All but forgotten a year ago, David MacLennan came back to the Blue Nose Marathon with a vengeance.
The 45-year-old from Scotsburn, in Pictou County, claimed his fourth Blue Nose crown in six years on Sunday in Halifax, scorching through the 42.2-kilometre course in two hours, 36 minutes and 21 seconds — his best time since 2004.
His time was more than 35 minutes faster than the 3:11:39 he posted in his sixth-place 2008 finish.
“You have good ones,” MacLennan said afterward in front of a swarm of media, “and you have bad ones.”
Good is an understatement. MacLennan was only one minute slower than he was when he posted a Blue Nose-record 2:35:35 at age 40 and he had a seven-minute edge on second-place finisher Ray Moorehead of Dartmouth. He was just three minutes off the personal-best of 2:33 he set in his mid-30s.
The difference? Training.
MacLennan initially wanted to get ready for June’s Johnny Miles Marathon in New Glasgow, but training went so well, he signed up for the Blue Nose at the last minute.
“Last year was disappointing,” he admitted. “I definitely didn’t have the training going into last year and had a little hiccup going the wrong way (on the course).
“But I’m happy to be back and it’s great to win.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better Nova Scotian marathoner than the Sobeys drugstore manager. He has unofficially won 14 of Nova Scotia’s big events, including six Johnny Miles, three Valley Harvests and one Nova Scotia marathon.
“Must be genetics,” said one of his chief rivals, third-place finisher Scott Clarke of P.E.I. “He’s a machine.”
MacLennan essentially led wire-to-wire. He scorched through the first half of the marathon (21.2 kilometres) in a blazing 1:15 — about a minute faster than the half-marathon champion — and even surprised himself with his start.
“I looked up at the clock and I didn’t know if the clock was right,” MacLennan said. “It said 1:15 something and that’s the fastest I’ve gone through the half in a while.”
Added Clarke: “There was no catching him.”