For most runners, competing in two marathons in one week is a task simply too daunting to contemplate.
Such is not the case for five Kelowna women who are not only planning to run in back-to-back races this month, but they’ll be doing so on opposite sides of the United States.
Liz Borrett, Astrid Varga, Sandy Wike, Charlotte Heidt and Becky Williams will all head to the start line at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20.
Six days later, the Kelowna quintet will be 4,300 kilometres to the west in Carmel, California for the Big Sur Challenge.
The fact that all five friends and training partners were able to successfully register for two prestigious runs was an accomplishment in itself.
Sandy Wike, who has twice run in Boston, saw it as an opportunity too intriguing to pass up.
“It’s not an easy thing to orchestrate with the qualifying and getting registered, but we thought let’s give it a shot. When all five of us got in we thought ‘Holy Cow, what have we done?’,” Wike said with a laugh. “But it’s a great opportunity. It’s a little scary, too, but we’re all pretty excited.”
All members of the Kelowna Running Club, the women range in age from 56 to 76 and all have competed in runs of varying distances across North America and around the world.
The five have spent hundreds of hours together on the roads of Kelowna, often meeting at 6 a.m. twice a week for a 10 km run.
The oldest member of the group, Liz Borrett, is also the fastest of the five. Borrett has won her age category at both the Boston and New York Marathons.
While Borrett and Wike have each run twice in Boston, Astrid Varga has been 13 times before, Charlotte Heidt has been once, while Becky Williams will be doing the run for the first time.
While all are seasoned marathoners, running two 42.2 km races in one week—and on opposite coasts—presents an entirely new and exciting challenge.
“We know we’ll get through it. It’s not going to be easy, so just finishing at (Big Sur) is the goal,” ” said Wike, who also plans to enjoy the surroundings during both runs.
“Astrid has been to (Big Sur) and says the scenery there is phenomenal. We’re all looking forward to that, too.”
The five Kelowna women will leave for Boston April 16, and expect to arrive home from California on Monday, April 27.