I just finished my 8th half marathon, and I’m thrilled to share that I set a new personal record! My previous PR was 02:03:39, set in Warsaw in 2019. I was younger then and didn’t have two screws in my right hip. Today, in Ottawa, I ran 01:57:56 - more than 5 minutes off my previous best!

Ildar Akhmetov at the finish line of Ottawa half marathon wearing a colorful running shirt with other runners in the background.
Ildar Akhmetov at the finish line of Ottawa half marathon.

I would like to thank everyone who supported me along the way. My wife Olesya Akhmetova and my kids, your unwavering support means the world to me. Mario Nascimento and Ryan Rad, your encouragement during our regular Wednesday runs pushed me to run faster and harder. A big shout out to the Northeastern University Vancouver Running Club - Mahya Payamshad, Elif Emiroglu, Dominik Beckers, Dennis Chenard, and Victoria Williams - for the community and motivation. And a special thanks to Marty Robertson for all the great running chats in Work Nicer Coworking.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Toreson, for fixing my hip, and to my physiotherapists, Brendan DeForge and James Greene, for pushing me hard during my recovery.

Finally, a special thanks to the anonymous bald dude in orange sneakers and blue socks. Your steady 5:30 pace was my beacon. My hope for this race was to try 5:40 (with 5:50-5:55 as a safe plan), but I thought, “Let me try to keep up with this guy.” I kept pushing myself not to lose sight of him. I finally lost him around the 12th kilometer, but found him again a few kilometers later and even managed to pass him at some point.