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Geneviève Lalonde still holds the Canadian record in the 3000-metre steeplechase at 9:22.40, but it may be bettered next month at the Budapest World Athletics Championships. Friday, Vancouver’s Regan Yee ran within three seconds of the record at the 2023 Canadian Track and Field Championships clocking a 9:24:82 performance for the win. It is a new personal best for the native of Hazelton, BC. Yee cleared the final steeple took one look back at McCabe and dropped a hard sprint to the line.
The McLead Stadium track could be considered home turf.
While Yee was representing the Langley Mustangs, second-place finisher Ceili McCabe, listed as unattached, clocked a 9:25.98 finish time. Grace Fetherstonhaugh with Royal City Track & Field Club took third in 9:31.27.
Lalonde improved the national record several times, which ended up at 9:29.82 in 2019 before Yee snatched it away in 2021 at 9:27.54 in 2021 in Montreal. During the Tokyo Olympic Games, Lalonde took it back one more time to set it at 9:22.40. If Yee peaks just right, she will have an opportunity to break the national record again in Budapest. But she will be in Budapest to race, not set time benchmarks. Up against the world’s best athletes, the 28-year-old may be pulled to her lifetime best and a new national record.
Whatever happens in Budapest, there is little doubt the two will renew their rivalry in Paris at the 2024 Olympic Games. Currently, Lalonde is living in Victoria, BC and is expecting a child.
Ben Flanagan may not be the fastest Canadian distance runner, we will leave that to Moh Ahmed in the 5000m and 10,000m and Cam Levins in the marathon. But Flanagan often finds a way to win. He did so during the NCAA Championships taking the 10,000m title in 2018 with his 28:34.53 performance. The 28-year-old is a three-time winner of the seven-mile Falmouth Classic and the national record holder over 5K and 10K on the roads with his 13:26 and 28:11, both run in Boston in 2022 and 2023, respectively. He is a multi-time national champion in the 5000m, 5K and 10K distances. He just added another title to his record.
During the Canadian Track and Field Championships at McLeod Stadium, he won the 5000m handily in the time of 13:39.26. Finishing in second place was Mitchell Ubene representing Royal City Athletics Club in the time of 13:43.41. Thomas Fafard clocked a 13:45.49 third-place finish for C.A. Université Laval all in heat number two.
Ahmed continues to hold the Canadian record at 12:47.20, which he set during a Nike Bowerman Track Club Intrasquad Meet II three years ago. Last March during a Sound Running meet in LA Ahmed broke the 10,000m record at 26:34.14. He is the fastest over 5000m in North America, the second fastest is fellow Canadian Justyn Knight. Knight is currently battling an injury. But Flanagan has captured more national championships.
The top three women in the 5000m event were Briana Scott with Mile2Marathon. She clocked a 15:46.72 run. Julie-Anne Staehli took second in the time of 15:47.62 and third was Leslie Sexton who was representing the Vancouver Thunderbirds. She clocked a 15:50.08 performance.
In June, Sexton broke her lifetime best at 15:27.70 in Mt. Hood, OR. Two years ago, Staehli set her best in Portland at 14:57.50. Scott and fourth-pace Katelyn Ayers set new personal bests at McLeod Stadium two weeks ago during the Harry Jerome Track Classic at 15:19.51 and 15:43.08, respectively.
The meet is the Canadian Championships and selection trials for the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships. The meet is on until Sunday.