© Copyright – 2013 – Athletics Illustrated

This Sunday, October 20th at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, several Canadian women will be chasing a time standard that does not yet exist. Athletics Canada’s standards for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games have yet to be released (ETA early December), therefore the top-seeded Canadians, Lanni Marchant, Krista DuChene, Natasha Wodak, Chantelle Wilder and Marilyn Arsenault, will be seeking the Commonwealth Games standard in Toronto, without actually knowing what that standard is. Currently, the assumption is that to qualify for the Commonwealth Games the women will need to make the 2013 IAAF World Track and Field Championships “A” and “B” standards of 2:35 and 2:29:55. “That’s the assumption I’m working off of… hopefully they will be out soon,” said Lanni Marchant when asked if she will be running for a time based on the 2013 Worlds standards.

Saying that, Marchant’s “A”-goal will be to run a new Canadian record time. Her “B”-goal is to achieve a new personal best and “C” is the assumed Commonwealth Games standard.  Marchant’s personal best at the distance is two hours and 31 minutes and 34 seconds. She ran that time during the 2012 Rotterdam marathon, surprising many. Right behind her was fellow Canadian Krista DuChene who finished in the time of 2:32:06. The current Canadian marathon record of 2:28:36 is held by Silvia Ruegger. That record was set in Houston, Texas 28 years ago. The Houston marathon offers a flat and fast course.

Marchant’s and Duchene’s 10 kilometre and half-marathon bests point to a potential sub-2:30 marathon. It goes without saying that marathon projections are accompanied with an unwritten caveat: providing the appropriate training was undertaken. Duchene’s personal bests are 32:52 for 10k and 1:10:52 for the half-marathon distances. These times, according to Jack Daniel’s VDOT tables, point to a 2:28 to 2:29 marathon. Those performances were achieved on very fast courses. Marchant has run the half-marathon in 1:11:38 and owns a 31:57 10k best on net downhill course. Realistically her true 10k time should look more like DuChene’s. Weather aside, and if the training is in place, it is likely that both athletes have a favourable opportunity of finishing very close to the assumed “A” standard.

Three unknown entities, at least in regards to the marathon, are masters runner (40-plus) Marilyn Arsenault, Chantelle Wilder and Natasha Wodak, who will be debuting at the distance. Arsenault, in her only marathon appearance to date – the 2012 edition of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – finished in 2:42:45. Her best over 10k is a Canadian age-group record of 34:28. “I would like to go after 2:38 as my “A” goal and who knows what happens on race day, but I will not be going out at 2:35 pace!” offered Arsenault.

Wilder said, “My goal time is 2:42 or better. Looking forward to racing in Canada with the support of my family along the course. The hay is in the barn, and I’m ready to roll.” In April, Wilder ran the Rotterdam marathon and finished in 2:48:44. Her half-marathon best of 1:16 (done at least twice) suggest a 2:41 capability.

Wodak has been a competitive runner for several years however; she shocked the running community in January of 2013 with a Canadian record performance over eight kilometres by racing the Prairie Inn Harriers Pioneer 8k road race in Victoria, by finishing in 25:28. Her 10k personal best is 32:49. She parlayed an auspicious fall of 2012, where she competed in the national cross-country championships finishing third into a spectacular spring of 2013, which included leading Team Canada to gold, by winning the NACAC Cross Country Championships in Jamaica. In August, when asked about her plans for Toronto she said, “My goal is to run 2:35 in Toronto,” which of course is the “B” standard for the worlds.




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