Langley, BC’s Fiona Benson today won the Unione Sportiva Quercia Roverto track meet 1500-metre event that took place in Roverto, Italy. She won in the time of 4:05.62 setting a new personal best and a faster performance than the Rio Olympic qualification standard of 4:06.00.
“Based on results it appears that she had a fast final 400,” said Coach Mark Bomba.
Benson has had the season of her life; however, it has been in the shorter 800-metre distance. Starting with a seven second personal best in Victoria on May, 30th, followed by several more improvements including becoming the fifth Canadian all-time to break the two minute benchmark in Portland, Oregon with a 1:59.59 and the opportunity to compete in the 2015 IAAF Beijing World Track and Field Championships.
As for expectations with the longer distance event, Bomba added, “I had no idea how she would do as her 800m race was a bit off the other night and she said she felt like she off. My take is she has been mentally waiting for this 1500m since Worlds. She never ceases to surprise me when I least expect it.”
Benson was known more for her 1500m prowess while attending Trinity Western University. She graduated last year and did not have expectations going into the season. Her personal best in the 1500m was 4:15.
“She is at heart and physically a 1500m runner, but her 800m this year makes her dangerous in championships races. If not for having an injury just before the world championships, I think she was ready to run 1:58-flat give or take,” said Bomba, adding, “She`s a racer, pure and simple.”
Bomba has been calling for her rise for the past two years. To suggest that Benson would have been capable of a 1:58.00 in the final of the world championships, suggests that she could have medalled and perhaps challenged for gold, as Belarus’s Marina Arzamasova finished first in 1:58.03.
1 154 Marina Arzamasova BLR BLR 1:58.03
2 204 Melissa Bishop CAN CAN 1:58.12
3 575 Eunice Jepkoech Sum KEN KEN 1:58.18
Read about Benson’s stunning season, here.