Canadians continue to perform well on the boards this indoor track season.
However, there was also an inconspicuous road race in Encinitas, California that was won by Calgary’s Jessica O’Connell on Sunday, Feb. 4th. The 5,000-metre specialist won the Cardiff Kook 10K in the time 32:22. She raced to perfect splits of 16:11 and 16:11.
The Calgary athlete owns a 5,000m best of 15:06.44 and 15:33 on the road. Her 10K best was 34:30 from 2014.
O’Connell is taking part in an Athletics Canada training camp in nearby Chula Vista.
“Things are a bit more challenging with me in Summerland now and her in Calgary,” said Coach Mike Van Tighem. “But we share 13 years of history and are in regular contact. She is aerobically very strong right now and with some great support from the Victoria Hub (and the new addition of Yoga!) she is looking pretty awesome.”
She won $1500USD for her efforts.
O’Connell has represented Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2017 London IAAF World Track and Field Championships and a silver medal in the 2017 University Games (FISU), clocking a 15:50.96 in a tactical race.
In December, when confirming that she is getting fit and seems to be injury-free and not looking at racing in a global championships event, she told Athletics Illustrated, “This year is about getting a fast time.”
She is off to a great start.
“It seemed like a fun idea to switch up training with a longer effort than I was used to and I’ve been itching for some competition, so I entered with my coach’s blessing,” said O’Connell. “I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but training has been going well and my plan was to go with the flow and run hard! I was very happy to find myself and Kellyn Taylor running with a pack of men for much of the 10K, and felt comfortable and relaxed. I kept expecting the race to turn into a death march, but the sufferfest never came and I was delighted to finish strong with even splits and a two-plus minute PB!”
In May, O’Connell expects to race the Payton Jordan Invitational, her first big outdoors track race of 2018. It is a notoriously fast meet and it is where she set her 5,000m personal best.
Quebec’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot held his own at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday. He raced in the mile (1609m), en route through the 1500m split; he recorded a 3:41.98 for a new personal best, passing the metric mile in seventh. Scot, Chris O’Hare led-through in the time of 3:37.63. O’Hare ended up winning the mile in the time of 3:54.14. Philibert-Thiboutot dropped one position to finish eighth in the time of 4:00.40.
Toronto’s Gabriela Stafford and Winnipeg’s Nicole Sifuentes also took in the Wanamaker Mile.
They finished eighth and 11th and in the times of 4:32.81 and 4:35.94 respectively. The race was won by American Colleen Quigley in the time of 4:30.05.
Stafford and Sifuentes passed through the metric mile in 4:15.70 and 4:17.07.
Three weeks prior, in Ann Arbour, Michigan Sifuentes ran to a new mile personal best for indoors with a 4:27.69, while Stafford ran a new mile best in NY on Jan. 27 with her performance of 4:28.88.
Sage Watson broke a unique national distance record in the 300m distance on Saturday.
The Medicine Hat, AB. native ran 37.08 to finish second at the Millrose Games. Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the race in the time of 35.45. The 23-year-old Olympian took down Jillian Richardson-Briscoe’s record of 37.17 from 1988.
Toronto’s Justyn Knight continues to run well racing to a new personal best in the 3,000m where he recorded a third-place time of 7:45.86. American, Shadrack Kipchirchir won the race in the time of 7:45.49.
Toronto’s Kate Van Buskirk had a great 3,000m race at the Millrose Games. She was coming off of an excellent race at the Dr. Sander Invitational at the Armory last week in New York. In that event she broke Sheila Reid’s national mile record of 4:27.02, with her performance of 4:26.90. At Millrose, she finished seventh in the time of 8:49.02 – a new personal best. The race was won by Aisha Praught-Leer of Jamaica; she stopped the clock at 8:41.10.
The national record is 8:48.46 and is owned by Megan Metcalfe-Wright from 2008.