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File photo. Nate Brannen at 2015 Harry Jerome Track Classic. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Three-time Canadian Olympian Nate Brannen from Cambridge, ON (now Avon Lake, Ohio) opened up his indoor track season Saturday, January 28 with a 3,000-metre personal best performance of 7:47.18 at the University of Washington Invitational.

The 1500m specialist placed third behind fellow Canadian Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec, who finished second with a new personal best time of 7:46.22 (previous 7:53.99). The winner was Washington Husky Colby Gilbert, who may be best known for  taking down 13-time NCAA Champion Edward Cheserek in an April of 2016 5,000m race. The two finished in 13:44 and 13:50, respectively.

After his race Brannen Tweeted, “Had fun racing to a new 3k pr tonight at #UWInvite. Next up #CamelCityElite mile next weekend. Maybe I can pickup a contract before then”

The 34-year-old was referencing not having a sponsor as Saucony has not resigned him after his contract expired in 2016. The Beijing, London and Rio Olympian has been one of Canada’s most consistent middle-distance runners throughout his career and owns a personal best time of 3:34.22.

Asked if he is thinking of moving up to the 5,000m distance, after running so well in the 3,000m he said, “I plan to open the outdoor season with a 5k, but would still like to run the 1500.”

Brannen’s former indoor best at the distance was 7:47.90 from February 2006.

“I’ve been training solo all year, so I didn’t know what to expect and with this being my first race and only fourth time in spikes this year, I haven’t been in that zone yet,” said the father of two. “I think I was about 4:11-12 at the mile, which means I came back in about 4:05.”

Brannen has had a good stretch of training and has been running higher mileage volumes. Asked about his training he told Athletics Illustrated, “Yeah, pushing the mileage more than ever. Have averaged about 90 miles per week the past 10 weeks or so, which also means I came in a little tired and have been training through indoors.”

Brannen would like to run under 13:20 for the 5,000m, which would put him in the mix with Canada’s fastest at the distance like Cameron Levins (13:15.19), Lucas Bruchet (13:24.10), and Matthew Hughes (13:19.56) who specialises in the 3,000m steeplechase as well as current Canadian record holder Mo Ahmed, who has run as fast as 13:01.74.

His current best in the longer distances dates back to 2007, when he ran 13:43.19.

Pushed on the subject of moving up, he was not fully committing, but did say, “A possible double at Canadian nationals if things go well.”

Asked if he likes beef jerky, he said, “Yes, I like beef jerky very much.”

Shoestrings: There were many strong Canadian performances at the University of Washington Invitational. Full results are available here>>.

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