Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne car park, June 15, 6:58 am Élissa Legault arrives from Mascouche, gets out of her car and takes off her Quebec team hoodie. Two minutes later, she is ready to go.
Posted at 5:00
Tanned, she returns from a trip to Guadeloupe. “I didn’t plan to go to the World Championships,” she smiles.
Yes, in five weeks, the 28-year-old accountant will start the world marathon in the realm of running, Eugene, Oregon.
He had to request another two weeks of vacation from his employer, the manufacturer and integrator of packaging equipment Procepack, located in the industrial district of Terrebonne, of which he is the financial controller.
He is working this morning, his time is limited. The interview will then take place during her leisurely 5km run, which for her means a pace of 4 min 30 s to 5 min per kilometer. So I accompanied her … on a bicycle.
No, Élissa Legault hadn’t thought of going to the World Cup. Prior to the Ottawa Marathon on May 28, she only had five 42.195km races to her credit. Last fall, she set a personal best of 2:38:13 in Berlin, despite a four-minute hiatus due to stomach problems. She therefore hoped to pass under 2:35 in the Canadian capital.
For the first time in his life, two rabbits accompanied him. The first fell in half, after 1 hour and 17 minutes Eleventh at that time, the Quebecer was on time. He started joining the rivals one by one. The second rabbit stopped after 26 km. He continued to catch up with the competitors.
Present on the course, her sister, triathlete Emy Legault, told her the third was just ahead. “I could not believe it. After the abandonment of an Ethiopian runner, Legault moved up to second place, a grade that she kept up to the line.
His time on this rougher than expected route: 2h 33 min 27 s, a whopping improvement of nearly 5 minutes.
In the finish area, Natasha Wodak came to congratulate her.
The second Canadian in marathon history (2 h 26 min 19 s) told her that her result could qualify her for the World Cup. Legalult did not attach importance to it. After all, Kenyans were absent due to a visa problem. Would her performance really be taken into consideration?
Three days later, he was packing for his trip to Guadeloupe when Wodak followed a link that led to the world rankings in athletics. The points associated with his performance in Ottawa actually made her fit for Eugene.
Why not Oregon?
Additionally, Wodak, first in the country on the 2021-2022 list, told her she would not go to Oregon, preferring to treat an injury. Legalult thus became the third Canadian and could hope for a selection.
“I don’t know why, but in my head it was inaccessible,” says Legault, trotting along a gravel path on the Île-des-Moulins.
The Quebecer signaled her interest to Athletics Canada, who told her three days later that she was chosen.
“I don’t realize it yet!”, He says after crossing the dam to reach Île Saint-Jean.
His vacation, scheduled to recover from the Ottawa race, then turned into a (quiet) resumption of training across the sweltering Caribbean island and its sometimes intrepid drivers.
A late marathoner, Élissa Legault does not come out of nowhere. Originally from Île-Perrot, she started track and field at the age of 9 after finishing third in a cross-country ski school. Coach Claude David guided her first steps on the track at the Vaudreuil-Dorion club. At 11 she tried triathlon. For a few years she traveled the Quebec circuit, training her following her sister Emy. She is now the highest-scoring Canadian in World Triathlon and has just climbed to the first podium of the World Cup in Mexico.
Two crashes while cycling and the fear of group riding prompted her to quit triathlon in her late teens. After a brief return to athletics, she stopped training completely when she arrived at CEGEP. “I wanted to enjoy time with my friends. ”
At university, a friend suggested she take part in the Montreal Half Marathon. “I told him: ‘You are sick!’ I had never traveled more than three or four kilometers and I already thought it was long. She ended up convincing me and we did it together. ”
She had the passion. In 2017, for the challenge, she signs up for the marathon. She bought herself a book and followed a program to the letter.
Four days before the start, the heat forced the cancellation of the Montreal event. After asking Claude David for advice, she relapsed on the Chambly marathon, which was run three weeks later. She won it … in 3 h 32 min 42 s “In the beginning I did it to keep fit, for the challenge. ”
The three o’clock sign
In 2019, she went under three hours to the Canadian Championships in Toronto for the first time. The following year, during the pandemic, she participates in a small marathon of 15 runners organized by the Waterloo club.
On a particular course (25 loops of 1.7 km), he achieved a time of 2: 39: 7. I like it, I want to see how far I can go. ”
After 5km of straight, we stopped to finish the interview on a bench. A reduced working time of 25 hours now allows him to travel between 145 and 170 km per week. Work from home gave her the opportunity to train for the first time at altitude last winter in Arizona, where she joined her sister. She now benefits from some sponsors, including a shoe supplier. In Ottawa, she first won money in a marathon.
I realize that I may have a structure with running. When you love it and put the effort and time into it, I wouldn’t say anything is possible, but it’s amazing where it can take you. As long as I like it, I want to see how far I can go.
Fourth at the Canadian 10,000m Championships in spring, Legault feels it still has room to improve speed.
Your ambition for the World Cup on July 18th? “Of course I would like to improve my time. If the course is flat, I definitely think I can. As for the location, it is very difficult to say. I want to adopt a strategy like that of Ottawa and start in a “conservative” way. There are always girls who end up breaking up. It is more motivating to recover than to be caught. ”
Will we see the Legault sisters at the Paris Olympics in 2024? “Emy has many, many possibilities. Mine are very limited. You never know, but it happens quickly. More experienced runners who have made Tokyo may still be there. The goal for me could be more than 2028 “.
- Élissa Legault ranking in the Quebec all-time ranking
- Quebec Record by Jacqueline Gareau, 2And in Boston in 1983
Quebec Athletics Federation