Comox Valley woman runs virtual New York City Marathon

Candice Wheeldon celebrates as she crosses the finish line to complete her virtual New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 1. Photo by Terry FarrellCandice Wheeldon celebrates as she crosses the finish line to complete her virtual New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 1. Photo by Terry Farrell
Candice Wheeldon (in black) and her running mate, Amanda Rideout, are flanked by the Empire State Building and the Big Apple. Photo by Terry FarrellCandice Wheeldon (in black) and her running mate, Amanda Rideout, are flanked by the Empire State Building and the Big Apple. Photo by Terry Farrell
Candice Wheeldon gets a congratulatory embrace from her partner, Ryan Tutte. Photo by Terry FarrellCandice Wheeldon gets a congratulatory embrace from her partner, Ryan Tutte. Photo by Terry Farrell

One year ago, Candice Wheeldon qualified for the New York City Marathon, with a personal best time of 4:20:49 at the Boundary Bay Marathon in Delta.

She was finally going to visit the Big Apple, and compete in one of the world’s most popular marathons.

COVID-19 had other plans.

“It is one of the lifelong dreams of runners, to go to one of the major marathons, so to know you are not going to be going to a city you’ve never been to, to do something you absolutely love, was extremely disappointing,” she said. “But you have to move on from that. That’s the world… it’s been full of disappointments this year.”

Disappointed, but never defeated, Wheeldon set out her contingency plan.

“I was always set on running it… once the virtual races were announced and it sat as an official race, it just kept me motivated to keep my training going,” she said.

So, with supporters cheering her on, Wheeldon ran the race virtually, using the Comox Valley as a backdrop, on Sunday, Nov. 1 – the scheduled date of the cancelled NYC Marathon.

“A little bit of an advantage, mapping out your own route, because I hear New York is a little hillier than here,” she said.

She used that home-course advantage to crush her personal best time, completing the 26.2-mile course in 4:10:20.

The support was second-to-none. Friends and family lined the streets at points throughout the race – they all lined up wearing tiaras for Wheeldon’s “entry” into Queens. And dozens of well-wishers were at the finish line just south of Rotary Skypark, on the Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk, including one dressed as a “Big Apple” and another dressed as the Empire State Building.

Her partner, Ryan Tutte, had nourishment/nutrition booths at regular intervals throughout the course.

“I had so much support and help, and with the nice country roads, with little traffic, there was lots of opportunity for friends and family to support along the way, or join in,” she said. “And with all the costumes… I really feel like a got a piece of New York today. The support was beyond anything I could have imagined. I am pretty blessed with the people I have in my life. ”

Some of them did more than join in. Wheeldon’s regular running partner, Amanda Rideout, ran the entire marathon with her.

“She is my running partner in crime,” said Wheeldon. “We did Chicago (Bank of America Chicago Marathon) together, and we have done a few races together. I call her my little pace buddy. She is just amazing.”

Wheeldon still has plans to run the New York City Marathon in person. Everyone who qualified for the 2020 marathon will be invited back.

“Everybody who was deferred from this year will be drawn again to find out which year we are potentially going to be invited back,” she said. “They are deferring everybody over the next three years and it will be a random draw for your year. So it could be next year, or it could be 2023. But I am definitely going.”

And while crossing that finish line in Central Park will be a thrill, whenever it happens, Wheeldon said Sunday’s finish was one for the ages.

“I have done a lot of travelling for races, so a lot of the times I am on my own, and as much as I love crossing that finish line, nothing beats something like today,” she said. “This was a finish line I will never, ever forget.”

ALSO: Comox Valley woman completes half-marathon in support of Spinal Cord Injury BC

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Vancouver Island marmot is an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
VIDEO: ‘Frisky’ Vancouver Island marmots caught on camera

Marmots are catching the eye of researchers when caught on security cameras getting ‘quite frisky’

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
Out-of-region B.C. vacation bookings, RV ferry reservations to be refused, Horgan says

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BREAKING: Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Most Read