian record holder used extreme weather to prepare for olympic marathon
BY Ella Milloy
Even the most ambitious runners would pause before attempting to run outside at the peak of the heat wave that engulfed Canada’s west coast in July. Canadian marathoner Malindi Elmore, however, used the extreme weather to help acclimate herself before heading to Tokyo.
For the Kelowna-native, the forty-degree heat became a source of motivation instead of an obstacle to overcome in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games. Over the course of her career, the forty-one year old has had a tremendous impact on Canadian running.
In 2004, Elmore raced the 1500-metre track event at the Olympics in Athens. She then went on to represent Canada at multiple major international events before taking a break to raise a family. From 2015-2017, Elmore competed in professional triathlons. Two years later, and seven months postpartum, she finished her first marathon.
In January 2020, Elmore broke the Canadian Marathon Record (2:24:50), helping to eventually secure her a spot on the six-athlete marathon team heading to Tokyo this summer.
Sixteen years after Athens, the mother of two is representing Canada at her second Olympics. With such a gap in distance between the 1500-metre and the marathon, Elmore reflected on how she prepared for both events.
“The demands and the preparation [for Athens] were quite different,” Elmore said. “Now, a lot of my work is quite aerobic with a lot more volume, but at a lower intensity. I’m not racing nearly as much, and I’m not travelling as much. It actually seems like it’s a bit easier in a way, because it’s more routine and consistency than high-intensity work.”
As with any high-impact sport, it is important for runners to be mindful of their bodies and state of mind while training. For Elmore, the breaks she took from the sport complimented her passion for running, allowing her to continue to challenge herself over the course of her career.
“I’ve kind of re-invented my career three times, and that’s kept it fresh and interesting,” she explained. “Having breaks to break up the long stints have kept it exciting, and has helped to keep my body healthy and strong.
Heat Dome a bonus for Elmore
Photo credit: Jon Adrian.
”Outside of her training, Elmore works as the cross country coach at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO). Since December 2019, Elmore has coached the next generation of runners.
The UBCO alumnus discussed one of her tips for those who are looking for longevity in the sport. “I would just say mixing it up,” she said. “Mix up your distances and intensity and do some cross-training.
If you’re a road racer, try some track racing or trail racing. Don’t feel like you have to do the same thing [everyday].
”Surrounded by her family and friends, Elmore feels very grateful for the support she receives on a daily basis as she pursues her running goals.
Her husband and coach, two-time Olympian Graham Hood, as well as her two sons, are her biggest fans.Elmore also thanked her parents for their endless support of her Olympic dream.“I wouldn’t be able to do [this] without them,” Elmore said. “It’s a family project, me going to the Olympics [....] I truly feel like when I go to the line I’m representing my family, my community, and Canada.”
Catch Malindi Elmore in action during the Women’s Marathon on Friday, Aug. 6.