Most Olympic medal winners who take part in the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series have earned their accolades by competing on the track or the roads, but on Sunday at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Montreal Marathon, one participant earned hers on the turf— Rhian Wilkinson is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in soccer, having represented Canada in 2012 and 2016.
The 34-year-old star on the pitch from Baie-D’Urfé, Canada (near Montreal) has enjoyed an enormously successful career as both a defender and a striker, and now she has decided to race the full 26.2 miles on Sunday for a variety of reasons.
“I got an email from the Canadian Olympic Committee that indicated they would help athletes who want to run the race,” Wilkinson recalls. “I had just given a speech about how it’s good to push your limits, and I decided right there that I needed to put into action what I had been saying all along.”
Wilkinson has only run one marathon previously and, other than her training for the Olympics, hasn’t allocated much time to prepare for the grueling 26.2-mile distance. “If I can do this, I will be unbelievably proud with myself. I know I’ve just signed up for the race when most people have been tapering for it, but I figured it was something worth trying.”
Wilkinson says that she hopes her mental sharpness she’s honed on the soccer pitch throughout her career will aid her in the tough parts of Sunday’s race, and that her expectations in terms of finishing time are realistic.
“I have tremendous respect for those who have prepared for the marathon and so I don’t really plan to run a certain time,” she admits. “I just want to finish it. I’m not going to be wearing my iPod and I really look forward to experiencing the race without my headphones. I go to marathons and cheer. The crowd and the live music will be enough to push me.”
Read more at the official magazine of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, Competitor.com