Athletics Canada is sending 28 athletes to the World Cross Country Championships which are taking place in Bathurst, Australia on February 18.
The last international cross-country meet to take place before the pandemic was the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup on February 29 in Victoria, BC. It’s been since 2019 that a Worlds meet has taken place.
Thelma Wright was involved in landing the Cup for Victoria and is also involved in these Bathurst championships.
“We have great leadership, talent, and experience to allow Canada to meet the tremendous challenge of World Cross Country racing,” said Team Lead Thelma Wright. “Canada historically has excellent individual and team results in both men’s and women’s U20 races, as well as some outstanding individual performances in our Senior ranks. This year’s team will be no different and we look to some very positive results and surprise performances.”
Athletics Canada to send team of 28 athletes to World Cross-Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) February 1, 2023
In 2019 in Aarhus, Canada finished seventh in the mixed relay, sixth in the women’s U20 race, 12th in the men’s U20 race, 16th in the open men’s race, and seventh in the open women’s race. While Wright thinks all of Canada’s teams have a chance at improving on their 2019 results, she believes Canada’s senior women have an especially great shot at bettering their past ranking.
“With five of our six senior women having previous world cross-country experience, and with four Olympians on the team, our Senior Women’s team is one of our strongest in a decade.”
Although cross-country running started in an organized way in Great Britain in the early 1800s, the World Cross Country Championships first began in 1973 with an annual event. It has since moved to every other year. This is the first time that the meet is being held in Australia. And the second time in Oceania as Auckland, New Zealand hosted in 1988.
The most prolific athlete at the World Cross Country Championships is Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele with six long course wins and six short course win and five times doubling by winning both the short and the long races five times. He also won the U20 race and finished second once. Kenya’s Paul Tergat won five years in a row from 1995 to 1999.
Norway’s Greta Waitz was the most successful on the women’s side having won four times during the 1980s. American Lynn Jennings won three times in a row and Kenyan Derartu Tulu and Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba have won multiple times more recently. Most athletes who succeed at the World Cross Country Championships go on to have strong international careers on the roads and tracks including Tergat, Bekele, Paula Radcliffe, and most recently Hellen Obiri who holds Kenyan records in the one-mile, 3000m, and 5000m distance events. Obiri has won two Olympic silver medals and two World Athletics Championships gold medals. She has now transitioned to the marathon.
The top-placing male Canadian at the World Championships was St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador’s Paul McCloy who placed eighth in 1987 in Warszawa, Poland.
The top Canadian female was Lynn Kanuka (nee Williams) who took bronze during the 1989 event in Stavanger, Norway.
2023 WORLD CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS – TEAM CANADA ROSTER
|Heath McAllister||London, ON||London Western T&F Club||Dave Mills|
|Jack Lehto||Burlington, ON||Burlington T&F Club||Terry Radchenko|
|Tion McLeish||Victoria, BC||University of Victoria||Hilary Stellingwerff|
|Tristan Coles||St. Thomas, ON||London Western T&F Club||Dave Mills|
|Jaxon Kuchar||Trail, BC||Victoria Endurance Track Club||Hilary Stellingwerff|
|Gaetano Pocchi||Toronto, ON||Blue Devils Athletic Club||Ben Devito|
|Angus Skinner||Kingston, ON||Physi-Kult||Brant Stachel|
|Tanner Hueglin||Bradford, ON||Newmarket Huskies|
|Erin Vringer||Saint John, NB||Saint Johns Red Track Club||Kyle Kepler|
|Marika Couture||Québec, QC||Club d’athlétisme de l’Université Laval||Vincent Filion|
|Ella Ballard||Victoria, BC||Prairie Inn Harriers||Bruce Deacon|
|Emily Cescon||Toronto, ON||University of Toronto Track Club||Ethan Davenport|
|Muriel Lovshin||Toronto, ON||Toronto Olympic Club||Brian Lovshin|
|Michelle Gray||Mississauga, ON||Mississauga Track and Field Club||Paul Carter|
|Sierra Rodrigues||Bolton, ON||Saint John Track Club||Chris Belof|
|Léane Baril||Rouyn-Noranda, QC||Tracklass||Christian Villeneuve|
|Connor Black||Forest, ON||London Western TFC||Dave Mills|
|John Gay||Kelowna, BC||Vancouver Thunderbirds Track & Field Club||Chris Johnson|
|Max Turek||Whitby, ON||Harbour Track||Paula Schnurr|
|Phil Parrot-Migas||London, ON||London Western TFC||Dave Wills|
|Mitchell Ubene||Tecumseh, ON||Royal City Athletics Club||Terry Radchenko|
|Andrew Davies||Hamilton, ON||Harbour Track||Paula Schnurr|
|Jeremy Coughler||London, ON||London Western T&F Club||Dave Mills|
|Mike Tate||Antigonish, NS||London Western T&F Club||Dave Mills|
|Julie-Anne Staehli||Lucknow, ON||Team New Balance Boston||Mark Coogan|
|Natalia Allen||North Vancouver, BC||Vancouver Thunderbirds / Brooks||Chris Johnson|
|Katelyn Ayers||Orillia, ON||Victoria Endurance Club||Hilary Stellingwerff|
|Kate Bazeley||St. Johns, NL||Newfoundland Athletics||Jon Brown|
|Regan Yee||South Hazelton, BC||Under Armour||Stephen Haas|
|Maria Bernard-Galea||Calgary, AB||University of Calgary Athletics Club||Matthew Galea|
|Jessy Lacourse||Québec, QC||Club d’athlétisme de l’Université Laval||Félix-Antoine Lapointe|
|Branna MacDougall||Glenburnie, ON||Physi-Kult||Steve Boyd|
|Jazz Shukla||Toronto, ON||Royal City Athletics Club||Terry Radchenko|
|Erin Teschuk||Winnipeg, MB||New Balance||Andrew Carlson|
|Matthew Beaudet||Montreal, QC||Club St-Laurent Sélect (CSLS)||Samuel Marion|
|Perry MacKinnon||Coaticook, QC||Sherbrooke||Jean-Pierre Lemelin|
|Kate Current||Coburg, ON||London Western TFC||Guy Schultz|
|Jack Sheffar||London, ON||London Western TFC||Dave Mills|
|Thelma Wright||Team Leader||Vancouver, BC|
|Bruce Deacon||Team Coach||Victoria, BC|
|Ingrid Ruys||Team Coach||Sherwood Park, AB|
|Hilary Stellingwerff||Team Coach||Victoria, BC|
|Kristine Deacon||Team Manager||Cambridge, ON|
|Carolyn Daubeny||IST (Massage Therapist)||Vancouver, BC|
|Gus Giannoutsos||IST (Massage Therapist)||Regina, SK|
|Stephanie McCann||IST (Physiotherapist)||Coquitlam, BC|