In 1987, a former boyfriend who was a marathoner told Janet Green that anybody could run the 26-mile distance if they trained. The following year, at age 35, the Courtenay doctor ran her first marathon.
Last month, the 63-year-old Green ran the End of the Tunnel Marathon in Washington — the 350th time she has run the distance. She easily re-qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon, which she has run 20 times. In 2013, she finished the race 10 minutes before a pair of explosions near the finish line killed three spectators and injured more than 200 others. She was tripped at this year’s race, sustaining a nasty bit of road rash on her left arm.
“The only marathon I ever dropped out of was Boston in 2004, because it was 32 degrees. It was too hot…I would really like to do Boston again without shoulder pain. I’ve done two in a row in the heat with bad shoulders.”
Green has also run at major events in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. She has run the Seattle Marathon 25 times.
She belongs to a prestigious group called the Seven Continents Club, having completed marathons in all seven continents.
Her most difficult race was the Inca Trail in Peru. The most scenic was either the Jungfrau in Switzerland or Big Sur in California. The most unusual happened in 2001 when she and other competitors ran 422 laps of a boat in Antartica, changing direction each hour.
But of all marathon events, her favourite is Victoria, which she has raced 26 times.
“It’s not a big marathon. It’s fun and well run. And scenic.”
At age 39, she ran the Tornoto Marathon in 3:17:12 — her fastest time ever. At 49, she ran it in 3:18:56.
When healthy, Green manages to run 15 to 20 marathons a year.
“I just have this silly gait that preserves my knee,” she said. “I kind of shuffle along but it seems to work.”
Green eventually needs a knee replacement, but in recent months shoulder pain has been working in her favour.
“I always thought that my running career would end with a knee replacement, but it may end with a shoulder injury.”
Unofficially, Green has run the most marathons of any Canadian woman. But she has a male friend who has done 520.
“But he doesn’t work full-time” she said, noting a man in Eastern Canada has run more than 1,000 marathons.
“We belong to this club called Marathon Maniacs.”
There’s also an online club for those who have run 300-plus marathons.
Besides the 26-mile distance, Green has also completed 38 ultras (greater than marathon distance) and at least 100 half-marathons.