At the Vancouver Half Marathon on Sunday, Olympian Natasha Wodak won again. “My desire and my passion have not wavered,” Wodak told iRun in an exclusive interview from San Diego, where she’s training for a spring half marathon before running the Boston Marathon on April 18. “My switch to the marathon from the 10,000 gave me a whole new approach to running. I feel like I just started running again.”
Wodak finished her race on Sunday—where Lucas Bruchet came in first for the men—with a time of 71:31, setting a course record and finishing ahead of her sometime training partner, fellow Olympian Malindi Elmore and Leslie Sexton, who won the 10K Championships back in October in Toronto. For Wodak, following her thirteenth-place marathon finish in Tokyo, the season back hasn’t been easy. She was understandably tired following the Games and finished in a disappointing 33:30 at the 10K Championship in Toronto. She followed that with a nagging injury and admits it’s taken some time to find her form after her massive Olympic year.
“The 10K was a difficult pill to swallow, but I’m glad I did it, I just had to work my way back to when things started clicking again,” the 40-year-old two-time Olympian says, before offering praise to Eric Chene and the Run Vancouver team behind Sunday’s race. “It just felt so awesome to do this,” says Wodak. “I’ve missed in-person running in my hometown over the last two years.”
The awesome feelings are still far from over for Wodak, who finds encouragement in the attitude, and accomplishments of Malindi Elmore. At 44, Elmore, the Canadian female all-time marathon record holder at 2:26:56, is far from ready to hang up her shoes. It’s an energy, says Wodak, that’s infectious, as well as fun.
“Malindi keeps inspiring me every day,” says Wodak, adding that, when asked about the marathon in the Paris Olympics, 2024, Elmore says: “We’re going. That’s not even a question.”
When faced with that kind of confidence, and the joy expressed all over the Vancouver race paths on Sunday—where her community, family and friends were spread out all over the course, and at the brunch spots after her win—Wodak says she’s not only excited about her next race, but also feeling gracious for the path all of us runners choose.
“I love the lifestyle and just feel very, very fortunate,” says Wodak. “It’s a dream.”