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Posted: December 4, 2006

Athletics: 40 is Magic for Ottawa’s Liz Maguire

Liz at the Scotiabank Toronto Half-Marathon in September 2006

While some may shudder at the prospect of crossing the 40 year threshold, Ottawa’s Liz Maguire has embraced it. In fact, she’s proving that life gets better at 40 – or at least faster. 2006 has been golden for this member of the Ottawa Athletic Club Women’s Racing Team, where she set personal bests (PBs) in everything from the 5K to the marathon.

She opened the season with a second at the Hamilton Around the Bay 30K, setting a PB of 1:57:25 for the distance and she capped off her season in October with a 2:54:55 at the Chicago marathon – her best time by almost 4 minutes. In between, she ran a PB of 17:33 in July and bested her half marathon at the Scotia Bank Toronto Half in 1:19:57.

So what’s made the difference? “I don’t think that it’s been one specific thing,” she says matter-of-factly. “I’ve been a lot more consistent with training and a lot smarter about resting.”

She adds that she's also been lucky with injuries. Even though she tore her calf muscle in a half marathon in Montreal last April, it only put her out for 5 weeks. “I ended up having to do a lot of stationary bike work, which I can’t stand, and lots of elliptical training. I also kept up my core strength and worked out with a personal trainer.”

Maguire only got back into competitive running a few years ago, following a 20-year hiatus. Before that, she ran track and cross country for her alma mater, Glebe Collegiate Institute, placing highly at the provincial level.

She still managed to run a 1:26 for the half marathon and a 3:08 for the marathon on her own program three years ago, but decided to join Ken Parker and the OAC Racing Team to add structure to her training.

“What I like about running with the girls is that it forces me to get out there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m able to set time aside from my home life specifically for training. (She has two children, son Rory is 10 and daughter Shanna is 9).

“The OAC girls are great to train with, so motivating and supportive. And, of course, Ken (Parker) is an awesome coach and person.”

She upped her mileage in preparation for the Chicago marathon, putting in 100K weeks and running her long workouts with her brother, Jeff.

So, with such a stellar season behind her, what are her goals for next year? “I don’t really set any specific ones. I really just go out there and run to the best of my ability.”

Liz and husband Liam at the Montreal Forum

Some interesting facts on Liz Maguire

  • She’s married to the world’s leading expert in hockey trivia, Liam Maguire.
  • She had the most unusual of marriage proposals. She and Liam have the dubious distinction of being the only couple to ever get engaged at centre ice in the Montreal Forum.
  • While resveratrol is an ingredient in red wine that may help one live longer, she’s a huge believer in its ability to enhance running performance, according to Ken Parker.

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© Copyright 2006 Lynne Bermel

Lynne Bermel, a former world-ranked pro Ironman competitor, is a senior marketing & PR consultant living in Ottawa. She is also a freelance writer and TV sports show host. You can reach her at:

You can access previous columns by Lynne at: LB_Columns

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