Wiltse races to record

Lo­cal run­ner Paula Wiltse earns na­tional record at the Chicago Marathon

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - SPORTS - JONATHON BRODIE

Be­fore Paula Wiltse even hit the half­way point of the Chicago Marathon this past Satur­day she knew her game plan was go­ing to have to change.

The adren­a­line and ex­cite­ment of com­pet­ing in a race she had al­ways dreamed of be­ing a part of more than any other marathon in the world got to her right out of the start­ing gates and by the time she hit the 21-kilo­me­tre mark she was about 90 sec­onds ahead of her planned timed.

“When I got to half­way point I thought, ‘Oh boy, that’s faster than I wanted to be.’ It prob­a­bly plays on your mind a lit­tle bit know­ing that it’s go­ing to get tough,” Wiltse said. “I’ve done enough marathons to know that you can make or break a race even in the first five-kilo­me­tres.”

She never hit a wall, but her pace slowed in the fi­nal 10 kilo­me­tres, Wiltse said. Then she thought about all the rea­sons why she was there and as the an­swers piled up, her time went down.

There was be­ing part of a run­ner ros­ter con­sist­ing of 44,000 ath­letes. How she was get­ting a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the event with some friends and how even more friends were back home in Brockville track­ing her over the In­ter­net to get in­stant re­sults. And, there was the hope of putting her name in the Cana­dian run­ning record book again.

Those were the rea­sons that got her to the fin­ish line just a lit­tle quicker and, ul­ti­mately, earned her the Cana­dian women’s marathon record for the 50-54 age di­vi­sion with a time of 2:58:52 to fin­ish first in her di­vi­sion.

“I think those lit­tle things get you through those tough spots,” said Wiltse, who turned 50-year­sold this past July.

Go­ing into the race Wiltse thought the Cana­dian record she had to beat was 3:00:15. She found out af­ter the race that it was a lit­tle un­der that time at 2:59:41. It didn’t mat­ter, though.

The elite Brockville run­ner knew she had put her name in the record book when she crossed the fin­ish line and looked at the clock, even if she didn’t have the cor­rect time in her head.

The Chicago Marathon added to her list as she cur­rently owns the na­tional record for the best re­sult in the 30-kilo­me­tre women’s 45-49 cat­e­gory with a time of 1:57:52, which she earned in Hamil­ton in 2013. She also once held records in the women’s fivek­ilo­me­tre and half-marathon in the 45-49 di­vi­sion that has since been bro­ken.

“For me it’s an achieve­ment. It’s that goal I set and they’re not easy to get,” said Wiltse, adding a spe­cial shout-out to friends and Sau­cony Canada, who have been spon­sor­ing her for 15 years. “I never ever take any­thing for granted and it’s an ac­com­plish­ment.”

Wiltse joked that if you told her 20 years ago she would be go­ing for a Cana­dian record, “she would have laughed.”

It should be pointed out, though, that Wiltse isn’t just go­ing for Cana­dian records. She’s break­ing them.

Other lo­cal re­sults from the Chicago marathon in­cluded Ilona Thomas, 54, cross­ing the fin­ish line with a time of 4:17:02, de­spite bat­tling through a nag­ging calf tear in­jury; Mike Craw­ford, 46, pick­ing up a time of 3:21:14, while his wife Sarah Craw­ford, 45, clocked in at 3:56:20; Brenda Young, 48, earn­ing a time of 3:51:15; and Don Lewis, 50, get­ting a time of 3:28:42 and qual­i­fy­ing for his first-ever Bos­ton Marathon.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

From left: Sarah Craw­ford, Don Lewis, Mike Craw­ford, Paula Wiltse and Ilona Thomas rep­re­sented Brockville, along with Brenda Young, who is not shown in the photo, at the Chicago Marathon this past week­end.

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