© Copyright – 2017 – Athletics Illustrated

Dayna Pidhoresky is having a career season. She has had a string of road wins and good performances that were capped by an IAAF World Track and Field Championships qualifying time during Sunday’s Ottawa Marathon.

In Ottawa, she was the first Canadian to cross the line, finishing in a personal-best time of 2:36:08 in warm conditions.

It was the final marathon available for a Canadian to run under the qualifying standard for the world championships. Now she waits to see if Athletics Canada will select her for the London-based meet that will take place this August 5-13.

Asked how she feels about her marathon she said, “I’m very pleased. I think I could have run much faster if the conditions had been cooler but I was able to get goal number one accomplished. We’ll have to wait for the official world team selection later this week.”

Pidhoresky has battled injuries off and on and currently has a clean bill of health, demonstrated by her prolific season of racing. She has been coached by her husband Josh Seifarth since 2010, when she graduated from the University of Windsor. Except for a six-month month stretch from December 2013 to summer of 2014. With her return to home-cooked coaching, she began to train consistently and to race well again.

She did, however, suffer a stress in the fall of 2016 when she ran in the Toronto marathon.

There are at least five other Canadians who have run fast enough to be nominated to run in London including Toronto’s Rachel Hannah and Tarah Korir as well as Nanaimo’s Erin Burrett.

Brantford’s Krista DuChene and London’s Lanni Marchant have also run fast enough, however, have opted out of the event. Marchant is now recovering from health-related issues.

DuChene owns the second fastest marathon time by a Canadian, having finished the 2013 Toronto Marathon in the time of 2:28:32. The 40-year-old continues to run well, as she raced the 2016 Toronto marathon in the time of 2:34:00, less than two months after her Rio performance. She then ran the 2017 London Marathon, April 23rd in the time of 2:43:31.

The selection criteria, as published by Athletics Canada, includes the requirement that Canadians must be able to show repeat performances on demand and at national championships.

In that same 2013 Toronto marathon where DuChene ran 2:28:32, Marchant broke Silvia Ruegger’s long-standing Canadian marathon record of 2:28:36 when she ran 2:28:00. Ruegger’s record was set in Houston in 1985.

Marchant also went on to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Marchant’s most recent marathon was in the heat in Rio, where she finished in the time of 2:33:08. It was a steady performance after racing the 10,000m event (in Rio), which she only earned after a much publicised battle with the national governing body, which apparently may have been one of the factors contributing to the national head coach losing his job.

Hannah’s most recent marathon was a 2:34:34 performance during the 2016 Toronto Marathon, which followed her 2:32:09 personal best outing during the January 2016 Houston Marathon. She also ran the marathon during the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games finishing fourth, although she would later move to third when the gold medal winner Gladys Tejeda of Peru would be stripped for a doping violation. Tejeda finished ahead of the Canadians in Rio too.

For Korir, she debuted in 2016 at Ottawa with a 2:35:46 and then followed up that performance in April this year with a 2:39:46 in the Vienna City Marathon. She should be a shoe-in.

Burrett, after years of injury and time in and out of serious training came around nicely during the 2015 edition of the Victoria marathon, winning her debut in the time of 2:39:15. She slipped past marathon veteran Louidmila Kortchaguina with just 300m to go, leaving everything out on the course for the win. She improved upon that performance in April of 2016 in Rotterdam with a 2:37:50 and that is the time that Pidhoresky was looking to beat.

Pidhoresky now lives in Vancouver – she and Seifarth moved west after graduation from the University of Windsor. She is originally from Tecumseh, Ontario, near Windsor.

She has been determined this season. On March 18, she won Vancouver’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K in the time of 16:27. She followed that performance up by winning the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton on March 26, becoming just the third female all-time and first Canadian born runner to win the 123-year-old event three times. On April 23rd In Montreal, she won the Scotiabank Montreal Half Marathon in the time of 1:13:43.

Pidhoresky’s ATB30K into a strong wind and on a slightly tougher course than in past years was a foreshadowing of her Ottawa performance as she ran the seventh-fastest time in the event’s history (1:47:27).

One week later she took the TC10K in Victoria and ran to a near personal best time of 33:42, despite a strong headwind for 3.5K of the race.

Then there was Ottawa Sunday, May 28 and the very warm conditions.

Asked to describe the Ottawa marathon race she said, “The first 10K was feeling easy, of course.  Unfortunately, my pacer suffered a calf strain and had to drop before the 10K marker.  That worried me slightly as I knew it could end up being a lonely race.  I remember thinking to myself, “This is not an excuse you can use if you perform poorly. Get it done!””

And that she did, however, the race was not without its challenges, including the weather. “Between 10 and 21.1K I really started feeling the heat and the direct sun,” shared the 30-year-old. “I took advantage of the sponge stations by stuffing them in my top to keep my core temperature down. Going through half in 1:16:01 I knew I was still in good shape to stay under that 2:37 mark that I knew was essential to making the world team.”

The heat and the late hills on the Ottawa course began to take their toll. Pidhoresky would begin to slow a little, passing 30K in the time of 1:50:13, which would put her on 2:35:00 pace.

“I knew I would really have to push the latter stages.”

The end of a marathon, especially in the heat, can become a mind game and for Pidhoresky, she ran well while thinking in stages, “I just thought about getting to 35K because then I knew I would only have just over 7K to the finish and that seemed like such a manageable distance.  At 40K I saw the clock and knew that if I worked hard I would be under that 2:37 mark.  I remember thinking “You have to push because if you are just a couple seconds over you’re going to really regret it!””

“Interestingly enough, my legs felt pretty good up until around 38K, I’m quite happy with how my body held up!”

It has so far been a great season of racing for Pidhoresky, now she awaits the decision from Athletics Canada to see if she gets to compete in the IAAF London World Track and Field Championships while representing Team Canada.