© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated
Eric Gillis of Guelph, Ontario (by way of Antigonish, NS) will be competing Sunday, May 25th in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. He is Canada’s third fastest active marathon runner and owns a personal best time of 2:11:29. He competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games and has developed a long resume of racing at a high level. Gillis is seeking a strong performance in Ottawa.
In this race he has his choice of dragons to slay. For example, Gillis could go after the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Standard(s), which are 2:15:00 for the B-standard and 2:11:30 for the A-standard. He could seek to be the top Canadian in the Ottawa race or simply win it outright. Gillis could also go for the fastest active Canadian marathon time or alternatively the fastest Canadian so far this year. Finally, Gillis could seek the all-time Canadian record, which is now 39 years old. It was set in 1975 by Jerome Drayton at the Fukuoka Marathon and remains at 2:10:08.
Canada’s fastest active marathon runner is Vancouver’s Dylan Wykes with his time of 2:10:47, which he set at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon. Gillis told Athletics Illustrated, “Being top Canadian in Ottawa is one goal. Running a Canadian leading time for 2014 is another (Reid Coolsaet – 02:13:40). We haven’t nailed down an exact time to shoot for as part of the decision will depend on the weather and another will be seeing what other athletes want to do out there. I am not going to be competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. While competing in a Commonwealth Games has always been a goal for me and it would be an honour the timing conflicts with my racing schedule for this year. I would like to run a fall marathon and three in one year is too much for me.”
Gillis’s fitness is coming around nicely and he expects to run well in Ottawa regardless of what the exact goal may be. “I am happy with my fitness. I had some fun this winter racing indoors and rolling quick track sessions with the University of Guelph guys. I carried some of that training into this Ottawa build-up by jumping on the track a few times with 5k/10k guys like Aaron Hendrikx and Tristan Woodfine. Three out of my four spring races I’ve been pleased with, and the fourth was a good lesson to either be mentally committed, or don’t bother showing up,” shared Gillis.
Some of his recent races include the Scotiabank Montreal Half Marathon Championships on April 27th, he won in the time of 1:04:37, two weeks earlier he raced the Yonge Street 10K breaking the tape in 28:31 and the week before that he finished third in the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K finishing in 24:19.
He is no stranger to winning as he crossed the line first in the 2011 Vancouver Sun Run in the time of 29:05. In 2008 he competed in the Beijing Olympics in the 10,000m distance, after winning the Canadian 10,000m Championships. He earned silver at both the 2007 and 2008 Canadian Cross Country Championships and competed in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships three times. His personal best for 10,000m is 28:07 and 13:36.03 for 5,000m.
“Jumping around from track to road, and racing a few more times this year has been a good training stimulus for this particular build-up. It’s made the time fly, I originally thought that after Reid (Coolsaet) started his taper for London it was going to be a long haul until Ottawa, but it hasn’t felt that way at all. It’s great having a coach in Dave (Scott-Thomas) who is able to mix things up for the athletes for both short-term and long-term benefits. I am very much looking forward to Ottawa and beyond,” shared Gillis.
As for racing after the Ottawa Marathon he said, “I’ll run another marathon this fall. I really have to see how the recovery goes after Ottawa, but it’s safe to say look to get into personal best shape.”