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Boston Marathon: Natasha Wodak and Malindi Elmore make their debuts


“I really got back into running when I was going through that period of my life,” she recalls.

By 2010, Wodak had shown enough promise to make her first national team, joining a Canadian contingent in Japan for a mixed-gender road race known as the Chiba Ekiden Relay. Elmore was one of her teammates. It was years of reunions that forged an even closer bond between them.

“I’ve always looked up to her,” Wodak said.

Yet as Wodak continued to improve, competing in the 10,000 meters at the 2016 Olympics, Elmore took his own break. In 2012, after falling sorely short of reaching the Olympic standard in the 1,500 meters that would have allowed her to compete in London, she announced her retirement. “Honestly, I was heartbroken,” she said.

She also wanted to start a family with her husband, Olympic runner Graham Hood. After giving birth to their first child in 2014, she started training again and even competed as a professional triathlete for a few years. But after the birth of her second child in 2018, she found her time more limited: how was she supposed to train for triathlons while raising two sons? So in 2019, after a seven-year absence from running, she returned – as a marathon runner.

“I just got back into running for fun and to do it with friends,” Elmore said.

Last summer, on the starting line in Sapporo, she reconnected with one of them.

“If you had told us when we were in high school 25 years ago that we were going to run the Olympic marathon together, I would have thought you were crazy,” Wodak said.

They recently spent about a week training together in Southern California. Wodak said his prep for Boston went well, or about as well as any marathon prep. The kilometers are long and sometimes lonely. And in Vancouver, where she lives, the weather is often unpredictable. (She went through a snowstorm last week.)

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