It was a busy weekend in the athletics world both on the track and roads.
The BMO Vancouver Marathon and Half Marathon took place Sunday, to conclude a three-race-in-three week stretch that included the Vancouver Sun Run, TC10K in Victoria, BC, and the marathon event.
The Prague Marathon saw a big new personal best from Oregon’s Galen Rupp, story here>>
The weekend also included the high-performance Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford University in Palo, Alto. It is where athletes go to run their personal bests. PJ provides a fast track surface that is located at sea level and includes stacked fields ready to run their best.
In Vancouver, two-time 2:13 marathon runner, Rob Watson won the marathon in the time of 2:27:38. The temperature was too warm for a fast performance, with the mercury creeping over 20 degrees.
Watson was followed in by Mike Trites of Edmonton and Robert Brouillette of Cambridge, ON. The two crossed the line in the time of 2:31:42 and 2:33:18, respectively.
The top three women were Zhilling Zheng of Wenzhou, CHN, who crossed the line in the time of 2:43:50. The second place finisher was Margarita Quintero of Zapopan, MEX who stopped the clock in 2:50:25. Third went to Victoria’s Catrin Jones just 20 seconds back. Jones is a 50K specialist and has competed at the IAAF 50K championships at least twice.
“The aim was for 2:46 to 2:50,” said Jones. “I didn’t find it too warm, but I have raced in Doha twice. I am happy with the placing but would have liked a faster time. However, I have no idea what I am capable yet after baby.”
Kenyan, George Towett who appears to be currently located in Guadalupe, MEX won the half-marathon in the time of 64:03. He ran the marathon in 2017, crossing the line in the time of 2:26:57 for second place. Kenya’s Daniel Kipkoech finished second, the 31-year-old covered the distance in the time of 66:40. Vancouver’s Anthony Tomsich finished third in 66:47.
Natasha Wodak won the half-marathon. It was some measure of solace for not being able to race at the Payton Jordan meet due to fatigue or a bug and some back issues after performing at a world-class level finishing fifth at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth games in the 10,000-metres. The Vancouver athlete left it all out on the track and found it tough to follow up that performance at the Sun Run.
Sunday, she clocked in a 74:01, good for the win. She has run the distance as fast as 71:20 and owns the national record in the 10,000-metre event at 31:41.59.
“Now I need some rest,” shared Wodak. “It worked out anyway, as the Payton Jordan race didn’t turn out to be that fast. I was happy to be able to finish today.”
Jane Murage ran the trifecta of coastal races. She has been pestered by a knee issue and now also needs a rest back home in Eldoret, Kenya. She finished second to Wodak, in the time of 74:39.
Vancouver’s Lisa Brooking, a last-minute sign-up, finished third in the time of 76:36.
Toronto’s Justyn Knight did not defend his 5,000-metre win from 2017 at Payton Jordan but placed third Thursday night.
The Syracuse University senior crossed the line in 13:18.74, nearly two seconds behind Henrik Ingebrigtsen of Norway, who won in the time of 13:16.97. Boulder’s Riley Masters was second in the time of 13:16.97.
Knight’s personal best is from the 2017 edition, where he won in the time of 13:17.51.
For Ingebrigtsen, the performance was a new personal best.
Vancouver’s Rachel Cliff raced to a third-place finish in the 10,000-metres, stopping the clock at a new personal best of 31:57.56. She wanted to get below the 32-minute benchmark, as her best was 32:00.03.
Cliff finished ninth at the Commonwealth Games in the time of 32:11.11 and then finished third in the 2018 Vancouver Sun Run.
Cliff is having a breakthrough year, as on March 3rd in Woodlands, TX, she took down the national half marathon record from Lanni Marchant, by running 1:10:08. Marchant’s record was 1:10:47. It was a great demonstration of fitness for the former 5,000-metre specialist.
Indiana 500 mini-marathon
In Indiana, Vancouver’s Dayna Pidhoresky won the 500 mini-marathon in the time of 1:12:45 on Sunday.
She is on a roll. Pidhoresky won the Around the Bay 30K on March 25, becoming the first woman to win the historic event four times. She then defended her title at the TC10K one week ago in Victoria. The week prior she set a new personal best at the Vancouver Sun Run with her 33:11 finish time.
She, like Wodak, will take a rest, which will be short-lived as she plans to run the national half-marathon championships in Calgary on May 27.