She has logged a lot of miles to get there, but when Natalie Nobert winds her way through the streets of Boston for the famous marathon by the same name on April 16, she will be running for a cause.
“Of course there’s going to be thoughts of all the training I’ve done, of how I got there, of the many years of running and what not at the starting line, but I’ll definitely be thinking about what I’m running for, which is to raise money and awareness for Haven Society,” the local realtor said this week when The News caught up with her.
“As I run the Boston Marathon, I will be thinking of those people I know that have experienced abuse in their past, and hope we help someone in the future to avoid a similar abusive situation.”
“It has — it’s been a lot of hard work,” she confirmed when asked about the road to Boston. “And it took many years. It’s not just the one training program, it’s the many, many years of continuous running, and enjoying the sport, that’s what gets you there.
“You have to have the passion for running. You have to have the enjoyment there or else you won’t continue. And of course the dedication to the training, that’s a big one.”
It will be Nobert’s debut in the famous marathon — 26,000 runners have signed up for this year’s installment and will be divided into three ‘waves’ numbering 9,000 each. The elite runners head out first, and Nobert and the second leave 20 minutes after that and the final group 20 minutes after that.
“Twenty minutes. That’s how long it takes that many people to clear the starting line … I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like,” she laughed.
No stranger to the sport, Nobert has been running for well over 14 years — she took it up a few years after moving to Parksville.
“A girlfriend asked me to join a learn to run group called “women’s pace” which Lara Mullen taught,” she explained. “We gradually worked our way up to running a 10km run and I decided to run my first race, which was the Oceanside 10k.”
From there she says she decided to train harder, and in October 2010 she qualified for Boston at the Royal Victoria Marathon with a time of 3:45.
“After that, a girlfriend and I decided to train for the Vancouver BMO Marathon,” Nobert explained, and on May 1, 2011 she ran a faster time of 3:33.24, which placed her third in her age group on the day “and that set me up for Boston.”
Nobert also works with personal trainer Wanetta Beal at One on One Fitness “and have been for a few years, which I think has really helped me reach the faster time.”
“And now running is a real passion of mine. It helps me think clearly when running alone,” she said, “and keeps me in touch with friends when running with others. Also the health and fitness benefits are a real bonus.”
Nobert, 49, will be the only ORCA in the mix, and she’ll me making the trip with the support of her twin daughters, 17 year-olds Emily and Celina.
Nobert said she was never big on sports back in school and says she did aerobics to stay in shape for many years.
“I don’t know weather I would ever have started running if it wasn’t for that one time when my girlfriend asked me to join that group, and that’s how I started. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever become a runner until I tried it 14 years ago.”
“A tad nervous,” she conceded when asked how she’s feeling as the big day draws near, “but I never get all that nervous before a race because I just do my best.”
As a longtime local Royal LePage realtor, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, which has been around some 10 years and raised over $10 million nation-wide, is close to her heart.
Nobert’s goal is to raise $5,000 for the Haven Society. As of this week the tally stood at $2,275.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support in this cause, as it means so much to me … one hundred per cent raised in my run goes to our local Haven House,” she explained of the shelter, located in Nanaimo, which has a transition house in Parksville — Haven House is run under the auspices Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
This will be Nobert’s fourth marathon, and she said she would like nothing more then to beat her best time in Beantown.
She said she will start hydrating for the race a couple days prior, and will have pasta supper the night before, and porridge and toast with almond butter three hours before start time.
“That carb dinner the night before will carry you through most of the race, until you hit the last five kilometres, and then it’s just pure guts. It’s determination that gets you through that last stretch,” she chuckled.
“It is a long ways,” she confirmed of the 42.2 kilometer run. “But it’s a great experience”
To make a donation to Haven Society or to read more about Natalie’s story go to www.runningforshetler.com.