Mother runs 100 straight days to honour daughter who died during marathon
Published Sunday, January 6, 2019 6:26PM AST
Last Updated Sunday, January 6, 2019 6:46PM AST
COXHEATH, N.S. -- The mother of a Cape Breton teen who died while running the Toronto Marathon more than five years ago, is now running 100 straight days in her daughter’s memory.
Katherine Van Nostrand will spend the first 100 days of 2019 running with the memory of her daughter in mind.
Emma was just 18 years old when she died during the May 2013 marathon, one that Katherine herself, was a participant in.
“Coming in and finding out what we found out. Obviously, Emma hadn’t completed the marathon. She had collapsed at the 24th mile. Was almost unbelievable,” said Van Nostrand.
It was later revealed that Emma’s death was caused by a rare, undetected heart condition.
In the weeks and months after the tragedy, Van Nostrand, a lifelong marathoner, sometimes found it hard to get out the door and run.
“Particularly in the first year, I cried as much as I ran,” she said.
But she kept going, and now she says she needs running for its mental benefits – particularly after losing a child.
More than anything, Van Nostrand says she knows her daughter never would have wanted her to stop.
“She would have been more disappointed in me doing that, than anything else,” she said. “And I feel too, I wanted to inspire other people. Just because something bad happens, doesn’t mean you give up on life.”
Katherine is doing her ‘100 days’ challenge with a group of fitness enthusiasts and friends to help push her along, as Emma did for many miles.
“Most of the time we were out, I would be singing, or goofing around, or even wanting to walk more than run. She would be like, ‘mom, come on,’ always pulling me along, and making sure that I was doing the best that I could,” said Van Nostrand.
Running 100 days this time of year is tough, the ground battles snow, slush, and ice, but she says she’ll channel some of Emma’s ultra-competitive nature to make sure she gets across the finish line.
“Some of the things she’d say to me, they’re always there. And Emma’s strength is probably what has gotten me out the door most days,” she said.
Katherine hasn’t run another marathon since her daughter’s death, but she says she’ll complete another one day, and even plans to return to the Boston Marathon.
She says the entire family has been able to reclaim its love for the sport in spite of the tragedy.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald.