Hiroko Abe after the race with Nova Scotia Triathlon mascot Cookie MacKilt. – Submitted
One race participant got more than she signed up for at the Valley Harvest Marathon.
Hiroko Abe had registered for the Oct. 14 marathon, but ended up running the 50-kilometre ultra marathon course.
“Running a full marathon was one of my 2013 resolutions and I was looking for a place where can encourage me to finish 42K,” the Tokyo woman said in an email Oct. 15 from Montreal.
Abe was visiting eastern Canada from Japan and found the Valley race online.
“ When I realized I had done (the ultra marathon by) mistake, I did not think I would stop running, but, at the same time, I was not sure if I could because I had never tried even 42K,” Abe said.
“But some runners and volunteers cheered me up and I decided not to stop even though I would be too slow.”
Halifax runner Marie-Claude Gregoire ran the course with the Japanese runner and spoke with organizers after the event to make sure Abe’s results were recorded for the ultra course. The 39-year-old marathon novice finished 50 kilometres in just over five hours, 17 minutes.
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“I am so glad to have took a part in the race and have had a great experience,” Abe said. The warm welcome from the Nova Scotian runners and volunteers was much appreciated, she added.
“It was the first time for me to visit Wolfville and I have no friends there. However, people are very warm and they supported me even though they did not know who I am,” she said. “Now I love Wolfville and people there.”
She said she would like to return some day.
“I have been wanting to visit Lunenburg and I thought I could visit there. However I could not find any excursion fitting to my travel plan so I gave up this time. I will go next time!”