Rachel Francois Photo Credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

At least three records were set on Saturday, May 30th at the second track meet of the 2015 Christie-Phoenix Insurance Victoria Run Series. Under sunny skies and breezy, but warm conditions at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium, the following distances were contested: 800m, 2,000m and 3,000m with open-mixed and elite categories offered.

At 6:30 PM the gun sounded for the women’s 800-metre elite race that featured two international-level 1500-metre specialists in 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games medallist Kate Van Buskirk of Toronto, and Victoria’s Hilary Stellingwerff, who competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Others in the race were Rachel Francois of the University of Victoria Vikes, Vancouver’s Erica Digby, Nanaimo’s Alyssa Mousseau and Miryam Bassett as well as Fiona Benson from Langley, BC.

Van Buskirk_FlashHJ
Kate Van Buskirk Photo Credit: Christopher Kelsall

The race went out at a strong pace with the leaders bunched together for over 500-metres; they included Benson, Van Buskirk, Stellingwerff and Francois. As the field began to break apart, Benson, at the 600m mark of the race, began to pull away and unleashed a finishing kick that resulted in her winning in a new personal best by nearly seven seconds, her time was 2:01.58. Benson’s previous best was 2:08.53. Her race last night is currently the lead time in Canada for 2015. Francois finished second in a season best of 2:03.15, followed in by Stellingwerff and Van Buskirk. Olympic and World championship qualification standard is 2:01.00. Full results are available here.

Declan White Photo Credit: Christopher Kelsall

The second event of the night featured three sections of the men’s 800m. The first race was the fastest and included a new personal best by Thomas Oxland of Nanaimo with his finish time of 1:50.74 over Oregon’s Josiah Langstaff, who also ran a new personal best time by approximately two seconds, he finished in 1:51.80. Taylor Lyman of Victoria rounds out the top-three finishers with his 1:52.57.

The women’s 3,000m elite race featured teenager Mirelle Martens of Grand Prairie, Alberta. She ended up winning the race in the time of 9:42.08. Second place went to Victoria’s Marilyn Arsenault, who took her third Canadian masters age-group record in the time of 9:44.94. The previous record was 28 seconds slower at 10:12. The third place finisher was the University of Victoria Vikes Shauna McInnis who led for most of the race behind pacer Stellingwerff, who was doing double duty on the evening; however, the early hot pace may have caught up to McInnis, who was returning from injury. She put up a good effort to finish in 9:47.54.

Photo Credit: Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club

The men’s 3,000m saw Langley’s Declan White charge to the lead early with a 63-second first lap. He maintained his lead for most of the race, but he was eventually caught by Toronto’s Peter Corrigan, who pulled ahead during the final lap, but then lost on the final straight to White in sprint finish. Corrigan was also racing twice during the meet, having taken in an earlier 800m event. UVic Vikes’ Ben Weir finished third in the time of 8:27.56. White’s winning time was 8:11.97, while Corrigan finished in 8:12.76. Corrigan’s finish time in the 800m event that took place less than an hour earlier was 1:54.30. His personal bests are 1:49.11 and 8:02.45 for the two distances, respectively. White’s 3,000m personal best was set this year in Windsor, Ontario at 8:07.11.

During the open-mixed 3,000m race Victoria’s Maurice Tarrant set the Canadian 85-89 age-group record with his 17:01.99. He said before the race, “I am hoping to run around 17-minutes.” Tarrant owns well over 65 Canadian age-group records as well as the 80-84 world mile record, which he set during the 2010 edition of the Victoria Run Series.

Photo Credit: Christopher Kelsall
Hilary Stellingwerff Photo Credit: Christopher Kelsall

During the third section of the men’s 800m races, 18-year-old Liam Stanley of Victoria set the second-fastest time in the world for the para T37 category with his finish time of 2:06.92.

Results are available here.

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