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Records fall at Legs for Literacy

Lalonde sets new provincial 5K record at hometown race

By Andrew Wagstaff
Maritime Runner
Oct. 22, 2017

MONCTON, N.B. – They might have to rename it Legs for Ladies.
   There were many outstanding performances at Moncton’s annual Legs for Literacy event on Sunday, Oct. 22, including several by female athletes. Leading the way was Moncton’s own Olympian, Genevieve Lalonde, who set a new provincial record with a dazzling 15:57 finish in the 5K race.
   “It’s always fun to come to the home crowd,” said Lalonde, who finished in first place overall in the race. “There were some fast guys too who helped me out for the first little bit, so that was pretty exciting. I’m just excited to be home for Legs, it’s a great event.”
   It was also a PB for Lalonde in the 5K, who said she finds the distance long and does not race it often. Her specialty in international competition has been the 3000m steeplechase, which she competed in at this year’s world championships in London and at last year’s Olympics in Rio.
   Running at home is a totally different experience, she said.
   “It’s a lot more relaxing,” said Lalonde. “This year London was pretty high-strung, and Rio too, the Olympics has so much hype. Coming home, it’s just great to run with locals and have the people around the course knowing my name. It definitely helps, especially at the end.”
   Her result was a new provincial record for New Brunswick females, beating the 16:01 mark set by Patty Blanchard almost 25 years ago.
   She finished 17 seconds ahead of top male Alexandre Boule of Saguenay, Que., who clocked in at 16:14 for second place overall.
   “That girl is very fast,” he said. “It’s the first time a girl beat me. Wow.”
   The race came in the midst of a busy schedule for Boule, who just took part in the Iron Man World Championship in Hawaii last weekend, and is now preparing for a big cross country race in two weeks.
   He said he loved the Moncton course, and the crisp fall conditions Sunday morning.
   “The course is flat and fast, it was perfect,” said Boule. “The audience was really good, and the temperature was good for running.”
   Finishing in third place was Francois Richard at 16:33, followed by Oliver Priemer at 17:45. Finishing second among females was Magalie Babineau at 18:53, followed by Emily Doucet at 19:56.
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Genevieve Lalonde awaits the start of the 5K race at Legs for Literacy, which she won with a new provincial record time of 15:57.
      Doiron, Doucet set new half marathon records
   Many eyes today were on the half marathon race, which served as this year’s Run New Brunswick provincial championship. Another hometown runner, Jean-Marc Doiron, set a new course record of 1:13:17 after setting the full marathon course record at last year’s event.
   He came in only two seconds ahead of James MacLellan in an exciting finish. The top three runners came in ahead of the previous course record.
   “It was pretty obvious early on that it was going to be a record, regardless of how I ran, but I wanted to win too,” said Doiron. “So, at that point, I stopped thinking about pace and just started to race. I tried to feel as calm as I could.”
   Running with MacLellan and third place finisher Grant Handrigan, Doiron said he had to draw on the mental strength he picked up from recent cross-country races, including one in Quebec two weeks ago.
   “I felt I kind of broke through on the mental level of being able to hang on in hard places and not get scared that I was going to crash,” he said. “Usually I’m uncomfortable running in packs, but today I could just relax and hop onto either Grant’s or James’s shoulder. I felt I could breathe and relax.”
   It was also Doiron’s second provincial championship of the year, having also won the 5K crown in Lameque in August.

   MacLellan finished in second place at 1:13:19, followed by Handrigan at 1:13:57.
   Meanwhile, Shelley Doucet of Quispamsis finished fifth overall as the top female with a time of 1:19:44, breaking her own course record from 2014.
She was thrilled with her race, which she was using as a tune-up for the half marathon in Houston, Texas in January.
   “I am over-the-moon happy right now,” said Doucet, who said she ran at her base pace. “The reason I did this race was to see where I was at baseline to get ready for Houston, so it gives me a lot of confidence I can set the goal I’m hoping for in Houston. I can’t wait.”
   Today’s result came not without obstacles for Doucet, who found it very cold in her shorts and tank top, and had to expend plenty of energy pumping her arms to keep warm. She also came to a dead stop twice due to congestion on the trail section, but was unbothered.
   “I wasn’t coming in thinking it would be smooth sailing all the way through,” she said. “You just have to be prepared mentally, and know that can happen.”
   She was in a tough field that included some of New Brunswick’s fastest women. Sacha Hourihan finished second among females with a time of 1:21:01, followed by Laura Dickinson at 1:22:34.
Roy, James win full marathon
   The marathon race also contained its drama, as Lee Roy of Bathurst set a new PB of 2:39:53 to take first place, only 13 seconds away from Doiron’s course record from last year.
   A fierce competitor, Roy was happy with the PB but disappointed to miss out on that record.
   “I wanted that course record, but I had to be realistic,” he said. “I did a half ironman about four weeks ago, so I only had about four weeks to train and get ready for this. I did what I could on the day… it was what I had, and I’m still happy with it.”
   Roy was 14 seconds faster today than when he previously won the marathon in 2014.
   “I think I was in better shape in 2014 for the marathon, but right now I’m mentally tougher, so was able to muscle it out more,” he said. “It’s still a PB for me. I can’t complain.”
   Finishing in second place was Daniel LeBlanc at 2:41:17, followed by Remi Guitard at 2:49:24. The top female finisher was Emily James of Rothesay at 3:07:14.
   It was the first marathon in almost 20 years for James, who said it was “fun to be back.”
   “I loved it,” she said. “The course was beautiful, I liked all the trails, and the conditions were perfect. The volunteers were so friendly, with water stations everywhere, it was great.”
   It’s been a year of surprises for James, who was the top female finisher in the half marathon at the Fredericton Marathon this past spring. That was her first half marathon race in about a decade, she said.
   She looked no worse for wear after today’s impressive result.
   “I’m feeling great, and surprised,” said the New Zealander. “I just wanted to finish.”
   Finishing in a tie for second place among females were sisters Kristen Callaghan and Erin Poirier, who crossed the finish line together at the 3:29:34 mark.
Harju, Crowell win 10K
   In the 10K, it was David Harju of Moncton who crossed the finish line in first place, with a time of 37:11.
   Having led from the start, he said he had no trouble navigating the course.
“Because I live in the area now, I biked over the course, so I knew where it went,” he said. “But it was really well marked and there were a lot of volunteers, so there was never a question of where the turns were. There was also a bike ahead of me.”
   Harju said he would have preferred to start with the 5K runners, rather than the staggered start employed at Legs, because he believes he would have started a bit easier with the 5K runners in front of him.
   A former professional Iron Man athlete, he has not raced for a few years, and just had surgery on his knee last December. He said he was happy with his performance today.
   “I probably went out a bit hot… I started out in about three minutes for the first K because I wanted a bit of breathing room, and that probably cost me a bit of time in the end,” he said. “I was hoping for 36, but I was just over 37. My stomach wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, but overall I’m happy with it.”
   Finishing in second place was Tristan Morneault at 37:54, followed by Owen Enstrom at 38:31.
   The top female finisher was Madeleine Crowell of Moncton, who crossed the line at 39:15.
   It was the first time at Legs for Literacy for Crowell, who said she thought it was a really well organized event with a good course and great atmosphere.
   “I couldn’t have asked for a nicer day so I really enjoyed the race,” she said. “I wasn’t sure where my fitness level was, and it’s not my best time, but overall it went well.”
   Crowell recently moved from Halifax, where she trained with the Halifax Road Hammers.
   Finishing second among females was Isabella Lemaire at 41:52, followed by Amelie Cormier at 42:33.
   For complete official results by Atlantic Chip, visit here.
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Alexandre Boule was the top male finisher in the 5K with a time of 16:14.
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Shelley Doucet broke her own course record in the half marathon, with a time of 1:19:44..
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Jean-Marc Doiron awaited the marathon results after setting a new course record in the half marathon.
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Lee Roy won the full marathon with a time of 2:39:53.
Photos by Andrew Wagstaff
Emily James was the top female marathoner with a time of 3:07:14.