A few days after the Boston Marathon, where Malindi Elmore, 42, finished eleventh, her first marathon since finishing ninth at the Tokyo Olympics—her second time participating in an Olympic event—the mother of two was moving a treadmill and planning to spend the day gardening. When concern was voiced—her husband is often worrying about Elmore hitting the BC slopes every weekend—Canada’s all-time fastest female marathoner only laughed. “I have absolutely no interest living my life in a bubble,” says Elmore, reached in her hometown of Kelowna, BC. “You never know when your day is up, so until then I want to live my best life.”
Elmore’s best life is a story that’s increasingly taking the world by storm. She ran track & field as a young athlete and made it to the Athens Olympics in 2004 and ran the 1500m for Canada. Apparently, she was just getting started. After giving birth to her first child, Elmore turned professional in the triathlon world. After ranking as high as sixty-second, and after having her second child, Elmore decided to try the marathon in 2019. She says it was a particularly exciting time for our sport.
“The marathon used to be known as the event you do if you’re not good at any other events, but the consequence of great modern marathoners in Canada like Eric Gillis, Reid Coolsaet, Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene was that Canada proved it can compete with anyone on the marathoning world stage,” says Elmore, adding that she loves every part of her marathon journey. When asked what she loves about running, she said, “I love going for my long runs and being part of the community, but it’s not only that,” she says, “I love knowing at the end of each marathon that you completed something hard. I take immense enjoyment from that.”
That enjoyment infuses Elmore’s athletic journey, and, as she was inspired by the Canadian runners who came before her, she also inspires her peers. Recently the New York Times spoke about how Natasha Wodak enthuses about Elmore—Wodak, 40, herself a two-time Canadian Olympian and the 10,000m Canadian record-holder. It’s Elmore, Wodak says, who inspired her to try and compete for the 2024 marathon in Paris. Elmore told iRun that she doesn’t give her age much thought.
“I feel like my best marathon performance is still to come,” says Elmore, who finished Boston in 2:27:58—the fastest time ever from a Canadian female at the event—and Elmore’s second fastest marathon time. The performance, however, was off from Elmore’s goal.
“I sprinted to the finish line in Boston to come in under 2:28, and pushed through when the race got hard, so I can walk away knowing I did the best I could on the day,” says Elmore, “but I also know the results were a little short of what I expected.“
One result of her long-distance running career is a new partnership with Saucony, a brand she says is aligned with her ideals. “Run for Good,” is the company mantra, and they’ve set up a program to benefit children’s hospitals while also committing to a lighter environmental footprint. The company is also very community-focused and, Elmore also adds, the Endorphin Pro 3s that she wore in Boston—which will be released this August—create a parity amongst different shoe brands to compete with the Nike super shoes. She says the Endorphin Pro 3s and their carbon plate gave her a fantastic ride.
“Shoes have become so technologically evolved that I think it’s only beneficial that consumers have choice,” she says, and adds this for a runner trying to decide whether or not they should try a super shoe: “They make you faster. You should wear them.”
What makes Elmore a role model? Not being afraid to live her life. Taking pleasure in her sport and inspiring those around her. Choosing partnerships with brands that compliment her values. And having this to say this about age: “I don’t worry about an arbitrary number.”
Elmore says she wants to see lots more people run. “Running is a sport that’s accessible to everyone. It’s open to all ages, and you don’t have to be a fast runner to run,” she says. “All you need is a pair of shoes.”
Photographs by Jon Adrian.