Younka bound for Boston

Glen Dawkins -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Amanda Younka decided the time was finally right for her to go to the Boston Marathon. "It just didn't seem that important (before)," said the 35-year-old, who was the second-fastest woman at last weekend's Queen City Marathon in Regina to qualify for the 109th annual Boston Marathon, April 18. "The marathon wasn't my focus. Now I guess I can appreciate the marathon a little bit more and I'm really ready to train for it. With the rich history and what not, it's kind of exciting."

Younka posted a time of three hours, 16 minutes and 33 seconds, just behind women's champion Renee Schnell of Regina. It was only her fourth full marathon and the fourth time she met the qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon. But each time before, she'd chosen not to go to Boston.

"I just turned 35 and I decided that if I wanted to run my best marathon before I'm 40, I'd better start training," said Younka, who placed third in the women's half marathon at this year's Manitoba Marathon. "I just decided to seize the day. Since I ran the half in June (at the Manitoba Marathon), I'd just continue my training and focus on qualifying for Boston. I've been calling it Project 35."

Meanwhile, fellow Winnipegger Dale Kirk won his second consecutive Queen City Marathon. Kirk posted a winning time of 2:43:38, almost 10 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.

A former cross country and distance runner at the University of Manitoba, Younka is a physical educator and personal trainer on staff at the Reh-Fit Centre where she coaches the Heart Throbs Running Club.

"I've never trained through a whole winter for a marathon so I think that's going to be a very big challenge," said Younka. "I'm planning on improving my cross-country skiing and doing pool runs and, of course, training at the Reh-Fit and the University. I'm going to be really pushing myself because Boston is a very difficult course."

FAMILY AFFAIR: Shirley Fitzpatrick-Wong and her mother Clarice Fitzpatrick teamed up to win bronze medals in the pairs event at the World Women's Lawn Bowling Championships, yesterday in Royal Leamington Spa, England.

The pair made it to the semifinals before losing 15-14 to Wales. Canada also won the bronze in the triples event.

Fitzpatrick also represented Canada in the singles where she finished 11th overall after placing third in one of the toughest round robin groups in the tournament. Fitzpatrick-Wong was the vice on the Canadian fours team which was 20th overall.


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