File photo. Rachel Cliff. Credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2018 – Athletics Illustrated

Vancouver’s Rachel Cliff continues to perform very well during the 2018 road and outdoor track seasons.

Thursday, May 17 at the USATF Distance Classic, she ran a new 5,000-metre personal best time of 15:20.66, an event that she specialized almost exclusively in as a post-collegiate athlete. Her previous best was 15:23.94, which she set in 2016.

So far this season, she broke Lanni Marchant’s national half-marathon record of 1:10:47, in Woodlands, TX, lopping a big 39 seconds off the benchmark with her 1:10:08 performance.

She then ran well in April during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in the 10,000-metre event. She finished in ninth place in the time of 32:11.11, but she came home with her eye on breaking the 32-minute barrier, having owned a best at that distance of 32:00.03 – so close. She did just that at the May 3rd Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto. In that race, she finished in the time of 31:56.86. The national record is potentially on the horizon at 31:41.59, currently owned by fellow Vancouver athlete Natasha Wodak.

Cliff has been training with the BC Endurance Project since 2015. Since joining the high-performance group, the 30-year-old has set personal bests in the 1500m at 4:16.11, mile (1609m) – 4:38.39, 3,000m – 8:57.15, 5,000m – 15:20.66, 10,000m – 31:56.86, 10K (road) – 33:35 and 32:41 (Sun Run – downhill start), 21.1K (half-marathon) – 1:10:08 NR.

She had also run fast enough in the 5,000m event in 2016, to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games. At the time, Athletics Canada recognised the performance, but simply decided to not select her.

Also in the Distance Classic race was American Lauren Paquette of Little Rock, ARK who won in the time of 15:19:17. Her best is 15:14.45 from 2016. Cliff finished second. Fellow Canadian, Toronto’s Kate Van Buskirk finished third with a time of 15:30.84. She had set a new lifetime best on May 3rd, with a 15:16.34 performance at Payton Jordan. Vancouver’s Regan Yee finished fourth in the time of 15:36.30. It was Yee’s first ever 5,000m race.

Cliff will be competing in the Ottawa 10K on May 26, the only IAAF Gold Label 10K in Canada and one of only four in the world.

Gladys Cherono of Kenya holds the course record in Ottawa at 30:55.

Angela Chalmers set the national 10K road record of 31:05 in 1996.