Melfort’s Luthi almost to goal after completing Tokyo Marathon

Robyn Luthi/Facebook Robyn Luthi after completing the Tokyo Marathon on March 3.

Melfort marathon runner Robyn Luthi has almost completed her goal of running the six Abbott World Marathon Majors after completing the Tokyo Marathon.

Luthi completed the Tokyo Marathon on March 3 with a time of two hours, 59 minutes, and 21 seconds, which was not a personal best but still good enough to hit her goal of less than three hours.

“I am getting to the point where I’ve hit my top physical fitness level so to be starting to achieve like a new personal best that each race is going to become harder and harder for me,” Luthi said.

“Knowing that, the goal is to go to sub-three (hours)…. Training during a Canadian winter makes it a little bit trickier, so to get the sub-three, I was super pumped.”

Luthi finished 132nd in the women’s division in Tokyo. It was her fifth marathon completed among the six ‘major’ marathons, known as the Abbott World Marathon Majors. She has previously completed marathons in Berlin, Boston, Chicago and London.

She said that winter training in Saskatchewan made it tough to know how she would perform in Tokyo.

“You kind of have to go in with a lot of variables knowing that it may not go the way you planned just because some of the workouts didn’t go as planned due to weather,” Luthi explained. “It’s one (race) that has a lot of uncertainties coming into it. It’s very, very happy to pull off a sub-three just with what’s been going on leading up to the race.”

The Tokyo Marathon was a different experience compared to other marathons like Boston and Berlin according to Luthi, but still very well-organized.

“It is a little different when you’re in the starting curls,” she said. “Usually, there is a lot of hype and excitement. It was really quiet at this one.

“In the course, I’m used to the big marathons where people are cheering and it’s loud and you feed off that energy. This one, the people were still out and they were watching, but there was no cheering in certain sections. It was a little bit different that way.”

Luthi said she was lucky and found motivation by running with a fellow runner from Boston. They ran the first 35 kilometres together and took turns setting the pace for each other.

“It really helped stay kind of focused mentally and keep the pace on track as that race gets on and you get more tired,” she said. “It’s really easy to slow down and kind of give up at times, so it was really nice having that support person there mentally and physically to keep the pace going and power through to the sub-three.”

Luthi has the New York Marathon in November left to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors and expects to learn this week if she qualified after running the standard time in Tokyo.

“I’m excited to be done the big six,” she said. “It’s been a huge and amazing experience, but now it’ll kind of leave me with what do I do next.”

Although she has plenty of running experience, Luthi has no plans to become an ultra-marathon competitor.

“I ran the standard for the 2025 World Age class championship, so depending on where they are, I will probably participate in that,” she said. “There’s a marathon in Spain I would like to try down the road and maybe start working on some half marathons. I’d like to see what I can do time-wise wise competing in some of those.”

In a half marathon, her goal would be under one hour and 24 minutes.

Luthi finished in two hours, 58 minutes, and 15 seconds when she competed in in the 2023 Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Class World Championships last October. She accomplished her goal of automatically qualifying for the 2024 Wanda Age World Championship in Sydney, Australia by finishing 14th in her age group, she also finished a marathon in under three hours.

Throughout nine marathons since 2017 she has managed to shave significant time off her finish.

Luthi initially began running marathons in 2017. Her goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which she did after running the Queen City Marathon in Regina.

Luthi not only finished in less than three hours, she was almost two minutes below her goal. In 2021 she completed the Chicago Marathon in 3 hours, nine minutes and five seconds.

In the Berlin Marathon in September 2022, Luthi placed 235th out of 11,509 women. She was 35th in her age class, the 10th fastest Canadian woman, and the third fastest Canadian woman in her age class.

Luthi completed her previous personal best time when she competed the London Marathon in April 2023 in a time of three hours and three minutes.

Luthi and her family made the Tokyo Marathon a family vacation. She said it was great to have them cheering her on.

“It’s been a really great experience,” she said. “I was fortunate I could bring my family with me on this trip. We’ve been taking in all the sights trying to experience as much as possible. We’re exhausted and we have walked several, several kilometres every day, but it’s all been worth it.”

Luthi run the Boston Marathon three times in 2018, 2019 and 2022 and the Chicago Marathon in 2021.

In Boston in 2022 she completed the course in a time of three hours, nine minutes and 13 seconds.