Olympian Dylan Wykes who now lives and trains in Vancouver with Richard Lee, and Toronto’s Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the current Canadian Women’s Marathon Champion, are favourites to claim victory at Saturday’s inaugural Vancouver Eastside 10K, a Canada Running Series event. The winners will take home $800, plus and additional $1,000 for new Course Records. “Of course we wanted to have a bit of fun with the first edition of the race and build some excitement – there HAVE to be new course records for the brand new event!” said Race Director Clif Cunningham.
“And this effort goes all the way through this first Eastside 10K. We have some really distinctive Finishers’ medals and quality technical t-shirts for everyone, not just the fast people up front. Plus we’ll be bringing you the quality race-organization that everyone associates with Canada Running Series from events like the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.”
This will be Dylan’s first race back since his London 2012 Olympic Marathon last August, where he was the first Canadian across the line in 20th place overall. Wykes had to race 3 marathons in the previous 12 months to achieve the exacting, Athletics Canada qualifying standard of 2 hours 11 minutes 28 seconds – a standard he attained with an all-out 2:10:47 in Rotterdam – the second-fastest marathon time ever run by a Canadian. The 4th marathon, at the Olympics, and another stellar performance on a hot summer’s day, took its toll and the recovery has been a year in the making.
“I’m happy to back in Vancouver full-time now,” said Dylan. “Training has been going well and certainly I want to prove to myself that I’m getting back to near to my old form. But, I think it’s important to have an open mind for the first race out and just try to enjoy it regardless of the result. As such, the Eastside 10K fits well into my fall plans. I am planning to participate in the National 10km road race Championships at the Toronto Zoo Run on September 21st. So, the Eastside 10k, on home turf, fits really well as a tune-up for that.“
Racing in Vancouver is always fun, and I expect the Eastside 10k will be a great experience. It’s a unique course and I’m looking forward to testing myself out there.”.
To claim the $1800 first place money, Wykes will have to get by a pack of the Lower Mainland’s best road runners, including David Jackson, Dylan Gant and Richard Mosley.
An even sterner test awaits Marathon Champ Kortchaguina. Lioudmila had a great Spring. At 40 years of age she placed 3rd overall, as well as 1st Masters Woman (40+), at the SunRun 10K in April, in 33:35. Then in May she ran a new Canadian Masters record of 2:33:11 to take the National Marathon (overall) title in Ottawa. She is currently putting in some heavy mileage weeks in preparation for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20th, and will be using the Eastside 10K as an important, final test of fitness. On marathon legs, it will take everything for her to stay ahead of hometown favourite Rachel Cliff. Rachel had a breakthrough performance at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland in March. On a snow-covered course in Bydgoszcz, she had a stellar outing, finishing 25th overall, 2nd Canadian, and given the same time at Natasha Wodak (currently away at the Francophone Games). She followed that up with a 5000m PB of 16:08 on the track in April, and will bring fresh, young, 25-year-old legs to the race on Saturday. BC Timex Series champion Sabrina Wilkie, and always-competitive Lisa Harvey of Calgary, will round out a very competitive lead pack.