© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics IllustratedBenson_FlashVictoria2015

Canadian middle-distance runner Fiona Benson, who had a breakout season in 2015, is ready to compete in her only indoor meet this winter. She is racing just once before going back to the heavier mileage of off-season training, to get ready for the spring outdoor season and to compete for a spot on Team Canada in anticipation of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Benson will race on February 20th in the Hershey Indoor Track Championships in Montreal in the 800-metre event.

Asked about her goal for the race Benson said, “Yes, I am racing the 800m at Nationals. Training has been completely out of the ordinary and I don’t know what to expect! Under 2:05 would make me happy.”

Two-minutes and five seconds would have likely suited the lanky runner one year ago, but now the time seems pedestrian for Benson. Saying that, indoor races often produce slower times than ones competed outdoors.

During 2015, Benson had the season of her life. She was previously a 1500m specialist; however, it was in the shorter 800m distance where she dropped jaws and raised eyebrows, starting with a whopping seven second personal best in Victoria on May, 30th, followed by several more improvements including becoming the fifth Canadian all-time to break the two-minute benchmark in Portland, Oregon with a 1:59.59 performance and the opportunity to compete in the 2015 IAAF Beijing World Track and Field Championships.

Benson graduated from Trinity Western University last year and did not have expectations going into the 2015 outdoor season. Her personal best in the 1500m was a solid 4:15, but nine seconds shy of Olympic standard, which is “forever” in a middle-distance track race. By the time she finished racing all of the 800m events that she could fit in during her dream season, she went to Italy and won the Unione Sportiva Quercia Roverto track meet 1500m that took place in Roverto. She won in the time of 4:05.62 setting a massive new personal best and a faster performance than the Rio Olympic qualification standard of 4:06.00.

The 2016 Hershey Canadian Indoor Championships take place from February 19th to the 21st in Montreal. The meet serves as a national championship for youth and junior age athletes, the event also features competition from Canada’s national team athletes.

“I will be going back to base after the meet. I will be training with my old crew (in Greater Vancouver) to put in some miles for the outdoor season,” shared Benson.

Registration deadline ends on February 10th. To find out more visit: www.indoors.athletics.ca