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Hall induction a ‘tremendous honour’ for Keating

Miramichi marathoner named to N.B. Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
March 3, 2017

MIRAMICHI, N.B. – The running community has known about Paula Keating for a long time. It seems the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame has taken notice too.
The Miramichi physician and marathon runner will be one of six inductees as the hall’s Class of 2017 at a ceremony on May 27.
“It’s hard to put into words but it’s certainly a tremendous honour,” said Keating. “I do feel privileged to be nominated and selected to be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, which covers a broad range of athletes. When I look through the list of people that have been inducted, it’s quite a group.

Paula Keating of Miramichi, N.B. will be inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame on May 27.

Photo courtesy of Brian Richard

“It’s a real boost for runners, as well, because people are recognizing that running is a big sport too,” she added.
Joining her in the Class of 2017 will be golfer Kimberly Adams-Tattrie, rowers Brian and Henry Flood, the Heidi Hanlon curling team, official Ernest Quigley, and speed skater Jeffrey Scholten.
Keating learned last fall that she was being nominated for induction, but did not think it was likely as a first-time candidate. She got the news last week while on a ski trip to Mont-Tremblant, Que.
Born in Chatham, N.B., Keating has been involved with sports throughout her life, playing competitive field hockey at both the high school and varsity level. Running was one of the activities she did to stay in shape, along with bicycling and cross-country skiing.
In 2005, the Miramichi Rock N’ Run took place on July 3, the day of her 39th birthday, and she decided she would like to run a half marathon before she turned 40. Although she had not run a structured training program, she finished second among females with a time of 1:38.47.
“People approached me afterward and said I should try it more seriously,” she recalled. “Then it just kind of snowballed from there.”
Snowball it did, she went on to accomplish incredible things in the half marathon, including placing third overall in her age group at New York City in 2007 (1:25.15), winning the Valley Harvest in Wolfville, N.S. with a course record 1:24 in 2008, and won the event at Marathon by the Sea in Saint John, N.B. in 2009, beating all other males and females in 1:23.14. She also became the first woman to win the Demi-marathon de l’Acadie in Tracadie-Sheila in 2011.
But it his her achievements at 42.2 km for which Keating is best known, including performances at the elite masters level at the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon. She was the first New Brunswick woman to break the three-hour barrier for the marathon, and has done it 14 times, including her 2:47.26 at Boston in 2011, which remains a record for New Brunswick women.
She was inducted into the Run New Brunswick Hall of Fame in 2012.
“Paula has been the queen of running in New Brunswick for the past 10 years,” said Brian Richard, Run New Brunswick board member and founding member of the Miramichi River Runners. “She is in a class by herself. Over the past 10 years she not only put Miramichi on the map but also our small province.”
For Keating, one of her biggest thrills was being the top female finisher in her third marathon at the Detroit Marathon in 2010 with a 2:52.14 time.
But choosing a favourite highlight from her running career was not easy.
“Running has brought me so many tremendous memories and great experiences,” she said. “I’ve always been a determined, driven person, I guess. I just like to see how much I can get out of myself. I’ve had some wonderful opportunities and met some amazing people.”
She plans to have some pretty amazing people by her side at the May induction ceremony including her husband, son and her father, who was the first person she called upon hearing the news. She is also expecting other friends and family members to make it to the Quispamsis ceremony, but has not firmed up the details yet.
Now 50, Keating will return to the Boston Marathon for the sixth time next month, and hinted that it could be her last.
“I’m finding it harder and harder to put in the heavy mileage and train through the winters in New Brunswick,” she said. “I thought last year might be my last one, but a few I talked to reminded me that I would be in a whole new age group this year, so I’ll see what I can at age 50.”
One thing she never expects to change is her love for the sport that has given her so much.
“It just makes me feel free of all other obligations, responsibilities, and just gives me time alone to think,” said Keating. “I just feel free when I run.”