'It was spectacular': Ottawa woman runs in the Boston Marathon's return during the COVID-19 pandemic

The elite women break from the starting line of the 125th Boston Marathon, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, in Hopkinton, Mass. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

An Ottawa runner says it was "shockingly emotional" to be one of the 20,000 people participating in the first Boston Marathon in 20 months.

Nicole Mikhael completed the 42.2 km Boston Marathon through the streets of Boston in three hours and 17 minutes on Monday.

"It was spectacular. I couldn't have asked for a better day myself," said Mikhael in an interview with CTV News Ottawa's Matt Skube after crossing the finish line.

Mikhael was one of 55 runners from Ottawa, Gatineau and eastern Ontario registered to run in the 125th Boston Marathon.   It was the first Boston Marathon in 30 months and the first time in its 125-year history the marathon was moved from its traditional spring date due to COVID-19.

"When I came here, oddly enough I was shockingly emotional. I didn't realize how emotional I would be, mainly just to see what the world has been battling through and every single athlete here has been battling through the same ailments that everyone going through the pandemic has," said Mikhael on Monday.

"To see this race come about with 20,000 runners, now they did reduce the field size to accommodate for COVID safety precautions, so I was very honoured to be lining up with the rest of the runners to run this race."

Ottawa's Dylan Wykes was the third fastest Canadian in the Boston Marathon, completing the course in 2 hours and 21 minutes.

Participants needed to test negative for COVID-19 or prove they were vaccinated before picking up their bibs for the race.

"Boston did a phenomenal job in keeping all their athletes safe," said Mikhael, who has participated in the Boston Marathon ten times.

Mikhael said preparations for this Boston Marathon were different than any other race she's competed in.

"I've waited for this day, as many athletes have, for two years. Training during the pandemic was pretty tough in itself," said Mikhael.

"You couldn't train with your regular local group that you got together with, so there were a lot of solo training, a lot of days you just didn't feel motivated to run. When they finally announced that the Boston Marathon was happening in person, that's when the gears started to go. It's not my first rodeo here and just the energy was what motivated me to start the training and get things moving."

With files from the Associated Press