After running more than 21 kilometres Sunday morning, and passing under the Queen City Marathon finish line, Dorothy Fitzer still had enough energy to run to her beaming family who were waiting for her. At 79 years old, Fitzer stood out among the rest of the runners.
Surrounded by hundreds of people on the lawn at the Conexus Arts Centre, Fitzer explained that she didn’t start running until nine years ago.
“I started running when I was 70. I ran two full marathons when I was 71 and 72 – that’s in the past,” she said, laughing.
Fitzer said she got the idea to start running when she was 69 and she’d started getting “a bit of a caboose”.
“I was walking on the south side of the lake one winter day when the snow was falling down and I thought ‘I should run a marathon someday.'”
She said there was a bit of self-doubt at first, but soon she went for it.
“In August I turned 70 that year, and within a month I ran a 5k breast cancer, a 15k with the Y, which they had at that time, and two half-marathons.”
Next year Fitzer will be an octogenarian, but that isn’t going to stop her.
More than 6,000 people ran in the Queen City Marathon this year, from the Mini Marathons on Saturday, to the full 42.2 kilometres on Sunday. Cheering family and friends lined the route through the city, some meeting their runners at the finish line with hugs and flowers.
Sisters, Erin Potter and Heather Wilde, stuck out running across the finish line – wearing matching bright pink and polka-dotted compression sleeves. They called it a little bit of team unity and girl power.
They said they were relieved and a bit sore after the race.
“It was a bucket list item for me,” said Potter. “And then my sister was here to do it with me, and from out of town – it was fantastic.”
The pair said they had planned on training for the half-marathon, but ended up only going on one long run. They were out of breath by the end, but were all smiles and laughing.