By Darren Lum
Published Sept. 1, 2020
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. That has been the sentiment for much of life over the past several months, a feeling shared by those with aspirations to take part in one of the world’s best-known races, the Boston Marathon.
Locally, Haliburton’s Sue Shikaze and Duncan Farthing-Nichol were both set to participate in Boston, but this year will adapt the run to the Haliburton Highlands.
Shikaze, who learned the marathon originally scheduled for April 20 and then postponed for Sept. 14 was cancelled this year on May 28 due to risks to the coronavirus, initially didn’t want to run in Haliburton County for the Boston Marathon, but changed her mind.
“I decided to run it after rethinking it not so much as a virtual marathon …but that this is the Boston Marathon for 2020. So in doing the virtual race, I’m fulfilling my goal of running Boston in another age group … it just looks different and unique this year. Once I started thinking about it that way, I got more motivated. Plus, it’s cool knowing that there are over 17,000 people doing the same thing. Helps me feel a bit connected – it’s a collective event from a distance,” she wrote in an email.
The experienced long-distance runner has earned a place to run in the 55 to 59 age category; it will be her fourth Boston Marathon since 2003 and her participation this year means she will have competed in four consecutive age groups.
Participants are being encouraged to complete the 26.2 mile distance in six continuous hours or less with proof of timing and complete the run on any day from Sept. 7 to Sept. 14.
As of last week, Shikaze said the organizers of the marathon, the Boston Athletic Association announced the app for the Boston Marathon was launched to allow access to registered runners.
“It will provide a bunch of great ways for runners to connect to the Boston experience … things like printable signs, finish line, it will show you where you are in relation to the actual course, sounds of the crowd etc. So that will be fun. And yes – spectators are welcome!” she wrote.
Shikaze welcomes support and is planning on starting her run close to 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept 12. Tentatively, her route is going to be from her home on County Road 1 to the Lochlin Church Road to south Kashagawigamog Road and back on Gelert Road (about 15.5 miles) and then out and back on the Haliburton County Rail Trail to complete the final 10.7 miles.
Coincidentally, Farthing-Nichol, 31, will be running his Boston Marathon on the morning of Sept. 12.
The avid runner, who returned to running a few years ago, welcomes the public’s support while he runs his first Boston Marathon, which will help him over the 42.2 kilometres.
“A marathon is a long way to go all by yourself. We race to hear the crowds, for their energy, for their bravos and urgings onward doled out to strangers. No crowds this year and rightly so, but a honk or a wave as I’m going by would certainly keep the spirits up (and the spirits do start to dwindle past 30 kilometres). It’s just a nice thing to know that people want you to do well,” he wrote in an email.
Farthing-Nichol is connected to the Highlands through his girlfriend Jessica Slade, granddaughter of Mary McKee. He plans to wear a bright orange shirt and blue shorts and will start close to 6:30 a.m. and end his run at a planned 9:45 a.m. at 4702 County Rd 21.
His planned run includes Wonderland Road at 6:40 a.m., Wigamog Road at 7 a.m., Caribou Road at 7:30, Ingoldsby at 7:45 a.m., Kashagawigamog Lake Road at 8:15, Haliburton (Head Lake Park) at 9 a.m. the Glebe Park Sculpture Forest at 9:30 and back to the start.
Slade and Farthing-Nichol have been living in Haliburton and working remotely since the lockdown.
Running in the Highlands instead of Boston wasn’t part of the goal when he qualified, but he wouldn’t be anywhere else now.
“Nearly every marathoner wants to run Boston some day. If you qualify, you go. I wish, of course, that I was actually to run in Boston, but if not that, then a virtual Boston up and down the many hills of my girlfriend’s hometown is the next best thing,” he wrote.