Road race a welcome return home for future Olympian

Krista DuChene at the Watford-Alvinston Road Race in 2015

Alvinston native Krista DuChene set a course record at the Watford Alvinston Road Race – not really surprising since she recently qualified to represent Canada in the marathon event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio.

But both achievements are remarkable considering just over a year ago, DuChene was in hospital with a broken femur. She was at the Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Montreal April 27, 2014 when she broke the bone in her leg just 500 meters from the finish. She completed the race, but underwent surgery that night.

DuChene, who now calls Brantford home, was running again by July. Almost a year to the day, she ran the Rotterdam Marathon at a pace that qualified her to become an Olympian.

Monday’s race from Alvinston to Watford, and its country roads, was a welcome return home. DuChene grew up just outside of Alvinston on Oil Springs Line. She went to LCCVI and back then, while she ran on the track team, she was passionate about hockey.

DuChene played all through university retiring after graduating as a dietician from the University of Guelph. She took up running again as a way of staying in shape.

But she grew to love the run and the strict training it required.

It took several years of hard work– and three babies – for her time to improve to Olympic time.  “It’s been a slow and stead progression,” she told The Independent after finishing the Watford Alvinston Road Race – and four extra kilometers for her warm up and cooling down.

“Lots of other marathoners come from a college background; I got into it to stay in shape after I got out of hockey and I seem to keep getting faster,” she says.

DuChene says having children and even breaking her leg may have had a part in that. She says marathon running is so hard on the body that it is good to have a break from the intense training. She found that especially true when she had her children. “Mentally, it allows you to remember what is important; to focus on what you have to focus on when you need to.”

Right now, DuChene’s focus is training for the Olympics. She’s qualified to run at the Pan Am Games in Toronto this summer and the World Championship in Bejing. She and her coach are considering the options carefully since summer races – especially in smoggy China – are difficult and she doesn’t want to risk injury.

For the time being, DuChene plans to run a 10 k in Ottawa and then figure out what’s next.

Whatever it is, DuChene is excited about the future. “When I was lying on the stretcher in Montreal, I knew this was part of God’s plan and I was in His hands,” she says. “Here I am, a year later and I’ve qualified for the Olympics and the sky is the limit.”

DuChene credits her success in part to her dad who always told her when she was young that it was important to have fun whatever sport you were part of. “If you’re having fun and really trying – that’s good. I knew winning wasn’t always the best outcome. Some of my greatest races were not my fastest times.”

Even though DuChene set a course record Monday, it was still off her Olympic qualifying pace.  And yet, she loved being back home. “I love running on country roads…this is home sweet home for me.”

And she says she’s following her dad’s advice and enjoying the process of getting to the Olympics. “The race itself usually hurts; it’s the training that I love.”