When he stands at the start line of the Fukuoka Marathon on December 4th, the lone Canadian on the elite start list, Reid Coolsaet will complete the circuit of 2016 Canadian Olympic marathoners who returned to the distance within the calendar year.
Reid follows Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene, the top Canadians at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, and Lanni Marchant, who placed 7th at the New York City Marathon in November, recording the best ever finish by a Canadian woman at that race.
In a moment perhaps revealing of the very different mindsets of a back of the pack runner like myself and an elite like Reid, who owns two of the five fastest Canadian men’s marathon times (2:10:28 at the 2015 Berlin Marathon at 2:10:54 at the 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon), he says that he doesn’t feel like he’s rushed into another marathon when I ask what prompted him to run another so quickly after Rio.
In fact, the fourteen weeks between Rio and Fukuoka, Reid says, “…gave me enough time to have a little break, get in some base and then have enough time for a proper build up.” After injury had compromised his build to Rio, Reid appreciates the extra time to get in more speed work, which he says is starting to show up in his workouts.
Most recently, he used the Road2Hope 10K in Hamilton, where he now resides with wife Marie and newborn son Louis (pronounced like Louis Armstrong or Louis CK, not like Lennox Lewis), as a test for current fitness. Concerning the results – he placed first overall – Reid says, “Road2Hope was good for me. I ran 29:40 and although I was targeting a sub-29:30, I felt it was still a good enough indicator.”
Reid mentions on his blog that Louis has already attended multiple cross country meets and says that fatherhood hasn’t changed his goals or taken away from his commitment to running, but certainly has required him to make adjustments to his training and be “…more flexible with my schedule, often running later in the morning after catching up on lost sleep. I also have skipped core and plyometrics when I’ve been busy but I haven’t missed any runs.”
For the last two months, Reid has largely trained alone, which he hopes will prepare him for the fact that he’ll likely be running on his own in Fukuoka, without the company of pacers or teammates. In past races, the company and push from fellow Canadians like Eric Gillis at Toronto’s Waterfront 10K and Kevin Friesen at the Ottawa 10K have been an asset.
As for the obvious question of whether or not he feels any pressure running the race where Jerome Drayton set the Canadian men’s marathon record, which has now stood for more than fourty years, Reid says that it’s not really on his mind. “I’m not sure I’ll even target the record, so I haven’t put pressure on myself,” he says, adding, “I’ve still been dealing with some aches and pains so I haven’t gotten my hopes up.”
Reid’s finish at the 2015 Berlin Marathon nonetheless remains the closest anyone has come to Drayton’s 2:10:09, which added to the controversy around Athletics Canada’s most recent list of carded athletes, which excluded Reid along with his fellow Olympic marathoners and 10,000m record holder Natasha Wodak.
Reid says he wasn’t disappointed with the decision, as he wasn’t expecting to be carded, but does feel that the system isn’t entirely fair to marathoners, given that races are considered within a 54 week window, which his Berlin finish fell just outside.
His only other marathon within the window was Rio, where his 23rd place finish was also just outside the top 20 that would have qualified him for carding. Reid says that while he won’t say that he should have been carded, he feels that his time in Berlin should have at least been weighed in the decision.
Whatever the case, Reid is not done with the marathon and is on record as saying that he is ready to compete again in 2017 with Fukuoka serving as the foundation.
Best of luck to Reid on December 4th in Japan!
- Ravi Singh