Injured runner perseveres at world games

Kelowna’s Delilah Topic overcomes five fractures in foot to medal twice in New Zealand

In retrospect, Delilah Topic isn’t quite sure how she was able to complete two races last month at the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Running on a badly broken foot, the 37-year-old Kelowna athlete accomplished a most improbable feat by winning two medals in the women’s 35 to 39 age group.

Due to a rheumatoid bone condition, Topic has grown more prone to injury over the years and may one day have to leave competitive running behind for good.

To complicate matters, she is a type 1 diabetic who, in preparing for races, must constantly monitor her blood sugar levels with an insulin pump.

Topic was already nursing a broken toe before leaving for Auckland and knew she wouldn’t be in peak form for the games.

But calling on every ounce of will and grit in her slender frame, Topic was determined to complete her first event—the 10 km road race—regardless of the consequences.

“Initially my goal really was just to finish,” said Topic. “I used all the mental mantras—mind over matter, pain is only temporary, give it everything you have, you don’t want to have any regrets. It was something I felt I had to do.”

Already in considerable discomfort, Topic’s situation worsened when she felt “a crunch” in her foot at both the 3 km and 8 km marks of the race.

X-rays would later show, that in addition to the fractured toe, Topic had broken four more bones in her foot.

“I’ve never felt pain like that in my life, but I just forced myself,” said Topic. “The crowd saw what I was going through and was just incredible, encouraging me on. I was like a flamingo on one foot at the end and crying. When we saw the x-rays it was no wonder it hurt so much over the last kilometre.”

Because runners from other age groups were in the same race, Topic never entertained the possibility she had won a medal. She was in the massage tent when word came she had captured the silver.

“No part of me thought I had won a medal,” said Topic who placed 19th overall out of 180 runners. “It was way off my best time, but given the situation, given my foot, I was very fortunate and happy. I did as much as I could and I’d say I exceeded expectations.”

After bowing out of both the 1,500 and 5,000 metre events, Topic, broken foot and all, was on the track four days later to compete in the 800 metres.

She couldn’t land properly on her forefoot, nor could she wear cleated track shoes like the other competitors.

Still, with the prospects of her competitive running days potentially coming to an end, Topic was emboldened to race once more—this time winning a bronze.

“At first, I thought, what am I doing here, I can’t even stride out the right way,’” she said. “The next thing I knew, I was at the start line and the race was on. I limp-ran all the way as fast as I could and the crowd cheered me on to the finish.

“I just wanted to take it all in and be out there one more time,” she said. “It was really painful, but I didn’t know if it would be my last time so I just wanted to experience it. In the end, I’m happy I did it.”

In addition to her own intestinal fortitude, Topic said the encouragement and support of so many back in Kelowna was instrumental in keeping her motivated.

“The support I had back home from friends and other people in the community has been amazing,” she said. “It really did carry me through, I learned you can lean on people sometimes for support, rather than thinking you can do it all on your own.”

A medical oncologist in her professional life, Topic expects full healing of the foot to take at least several months.

Whether she is able to run again competitively is uncertain, but regardless she plans to stay connected to the running world.

“My two passions are my work and my running,” she said. “I can be as broken as I want and still work as an oncologist, but leaving running completely would be impossible. I could see going into coaching, so at least I have that.

“I’m trying to look at the bright side.”

 

Just Posted

Lake Country adopts road safety policy

The policy is meant to influence planning and implementation

B.C. man quits six-figure job to pursue comedy

Comedian Alex Mackenzie brings An Experiment Called Life to Okanagan stage at comedy festival

U16 B.C. fastpitch champions had Kelowna help

Kelowna’s Ryley Binne is part of the White Rock Renegades who won nationals last week

Prospects look to crack squad in West Kelowna Warriors pre-season action

The Warriors start the pre-season Wednesday night against the Penticton Vees

UBC Okanagan partners with industry to usher in next-generation of battery

It’s a collaboration between the university and B.C.-based tech companies

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

True Leaf closes in on cultivation for Okanagan cannabis hub

True Leaf Cannabis Inc. says it expects to receive its cultivation licence by fourth quarter of 2019

Pembina buying Kinder Morgan Canada and U.S. portion of Cochin pipeline

The deal also includes an Edmonton storage and terminal business and Vancouver Wharves

Regional district to appeal loss of mosquito control in Shuswap provincial parks

BC Parks concludes treatment unnecessary for preservation of recreational value

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Looking for a job? Now’s a good time in Salmon Arm

Trends show workers needed in trades, service industry, high-tech manufacturing and more

The Harley Guy comedian rides into Vernon

Herb Dixon will be performing at The Green Pub in Vernon this Sept.

66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Support was lowest in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces

Spark Joy: Declutter and organize your home forever

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Most Read