Creemore ultra runner breaks Canadian record

 In Sports

If you’ve seen Creemore’s Lee Anne Cohen, 61, running her 50-kilometre loop around Creemore again and again, you’ve probably wondered what she’s up to.

All her determined training has paid off. Over Labour Day weekend, Cohen ran in The Race for the Ages in Tennessee and was successful in setting the new Canadian record for the 100-mile distance in her age category (women 60-64 years). Her time was an impressive 26:34:44 (yes, that’s 26-and-a-half hours), almost an hour and 45 minutes faster than the previous record holder.

It is a huge accomplishment, one that Cohen has been training hard for the past two years.

“The 100 miles is my biggest accomplishment in running. This was my third time trying and now it’s done and it’s time to move on,” says Cohen.

Having always loved the outdoors, Cohen took up running at the age of 40. It took her about six months to be able to run five kilometres and more than a year to get to 10 kilometres. Since then though, it’s been full steam ahead. She ran her first marathon in 2000 and then the notoriously tough Ganaraska 50 kilometre Trail Race in 2003. By then, she knew she wanted and could do more and has been a regular on the Ultra Running circuit.

Her husband, Pierre Marcoux is also an ultra runner. Together, they train and compete in ultra races across North America. They also host the popular Creemore Vertical Challenge as part of the Ontario Ultra Series and the International Association of Ultra Runners every year in August.

To say that Cohen runs a lot is an understatement.

“I run probably five or so marathons a year, maybe six 50-kilometre races, two 80-kilometre races and one 100-kilometre race, and that’s on top of all the training,” she says energetically.

Now that she’s achieved her double goal of running 100 miles and breaking the Canadian record, Cohen plans to focus more on the marathon distance of 26 miles. She will run the Boston Marathon next year and hopefully New York City. She has her sights set on the Medoc Marathon in France (think running and wine tasting) and the prestigious Comrades Marathon in South Africa as well.

“I like speed, but we all start to lose it as we get older. With marathons, I’m hoping I can hang onto speed awhile longer,” Cohen says.

In terms of her recovery after the 100-mile race, “I was running three days later and without an injury. I’m so blessed. I’m tired and lack some endurance, but that will all come back within a couple of weeks.”

When she’s not running, Cohen is a potter and teaches spin classes at YMCAs in Collingwood and Wasaga Beach.

If you’re interested in learning more about ultra running, visit Marcoux’s blog, Running Challenged, at http://runnningchallenged.blogspot.ca.

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