• March 20, 2023

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Canada’s Kate Bazeley in search of ‘magical race’ at Chicago Marathon

Growing up with three brothers, Kate Bazeley often found herself in the middle of a game or sport since everything was a competition, from completing the crossword on the back of a cereal box to playing soccer or the board game Risk.

“I was never afraid to jump in and participate and tried my best to win, whatever it was we were doing,” she recalled in a phone interview with CBC Sports. “I always loved a challenge and never backed down, so I learned from an early age to embrace it, find joy in it and be grateful to be able to compete.”

Bazeley “fell into” running in her late teens, performed well and soon started travelling from her native St. John’s to Canada Running Series events since they offered support and helped athletes succeed.

Nearly 20 years later, the elite distance runner is set to compete in her first World Marathon Major on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET in Chicago, where the 37-year-old mother of three daughters will be among about 35,000 participants in the 43rd running of the event.

It will mark Bazeley’s fourth marathon and first since Oct. 20, 2019 in Toronto, where she placed fourth among Canadian women in a personal-best two hours 36 minutes 35 seconds.

“I’m definitely in better shape than that,” she said, “so if everything goes even all right, I should come away with a nice PB. My coach [retired Olympic marathoner] Jon Brown and I are thinking 2:30 to 2:32.

“I’ve done a lot [of runs] where I think, ‘Oh my God, I could run under 2:30.’ You can always have that magical race and dip under [your goal time] but hopefully it doesn’t go the other way.”

Bazeley ran 2:40:49 in her first marathon on Jan. 19, 2014, 10 months after the birth of her oldest daughter, Amelia. She went 2:39:55 nearly five years to the day in Houston before shaving over three minutes from that time later in 2019 in Toronto with a Newfoundland record of 2:36:35.

Bazeley had planned to make her WMM debut in April 2019 in Boston — Berlin, London, New York City and Tokyo are the other Majors — and was accepted into the elite field before pulling out after straining her left hamstring. The injury resurfaced in a mild form about eight weeks ago but Bazeley was able to keep training and only skipped one workout.

While she has lowered her time with each marathon, Bazeley has yet to run a race feeling it was her best performance for her level of fitness.

Steve Carr

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