Canadian and international athletes will be well represented at this year’s Vancouver Sun Run presented by BlueShore Financial. The 2013 women’s champion Natasha Wodak and 2012 men’s champion Kelly Wiebe, both from Vancouver, will be vying for top honours on Sunday, April 19th, however they will have their competition from Kenya and the US.
Twenty-five-year-old American Luke Puskedra originally from Ogden, Utah, who now calls Eugene, Oregon home will be toeing-the-line, he owns a 10,000m personal best time of 27:56 from June of 2012. He has also run the half-marathon distance in the time of 61:36. Wiebe won the race in 2012 in the time of 29:12.
Puskedra has not performed at his best level in nearly three years, while Wiebe is coming off of two consecutive road wins in the month of March, one at the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day 5K in the time of 14:27 and one week later at the Modo 8K where he finished in the time of 23:42.
However, the 2014 winner Paul Kimugul from Kenya will try to make it three Sun Run wins in a row. Kimugul won the race in the time of 29:12 in 2012, last year he improved on that result with a 28:59 finish. The 35-year-old has run as fast as 28:00 a decade ago, in Italy. Kimugul will have a tough fight on his hands to eke out a win this year. Besides Puskedra, some of the athletes that should give him a run for his money are Leonard Kipkoech (Kenya), Kip Kangogo (Lethbridge, AB), Willy Kimosop (Lethbridge, AB). Kipkoech said, “I will race hard for the win, but I land from Kenya late Saturday, so I don’t know how the travel will affect me. I would like to win it.” Twenty-one-year-old Kipkoech, at the age of 19, ran as fast as 30:09 for the distance.
Kimugul, recently ran in the 2015 Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, Ontario and claimed his second consecutive title in the time of 1:33:48. Kangogo, a winner in 2010 is always in contention. Kangogo is coming off a win at the 2014 TC10K in Victoria, BC. His personal best is from 2012, where he ran two races well under 29:00 in Toronto on an unusually fast road course, however, he does own a 10,000m of 29:02.12 from 2010.
Although at press time it was not yet confirmed that 26-year-old Kenyan Risper Biyaki Gesebwa, who owns a personal best time of 31:49 from October of 2014, may have entered the race. She also owns a half-marathon best of 1:11:41.
Lindsey Scherf from Chapel Hill, North Carolina is attempting her first Vancouver Sun Run win. Scherf’s personal best time at the distance was achieved in March 2014 in 32:33. Wodak’s best is 32:42 from the 2013 edition of the Sun Run. This should be a close race. “I am happy to be back racing the Sun Run (after missing out from injury last year). I am confident in my fitness and will go for the win, which I’m sure will be a hard fought battle. Sunday should be a great day and a great race,” said Wodak.
Scherf said, “I’m looking to compete for the win. Natasha is very talented so I will certainly have my work cut out for me. I’m returning to this race in better fitness than when I competed in the Sun Run in 2013 and was second place female and I have extra motivation to run courageously to set an example for the Riverdale Girl’s Varsity Track team that I coach in Bronx, NY.”
Like the men’s race the women’s is going to be a Kenya-Canadian-US battle between Gesebwa, Wodak and Scherf, while Jane Murage from Kenya should place top-five. New for 2015 is an earlier start time for the women who will begin the race at 8:50 on Sunday.
The event records (various iterations of the course layout) are 27:31 by Kenyan Joseph Kimani from 1996 for the men and the women’s is 30:58 by Isabella Ochichi from 2006. The men’s winner has never been slower than 29:26, while the women’s has never been run slower than 34:12.
The fastest Canadian winners have been Christian Weber from 1998 from 28:40 and Rob Lonergan from 1985 with his 28:47. While the Canadian women have won as fast as 31:05 by Angela Chalmers and 31:10 by Emilie Mondor from 1996 and 2004, respectively.
The Vancouver Sun Run is Canada’s largest 10K road race and the 3rd largest timed 10K in North America. The Vancouver Sun Run is open to international elite competitors, recreational runners, joggers and walkers, wheelchair competitors, teams, schools and children.
The 2015 Vancouver Sun Run presented by BlueShore Financial is Sunday, April 19th at 9 a.m. in downtown Vancouver. The 2.5K Shaw Mini Sun Run starts at 8 a.m. For more information, visit vancouversunrun.com or call 604-689-9441. Also follow The Sun Run on twitter@VancouverSunRun, like on www.facebook.com/VancouverSunRun and follow on instagram.com/vancouversunrun.