Monika Kalicinska is now the fastest-ever female indoor marathoner, and in a roundabout way, she has Texas ice storms to thank for the distinction.
The 24-year-old Polish native had been slated to run the Dallas Marathon on December 8, but when nasty weather led to the event’s cancellation, her coach suggested she head to Toronto on January 6 for the Run 4 R Kids indoor marathon.
For reasons both personal and professional, the Canadian trip made perfect sense.
"I was planning to visit my family in Toronto during that time, and it's hard to believe, but this race was about 12 kilometers from their home," Kalicinska said in an interview with Runner's World Newswire .
Kalicinska posted a time of 2:53:53 at Saturday’s Run 4 R Kids Race, considerably faster than the previous women’s indoor-marathon record of 2:57:34, posted last January by Nichole Porath.
While it might seem that Kalicinska’s achievement deserves to be called a world record, Saturday’s event was run on an oversized track with loops longer than 200 meters. As such, the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS) considers her performance “assisted,” hence the “fastest ever” distinction.
The unusual track size also proved somewhat problematic for Kalicinska, who came into the Toronto race having run only one other marathon. Her debut came in May, when she was a senior at Oklahoma’s St. Gregory’s University, and while she performed well that first time out, finishing in 2:50:52 and winning the NAIA collegiate national title, Saturday’s event left her “pretty confused.”
In addition to the elongated track, she had to contend with runners in three other races—a half-marathon, a 30K, and a six-hour run—taking place at the same time. What’s more, the constant turning likely contributed to the sore calves and shins she suffered after the race.
"I was planning to run 48 seconds per lap but there it took me 57 to 59 seconds,” she told Newswire. “I didn’t know if I was on pace. I couldn’t go too fast at the beginning, didn’t want to hit the wall. On the other hand, I had to keep in mind I am going for a world record, so I can’t go too slow."
However this race is categorized, it certainly wasn’t too slow.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg