World Cross-Country Championships

Brogan MacDougall finishes 30th in the U20 women’s race. Photo: Michael Scott.

The IAAF World Cross-Country Championships were Sunday overseas in Kampala, Uganda where some of Canada’s best competed on the international stage. Canada fielded full teams in the four major divisions including the junior (U20) and senior races with Hannah Bennison, the 2017 NACAC cross-country runner-up, finishing as the country’s top runner inside the top-30.

Not surprisingly, the East Africans dominated the world cross-country championships sweeping the podiums in all four primary divisions. (There was a mixed relay event in addition to the junior and senior races with Kenya and Ethiopia finishing first and second, respectively.)

The next biennial championships will be held in Aarhus, Denmark in 2019. Runners qualified for Uganda based on their placing at the 2016 Canadian Cross-Country Championships back in November. Some runners opted out of the team and focused on their buildup for the 2017 IAAF World Championships this summer in London.

The Canadian storyline was, for the most part, in the women’s U20 race with Bennison in 24th and Brogan MacDougall in 30th, excellent against international competition. The star high schoolers were the top-two finishers at the NACAC Championships this past winter. All four scoring U20 women for Canada finished inside the top-52 vaulting the country to a sixth-place team placing, four points from fifth-place Eritrea. That’s the third best finish ever for a Canadian junior women’s squad, according to Athletics Canada.

It was a hometown hero who stole the show as Ugandans Jacob Kiplimo won the men’s U20 race on home soil at Kololo Independence Grounds in the nation’s capital. His gold is the country’s first-ever at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships. Amazingly, he is just 16 and he was the youngest runner at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Canada’s best senior result came in the women’s division, with Sasha Gollish leading the charge covering the 10K in 35:56. The senior women placed ninth overall as a team. Meanwhile, Kenya placed first through sixth in a complete domination of the 10K, led by Irene Cheptai.

The North American, Central American and Carribean (NACAC) cross-country co-champion, Kieran Lumb, was Canada’s top finisher in the men’s U20 race at worlds on Sunday finishing 55th. Canada placed 14th as a team in the men’s U20 division.

In the senior men’s division, 2016 world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor won his second consecutive world cross-country title. The victory comes exactly one year after he won the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales. He led Kenya to a 1-2 finish though Ethiopia edged out Kenya for the team title by a single point. Trevor Hofbauer was the top Canadian in 71st.

According to U20 team member Martha MacDonald, there was a false start in the women’s race which led to a delay in the posting of results.

Canadian results

U20 women (sixth team)

24. Hannah Bennison – 20:54
30. Brogan MacDougall – 21:08
32. Martha MacDonald – 21:22
52. Hanna Johnston – 22:13
62. Catherine Beauchemin – 22:23
86. Shona McCulloch – 24:07

U20 men (15th team)

55. Kieran Lumb – 26:21
65. Jean-Simon Desgagnés – 26:42
78. Mitchell Ubene – 27:21
84. Andrew Alexander – 27:27
85. Graham Baird – 27:27

Senior women (ninth team)

41. Sasha Gollish – 35:56
47. Victoria Coates – 36:11
52. Claire Sumner – 36:36
59. Julie-Anne Staehli – 36:58
67. Lisa Brooking – 37:25
75. Kathryn Harrison – 37:54

Senior men (12th team)

71. Trevor Hofbauer – 31:43
76. Rory Linkletter – 31:54
80. Sami Jibril – 32:02
88. Evan Esselink – 32:24
101. Nicholas Falk – 33:12
109. Thomas Toth – 33:41

Full results can be found here.

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