Fall Racing Report

It’s been a busy season, World Championships aside, with several World Marathon majors, another sub-2 attempt, the Canadian marathon championships, cross-country season and the World Para Athletics Championships.

Major Marathons

The Berlin Marathon, which took place during the IAAF World Athletics Championships, was the usual display of speed and record attempts. Kenenisa Bekele, world record holder for the 5000m and 10,000m, finished just 2 seconds shy of the world record. Canada’s Krista DuChene ran a 2:32 to finish 12th overall and first masters.

Two weeks later, on the eve of the Chicago Marathon, Eliud Kipchoge made another play to become the first human to run 42.2km in less than 2 hours, and this time he did it. The project was branded INEOS 1:59 Challenge and the event itself was held in Vienna on a ~10km circuit. Many of the conditions were similar to those from the 2017 Breaking2 attempt, with some tweaks. Kipchoge’s time was 1:59:40 (1 minute 59 seconds faster than the world record that he set at Berlin in 2018).

But as impressive as this feat was, many confess it was overshadowed by Brigid Kosgei‘s world record performance at the Chicago Marathon the following morning. She ran a blistering 2:14:04 to take more than a minute off of Paula Radcliffe‘s record, which had stood since 2003.

One week later, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon served as the Canadian Marathon Championships. With some of the deepest fields Canadian marathoning has seen in many years, the stage was set for a great race. Eventual winners Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky both ran sizeable PBs to claim their titles, and Olympic-qualifying times as well. I’m not well versed in the rules surrounding 2020 Olympic marathon qualifications, but it seems a safe bet these two will be on the roster. Second place finishers Emily Setlack and Tristan Woodfine also had notable PB performances – definitely two to watch.

November brought with it the final marathon major of the year: New York. The women’s race was won by Joyciline Jepkosgei in a time of 2:22, for her debut marathon. This sounds surprising, until you remember that Jepkosgei is the world record holder for the half marathon (set in 2017).

Amidst all these great performances and exciting races there exists growing controversy over Nike’s shoes and whether they are taking the technology too far, creating an uneven playing field for its sponsored athletes (as well as amateurs who can afford to buy them). Another story making major headlines this fall is the four-year doping ban Alberto Salazar is now serving, compounded by many of his former female athletes coming forward with stories of abuse they faced while training with him in the Nike Oregon Project.

Cross-country report

Fall to me will always mean cross-country. Local athletes have had a terrific season of it so far. In the high school arena, OFSAA Championships were held in Sudbury this year. Abbey Yuhasz, a grade 12 student at Resurrection, won the senior girls race, with 50 seconds to spare. If that weren’t enough, the senior girls team from SJAM brought home the silver medal. WCI’s Scott Arndt won silver in the boys senior race as well.

At the university level, Isabella Thornton-Bott of the University of Waterloo finished 5th at the OUA Championships, earning herself a spot on the OUA All Starts First Team. Lizzy Laurie and Sydney Pattison, both Laurier athletes, were named to the Second Team All Stars. Two weeks later at the USport Championships, Laurie finished 12th. Both the Ontario and Canada Championship races were won by Lucia Stafford, younger sister of track star Gabriela Debues-Stafford.

On the college circuit, Waterloo native Sandy Freeland, who runs for Fanshawe College, finished second at the OCAA Championships and third at the CCAA National Championships.

The last big race of the year will be the Canadian Cross Country Championships which are scheduled for November 30 in Abbotsford, BC.

World Para Athletics Championships

The World Para Athletics Championships took place in Dubai over the first half of November. Canada’s team put in strong performances throughout and walked away with 6 medals, 5 national records and 29 top-8 performances. Some top highlights include:

  • GOLD – Brent Lakatos, 100-metres T53, 14.59 seconds
  • GOLD – Nathan Riech, 1500-metres, 4:02.04 minutes
  • GOLD – Brent Lakatos, 800-metres T53, 1:40.59 minutes
  • SILVER – Brent Lakatos, 400-metre T53, 48.33 seconds
  • SILVER – Greg Stewart, discus F46, 16.30-metres (CR)
  • BRONZE – Renee Foessel, discus throw F38, 33.37 metres (CR)
  • 5th – Alister McQueen, javelin throw F64, 54.46 metres (CR)