From sedentary job to marathon
Mom rises to the challenge
Marie Malcolm runs toward the finish during the Barrie Half Marathon on June 17 where she finished first in her age category.
@ Andrew Elsdon
Marie Malcolm picked up running again two years ago after dropping it for years, but she had no intention of running more than 10 km until she got tricked into it by an instructor.
When her daughter started getting more in shape with competitive figure skating, Muskoka’s Marie Malcolm started falling out of shape.
Malcolm used to be an aerobics instructor about 30 years ago. Then the kids came, four of them, and she traded aerobics in for running because she could do it in the morning without interfering with her family life. Until her daughter began figure skating competitively.
“When she started skating a ton, mornings, after school, evenings, and out of town, I gave it all up because it just didn’t fit,” she said.
For 13 years she became more and more sedentary. Her job in community services required a lot of mental energy, but very little physical energy.
Things changed two years ago, and on June 17 Malcolm won in her age category at the Barrie Half Marathon.
“I absolutely didn’t like how I was feeling by the time I hit 50,” she said. She was tired, lethargic and frustrated.
She did everything possible to avoid the gym, but decided to join one class, a boot camp class, where she met some people who encouraged her to run again and connected her with other runners.
“I said at that point, I never wanted to run more than 10k, I saw no point to running more than 10k,” she said.
Malcolm said she got tricked into joining a half marathon group by the instructor, who allowed Malcolm to believe she was only running 10 kilometres. Three weeks in, she realized she was training for a half marathon.
“When I ran 10k, I trained for it and it wasn’t as big a deal, then I thought why can’t I run 21?” she said.
So Malcolm ran a half marathon and worked her way up to the Mississauga Marathon in May.
“Probably if you talked to me last November, I would’ve said no I’m not doing it, I just have no desire to do a marathon,” she said. “Always my goal, truly, finish.”
Now that she knows she can finish, she’s focusing on improving her time, and it’s serving her well. When she ran the Barrie Half Marathon, she came in first place out of 25 in her age category at 1:52:23.7, five and a half minutes less than her previous half marathon.
It’s had more benefits than just winning, though. Malcolm said it’s helped to clear her head, she sleeps better, eats better and feels more physically fit.
“The running has really given me the joy back,” she said.
After 30 years of marriage she said she is finally taking the time to take care of herself, because she can. Her children are grown up and she has time to train six days a week. She encourages others not to beat themselves up for not reaching their exercise goals. They’ll get there eventually, she said.
She gives some of the credit for her success to those she runs with.
When she was running last weekend, one of the women she runs with stopped by for part of the race on her way down to Toronto, she said.
She doesn’t think she would have been able to do it without all the other supportive runners, she said.
Her next race is another half marathon in Niagara. She is also tossing around the idea of a duathalon and in the future maybe a triathalon, though the swimming segment is a little intimidating for her.
She’s done so many things that are outside her usual zone, “nothing’s off the table anymore,” she said.