Tami’s Road to the Boston Marathon

January 5, 2023
Staff Stories

Congratulations, Tami, on your incredible accomplishment!

Tami Sylvestre, Partner in our Pembroke office has achieved her goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2023!

“I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, but I wanted to do it well” she tells us. At the start of 2022, Tami set a New Year’s resolution for herself to run a 3:30 marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

From a young age, running has always been a big part of Tami’s life. She participated in track and field throughout her school years and continues to run for exercise and as a form of therapy for herself. From her love for running, she developed a dream to someday do a marathon.

“My daughter and I talked about training together and accomplishing a goal during Christmas of 2021 – she wanted to run a half-marathon, and I wanted to run a full marathon.”

In order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, Tami would have to run a qualifying race that her daughter could also participate in. A quick search on the internet led them to the Toronto Marathon on May 1st, 2022, giving the mother and daughter a timeline of 16 weeks to train for the race.

“From there, I found a 16-week sub 3:30 training program for a marathon. I followed it to the T, and every day, I would check off the runs that were recommended to achieve my goal.”

As we may all be aware, training is easier said than done. Tami trained throughout the grueling winter months leading up to May 1st. The billowing snow, ice on the roads, and piercing winds were only some of the obstacles she faced throughout this journey. In the cold weather running on her own, her ear pods would typically freeze in the middle of her runs, making each training session of 30km feel even more stretched. To top it all off, her training months coincided with tax season – the busiest few months of any accounting professional, especially for a Partner at the firm! And tax season wasn’t over on May 1st.  It actually ended May 2nd given that April 30, 2022 landed on a Saturday so Tami had to get back to finish up the last day of tax season right after her race.

“My initial reaction was wow this is so hard. I have a whole new respect for people who have run a marathon. I love running, but this even challenged my love of running.” Tami’s grit, determination, and competitive nature were the driving forces behind her motivation to keep going. Throughout the process, Tami just kept thinking to herself: “I made it this far, I’m going to keep going – I’m going to do this.”

The weeks rolled on, and eventually it was race day in Toronto. After 16 weeks of arduous training and effort, it all came down to those three and a half hours during the race. Applying everything she learned during training, Tami ran the race focused on her mission. Before she knew it, Tami had crossed the finish line where her daughter was waiting for her, having completed the half-marathon herself.

“I was elated that it was over! I was just overwhelmed, very emotional. When it was done, I couldn’t believe I just did that.”

When asked what was stopping her from setting this goal and achieving it sooner, Tami tells us it was lack of time in her schedule. As a Partner at the firm, a wife, and a mother of two kids who both play sports, Tami and her family were continually on the road. Knowing the level of commitment it would take to prepare and complete a marathon, Tami knew it was something she couldn’t fit into her overflowing schedule.

“I know I am not getting any younger – I was 47 when I made this New Year’s resolution. Having just come off a bad bout of plantar fasciitis where I couldn’t run for two months made me realize that if I don’t get going now, I might never run a marathon in my life. So, I made the time to do it.”

Tami shares with us three lessons she learned throughout this journey:

  1. You are never too old to start.
  2. Never underestimate yourself.
  3. Hard work pays off. If you persevere, you can do anything you can set your mind to.

Tami can now check “Qualifying for the Boston Marathon” off her bucket list, which will contribute a donation to the Garth Steele Faith Over Fear Fund.  

Tami tells us how grateful she feels about being able to contribute to Garth’s cause:

“First of all, I think this is a wonderful tribute to an exceptional human being. When I attended my very first partners’ weekend, it was very intimidating. Garth was the first person to come over and speak to my husband Craig and I. He welcomed us and made us feel like we were part of the gang. I will never forget that and I respect Garth for the kindness that he showed to us, as well as his brilliant work. Garth was the go-to GST/HST guy! He was so good at what he did and was an excellent resource for all of us, not just in the Ottawa office but even here in Pembroke. It doesn’t surprise me to see that he’s handling his diagnosis with such poise and positivity, just knowing the kind of person that he is. I have a lot of admiration for him and am honored to be a part of this whole thing.”

Tami is back at her training once again in the winter elements in preparation for the big day on April 17, 2023 which lands right in the middle of the busiest few weeks of tax season. We wish her well with her training and in Boston!

Tami Sylvestre holder her medal after completing the 2022 Toronto Marathon.
Tami Sylvestre’s race results of 3:28:19.
Tami and her daughter Claire after completing their respective races at the 2022 Toronto Marathon.

Learn more about the Garth Steele Faith Over Fear Fund.

Alexei Vidal
Marketing Specialist

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