© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated
The Christie-Phoenix Insurance Victoria Run Series’ second meet of the 2016 season takes place Saturday, June 4th at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium and several international athletes will be competing over the offered, 800m, 1500m and 3000m distances. It will be an exciting track meet for spectators.
Langley’s Fiona Benson, who last year became just the fifth Canadian all-time to run under the two-minute barrier in the 800-metre distance, is racing. Her dream season started with her running in the 2015 Victoria Run Series’ first meet where she dropped a near eight second personal best and kept on improving throughout the season. Benson finished the year competing in the 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships that took place in Beijing China, achieving her personal best of 1:59.59.
The 800-metre event isn’t even her specialty. She also ran one of the top 1500-metre times in Canada last year with her 4:05.24 performance in Rieti, Italy. The Olympic standards are 2:01.50 for the 800m and 4:07.00 for 1500m.
Her Coach Mark Bomba said, “We are not worried about time in Victoria right now, this race will help set her up for performances at the Harry Jerome Track Classic as well as the Portland Twilight meet, afterwards.”
Regardless Benson will be running fast and will make the 800-metre event an exciting race.
Halifax’s Geoff Harris, who is a 2012 London Olympian, will be competing in his specialty – the 800-metre event. The Olympic standard is 1:46.00; Harris owns a personal best of 1:45.97.
“I am using it as a bit of an experiment leading into a Portland [track meet] on the 14th of June,” said the 29-year-old.”I am going to get after it though. I want to go through 600m at Olympic standard pace!”
Vancouver’s Lucas Bruchet is one of the fastest 5,000-metre runners in the country and owns a personal best that is less than five seconds off of the Rio Olympic standard of 13:25 (13:29.70). He will be competing in the 3000-metre race.
“It would be nice to run something quick, maybe mid-to-low 7:50’s, however, I will not cut back [on training mileage] coming into the race, and will be looking to do a workout afterwards. So I’ll be trying to run as quick as my body lets me.”
Niagara Falls’ Mariah Kelly will be racing. She, like Harris trains with Coach Heather Hennigar in Athletics Canada’s Western Hub (A.C. Hub) based in Victoria. Kelly competed for Baylor University in the NCAA and boasts an excellent 1500-metre best of 4:16.18.
The event will see several athletes from the very competitive Trinity Western University Spartans as well as many of the University Victoria Vikes athletes.
The Vikes’ men’s team are the reigning 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national champions in cross country, while the Spartans have one of the stronger women’s teams in Canada.
A full list of competitors is available here.