Gabriela-DeBues Stafford, Canada’s fastest-ever 1500 and 5000-metre runner and two-time Olympian, is confirmed for the 1500m event at the annual Victoria Track Classic at UVic’s Centennial Stadium next week. 

“I first raced the Vic Track Classic back in 2016 before I had made my first Olympic team so I have some really fond memories with this event,” said Debues-Stafford, sister to Lucia Stafford who will also be competing. “This sport often sees its pro athletes flying all over the world for races and so I’m pumped to be able to compete at what is now my home track — and to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before a race!” 

Gabriela Debues-Stafford at the University of Victoria Centennial Stadium track. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

DeBues-Stafford is ranked 28th in the all-time world rankings in the 1500m after smashing the Canadian record several times in 2019 and again at the World Championships that year in Doha, Qatar in 3:56.12 while finishing sixth overall. DeBues-Stafford would set Canadian records ten times in just twenty races between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, she became the first Canadian woman to ever break two minutes in the 800m, four minutes in the 1500m, and fifteen minutes in the 5000m. Only three other athletes in the world hold this status. Later that same year, at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, DeBues-Stafford finished fifth in the 1500m final, tying Canada’s best-ever result in this event. In 2022 she became the fastest North American and fifth-fastest in the world in the indoor 5000m. 

Debues-Stafford joins her sister Lucia Stafford in competing at the Victoria Track Classic, however, Gabriela will challenge the metric mile while Lucia will compete in the 800m event.  

Rounding out the field in the women’s 1500m will be Jessy Lacourse, the Quebec 5000m record holder and World University Games competitor in 2019 in the 3000m steeplechase. Lacourse achieved a personal best in the 1500m event in Guelph last month, running 4:14.80. Joining Lacourse and Debues-Stafford will be Cameron Ormond from Guelph with a personal best of 4:12.61 and a bronze medal at last year’s Canadian Championships. 

In the men’s 1500m, The Victoria Track Classic has confirmed Will Paulson, of Victoria, a Pan Am Games bronze medallist in the 1500m and national champion in 2019. Paulson was a Commonwealth Games finalist in 2022. Joining Paulson will be Max Davies from Guelph, who broke the indoor 1000m and 1500m U-Sport Championship records earlier this year. Also in 2024, he cracked the four-minute barrier in the mile indoors and is currently the fourth-fastest Canadian in 1500m with a 3:39.80 last month. Davies is only 20-years-old. 

The Track Classic is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12th beginning at 6:00 p.m. with youth and preliminary races followed by the featured or professional events at 7:00 p.m. As a World Athletics-sanctioned event, athletes earn points towards their global rankings which may lead to selection onto national teams such as the Olympics. 

This year’s Victoria Track Classic features events such as men’s 100m, women’s 100m hurdles and men’s and women’s 400, 800 and 1500m distances, javelin, pole vault and women’s discus.  

For ticket information please visit Ticket Information. Kids 12 and under are free.  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.