As a marathon runner, you want to set personal goals, and Melfort Marathon runner Robyn Luthi accomplished more than one when she ran in the 2023 Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Class World Championships on Oct. 2 in Chicago.
Luthi not only 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.
“I ran a personal best of almost five minutes, so I ran a (two hours:58 minutes and 15 seconds) which has been a huge goal for me,” Luthi said. “(I) never thought I’d ever attain a sub three hour (marathon). (I) kind of feel like I’m in a whole new bracket now going sub three because it’s very hard to attain…. That was a big deal for me.”
In the Wanda Age Group she placed 32nd in her gender, 14th in her age group and 530th overall. In the Chicago Marathon, Luthi placed number 249 in her gender, 35th in her age group and 2,761th overall.
Over the span of eight marathons since 2017 she has managed to shave significant time off her finish.
“My first marathon in 2017 to qualify for Boston, I ran 3 hours and 29 minutes, so since 2017 and eight marathons I’ve now broke the sub three hour,” she said.
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.
She said it felt amazing to break the three hour mark.
“It was really hard that last five miles of the race for me because I was pushing such a hard pace for myself,” she said. “There were times when I thought, ‘I am not going to get my sub three, this is very hard, I’m really having to push with everything I have’ and then when I came around the last corner, there’s about 400 meters left and I knew I was handily gonna go sub three. There was a lot of emotion when I crossed the finish line. This is something that I’ve worked very, very, very hard for.”
Luthi not only finished in less than three hours, she was almost two minutes below her goal. She said she Chicago is a tricky course to maintain a consistent pace on.
“In Chicago it’s really easy to start off too quickly because of all of the tall buildings,” she explained. “Your GPS doesn’t work properly and you get really caught up in the crowds. I missed the first mile marker so I didn’t even get to check what my pace was, so I did essentially run the first 5K too fast which will affect the last five miles of the race.”
This was her second time running Chicago and she is a fan of the course.
“It’s flat and it’s fast. The world record was broken on Sunday in the men’s division. The crowds are always insanely good in Chicago, and the weather was perfect. It was about 10 degrees Celsius, so you can’t ask for better marathon weather running,” Luthi said.
“We had a little bit of a wind. The Chicago course actually changes directions quite a bit … so there were times where we did have a little bit of a headwind, but it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t raining, it was overcast, so the sun wasn’t beating down on you. It was good.”
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 third fastest Canadian woman in her age class.
Luthi completed her previous personal best time when she competed theLondon Marathon in April in atime of three hours and three minutes.
Luthi has set a goal of competing in all six Abbott World Marathon Majors and still has New York and Tokyo left to complete. With her qualifying for the next Abbot World Championship, Luthi will have to juggle her schedule.
“I’m running Tokyo in March and then I do have to decide what I’m going to do in the fall,” she said. “I had planned to run New York originally to finish the Abbott Sixth Major Marathon and then I got the invite to Sydney, so I have to make some decisions on what I want to do because I cannot do them both physically or financially.
Luthi works in Real Estate, and said it can be challenging to finance her running.
“I do have to sell a lot of houses,” she said. “It’s a big commitment financially and physically to do all these marathons.”
Luthi has 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.
Luthi said the whole experience has been memorable.
“I worked hard to achieve my goals. I was really excited to get an invite back to another world Major Marathon championships for the age class. It’s always a pleasure doing these runs, maybe not always during the race, but at the end it’s quite an accomplishment,” she said.