Natasha Wodak – L and Rachel Cliff – R

© Copyright – 2017 – Athletics Illustrated

Three-time Vancouver Sun Run champion Natasha Wodak is just happy to be healthy and running well again, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t looking to race fast Sunday at the 33rd annual Vancouver Sun Run. It will be her first race of her 2017 comeback. Sunday, she simply hopes to get reacquainted with race pain again.

Asked about her recovery and fitness she said, “I am very happy just to be healthy and racing at all!  I spent the majority of the fall and winter injured (I ran a total of 472kms in all of Sept, Oct and Nov., which is about what I would normally run in one month). Surgery on my foot in December had me off running for all of January, the build back up to getting fit started in February and it’s been slow going.  But, I am running mostly pain-free now, which is awesome!”

Wodak owns two Canadian records, one for the 10,000m event with her performance of 31:41.59 from the 2015 Payton Jordan Invitational that takes place at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The other record is for the 8K road race event, where she ran 25:28 in Victoria at the Pioneer 8K in January of 2013.

She also competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2015 IAAF World Track and Field Championships.

“I know I am not in great shape and have no expectations to run a personal best or to win. I just want to have fun and learn to hurt again!” said the 35-year-old Vancouverite. “The Sun Run is always one of my favourite races of the year and I’m so excited to toe the line on Sunday!

Fellow Vancouver-based runner Rachel Cliff will be toeing-the-line. She has competed at a high level for several years and to some degree in the shadow of Wodak, playing the role of bridesmaid. She finished just seconds behind Wodak at the provincial, national, NACAC and World Cross Country Championships. She was also left off the Rio Olympic team despite racing fast enough before the cut-off date.

“I’m looking forward to the Sun Run; I’m doing it within my buildup for the Payton Jordan 10k. It’s always a great event!”

Cliff owns a 32:21.98 10,000m best from the Portland Twilight meet last year.

“I’ll be looking to compete well on the day and hopefully improve on my time from when I ran it (Sun Run) three years ago.”

Look for these two athletes to contend for podium positions Sunday.

As usual, the Vancouver Sun Run is deep at the front end for both the men’s and women’s competitions.

See the women’s report here>>

See the men’s report here>>

See all the details about the 33rd Vancouver Sun Run here>>