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Local runner finishes Boston Marathon

While running may be a good form of exercise and leisure activity for some, Lac La Biche local Charlotte Farrant has taken a serious approach over the last decade to train and test her limits. She tested those limits with 30,000 other athletes last week in Boston, Mass. 

On April 18, the 49- year-old participated in the world-renowned Boston Marathon, finishing in the top 30th percentile for her age group. It was the thirteenth time Farrant has competed in a marathon. She began her running career a little over a decade ago, and completed her first half marathon when she was 38. 

The Boston Marathon, all 26 miles and 385 yards (41 kilometres) of it, is a crowning glory for the local runner who trained daily for months just for a chance to be selected in this year's 126th running of the race. Running through the major US city, she says with thousands of others was a challenge and a privilege. 

“I treated the Boston Marathon like a 'victory lap’ as the hard part is training to qualify,” she said, explaining the terrain as having many steep hills and narrow sections. “I train six to seven days a week and I’ve been doing that consistently for about five years now.” 

Farrant’s training paid off, finishing the race in three hours and 46 minutes.  

“I finished in the top 30 per cent in my age group” she said proudly. 

The top time in the men’s overall division at this year's race was just under two hours and seven minutes. The top time in the overall women’s category was two hours and 21 minutes. 

Training 

The biggest component of preparing for marathons, qualifying and improving, she says, is keeping up with her rigorous training schedule which for her includes over 40 kilometres of running each week along with cycling and swimming on a near-daily basis. 

“The training has changed over the years but I probably don’t do as many kilometres as a typical marathon runner would do in their training build,” because she usually includes both long and short-distance cycling, running and swimming four days a week. 

Currently, Farrant takes every opportunity to train in the outdoors on the many community trails and pathways that Lac La Biche County has to offer while utilizing her home gym and Portage Pool regularly. 

Experience 

Looking back on more than a decade of competitive running, Farrant says it started out as a kind of “bucket list” item to complete a marathon in her 30s. Over the years, she has competed in community runs, provincial, national and international events including half and full marathons. She has also raced in Ironman Triathlons which cover 180 kilometres of cycling, 3.8 kilometres of swimming and over 40 kilometres of running. Last fall, Farrant travelled to Cozumel, Mexico and completed that Ironman event. 

Additionally, throughout the pandemic, she participated in a handful of marathons across the world including this past February where she placed second in the 45-49 female age group at the 2021 Miami Marathon, and first overall female in the Stony Plain 2021 Great White North Duathlon last summer, she says — with many more to come this year. 

“A bunch of the races got squished together because of COVID, so my race calendar is pretty full this year. I have eight more races to do before the season ends,” she said. 

Although challenging, pushing her limits and consistency has helped Farrant get better with age. 

“I ran my first half marathon at 38 in Edmonton…I’m actually faster now than I’ve ever been. I think for people, they need to understand that you can continue to train hard and even get faster as you get older which I think is something that we’re not accustomed to knowing,” she said.  

More to come 

Today the local long-distance athlete is grateful to be in a position to be able to compete and she doesn’t see the desire running out anytime soon. 

“My big race this year will be the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October where I will try to run another a sub 3:20 marathon to qualify for the Berlin Marathon. My ultimate goal is to run all six World Marathon Majors (Boston, NYC, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo and London). So far I have done Chicago and Boston and will do New York City in November,” said Farrant. 

“I always had a goal of running a marathon, it was a one-off on bucket list challenge…but 10 years have gone by and I’m still doing them,” she smiled. And with such an accommodating community in terms of training opportunities, she plans to continue to beat her best time and achieve more. 

While training and travelling take a bulk of Farrant’s time, she works full time locally in the Environment and Parks office while also managing her own part-time business where she supports and trains triathletes and runners. 

Why? 

Why does she do it? Because she loves it. 

How does she do it? The same way she runs a marathon — one step at a time, with the support of her family and the community. 

“It’s a lifestyle choice,” she said, explaining that instead of movie nights, suppers out or buying craft supplies, she likes racing. “I spend my entertainment budget on plane tickets, race entry fees, very nice bikes and sneakers.”