‘Hockey players aren’t runners’: Olympic captain Meghan Duggan set for NYC Marathon

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Meghan Duggan entered the year having never run more than two miles at a time.

“In hockey,” she said, “it was really a no-no to do any type of long endurance training.”

Now the three-time Olympic medalist is in her final preparations to race Sunday’s New York City Marathon.

“It’s opened up a whole new world to what my body can go through,” she said.

Duggan, who retired from hockey in 2020 after captaining the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics, decided to make her 26.2-mile debut to raise awareness for the Women’s Sports Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Billie Jean King in 1974 to advance the lives of women and girls through sports.

In addition to serving as Women’s Sports Foundation president, Duggan is the New Jersey Devils director of player development and a mother of two.

Juggling so many responsibilities, the 35-year-old occasionally got out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to do long runs before her kids woke up. Or, she did them on the treadmill at night after her kids went to sleep.

“I’ve had to be flexible as we all do in life,” she said.

VIDEO: Duggan on training for New York City Marathon

Duggan’s two children, George and Olivia, are her biggest cheerleaders.

Meghan Duggan
Meghan Duggan at a triathlon relay in July in Ontario. (Courtesy Meghan Duggan)

During training runs, Duggan’s wife, Canadian Olympic hockey champion Gillian Apps, pulled the kids in a bike trailer as they clapped and screamed, “run mamma run!” Duggan often finds George running laps around the house yelling “marathon, marathon!”

“It’s important for me to show my kids you can do hard things,” Duggan said.

Duggan is planning to race alongside Haley Skarupa, a gold medal-winning teammate at the 2018 Winter Games. Erika Lawler, a 2010 Olympic silver medalist hockey player, also planned on running the race until she suffered an injury.

“Hockey players aren’t really meant to be runners,” Duggan said, “but I think that’s why Haley and I are so excited to do it.”

Duggan has not been shy in seeking advice. At the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports gala last month, she cornered Jocelyn Rivas, the youngest person to run 100 marathons, and Alysia Montaño, a U.S. Olympic 800m runner who made worldwide headlines for racing while eight months pregnant at the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships.

“It’s certainly made me really respect other sports and what goes into it,” Duggan said. “Not that I didn’t before, but I never had the opportunity to put myself in the shoes of another athlete in a different sport. This is kind of my first time, and it’s been eye-opening and enjoyable.”

Duggan’s goal is to complete the 26.2 miles in under four hours.

“I think it’s a realistic goal,” Duggan said. “That’s something that is not easy to do and will be incredibly challenging, but I think even just the accountability of saying it out loud makes it that much more exciting.”

This might not be the last marathon for Duggan, who grew up in Danvers, Mass.

“I’ve had a lot of friends run [the Boston Marathon],” she said. “I would love to do that, but I’m going to get through this one first, and then we’ll see.”

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Mikaela Shiffrin skips Lake Louise speed races with different World Cup schedule

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Mikaela Shiffrin will not race downhills and a super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, this weekend, skipping the traditional first speed races of the World Cup season for the first time since 2014 to focus on training her primary events of slalom and giant slalom.

Shiffrin decided before the season began that she would not race Lake Louise, a representative said. A reason: For the first time in six years, tech races rather than speed races in Europe are scheduled for the weekend following Lake Louise.

Shiffrin’s schedule for now includes the next speed races in St. Moritz, Switzerland, from Dec. 16-18, but that may change.

For the first time in her career, Shiffrin won her first two races of the season, taking slaloms on back-to-back days in Levi, Finland, two weekends ago.

MORE: Alpine Skiing Broadcast Schedule

This past weekend, she placed 13th and fifth in a GS and a slalom in Killington, Vermont. In five previous trips to Killington, she finished second, third, fourth and fifth in the GS and won all five of the slaloms.

“There are positives to take away from the races and positives about my skiing,” Shiffrin posted on social media. “I know the direction I need to work in GS, and I just need a few days to get that repetition. With slalom, I also have a bit of a direction as well.

“It’s easy for people to say that I won in Levi and that I’m back and I’m going to win everything now again…it’s not really the case. There are women who are skiing better than I am, and on any given day any one of us have the capability to win.”

Shiffrin has raced more downhills and super-Gs in Lake Louise than any other World Cup venue. She made her World Cup super-G debut there in 2015 and her World Cup downhill debut there in 2016 and earned her first World Cup downhill win there in 2017 and first World Cup super-G win there in 2018.

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Anna Shcherbakova, Olympic figure skating champion, extends competition absence

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Olympic figure skating champion Anna Shcherbakova will miss the Russian Championships because she has not fully recovered from August knee surgery, a representative for the skater said Tuesday.

Shcherbakova, 18, has been sidelined from competition since the surgery. All Russian skaters are banned from international competition due to the war in Ukraine, but Russia has been holding domestic events with its top skaters.

Shcherbakova will take part in non-competitive skating shows in December, first at a World Cup fan zone in Qatar and later a show in Russia that takes place during the national championships, according to Russian media. Shcherbakova’s representative did not address her show plans when confirming her absence from nationals.

Russia is scheduled to hold its national championships the week of Christmas, as usual. That event usually determines its team for March’s world championships, though there is no indication that the ban on Russian skaters will be lifted any time soon to make them eligible for worlds.

Since Russian skaters were banned from competing at last March’s worlds, they were unable to qualify more than the minimum one entry per discipline for the next worlds for which they will be eligible.

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