Athletes of the week: Carmen Austrup, Susan Bobyk and Jenny Gibson

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Friends and runners Carmen Austrup, Susan Bobyk and Jenny Gibson recently took their marathon goals to a new destination.

The trio travelled to Dublin to compete in the KBC Dublin Marathon on Sunday, October 27 and delighted in hearing all of the spectators cheering them on, yelling ‘go, Canada, go’ and giving them high fives along the course.

All three have been training with Katie Wilmshurst from U.K. Fitness Muskoka and believe that motivation and support are key to making and achieving their running goals.

Bobyk, who is a member of the TriMuskoka triathlon club in Huntsville, did her first try-a-tri back in 2005, graduating to sprint-length triathlons and the 5150 Triathlon Series from there. She has competed in two Ironman 70.3 races, one in Huntsville and the other in Whistler B.C. and completed her first marathon in Edinburgh, Scotland two years ago.

Bobyk strength-trains with Wilmshurst. She said she couldn’t achieve her running goals without the support of her training buddies, Austrup and Gibson.

This was Gibson’s first full marathon in her four-year running career. She participated in a 5k learn-to-run program with Wilmshurst when she lived in Huntsville―she now lives in Northern Ontario―and got hooked on running. She asked Wilmshurst to create a running program designed for her ability. “She coached me through to my first race, a 10k at Band on the Run in 2016, and then to a half-marathon that same year in Scotland.”

After running her first half-marathon overseas, Gibson said that if she ever challenged herself to a full marathon she would go abroad for it as well.

Austrup has been competing as a runner since 2007 when she completed her first triathlon. She completed her first full Ironman in 2017 and the Dublin Marathon was her seventh marathon. Her next goal is the Ironman Lake Placid in 2020.

“Katie arms me with mental strength, along with physical core strength needed to enjoy my passion for triathlons,” said Austrup. “She is not only my trainer, she is my voice of reason, of determination and of love for life. You need perspective in life, when you cannot find your own. Katie and my friends at the studio are my tribe of support.”

All three runners expected the challenge they encountered in Dublin and appreciated the supportive and encouraging crowd along the way.

“Training for a marathon is hard!” said Wilmshurst of the runners’ accomplishment. “It takes dedication and commitment.”

Bobyk achieved a personal best, shaving 20 minutes off the time from her previous race to finish in 5:08:29.

Gibson had a time goal in mind, but as it was her first marathon she chose to take it all in as she ran from the starting gate to the finish line.

Austrup has suffered from previous knee injuries which she felt acting up during the race, and also experienced stomach issues on the course but was determined to cross the finish line. “It was the cheering of the Dublin crowds and seeing my friends near the finish line that kept me motivated to cross that finish line. It was my toughest marathon but I was strong enough to pull through and set myself up for success in my 2020 races,” she said.

Good luck to all three in your races for 2020.

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