Black and gold at the Blue Nose
Dal shines at the 2012 marathon
Ryan McNutt - May 23, 2012
For some, it’s about a personal accomplishment. For others, it’s a real competition. And for some, it’s simply a lot of fun.
Each year, countless students, faculty, staff and alumni take part in the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon across its various races. This year, kinesiology alumnus Jeff Zahavich organized Dal volunteers at the Leeds Street water stop, and the Dal Tiger himself made an appearance to give half and full marathoners a cheering boost as they made their way through the hilly streets of Halifax.
See also: "Blue Nose, striped tail" (photo essay)
One of those marathoners was Holly Van Gestel, Dal student and varsity cross-country athlete, who ended up the female winner of the Johnson Insurance Half Marathon with a time of 1:22:14.
“I was really just doing it for fun, not for time,” says Ms. Van Gestel, originally from Antigonish, N.S. “It’s such a challenging course, especially with so many hills on the half marathon course. I knew I wanted to do well, and that I had the potential to win. But I really just wanted to go with the flow and challenge myself.”
Those ideas — going with the flow and challenging one’s self — may seem contradictory, but challenge is simply the default for Ms. Van Gestel, who is starting her masters degree in kinesiology this year and entering her final year of eligibility with the Tigers. She trains year-round, running six days a week, and this past year won the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) gold medal in the 5km run, setting a course record. She also finished first in the Johnny Miles full marathon in New Glasgow last year.
“The energy of a road race is so amazing,” she says. “The enthusiasm of the other runners and the spectators is wonderful; it keeps you going.”
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Anna von Maltzahn agrees. The Dal varsity basketball player, who was named the AUS defensive player of the year last season, finished first in the women’s GoodLife Fitness 10-kilometre race on Sunday.
“Just having friends and others cheering you on, it’s so great,” says the third-year neuroscience student, from Halifax, whose time was 41:20. “I saw one person with a sign that said, ‘Way to go, complete stranger!’ I laughed, but that’s really what the feeling is like: everyone is supporting you out there.”
Lisa MacLean, web content manager with Communications and Marketing at Dal, says that the support of others was key to completing her first-ever full marathon.
“I kept seeing people I knew along the way, or catching up with other runners I knew, and that really helped me get through the difficult patches,” says Ms. MacLean, who trained with a group of runners from the Running Room. “I don’t think I could have done it without them.”
Though it was a grueling run — “I hit the wall in the second half,” she says — once the finish line came, she already started talking about the next marathon: the Blue Nose spirit in full force.