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The defending champions are ready to go at the 2015 Canadian Cross Country Championships on Saturday, November 28th. The meet will take place in Kingston, Ontario after being run in Vancouver, BC for four years. Each location earns the right to host the championships for a quadrennium, so the meet will stay in Kingston until 2018.
Athletics Canada will stream the meet live at AthleticsCanada.tv.
The 2014 men’s champion is Chris Winter, one of Canada’s top steeplechasers and a perennially competitive cross country runner. While representing Speed River Track and Field Club he finished first over fellow Vancouver-based athlete Kelly Wiebe in 2014. Winter finished second in the 2013 edition to Bruchet. In the 2012 meet, he finished fourth behind CIS Champion Kelly Wiebe and 2012 London Olympians Mo Ahmed and Cam Levins.
“I’m really looking forward to this year’s nationals. I am really happy with how my training has progressed this fall. My focus has been on establishing some great consistency with training – nothing too sexy, but just a lot of good old fashioned hard work. I am excited to see it pay off in Kingston,” shared the 29-year-old. “Of course I want to try to defend my title but, I know that it will be a tall task with so many of Canada’s top runners planning to compete in this year’s championships. I plan to put myself in the mix and see where things land.”
Two weeks ago Winter finished third in the BC Cross Country Championships that took place in Nanaimo.
“BCs went better than expected. I was in the midst of a large training block and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my legs felt quite good on the day. I had a blast racing with Luc and Declan who took everything I threw at them and still had the speed at the finish line. I hope that with a couple more weeks of training and a good taper that my legs will come around and I’ll be ready to roll on race day,” added Winter.
The 2014 women’s champion was Rachel Hannah of Toronto. She prevailed over Rachel Cliff by 18 seconds. Natasha Wodak, who was the defending champion, was coming back from injury and managed a third-place finish. This year, Hannah has home-course advantage, where in 2014, Cliff and Wodak raced on familiar turf, at Jericho Beach.
When asked about her training and current fitness, Hannah told Athletics Illustrated, “Training has gone well through the fall, with a consistent build since the summer season. I’ve had incremental volume gains with consistency and been working on the grass. What I most look forward to in Kingston is getting back to that exciting Fort Henry course and the great support from the Kingston hosts and community. They are awesome!”
Hannah has had a breakout year in 2015, starting with a new personal best time in the 10,000-metre distance at the Payton Jordan Invitational, finishing in the time of 32:3.17. She followed up that performance with a debut marathon in Ottawa finishing in the time of 2:33:30. In October, she ran a new half-marathon personal best of 1:12:25 in Toronto.
In that same Payton Jordan meet, Wodak ran a new Canadian 10,000-metre record finishing in the time of 31:41.59. Cliff also had an excellent race that same night, running her personal best of 32:54.70.
Cliff, at the 2015 BC Cross Country Championships finished fourth coming back from a bout of less training than she is used to.
At the BC Championships, she told Athletics Illustrated, “I had done about four workouts since my wedding, so it didn’t feel great, but I am happy with the result considering that.”
The meet will feature many of Canada’s best athletes that compete over a range of distances as professional, collegiate, post-collegiate, junior, youth and masters runners. There is also an all-comers race open to anyone.
The course can be described as rolling. Technical Director, Scott McDonald said, “It is a cross country course specifically and very spectator friendly with a really nice backdrop of Fort Henry, Lake Ontario, Kingston, and Wolfe Island. No really big hills but naturally winding and rolling terrain. Depending on the day, the main challenge can be the wind.”
All the details and maps are located, here.