Canadians Tackle Marathon Project

Natasha Wodak’s fierce journey

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Marathon Runners
Before taking on the marathon, Natasha Wodak, right (#34) had a busy season including competing in the Pan Am XC Cup at Bear Mountain, Langford, BC in February. Photo: Yan Lyesin

On your mark, get set and go … check out the Marathon Project 2020 which takes place on December 20th in Chandler, Arizona. Fifty men and fifty women will take on a 6.9 km (4.3-mile) loop fast and flat course with the goal of making the Olympic standard for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (re-scheduled to July 2021). The men’s qualifying time is 2:11:30 and the women’s 2:29:30. The entry list includes seven Canadians (four men and three women). Cam Levins, who holds the national record of 2:09:25 (2018 Toronto Waterfront Marathon) leads the Canadian men’s field followed by Rory Linkletter (2:16:27), Benjamin Preisner (half PB 1:03:09) and Justin Kent (half PB 1:04:20). The Canadian women are Emily Setlack (2:19:48), Kinsey Middleton (2:32:09), and Natasha Wodak. Wodak, from Vancouver, hasn’t run a marathon since her debut in 2013, finishing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2:35:16. Since then the 10,000 metre specialist has been concentrating on shorter distances including running a 1:09:41 in the Houston Half Marathon in January.

Pandemic or not, Wodak, accompanied by her coach Olympic bronze medallist Lynn Kanuka (nee Williams), has been pounding the roads over the last few weeks, focusing on her goal. Pre-COVID the Tokyo goal was 10,000 metres, “With all the uncertainty and the Olympics no longer on the table for 2020, we decided on preparing for a half marathon time trial, and then the opportunity came up to run the elite Marathon Project in Arizona,” said Kanuka. Once the decision had been made her ‘Team Fierce’ training group with Kanuka and supporters Jim and Mary Heinz, had a plan.

“We’ve worked hard on her turnover and arm action, and she truly has become a marathon runner. En route she has run her second fastest half ever, a sanctioned time trial of 1:10:01, and now she has only a couple more marathon pace volume sessions and her prep will be complete,” added Kanuka. “Amidst these difficult COVID times, Tasha has grown as an athlete and a person, and truly understands what it means to appreciate ‘the journey’.”

For details on the Marathon Project go to: www.themarathonproject.com


December 2020 Digital Edition

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