Dental student wins Niagara Ultra’s marathon with fastest time in 10 years

Keng-Shuo (Alex) Pi
By Cynthia Fazio

Two hours, 52 minutes and 55 seconds.  

In about the same time it takes to watch a feature-length film, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry student Kristian Jamieson ran 42 kilometers (26.2 miles), and won the Niagara Ultra's marathon with the fastest time in a decade. He was 12 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor. The stunning feat also qualified him for two of the world's most coveted races: the Boston and Chicago Marathons.

“All the preparation that I put in during the months leading up to the marathon, that's exactly what I was thinking about during that race. The hours spent running, dieting, just everything I put into it, this is why you did it, for this moment,” said the second-year dental student.

“I felt confident going into the race, but I was very surprised that I was able to run it in the time I did and set a record within the last 10 years. It was a great day.”

This was just his second marathon. His first-ever event was at Niagara Ultra last year, finishing second and just missing the sub three-hour mark to qualify for the two World Marathon Majors.  

Making this feat even more impressive, the Niagara Ultra's marathon has one of the more challenging course terrains, with substantial elevation gain, and participants run on a public trail, so they have to contend with pedestrians and cyclists, according to race director Henri Ragetlie.  

Jamieson, who grew up on the Six Nations Reserve, was inspired to become a distance runner after learning that his great-great-grandfather Tom Longboat, the legendary Onondaga runner, was the first Indigenous person to win the Boston Marathon in 1907.

“I would like to follow in his footsteps as much as I can. Part of that means trying to run the same races.” 

That includes the Around the Bay 30K road race in Hamilton, Ont. where Jamieson placed 29th out of 3,500 runners.

“Running is something I’ve become extremely passionate about and it’s what I choose to dedicate my free time to,” he said.

Giving back

Jamieson’s typical schedule includes a 4 a.m. wake up to squeeze in a run of 10 to 35 kilometres before class.  

“I knew I wanted a career in health care. In high school I knew I was going to have to decide between being a physician or choosing the road of dentistry,” he said.

Jamieson came to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry through the Indigenous Applicant Pathway program. He was motivated to attend after hearing positive testimonies from dentists – Western alumni – he shadowed during his undergrad.  

“After I get my degree, I'd like to go back to my local reserve or somewhere in Canada and be able to serve my community. I can tell you from firsthand experience, I never went to the dentist, so my oral health wasn’t great and I had to spend a lot of extra time at the dental office,” said Jamieson. “I always remember and remind myself ‘there's a little kid out there and he's going to need your help one day, Kristian.’”

“I always remember and remind myself ‘there's a little kid out there and he's going to need your help one day, Kristian.’”

He was also drawn to the School because of the smaller class sizes and appreciates the ability to develop closer relationships with classmates and faculty.

“When I was running Around the Bay at the end of March, I actually I ran into one of my simulation instructors. I found that was a great way to connect with this professor in a different dynamic – it wasn't just dentistry, it was something more personal.”

Jamieson also plays for Schulich Dentistry’s Mighty Dents hockey team and helped the team win the Ontario Dental Cup against the University of Toronto in April. He credits off-ice training, like hill sprints, for helping to complement his marathon training.

Dr. Carlos Quiñonez, vice dean and director of Dentistry, runs calisthenic training for the team. He called Jamieson an exceptional athlete.

“The painful stuff [such as hill sprints] that you do in calisthenics in order to get in shape... He was working hard, and he was running those hills very efficiently,” Quiñonez said. “I'm so proud of students when they achieve things, not just in the dentistry building but outside of the building as well.” 

In the lead up to the 2025 Boston Marathon in April, Jamieson will be competing in his first Ironman triathlon on July 7 and hopes to post a new personal best in the Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope.

He also expressed gratitude for his running coach Derek Silva, a Criminology professor at King’s University College, for his guidance and support throughout the journey

“My coach works alongside me and has been helping me out tremendously with achieving these goals,” Jamieson said.

His ultimate goal for the Boston Marathon is to match Longboat’s time of two hours, 24 minutes and 24 seconds as close as possible.

“I cannot wait to see what happens there. That's going to be a very exciting day.”