If you know Grace Twa, you know she’s quite the athlete.

She was part of the winning rink at the NWT Junior Curling Championships in Inuvik this past December but she’s also quite the runner as well. She proved she’s just as good at that while on vacation in Hawai’i last month.

Grace Twa shows off her gold medal at the finish line after winning her age group at the Maui Oceanfront Marathon on Hawai’i late last month.
photo courtesy of Colin Charlton

Twa won the 14 and Under 10K race at the Maui Oceanfront Marathon on Hawai’i, her first win outside the NWT and she managed to beat her goal time of one hour and 30 minutes, winning the race in a time of one hour, nine minutes, 58 seconds.

“I had no idea how I would do before the race,” she said. “I wanted to break 90 minutes but I didn’t do a lot of running before the race.”

The race was part of a family vacation to the Pacific island state last month and it was a family affair. Her father, Cameron Twa, ended up doing the full marathon while her mom did the half-marathon.

Her race? All a part of the payment, as she explains.

“Running the race was the vacation tax I had to pay,” she said. “We plan vacations around a race and we always do one whenever we go somewhere.”

That was the case when the Twa family went to Walt Disney World in Florida last year; she ended up running a race there.

Twa had no idea who she would be up against in Hawai’i nor did she know how many people were in her group as the start of the race approached, she said.

“I went and signed up for my bib and I got my number,” she said. “I got my bib and then I started to wonder how many people I would be up against.”

Her father started his marathon bright and early, followed by her mother shortly after that, followed by the 10K race.

“There wasn’t a lot of hills,” said Twa. “There were some uphills but nothing massive. It was very flat and very hot and humid right next to the ocean. It was the second hardest run I’ve ever done.”

The hardest ever? A cross-country run at the Yellowknife Ski Club.

After she crossed the finish line, Twa had no idea she had won. She didn’t even know how she was doing out on the course because there was no way to check.

“A family friend took me back to the hotel so I could get a shower and change,” she said. “I went back to check the board and that’s when I realized I won.”

With her medal around her neck, Twa said that’s when she realized how big a deal winning was.

“It felt really rewarding,” she said. “I’m glad all the hard work I’ve done in running paid off.”

Next up for Twa will be a run with her father at an event in Calgary but there’s one run she won’t be getting to go on – a trail run her parents will be doing in Ireland next month.

“I have to stay home and go to school,” she said.


James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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