One of the world’s most prestigious marathons will have a handful of Muskoka runners.
Fraser Burgess will be one of them. It will be the first time for the 39-year-old who only started running in 2017. After undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery earlier that year after a soccer injury, his doctor suggested he take up triathlon running.
It didn’t take long for him to fall in love.
“I got the idea to complete a marathon, which I did, which then led me along the path of I just scratched the surface of this, how far can we go with this,” he says. Burgess competed in the Muskoka Marathon in October 2021 and finished with a time of 2:59:32, good enough to qualify for Boston.
Burgess says it’s been a long journey to get here. His training sees him running at varying levels six days a week. “What’s required to do that is running 100 kilometres every week, consistently, week after week after week,” he adds. That includes running 30 kilometres, in one shot, once a week along with a fewer shorter, quicker-paced runs and a medium-length run of about 20 kilometres. “The other three days are very much just easy running, hanging out with your friends, chatting, having a good time,” he says.
Burgess credits the running community in Muskoka for his success. Notably, he runs with Kent Hawthorn, father of Natalia who competed in a long-distance race at the 2021 Summer Olympics. He also mentions division one runners Gracelyn and Matthew Larkin of Bracebridge as two from the area to keep an eye on as well as his running group that’s grown to around 20 people. Five people in that group will be racing alongside him, including Matthew Robb, who has helped train him over the years.
“In Huntsville, there’s been a long-standing, really high-quality run community,” Burgess says. Muskoka Algonquin Runners, according to him, has served as the “running base” for Muskoka for many years.
Like most runners, he dealt with plenty of injuries, especially when he first started, but says right now he feels like he’s in the best shape of his life.
“At this stage, I’m about 17 weeks into a 20-week training process,” he says.
The Boston Marathon is on April 18. In the two weeks before the race, Burgess says he will rest and spend time with his wife and kids. “Hopefully on marathon day you have a lot of extra jump in your step,” he says of the rest period.
“There are no guarantees in marathoning,” he adds. “42.2 kilometres is a long way and there are lots of other factors like weather. So setting a time-based goal is not necessarily important. What I will say is I’m fit and ready to roll.”
With finishing the historic race on his mind, Burgess says, “if you run the best you can, the result will take care of itself.”