Growing up with three brothers, Kate Bazeley often found herself in the middle of a game or sport since everything was a competition, from completing the crossword on the back of a cereal box to playing soccer or the board game Risk.
“I was never afraid to jump in and participate and tried my best to win, whatever it was we were doing,” she recalled in a phone interview with CBC Sports. “I always loved a challenge and never backed down, so I learned from an early age to embrace it, find joy in it and be grateful to be able to compete.”
Bazeley “fell into” running in her late teens, performed well and soon began travelling from her native St. John’s to Canada Running Series events since they offered support and helped athletes succeed.
Nearly 20 years later, the elite distance runner is set to compete in her first World Marathon Major on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET in Chicago, where the 37-year-old mother of three daughters will be among about 35,000 participants in the 43rd running of the event.
It will mark Bazeley’s fourth marathon and first since Oct. 20, 2019 in Toronto, where she placed fourth among Canadian women in a personal-best two hours 36 minutes 35 seconds.
“I’m definitely in better shape than that,” she said, “so if everything goes even all right, I should come away with a nice PB. My coach [retired Olympic marathoner] Jon Brown and I are thinking 2:30 to 2:32.
I want to have a race I can be really proud of … that I know I can run. I’m healthy, I feel good.— Canada’s Kate Bazeley on Sunday’s Chicago Marathon
“I’ve done a lot [of runs] where I think, ‘Oh my God, I could run under 2:30.’ You can always have that magical race and dip under [your goal time] but hopefully it doesn’t go the other way.”
Bazeley ran 2:40:49 in her first marathon on Jan. 19, 2014, 10 months after the birth of her oldest daughter, Amelia. She went 2:39:55 nearly five years to the day in Houston before shaving over three minutes from that time later in 2019 in Toronto with a Newfoundland record of 2:36:35.
Bazeley had planned to make her WMM debut in April 2019 in Boston — Berlin, London, New York City and Tokyo are the other Majors — and was accepted into the elite field before pulling out after straining her left hamstring. The injury resurfaced in a mild form about eight weeks ago but Bazeley was able to continue training and only skipped one workout.
While she has lowered her time with each marathon, Bazeley has yet to run a race feeling it was her best performance for her level of fitness.
‘As runners we’re never truly satisfied’
“I want to have a race I can be really proud of,” said Bazeley, who has primarily competed in five-kilometre and 10K road races along with half marathons during her career. “I’m still chasing that performance I’m going to be pumped about that I know I can run. I just want to do it. I’m healthy, I feel good and training has gone well.
“As runners we’re never truly satisfied so even if I had that [magical] race I would wonder how fast I could run [the next time].”
Bazeley appears to be in top shape entering Sunday’s race after setting a 5K personal-best of 16 minutes 18 seconds during her Chicago marathon build. (Submitted by Christine Cater/Canada Running Series)
Never being satisfied is a good quality for an athlete, said Brown, a native of Wales who was fourth in the men’s Olympic marathon representing Great Britain in 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens). Since he began working with Bazeley in 2018, Brown told CBC Sports he has witnessed her mature as an athlete and gain confidence in marathon training.
“The biggest thing was managing her training workload,” said the 50-year-old coach who moved to Canada after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and has lived in Victoria for 20 years.
“Compared to women at a similar [talent] level, [Bazeley] is probably doing about 40 to 50 per cent less training because she has to manage the rest of her life [with three young children]. It’s kind of amazing how well she runs.”
Brown pointed out Bazeley’s 5K PB of 16 minutes 18 seconds during her Chicago build “on tired legs” a few days after a big workout indicates she’s in top shape entering Sunday’s race on a 42.2 km looped course that begins and ends in Grant Park along Lake Michigan.
On October 10, you will run through 29 neighborhoods and pass dozens of official Chicago landmarks. What part of the <a href=”https://twitter.com/BankofAmerica?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BankofAmerica</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChicagoMarathon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ChicagoMarathon</a> course are you most excited for? <a href=”https://t.co/3J0BWwiWyj”>pic.twitter.com/3J0BWwiWyj</a>
In 1997, he ran the Chicago Marathon and noted it’s easy to find a rhythm on the pancake-flat course.
“When she gets into a rhythm it works well for her,” he said of Bazeley. “Hopefully she can find a good group of women to tag along with and take on, and [a strong finishing] time will happen by itself.
“She’s well-known as being a tough, gutsy athlete where she’ll put everything out there and give 100 per cent. You need to be dogged [in a marathon] and stick with it, even if you’re struggling in the last part of the race. She always manages to rally and dig in.”
Peter Bazeley will also be in Chicago and plans to keep his wife’s running friends updated during the race while taking pictures and video to send to Amelia (now 8), Anna, 6, and four-year-old Molly. About 10 years ago, Kate Bazeley lined the Chicago course when Peter completed the race while battling a head cold.
Squad surviving solo week. Squad thriving, me surviving 🥱♥️ <a href=”https://t.co/iCk7qCcsgz”>pic.twitter.com/iCk7qCcsgz</a>
Amelia might become the next Bazeley to run the streets of Chicago. Over the summer, she rode her bike for about 15 km during her mom’s workouts and this fall will join a track and field club, likely doing a lot of short sprints and a bit of field work.
“I don’t know if she’s going to be a [competitive] runner,” said Bazeley, who used to take one-year-old Amelia in her stroller on daily 20 km runs with Peter. “She loves soccer, but she definitely has that competitiveness and drive in her [I had at a young age]. Anna is also quick, and when you watch her, her stride is beautiful. You notice those natural strides. It’s cool.
“Hopefully they love something [as they grow] and we’ll support them in whatever passions they have.”
Source From CBC News