Melfort runner competes in first Chicago Marathon

Submitted photo Robyn Luthi of Melfort poses with her medal after completing the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 9.

First marathon since COVID-19 pandemic brings joy

Robyn Luthi crossed a marathon finish line for the first time in over two years on Oct. 9.

Luthi, who has previously run in two Boston Marathons, ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and finished in a personal best time of 3 hours, nine minutes and five seconds.

The Melfort resident said it was invigorating to participate in a race for the first time in two years.

“It was exciting to get back to the start line to be with all of the fellow runners, to actually be running with purpose again,” Luthi said.

“I had started this training cycle knowing full well that this race could potentially get cancelled again like it did in 2020. I can’t even put into words how exciting it was to get to that start line this year and actually have the race happen.”

Luthi said that she was not the only one of the 30,000 competitors to be excited. Competitors had few, if any, chances to race in 2020, so everyone was keyed up for the start.

“For a lot of people this was the first big race that they got to participate in, so I would say that emotions were running a little high for some people,” she said. “There was just really high energy at the start of that race this year—more than I have experienced before in major races.”

The last official marathon she ran was a half marathon at Regina’s Queen City Marathon in 2019, which followed her second running of the Boston Marathon in 2019.

“I was supposed to run Boston and Chicago in 2020 and then they were both canceled and my plan was to re-run both in 2021,” Luthi explained. “But then Boston was scheduled the day after Chicago this year, so I had to choose.”

She said that a new goal is to complete all six of the Abbot World Marathon Majors. Chicago was one of the six and became the choice because she had run Boston in 2018 and 2019. The other four marathons are in Tokyo, London, Berlin, and New York.

“I did put my name in for Berlin and London for 2022. I can hopefully time qualify for New York for 2022 and who knows in April I just might run Boston for a third and final time because I would like to do that,” Luthi said.

The Oct. 9 race in Chicago was a hot and humid day for running. That offered an additional challenge for competitors. Luthi was able to stay hydrated and keep her body temperature cool, so she didn’t notice. She said the excitement at being back and the energy of the crowd was more than enough to keep her attention off of the weather.

“I would say the crowds were just as excited to have the race on as the participants as well,” Luthi said. “It’s a really great course to run too. It’s flat and because of the way it winds and curves, if you have spectators and family that came with you they can actually access several points of the race,” Luthi said.

Her husband Cory Luthi was there to cheer her on and poked out at three different points in the race.

One key part of marathon running is personal goals and Luthi succeeded in more than that. She placed 20th overall in the 40 to 44 age group, 164th in gender, 1,114 overall out of 30,000 racers.

“I felt that kind of the weight of the world like we all felt the whole we can’t do this and shouldn’t do that. I felt this yeat in my training cycle I just had more purpose. I was doing it, I always run for, it was like this was my way of kind of making sense of the world and keeping everything sane in my life. This race was more important to me I would say than any race I ran before just because of what it meant and what it took to get there,” Luthi said.

Exploring her finish further she also was fourth place in her gender from Canada and first place in her age group and gender from Canada.

Luthi represented both Melfort and the Melfort Multi-K, whose committee she is a long time member of, in Chicago. She explained that she loves the committee and uses all of her marathon experiences as part of it.

“I love that all of the information, all of the experiences that I gain from some of these bigger races that I can bring it back to our community and there is ways we can take some of those elements and put them into our own run. It is just good information and I guess these experiences help me as a committee member with the Multi-K. I even ran in the Melfort Multi-K hat in Chicago, so I literally took it with me,” Luthi said.

The overall experience of running the marathon was great for Luthi.

“It was just a well-organized event despite what was going on in the world. I was just so happy that I was able to participate in something on that level with what is going on in the world right now and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” she said.