File photo. Credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2017 – Athletics Illustrated

Diving into the deep end of the pool, Canada’s all-time greatest 800-metre runner, Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ontario is at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon this weekend, racing the biggest names in her event. She is there feeling out her early season fitness.

She will be racing a few times coming up to see where her she is at.

Vancouver track fans will get the opportunity to see her compete at the Harry Jerome Track Classic Wednesday, June 28 in Coquitlam at the Percy Perry Stadium. At that time, she and her legion of fans will likely have a great idea where her fitness will be.

This is a world championships year and the defending silver medallist from Beijing 2014 will be up against a growing international field of talent at Prefontaine, when she races Saturday at 2:15 pm PST.

Asked how her fitness is coming along, she said that she literally has no idea, “I honestly can’t tell you anything yet, a lot will depend on how Pre goes.”

Bishop will be up against a top-notch field that includes all three Rio Olympic medallists, Caster Semenya (1:55.31) of South Africa, who won gold, Francine Niyonsaba (1:56.24) of Burundi was the silver medallist and Margaret Wambui of Kenya (1:56.89) earned bronze. Full start list is indicated below.

From Harry Jerome Track Classic, 2016 . Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

“Training has been going well, it’s just a matter of transferring to a race and getting into those (race) scenarios again,” shared Bishop. With Pre being my 800 opener, I need a few more races to get into the groove and feel things out.”

She should be full value at the end of June in Vancouver.

Bishop busted some of her early season rust in an over-distance race in the 1,500m event at the Johnny Loaring Classic in Windsor, last week.

The 28-year-old ran 4:10.30 and in the process bested 1500m specialist Nicole Sifuentes, a two-time Olympian. Sifuentes of Winnipeg was clearly feeling out her fitness in that race as well as she finished in the time of 4:14.39 – a good 8-10 seconds off of a typical time for her. Her best is 4:03.97.

Bishop was just the third Canadian all-time to crack the two-minute 800m benchmark behind Charmaine Crooks and Diane Cummins. Bishop currently owns the national record at 1:57.02, which she set when she finished fourth in the Rio Olympic final.

The 2017 IAAF London World Track and Field Championships will take place in August 4 to the 13th.


Melissa Bishop 01:57.0 Canada
Habitam Alemu 01:58.9 Ethiopia
Marina Arzamasova 01:57.5 Belarus
Selina Buchel 01:58.0 Switzerland
Kendra Chambers 02:01.1 USA
Joanna Jozwik 01:57.4 Poland
Francine Niyonsaba 01:56.2 Burundi
Caster Semenya 01:55.3 South Africa
Lynsey Sharp 01:57.7 Great Britain
Margaret Wambui 01:56.9 Kenya
Bishop at Harry Jerome 2016, bettering Brenda Martinez. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall.

The Harry Jerome Track Classic will take place June 28 in Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium.