Malindi Elmore. (Malindi Elmore/Instagram)

Malindi Elmore. (Malindi Elmore/Instagram)

Kelowna runner goes for the gold at the Olympics, 17 years after her first try

Malindi Elmore will run for Team Canada at the summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan

Olympian Malindi Elmore was seven years old when she fell in love with running.

“I would often race my dad down the street or have my parents time me how long it took to run from my house to the mailbox,” Elmore told the Capital News.

“It just kind of gave me a thrill to see how fast I could move my body.”

And once she got that thrill, Elmore couldn’t stop. The Kelowna native would continue to run throughout her entire childhood, a passion that has stuck with her since.

By age 16, Elmore knew her love for running would have a deeper meaning in her life and made it a goal to run in the Olympics.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the Olympics,” she continued, “but I had a lot of injuries and ups-and-downs between 16 and 24.”

But that never stopped her from keeping her eye on the gold. After she finished her undergraduate degree in 2003, she moved to Calgary to reunite with her high school coach, Mike Van Tighem.

“We just did everything we could to be ready to run in the 2004 Olympics,” said Elmore.

Elmore had a personal best that year and landed some top three performances at big meets, which qualified her for the 1500-metre in the Athens, Greece Olympics at age 24.

“It was a dream come true,” she explained. “But it was a little bit overwhelming at times. It’s a pretty big deal being there; walking into the stadium with 100,000 people cheering and screaming.”

Elmore described the experience as “unreal.”

“It would be like taking a kid from junior level hockey and then throwing them in game 7 in the NHL playoffs. It was super intense,” she continued.

Although she didn’t make it to the finals, the experience was life-changing. Afterwards, she continued to run professionally for eight years in track and field in the PanAm games, university-level games, and more.

In 2007, she married her husband Graham Hood, a two-time Olympic champion. Hood ran the 1,500-metre in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. The duo ranks seven out of 25 on a list of the fastest running married couples. She had her first son in 2012, which was when she decided to retire from long-distance running.

She still stayed active by competing in triathlons, but when she had her second son in 2018, she felt it was time to retire from that too and focus on being a mom.

“But then one day, I was out for a run with my husband and I thought I would love to do a marathon just for fun,” Elmore said. “And then I did my first marathon a few months later in 2019.”

At the time, her youngest son was six months old. The family went to Houston, Texas, for a marathon where Elmore ran two hours and 32 minutes – two minutes off the Olympic standard. This sparked a realization for both her and her husband that she had a good shot at making an Olympic team again.

Seventeen years after her first Olympic appearance, Elmore is training for a second Olympic run. She is a 41-year-old mother-of-two, and according to Elmore, those two factors are why she is going into the Olympics a second time, stronger than ever.

“I have more mental strength and capacity now than I did when I was 24,” said Elmore. “I’m highly motivated to make my sons proud and to model values that we would like to pass on to them and our family.”

Elmore said she is excited to wear the Canadian flag on her shoulders and she’s especially excited to represent Kelowna.

“I’m born and raised here, and I’ve chosen to raise my family here, so this is home,” Elmore said. “I have so many miles run on the roads and different pathways here.”

Elmore will soon head to the Tokyo, Japan training camp, where she will join the rest of the Olympic track and field team. After that, she‘ll head to Sapporo, Japan, where the Olympic race will be held.

Unfortunately, her sons can’t join because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they will watch mom on television. She won’t be at the Olympics alone, though. Her former coach, Van Tighem, who now lives in Summerland, is the head coach for the Olympic marathon race-walk team. He still coaches her part-time.

“Sometimes, if you just take a step back and do something that you love but really commit to it and follow the process of being the best you can be, you can do amazing things,” she said.

The women’s marathon event is set to take place on August 7.

READ MORE: Westbank Museum makes progress in beautification project

READ MORE: Kelowna residents develop new app to support men’s mental health


@amandalinasnews
amandalina.letterio@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Olympics

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read