Duo trains for first full marathon in May

Liz Henning (left) and Andrea Bain are running the virtual Ottawa Marathon on May 1, one of three races they’ll be doing this spring to support the West Nipissing Food Bank. They’ll also be partaking in Hamilton’s 30K Around the Bay virtually on March 31.

Andrea Bain and Liz Henning never imagined they’d be training for a marathon when the West Nipissing neighbours first started running together six years ago.

But after raising over $1,300 for the local food bank last year by completing the Voyageur Challenge, the pair are upping the stakes in 2021 and will be attempting to finish the 42.2 km run this spring. (For perspective, that’s about the distance from Franco-Cité to North Bay’s Jack Garland Airport.)

“When I ran my first half marathon nine years ago, I ran it and afterwards I said, ‘Never again!’” laughs Henning. “And never ever will I run a full marathon; I think I would kill myself it would be too hard. It’s funny that now I’m here: never say never.”

Henning trained for that first half marathon alone, finding the training and recovery difficult and the time commitment to be a real burden. Since she started running with Bain, it’s made the process much more enjoyable.

“They say it’s all mental after you get past a certain distance, a lot of it is just training your brain to be able to go,” she says. “Which is nice about running together, we kind of encourage each other: there’s days where I don’t want to do it and Andrea is there to encourage me, and there’s days where she doesn’t want to do it and then I encourage her, so it’s nice to do that.”

“I don’t think I would ever be able to run a marathon on my own. Mentally I think I would just stop and start walking,” adds Bain.

The two will see if they can complete the incredible feat on May 1, one of three major runs they’ll be doing this spring for charity. First, on March 31 – Henning’s birthday – they’ll be virtually taking part in Hamilton’s Around the Bay 30K Road Race. That run will help in their marathon training, as their goal is to get to a point where they’re capable of covering 37 km in one outing.

They’ll also be doing the Voyageur Challenge again this year, which consists of a 5K and 10K on Friday night, with an hour break in between, then a half marathon on Saturday morning. The hope is that the weather will be a little more cooperative than last year, when they ran the challenge in 30-degree heat. But regardless of the weather, they’ll be out there. That’s how they’ve been approaching their weekly training run.

“Because it takes such a long period of time, we’ve committed to Saturday morning so it’s going to be Saturday morning regardless of the weather,” says Henning. “If we wake up and it’s a torrential downpour, we still go. If it’s snowing, we still go.”

“In -20 C, we were out there,” says Bain.

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