Krista DuChene: “Coping and Recovering”

May 3, 2014 1

© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

Krista DuChene, Canada’s second fastest marathon runner of all time, was planning to race a few events this spring in preparation to compete in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games marathon. She also had plans to spend more time with her family going forward. This would require a balancing act; otherwise something would have to give. Who knew it would be her leg? She suffered a broken femur during the Canadian Half Marathon Championships, Sunday April 27th.

She qualified for the Games during the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, finishing in her personal best time of 2:28:32. Greeting her at the finish line was Race Director Alan Brookes, who seems to be ever-present on the Canadian road racing scene.

Her well-intentioned plans would have her finish the Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Montreal (Banque Scotia 21k de Montréal). She would likely win the event, then follow that race up by taking in a 10,000m race in London, Ontario on May 18th. Less than one week later she would compete in the Ottawa 10k, which is part of the Ottawa Marathon race weekend. Finally, she would fly west to Vancouver to race the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on June 22nd. That race is a ripper and almost guarantees a personal best performance. She is the defending champion, having raced the 2013 edition in her personal best time of 1:10:52, bettering Lanni Marchant by over half a minute and unofficially setting the fastest half marathon time in Canadian history. Marchant is Canada’s fastest ever marathon runner with her 2:28:00 from the same 2013 Toronto marathon. Marchant went on to narrowly better DuChene’s half marathon result by finishing in 1:10:47 at the Tom King Classic Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee.

As is well documented, DuChene was in the lead, but there was a distant pain present before the race started. The pain grew until with just 500m to go, the lead well in hand, DuChene’s leg broke. She limped in to finish in third place with a time of 1:16:38. Brookes was there to greet her as usual, but this time he carried her to a stretcher.

Asked how fast she would have likely finished she said, “I’ve been in touch with the guy with whom I ran most of the race, Jean-Pierre Morin. The pain started around 16km so I figure, based on where we were at that point, I would have likely finished in 72-mid-high. Here’s what Jean-Pierre had to say, “I hope you will be back soon and achieve your goals! It was my first half and my track coach forced me to stay with you cause of your steady pace. You helped me a lot! I’m proud of my time. Thank you very much.””

DuChene is a mother of three. “I haven’t been home for 24 hours yet, but we are settling in. There are tears on occasion (me included), but that’s therapeutic. The grandparents have been phenomenal,” she shared.

Regarding her career, the 37-year-old Brantford, Ontario native said, “I had this answer in my head the night of surgery: my first marathon can be early 2016. Perhaps it’ll be, ‘The return to Rotterdam.’ I will be realistic; this may be the end of my career. But honestly, my faith and heart tell me otherwise. I’ve been a pretty solid comeback athlete so I don’t see this as much different.”

Asked how long she may be away from training she said, “Right now I am just coping and recovering. But I’ve been told I will be able to cross train within a few weeks. The Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre where I train will be a great place to return for this as they are equipped with everything, including amazing childcare. But there’s no rush and I will do as I am told!  Like I’ve said, I’m going to enjoy the break, pardon the pun!”

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