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Rachel Cliff, Eric Gillis triumph at Canadian 10K Championships

The rundown from the 2017 Ottawa 10K and Canadian 10K Championships from Saturday evening in the nation's capital

Canadian 10K Championships
Canadian 10K Championships
Photo: Matt Stetson.

Rachel Cliff and Eric Gillis finished atop the contingent of Canadians at the Ottawa 10K on Saturday. The Canadian 10K title marked Cliff’s first of her career while Gillis regained his 10K road championship from 2015.

The Canadian 10K Championships were a race within a race as the national title was up for grabs within the Ottawa 10K, the only IAAF Gold Label 10K in the country. Sunday’s Ottawa Marathon is also an IAAF Gold Label race, the highest certification of road race in the world as determined by the world’s governing body.

Saturday’s mass race went off at 6:30 p.m. EDT. The elite women went off seconds before 6:27 p.m. EDT in what was a challenge between sexes as the race staggers the starts so the elite men and women finish at approximately the same time.

Ethiopia’s Leul Gebresilase, in 28:42, and countrywoman Netsanet Gudeta, in 31:34, were the overall winners of the Ottawa 10K. Peres Jepchirchir and Mohammed Ziani, the defending Ottawa 10K champions from 2016, did not race this year.

Canadian 10K women’s champion: Rachel Cliff

The 2017 Ottawa 10K featured a deep field of top Canadians including three sub-32:30 runners in Natasha Wodak, Tarah Korir and Cliff. Wodak, the Canadian 10,000m record holder, has run the championships upwards of eight times, according to her account, without a victory.

Cliff had a 100m gap on Wodak around the 7K point of the out-and-back course and, in the heat, ran 33:34. Wodak was second in 33:54 and Victoria Coates was third in 34:45.

Canadian 10K men’s champion: Eric Gillis

Gillis, a three-time Olympian, defeated unheralded Kevin Blackney and Kevin Coffey for the Canadian 10K championship. Gillis ran 30:09 and says that he had a scare at the finish since a Swiss athlete, Andrian Lehmann, outsprinted him to the line and Gillis figured he may have been a lesser-known Canadian. Blackney and Coffey ran 30:30 and 30:42, respectively.

Gillis notably withdrew from the 2017 Boston Marathon and told Canadian Running that he was healthy heading into the race. He missed out on the 2016 championship after winning in 2015.

Reid Coolsaet and Lanni Marchant, the defending Canadian 10K champions, did not run in Ottawa because of recent injury. Coolsaet took several months off following the Fukuoka Marathon in December and has just returned to running while Marchant, who recently signed a new sponsorship deal with Under Armour, recently battled illness.

Results can be found here.

Canadian Running is reporting live from Ottawa this weekend so make sure to follow along, both online at runningmagazine.ca and on social media.

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Useful links

Video interview with Natasha Wodak
Canadians to watch at the Ottawa Marathon
Canadians to watch at the Ottawa 10K
Eric Gillis before the Canadian 10K Championships
Lanni Marchant on signing with Under Armour