Yesterday’s Ottawa Marathon produced mixed results including a tough day for the top Canadian men but an incredible debut by Toronto’s Rachel Hannah.
Hannah, who had only decided earlier in the week to make her marathon debut in Ottawa, was the first Canadian female in a time of 2:33:30, placing her tenth overall within a deep field of international athletes. Her time also dips under the standards for both the Pan Am Games (2:40) and the world championships (2:35) later this summer. Hannah admitted that her decision to run the marathon was in part an attempt to qualify for Pan Ams, where she hopes to compete on her home turf of Toronto.
A beaming and composed Hannah smiled for the cameras and carried on lengthy interviews just minutes after crossing the line, admitting she may have discovered a new love for the marathon distance. Despite a few hiccups taking fuel and actually overtaking her assigned pacer before the half, Hannah maintained an even and steady pace and was able to finish fast and strong.
Catrin Jones of Victoria, B.C. was the second Canadian female who finished in a personal best of 2:42:52. Third place went to Bianca Premont of Sainte-Julie, Que. who finished in 2:49:36.
The overall women’s race was won by Aberu Zennebe of Ethiopia who broke the tape in a time of 2:25:30. She was followed closely by Rebecca Chesir of Kenya in 2:25:40 and Abebech Afework of Ethiopia in a time of 2:25:52.
On the men’s side, the race was won by Girmay Birhanu of Ethiopia in 2:08:13. Philip Kangogo of Kenya and Chele Dechasa of Ethiopia were second and third, respectively, running 2:09:56 and 2:09:59.
Vancouver’s Rob Watson had come to Ottawa to run a fast time but struggled on the day. He still managed to finish as the top Canadian in 2:19:22, just edging out Lucas McAnenay of Toronto who was 10 seconds back in 2:19:32. Terence Attema of Smithville, Ont. was third in 2:22:54. Together they took positions 8 through 10, placing three Canadians in the top 10.
In total, there were 4,500 finishers in yesterday’s race making it Canada’s largest marathon event.
There were another 11,500 finishers in the half marathon which was won by Matt Vierula of Ottawa in a time of 1:10:38. Steven McElligott of Montreal was second in 1:12:46 and Adrian Tsang of Ottawa was third in 1:13:18. The women’s race was won by Melissa Chenard of Quebec City in 1:21:47, just seconds ahead of Angela Switt of Toronto in 1:21:48 and Charlotte Dunlap of Ottawa in 1:21:52.