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Woman’s visit home in Pictou includes division win in Johnny Miles event

Amelia Fraser, a native of Pictou, came home from Whitehorse to run in the Johnny Miles full marathon Sunday. Fraser was the first woman to cross the finish line in the full marathon with a time of 3:22:07.
Amelia Fraser, a native of Pictou, came home from Whitehorse to run in the Johnny Miles full marathon Sunday. Fraser was the first woman to cross the finish line in the full marathon with a time of 3:22:07. - Bob MacEachern

Amelia Fraser knew her run was good, but she didn’t know she won the women’s division of the Johnny Miles full marathon until someone told her.

“There were men all around me, but I didn’t know I was in first place until I ran into a friend after I finished and she said, ‘You just won,’” said Fraser, who is visiting family at home this summer before she returns to Whitehorse.

With a time of 3:22:07, Fraser was the first woman to cross the finish line Sunday and the 12th person to complete the full marathon.

“I wasn’t expecting to win, but I was training pretty hard. I was on maternity leave and I have a coach in Vancouver so I train with him (virtually).”

Fraser currently lives and works as a teacher in Whitehorse with her one-year-old son Louis and husband Manuel Mainville, but she knew when she was coming home this summer for her sister’s wedding that running in the Johnny Miles was something she had to scratch off her bucket list.

“I was a swimmer growing up and I ran for fun in high school,” she said. “I always did it for a little bit of fitness, but when I moved to Vancouver to go to teachers college, I did a running group and really got into it.”

She said she remembers her former track and field coach, Stephen MacKenzie, having success in the same run and she was eager to follow in his footsteps.

“I always wanted to do a marathon in every place I lived,” she said.

So far, she has met that goal. She has run marathons in South Korea, the Great Wall of China, Whitehorse, Vancouver and now Pictou County.

The run at home was extra special, Fraser said, because family was close by cheering her on and the volunteers at the run made it a fun event by cheering on the runners and making small gestures of kindness.

“My preference is to run on trails because it is a little easier on the body,” she said. “It helped that half of the course is on a trail and I am used to running on that terrain.”

Fraser said she will be heading back to Whitehorse in July and although she feels really good after this run, she is unsure what her next goal will be. Training for a full marathon is huge time commitment, especially when she is just getting back to work and raising a family.

She said she might try a few half marathons until she is ready again for a full commitment.

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