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University of Victoria Vikes athlete, Jaxon Kuchar, running for Victoria Endurance Track Club, during Sunday’s Bazan Bay 5K in Victoria broke the national junior 5K record clocking a 14:41 performance. The record is pending ratification.

The current record is 14:43 by Jacob Girard, who was representing C.A. Université Laval when he raced at Lac-Beauport, QC on May 14 last year.

Jaxon Kuchar finishing second overall at Bazan Bay 5K, followed in by teammate Gabe Van Hezewijk. Photo credit; Joseph Camilleri

On Sunday, the junior record time was bettered first by Yemane Mulugeta of Surrey, BC. However, the Ethiopian is not yet a Canadian citizen, therefore is not eligible for the national record. He clocked a 14:36 performance, one week after running the Vancouver Sun Run in 30:41.

Fellow Vike Gabe Van Hezewijk also had a strong race, making it three under 15 minutes. Van Hezewijk recorded a personal best of 14:48.

The three athletes worked together for the first 2.5K, as the route that runs southward on Ocean Beaulevard had a headwind blowing between 15 and 20/kph. After the 180-degree turnaround, the race was on and the three went all out to the finish.

“I’m quite happy with how the race went. I came into the race hoping that I could beat my personal best from last season on the track (14:55), and I managed to do so by 14 seconds,” said Kuchar. “I thought that I was composed and focused during the race, which enabled the final two kilometres to be my fastest. I’m excited to keep training on the island for the outdoor track season, and I’d like to thank my coaches (Hilary Stellingwerff, Marilyn Arsenault, Kala Stone, Trent Stellingwerff, Rowan DeBues-Stafford) and my teammates for always motivating me to improve myself through running.”

Kuchar leaves on Thursday for a training camp and a few meets in the US.

“I will race the 1500m on Friday at the OSU High Performance Meet. I’ve been primarily training for the 5k distance, so I’m intrigued to see how racing the shorter distance goes. On a calm day, the Bazan Bay 5K is one of the fastest courses in the nation, so there’s always potential for some fast times.”

Kuchar, a Trail, BC native’s best over 5000m (track) is 14:55.88 from 2022. Van Hezewijk’s is 14:50.08 from June 2022. One month ago, Mulugeta clocked an impressive 14:44.30 time in Vancouver at the Rashpal Dhillon Oval. Girard, however, is the fastest of the group — for now — with his 14:39.83 performance from April 2022 in Lewisburg, PA.