By Paul Gains

Tristan Woodfine and Erin Mawhinney put on convincing displays of front running today as they won the Under Armour Toronto 10K in warm and breezy conditions.

Woodfine, the resident of Eganville, Ontario recorded an outstanding time of 29:12 – just six seconds off his personal best – to easily capture this Canada Running Series race that also doubled as part of the prestigious, new Athletics Canada Road Race Series. His nearest competitor was Dylan Alick who finished in 29:49 – the first time he has dipped under 30 minutes for the distance.

Woodfine, who achieved the 2020 Olympic marathon standard only to be bumped from a potential position on the Canadian team, was delighted with the result.

Tristan Woodfine en route to victory at the Under Armour Toronto 10k. Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

“I am really pleased to be solo and do a good hard effort, and, to come away with 29:12 is a great place to be,” he said while being monitored by a doping control officer. “We are on the right track for sure for a good marathon race this fall.”

It was an early birthday present for the graduate of the Ontario College of Health and Technology. He turns 30 tomorrow. His performance went more or less as planned.

“About 2K there was one guy behind me and then I kind of made a bit of a surge going downhill and it was solo from there,” he revealed adding the wind was a factor.

“It was a headwind on the way out for 3.6K then we turned around and it was all tail wind until about 9K then you turn around. So, it was basically ‘get to 3.5K and you will get a nice boost on the way’ and try and hammer that section with the tail wind. After that you can just suffer to the finish line. I couldn’t see anyone or hear anyone, so I kept my foot on the gas and kept going.”

He passed 5K in 14:35 about 18 seconds ahead of Alick, and the eventual 3rd place finisher, Rob Kanko (30:02), and added to that gap throughout the remainder of the race.

Alick was equally pleased with his new personal best, especially since he has been dividing his time between training and academic work. He will graduate from McMaster University in August with a Master’s in Engineering.

“Most of the guys on our team are in engineering. Time management is important,” he said laughing.

Erin Mawhinney Finishing the Under Armour Toronto 10k. Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

I was happy as my goal today was to go sub 30 and this was my first time breaking it, so I am happy. I raced (Woodfine) at the Canadian Championship in Ottawa and he is a very accomplished runner. I tried to stick with him as long as possible, but he made a good move at 3K.”

Woodfine turned to two-time Canadian Olympian Reid Coolsaet for coaching help almost a year ago and among the other members of ‘Coolsaet Go’ team competing here today was Erin Mawhinney of Hamilton who scored herself both a victory and a new personal best of 33:34 for the 10K. She also ran from the front.

“I got out into the lead early and hoped I could hang on to it,” she said through an enormous smile. “There was a bunch of really fast girls and so I sort of peeked at the turnarounds to see how far ahead I was. Salome and Rachel were behind, and I tried to hold them off.”

“That was sort of my plan. I run a little bit better from the front and just try to hang on. This was only my second ever 10K. My first was the national championships two weeks ago in Ottawa which was disgustingly hot. So, this was a PB by a full minute.”

Salome Nyirarukundo, who represented Rwanda at the 2016 Olympic Games before coming to Canada held off Rachel Hannah to take 2nd in 34:58 – eleven seconds ahead of the 2015 Pan Am Games marathon bronze medalist. This was her first race in several years.

“I am a resident of Ottawa. I was in Montreal in 2018 I won the marathon there in 2:28:02, which was my first marathon, and I ran the Ottawa marathon 2019,” she revealed. “Since then, I haven’t been running again. I am so happy for this race.”

“Honestly my expectation was to be in the top five but not top 3. For four years I have not run consistently. I started again this year. I am happy and I am very thankful for this organization to bring me back again for my first race.”

The winners both complimented their coach, Reid Coosaet, who was all smiles after learning the results of his athletes.

“Amazing! And they ran fast too,” he said while recovering himself from the efforts of his first road race in some time. “A bunch of my athletes were really close to their PB’s which was unexpected because it was a bit warm.”

Asked how close he was to his PB he laughed: “Four minutes!” Coolsaet who has turned to trail running since retiring from the marathon finished second in the master’s category in a time of 32:18. He has his sights set on the Pikes Peak Ascent race in September. More than 6,000 runners turned out for the Under Armour Toronto 10K and enjoyed the camaraderie of one another. The out and back course which traverses the waterfront of Lake Ontario was a popular one with most.