A Red Deer runner just wanted to do her best Sunday in a marathon in Edmonton.
But Kari Elliott did better during the 28th annual Servus Edmonton Marathon.
The 39 year old runner took first place in the women’s category with three hours, one minute and two seconds. Caroline Gecker, of Boulder, Colo., came in the second place, at three hours, six minutes and thirty four seconds.
This was Elliott’s first marathon in about two and a half years, since her last run in Texas.
After her last marathon, the runner found out she had a benign tumor in her lung, which had to be treated with a surgery.
After a long recovery post surgery, Elliott, a Red Deer College’s track and cross-country coach, started running again – something she has done competitively since she was 23.
For the Edmonton marathon, the runner had hoped to finish under three hours.
“I’m more thankful for doing the thing that I love, and being close to what I used to be able to run,” she said Monday.
“It’s gratitude (that I feel) that I’m getting back to where I was and the body is so resilient.”
Elliott was about nine minutes away from her best time – two hours, fifty-two minutes.
“I’m close, I’m not there yet – it wasn’t my personal best but on another day when I’ve had six more months of training, maybe, you never know.”
On Monday, she explained, as a coach at RDC, she tells her students to not worry about being the winner, but to do their best. For the marathon in Edmonton, the coach took her own advice.
“I always tell my athletes, your goal shouldn’t be to win, because you can’t control who is going to show up on race day. But you can control how well you run.”
The run was harder on her body and her muscles – more than she had anticipated.
“It’s like I’m running for the first time.”
Anna Kessler, of Edmonton, came in the third place in the women’s marathon category at the race at three hours, eight minutes and forty two seconds.
In the men’s marathon category, David Mutai, of Etobicoke, Ont., came in the first place at two hours, twenty minutes and seven seconds. Kip Kangogo, of Lethbridge was in the second place at two hours, twenty three minutes and twenty eight seconds followed by Collin Jarvis, from Oakland, Calif., at two hours, twenty seven minutes and 30 seconds.