The 2015 Canadian Cross Country Championships are taking place Saturday, November 28th in Kingston, Ontario. The event features at least 964 athletes who will race in the youth, junior, senior and master categories, as well as a community race. This year’s edition is the first of four-consecutive championships to be hosted in Kingston (2015-2018).
The fields are highly competitive and some of the best athletes in Canada will be toeing-the-line. Race Director Steve Boyd of Physi-Kult Running Club told Athletics Illustrated, “Quite simply, we’re looking forward to staging the finest edition of Canadian National Cross Country Championships ever, from package pick-up to the After Party. We believe we have the fields, the course, and the host city to pull this off, and we’re thrilled to begin our four year run this weekend.”
Two surprise competitors add a great deal of intrigue to the competitive aspect of the race; they are Canada’s two best marathon runners in Lanni Marchant and Reid Coolsaet.
Marchant, Canada’s fastest all-time marathon and half-marathon runner is also fast at the 10,000-metre distance. Her personal best in the marathon is exactly 2:28:00 from the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
“This is definitely a transition period of training where I run for the total joy of it and try not to worry about mileage or paces. That being said, I am excited to head to Kingston for my first national cross country champs in about five years.”
Her personal best in the half-marathon happened in 2014, while her 10,000-metre best took place in 2015. In May, she ran the Payton Jordan Invitational in the time of 31:46.94, which is not too far off the Canadian record, held by Natasha Wodak of Vancouver, with her 31:41.59 from the same race. Marchant’s best in the half-marathon is from March of 2014 in a race that took place in Nashville, TN. She finished in the time of 1:10:47.
The defending champion Rachel Hannah of Toronto will be racing. Three weeks ago she told Athletics Illustrated, “Training has gone well through the fall, with a consistent build since the summer season. I’ve had incremental volume gains with consistency and been working on the grass. What I most look forward to in Kingston is getting back to that exciting Fort Henry course and the great support from the Kingston hosts and community. They are awesome!”
Some of the other top Canadian women are Rachel Cliff, Regan Yee, Lisa Brooking and Natasha Wodak of Vancouver as well as Sasha Gollish of Toronto and Lindsay Carson from Whitehorse, YK, to name a few.
Coolsaet is Canada’s most consistent marathon runner. He will be representing the Speed River Track and Field Club and will be looking to assist them with a team win.
Coolsaet is currently well-known for his ability at the marathon distance, but he was once Canada’s fastest active 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre runner. He boasts 13:21.53 and 27:56.92 personal bests, respectively for the two distances. The 10,000-metre race at the time (2007) was not a distance that he was focussing on; therefore his ability in the 10,000-metre is possibly better than indicated from that performance. Nationals will be run over the 10-kilometre distance, on a two-and-a-half-kilometre course four times, while all other races are run a two-kilometre loop.
“Considering I started cross country workouts in November I am pretty happy with my preparation. The last few weeks have gone well and I’m excited to race,” said the 36-year-old Guelph resident. “My main goal is to help out the Speed River team. It looks as though it will be a good team battle. Individually I’m going to try and put myself in a position to win, but I would be pleased with top-five.”
Coolsaet has run the marathon more consistently than any other Canadian, for example his top-five times are: 2:10:29, 2:10:55, 2:11:23, 2:11:24, 2:11:24, which is a range of just 55 seconds or a .03% difference from 2010 to 2015. His fastest was in Berlin, Germany in September 2015 and is the second-fastest time in Canadian history.
The men’s defending champion is Chris Winter of Vancouver. “I’m really looking forward to this year’s nationals. I am really happy with how my training has progressed this fall. My focus has been on establishing some great consistency with training – nothing too sexy, but just a lot of good old fashioned hard work. I am excited to see it pay off in Kingston.”
Other top names are Luc Bruchet and Declan White from Vancouver and Jeremy Rae, Taylor Milne, Alex Genest, Yves Sikubwabo, Anthony Romaniw and Ross Proudfoot from Guelph as well as Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City.
Full confirmation lists are available here.
Maps and technical details are available here.
Race will be streamed live by www.athleticscanada.tv/