CORNER BROOK Susette Farrell reached the point in her life where she just wanted to improve her fitness so she wanted to give running a whirl.
She didn’t know it would have such a positive impact on her life.
The Corner Brook native recently completed her first marathon at Ottawa Race Weekend in the capital city. Competing in the 45-49 age bracket, Farrell posted a final clocking of four hours, 21 minutes and 34 seconds to finish 90th out of 219 females in her age bracket.
Employed as branch manager of Carlson Wagonlit Harvey’s Travel in Corner Brook, the 47-year-old began running at a slow and steady pace with four of her friends awhile back and eventually the group of women would put all the sweat, blood and tears behind them to participate in the Hypothermic Half — a half marathon (21.1-km) in Darthmouth, N.S. — back in February.
Farrell posted her best personal time at the Hypothermic and the group would leave the race with more vigour than ever. The girls hinted after the trip to Nova Scotia that the next challenge should be a full marathon. No was Farrell’s quick response to that idea, but she then decided to give it a go although it was the furthest thing from her mind when she started to pursue running.
She once had a bum knee, but running has made her aches and pains go away and her health is much better now. Well, she is feeling a little tired and hasn’t slept much since crossing the finish line, but she is bubbling with enthusiasm over her accomplishment.
“I never wanted to do a full marathon. I just wanted to be fit,” Farrell said Tuesday.
Farrell’s journey to Ottawa was a time she will remember with thousands of people cheering from the sidelines and the people being as hospitable as anybody she’s seen at any other race. She’s also glad to see her friend Cindy Davis of Corner Brook — one of the four girls she did the Hypothermic Half with back in February — cross the finish line in Ottawa. The other runners in the group of five who you couldn’t miss braving the elements all winter long with early morning runs pencilled into their daily routine didn’t run the marathon for various reasons.
Davis, competing in the same age group as Farrell, finished 92nd in a field of 219 runners with a final time of four hours, 22 minutes and nine seconds.
Kathyrn Robinson, also a Corner Brook native, had her share of challenges along the course but crossed the finish line in 5:15:42 to finish 97th out of 132 runners in the 50-54 age group. Back in November, Robinson set her sights on doing her first marathon in Ottawa and started running with Farrell and Davis at that time.
She was disappointed in her time and it took her a bit of time to realize that just getting through the race should have her beaming with pride.
“At 50, I’m in the best shape that I’ve ever been in all my life,” Robinson said. “For that reason alone, I will never give it up.”
Meanwhile, Trent Burden of Steady Brook hobbled to the finish line nursing a calf injury from training to finish 189th out of 504 runners in the 35-39 age group with a final clocking of three hours, 42 minutes and 50 seconds, while Katheryn Cochrane of Pasadena finished the 42.2-km trek in a time of 4:27:26.4 for 56th place out 100 female runners in the 20-24 age bracket.
Gander native Nicole Newell, who has been living in the city for a couple of years, was all smiles after competing her first half-marathon in Ottawa. Competing in the 25-29 age bracket, Newell posted a time of 2:15:23.7 to finish 403rd out of a field of 799 runners.
At work Tuesday, Farrell was making sure people knew how she did, not so much for her own glory, but with hopes of inspiring others to realize anything is possible if you put your heart into it.
“I’m wearing my medal today at work. So proud,” she said.
Not bad for a woman who never envisioned doing a full marathon at any point in her development as a runner.
“I’m almost on the cusp of going ‘yeah, I think I can do another one next year’, because now I have a team I got to beat,” she said.