The Jack Kemp Stadium in Los Angeles is home to the USATF Distance Classic, one of the most competitive outdoor invitationals in distance running. The event goes on Thursday May 17th, kicking off with the women’s 800m at 6:15 p.m PDT. There are 24 Canadians in the field and a total of $8,000 in prize money up for grabs. The event can be streamed through AthleticsCanada.tv

 

 

The women’s 800m has the largest Canadian field with eight women competing in the event. Liz Whelan has run the leading Canadian 800m time this outdoor season, and won the Occidental Invitational four days ago. Annie LeBlanc is another woman to watch; LeBlanc comes in with the strongest seed time of the Canadian contingent at 2:01.56. 

The men’s 1,500m has 2016 Olympian over 5,000m Luc Bruchet on the start list. Bruchet ran his first ever steeplechase at the Occidental Invitational four days ago, and is moving even further down in distance to run the 1,500m tomorrow. Other Canadians in the event are: Rob Denault, Thomas Riva, Adam Palamar and Justin Kent. 

The women’s 1,500m boasts Natalia Hawthorne, Sarah MacPherson, Mariah Kelly, Kirsten Lee and Lucia Stafford. MacPherson competed at the World University Games last summer and ran a great 800m just four days ago. Stafford is the 2017 Pan Am Junior gold medalist over 1,500m, and 2018 USports 1,000m silver medalist. Stafford is the youngest of the Canadian women racing on Thursday. Kelly, a Baylor alumna stationed out of Victoria for several years and who has a strong personal best of 4:09.38, will be in the mix tomorrow.

 

 

John Gay is the sole Canadian in the 3,000m steeplechase. Gay is a fourth-year student at UBC and competed for Canada in both the Francophone Games and World University Games last summer. Gay is emerging as one of Canada’s strongest young distance runners. 

 

 

The women’s 5,000m is an event to watch. Kate Van Buskirk, Sasha Gollish and Rachel Cliff will go head to head Thursday night. These are three of the strongest Canadian women over 5,000m and all three women have already run well this season. Van Buskirk opened her season a few weeks ago with a 5,000m at Payton Jordan, running 15:16.34. After a strong USports Championship, Gollish ran well at the World Half-Marathon Championships in March to place 30th, once again showing her impressive range. Cliff, who is the Canadian half-marathon record-holder, won the Occidental Invitational 1,500m four days ago in 4:17.65. 

Schedule (PDT):

6:15 PM               Women’s 800m
6:35 PM               Men’s 800m
6:55 PM               Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
7:10 PM               Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
7:25 PM               Women’s 1500m
7:50 PM               Men’s 1500m
8:25 PM               Women’s 5000m
8:46 PM               Men’s 5000m

 

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