Internet InfoMedia canadian olympic marathon runner malindi elmore 44 year old mother of 2 excited for her 3rd games

Like most of her days, Malindi Elmore was busy on Wednesday. A mother of two usually is, especially when kids begin extracurricular activities after school. 

“Got a busy day of martial arts and a couple of baseball practices later to attend, so that’s the highlight of my day,” Elmore said, laughing, while speaking to Fox News Digital. 

But Elmore’s busy schedule is far different from any 44-year-old mother: she’s training for her third Olympic Games this summer. 

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Malindi Elmore finishes half marathon

Malindi Elmore wins the Women’s Elite Division of the Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon on Jan. 15, 2023, in Tempe, Arizona. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon)

Elmore has qualified for the Paris Games as a marathon runner for Canada, which will be her second time competing in the event for her country on the world’s biggest stage. She will also be the only runner in Paris running under Saucony, the high-performance running shoes and clothes brand.

Elmore was also in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics (which were in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic postponing the original start date), where she finished in the top 10 in the marathon. She accomplished that feat at 40 years old, which is beyond what’s considered her athletic prime. 

So the question begs to be asked: How does a mother of two not just compete at this elite level but finish in the top 10 in a highly competitive field like women’s marathon racing?

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Well, Elmore’s story must start from the beginning when, 20 years ago, she was in that athletic prime in 2004, representing Canada in the 1,500-meter event in the Athens Olympics. She was an All-American at Stanford, where she held the record for the 800-meter and the 1,500 before others came along and rewrote them. 

Running was always in Elmore’s blood, but in 2012, she retired after what she thought was a fulfilling career. But when her first son, Charlie, was born, Elmore wanted a new challenge. Now, being a first-time parent is enough, but Elmore’s athletic hunger kicked in. 

And this time, it wasn’t just running. It was swimming and biking as well. 

“I think I was always fascinated with triathlon because it’s these three sports wrapped into one, and it looked like the ultimate challenge, really, to be able to learn to swim [competitively] at my 30s and jump on a bike for a couple hours and save the best part for last, which is running,” Elmore said, smiling. “After I had my son, I kind of felt a bit of like I needed some time of my day to myself to focus on some goals. 

Malindi Elmore runs

Canada’s Malindi Elmore in action during the women’s 1,500 meters. (John Walton/EMPICS via Getty Images)

“Planning the day around that hour or two that I had kind of kept me sane in the first year of also parenting. I always encourage people to carve out a little bit of time for themselves, and I loved the new goal of trying to become a triathlete.”

Naturally, Elmore got so good at it that she competed professionally in long-distance triathlons, competing in 20 with numerous podium finishes, including third place in her debut Ironman in Arizona with a time of 8 hours and 57 minutes. 

Then came Oliver, Elmore’s second child with her husband, Graham Hood, a Canadian Olympian and Pan American Games gold medalist in his own right. And instead of keeping up with the triathlon training, which was too much time away from the kids, Elmore turned her head to marathon running.

“I was running with my friends in August [2018], and they were heading to Chicago in October to run the marathon, and they were going to run 3 hours and 30 [minutes], somewhere in that range. And I thought that sounded super fun and I had some FOMO [fear of missing out] to join them,” Elmore explained. “I came home and I told my husband that I wanted to go to Chicago in two months and run with my friends. My son was 2 months old, and he was like, ‘That’s kind of crazy, but what’s your actual plan?’ I wasn’t running much, like I probably couldn’t run a marathon from that point.”

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Instead of joining her friends, Elmore worked with Hood, who serves as her coach, on a plan to prepare for a marathon in Houston in January 2019.

“I finished the race, I found him, and he had the baby with him. We just walked around Houston for a couple hours. We went and got ramen. We just kept looking at each other, laughing. I was going to be 40 the next year, I was two minutes off the Olympics standard. So, we were like, ‘We’ve got to go for it. Let’s just do it.’”

While juggling parental duties, Elmore was training with Hood to make sure she could fulfill that goal of heading back to the Olympics. Just one year later, she finished 2:24:50 in a marathon, which was a Canadian national record by more than two minutes.

Malindi Elmore runs

Malindi Elmore of Canada crosses the finish line during the 126th Boston Marathon on April 18, 2022. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

She was in, and once she got to Tokyo, she finished ninth in sweltering heat that reached over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Elmore believes a top-10 finish is a very reachable goal again years later. 

“Going back to Paris, I feel like if I can back it up with another top-10 finish, I’d be really, really pleased with that,” she said. “I’m really proud of being top 10 [in the past]. I have these really huge dreams that will never disappear of winning a medal one day and standing up there on the podium with the Canadian flag waving in the background, but I’m pretty realistic, too, that it’s a super-competitive field and that women’s marathoning is the best it’s ever been.”

Elmore and Hood continue to train, but as mentioned, their two boys have their own training going on. So, like any other mother, Elmore finds time for herself whenever she can, even in those moments that sometimes seem inconvenient. 

“I get up and run early before he has to go to work,” she said. “My kids are in school now, so I can run when they’re in school. I’ll run to baseball, I’ll run during their piano lesson. Basically, any time there’s an opening, I got my running shoes in the back of my car and I throw them on and go for a run.”

Malindi Elmore with her two sons

Canadian runner Malindi Elmore is shown with her two sons, Charlie and Oliver. (Malindi Elmore/IG)

It’s quite common for parents to put aside certain aspirations after having kids because it’s a lot of work and time to nurture them. But what has driven Elmore since her fantastic finish in Tokyo has been her two boys, as well as the “great support system” she has back home with her husband and parents, who live close enough to watch her children when she trains. 

“That’s one of the big reasons I didn’t retire after Tokyo,” she said when Fox News Digital brought up how her kids might be able to go to the Olympics this time around. “That was the quarantined Olympics and nobody was really allowed there. I finished, and I was like, ‘I want my kids to see this. I want them to be there with me.’ That really motivated me to continue training, and we’re thrilled we get to go to Paris. My kids, they learn French at school, so Paris is great. They’re at this age now where they get it.”

The family won’t just be heading to Paris and back to Canada either. They’re making it a family vacation; Elmore said the kids will get to see all that Europe has to offer after her marathon.

Simply put, Elmore brings “cool mom” to a different level, and she feels chasing the goal of one day being up on the podium with the Canadian flag over her shoulders is setting a perfect example to her boys.

Malindi Elmore looks into camera

Canadian Olympic marathon runner Malindi Elmore is excited about participating in her third Olympic Games. (Kelowna Photographer/Okanagan Photographer/Saucony)

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“I think it’s important for people to have their own personal goals while they have families and have other goals,” she said. “You’re a better parent if you’ve got some big goals to go after and some things you owe yourself. It’s making your kids better kids, too. And the same can be said for dads to have big goals.”

“We don’t suddenly just turn 40, and you’re old and can’t still do hard things, and you can’t still perform at a high level. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Whether you win or lose, that [is] still setting a really strong example for your children, the community and everyone around you.”

The women’s marathon is the last event of this year’s Olympic Games before the closing ceremony.

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