Sask Marathon victor balances training with family life

Celeste Cross Child loves the rush of emotions she gets whenever she crosses a marathon finish line.

“Whether it was a good race or not, it’s such a good feeling,” she says.

On Sunday, Cross Child’s emotions were particularly strong when she ran through the Saskatchewan Marathon finish line as the woman’s champion. As she walked off the course she was embraced by her husband and then two of her children.

“It felt really good and I really felt honoured. As I was crossing the line I was so thankful for my family. They really support my running goals and encourage me,” Cross Child said.

Cross Child, 39, ran her first marathon in Calgary in 1999 and has since lost track of how many 42.2-kilometre races she’s run. She has competed in events at the Saskatchewan Marathon for years, placing second in the marathon in 2011 and third in the 10-kilometre race last year.

Cross Child’s time of 3:18 this weekend marks her quickest time at the Saskatchewan Marathon, though she has run faster times elsewhere. Her personal best is 3:11, which she ran at the California International Marathon in both 2017 and 2018.

She said the last time she ran in California she started too fast and paid for it in the end.

“I really never want to experience that feeling again so this race I wanted to start out relaxed and finish strong,” she said. “I was able to stay on pace until the last four kilometres where I lost some steam. My time wasn’t a personal best, but I was happy how I stuck to my race plan.”

Cross Child trains with Team W, a performance-based running group in Saskatoon coached by former national team runner Jason Warick, and she recently began attending supervised training sessions at Craven SPORT Services to do strength work.

On top of that, she is a branch associate at a city library and a mom to four kids ages 10, 13, 15 and 17.

She said balancing training and family life has become easier now that her kids are older, but she sometimes gets nostalgic for the days when she went running with a double jogging stroller.

“My husband, Tarrant Cross Child, and I support each other’s running goals. So if either of us needs or wants to get a run in, we are very accommodating,” she said.

“I find time to train by not worrying so much about the little things around the house. Kids will still be healthy and happy even if our house might be dusty! It also helps that they are at the age where they can help out more.”

Cross Child has a long list of marathons she wants to run in the future including the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the Fargo Marathon in North Dakota and the Pacific Northwest Marathon in Oregon.

But she says the Saskatchewan Marathon will always be a favourite.

“I love running Saskatchewan because I can run on our beautiful trails and also see my family at the finish line. I also enjoy cheering for my family, training partners, and friends. In Saskatoon we are so fortunate to have the beautiful Meewasin trails to run on,” she said.

“I love how the river is accessible to everyone in our beautiful city. I think that the Saskatchewan Marathon is such a great event so we always try to support it anyway we can.”

Cross Child says she will take a couple weeks off running following her marathon and has plans to go on lots of dog walks, watch her children compete in track events and do some reading.

She expressed thanks to her family, coach Jason Warick, her teammates and the Saskatchewan Marathon volunteers who all helped make her weekend special.

— Andrea Hill (Editor, Brainsport Times)