ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (GNB) – Marathoner Shelley Doucet, of Quispamsis, won a gold medal in the marathon competition at the VIIIth Jeux de la francophonie, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Doucet covered the 42.2 km distance in a time of 2h51m14sec. She ran the first 25 km with her Moroccan competitor and then pulled away in hot, muggy conditions, to win by over 20 minutes.

“I am excited, it was great as I was not expecting to win,’’ Doucet said. “The other woman had a much faster marathon time that I have and my plan was to keep her in my eyesight for the beginning. I decided on a faster pace and she stayed back. I knew I could hold that pace and win.”

Doucet did not a have a goal time in mind, but wanted to keep under three hours in the humid conditions.

“I wanted to finish as close to the competition as I could,“ said Doucet. “There was no need to run faster for the first half as we stuck together. I decided to test her out with my faster pace. I really appreciated the support during the race. It was amazing, and in the 37 to 40 km stretch, there were people and kids in the street cheering me on. I also high fived some kids. I finished for the first time on a track and I raced with a man and that was exciting and amazing, at the end.”

Doucet will return to Canada for a short rest before returning overseas to contest the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship, in Primana Italy, on Aug. 6.