© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated

Canadians Lanni Marchant of London and Trevor Hofbauer of Calgary combined to earn Canada the win and take the top prize of $20,000 at the inaugural NACAC 10k Championships held yesterday in San Juan, Puerto Rico as part of the World’s Best 10k road race.

The “team” placings are based on total accumulated time male and female.

Marchant, Canada’s fastest all-time marathon and half-marathon runner finished first in the NACAC portion of the field and eighth out of the international competition, in the time of 32:15.

When asked about the race, she said, “It was a bit of an interesting start… the gun was pretty loud and startled me and the American girl. I pressed a bit in the first kilometre to get up with the Africans (not part of NACAC) since they were only about 8-10-metres ahead and I figured it would feel easier to be in the group. Once I got up with them we made a turn to head back towards the start and all of the Africans slowed and were clearly going to wait until closer to the finish line to kick, so I again decided to press it.”

Marchant owns the third-fastest 10,000-metre time in Canadian history at 31:46.94, behind only Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak with her 31:41.59, while Courtney Babcock has run as fast as 31:44.74 in 2003. All three performances took place at the Payton Jordan Invitational, Marchant and Wodak’s bests happened in May of 2015.

“I didn’t plan on leading, but I also didn’t want to run a slow time because I was too afraid to go out in front. They ended up catching me around 6K or 7K (there were no distance markers),” said Marchant.

Hofbauer finished in the time of 30:20, good for third in the NACAC field and 15th overall. “Getting used to the temperature was difficult, and the added humidity didn’t help,” said Hofbauer. “The first three-kilometres went according to plan, but after things went downhill quickly and I struggled to the finish,” said the 24-year-old.

“Individually, I had a rough day out there with the heat and humidity. I’m happy to have just finished. In the end, we won as a team for the country. Canada was represented for the first time in this race so I really hope we paved the way for future years to give our young and up-coming athletes the opportunity to gain international race experience at this event.”

Hofbauer has demonstrated strong improvements recently. The World’s Best 10K represents a three second road personal best, while he has run the half-marathon distance as fast as 64:28 in Philadelphia last fall. He told Canadian Running Magazine, “As a runner, my long term goal is to represent Canada at the 2020 and 2024 Olympics in the marathon.”

“The weather was normal for Puerto Rico, probably low to mid-twenties at race time. Lanni and Trevor both ran well. The NACAC Cup is something we would like to participate in annually, as part of Athletics Canada’s plan to support road running in Canada,” Shared Athletics Canada’s Rob Guy.

Next up on the roads for Athletics Canada’s national team program is the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardif, Wales on March 26. The 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships qualifying deadline is March 7, with the team expected to be named on March 10.