Without Charlie, Malindi goes nowhere.
Charlie is the three-month-old son of Malindi Elmore, a six-time Canadian champion, former Olympian and a medal winner at the world championships.
Her accomplishments over 1500m, 10K road races and cross country races sufficiently grant her Canadian runner celebrity status.
On Nov. 2, with Charlie in tow, Malindi will start the 31st Larry Nicholas run at Mission Creek Park in Kelowna.
“It’s an honour to be asked to start the race and especially a race that has such a legacy as really the cross country race in Kelowna,” Elmore said. “There is an emotion to it because we are remembering Larry Nicholas from 31 one years ago, who lost his life too young. I am really happy to be part of it.” There will be a 9K race, a 4K fun run and a kids’ run memorizing Larry Nicholas.
The 34-year-old Kelowna-born and raised athlete explains how she got into running as we chat in a Kelowna café.
“First of all, I started off with a variety of different sports, and I think that’s really, really important to stay as multisport athlete as long as possible. Something I see nowadays is that many programs are focusing kids too early on just one sport,” she says. “I played soccer, I skied, did some figure skating, did some gymnastics, played field hockey, did all these different sports and found that running was the sport I was really passionate about.”
Malindi ran professionally for about ten years and talks about her running and racing experience as a kid and later as a top international runner. “I continued with the sport right through grade 11 and 12 and as competitive opportunities evolved I would do them but I always got intently nervous,” she says and speaks about pain during a race, something many competitive athletes have to deal with: “When you are competing at your best in any sport, it’s disassociation a little bit from the pain and you are so in the moment that the pain comes afterwards often, or else you are aware of it but you are so focused on your goal of what you are doing. I just see pain as a way to get the results I want.”
It’s not for nothing that the fittest people, according to data released by Statistics Canada, live in Kelowna. More sports and running events are coming to Kelowna and Malindi, together with her husband, Graham Hood, a former top Canadian runner himself and James Young, a successful triathlete, have plans for next year to organize a Mile run and a 5K race.
“The three of us had the good fortune to race all over the world and brought different ideas back that we would love to see happening in Kelowna,” says Malindi, talking fast, articulately, and you get her sense for speed.
“The Mile is such a great distance that is accessible to all different types of athletes. It’s probably less intimidating than to run the first 10K, and the 5K is kind of the same idea. It has been a resurgence of the shorter distances across North America, shorter but faster. Positive things are happening right now in Kelowna, and I love to be part of the energy here.”
For more information, visit kelownarunningclub.com