After a 10-month hiatus from racing, Canadian half-marathon record holder Andrea Seccafien returned to competition on Sunday morning at the Launceston Running Festival in Tasmania, Australia. Racing the half-marathon, Seccafien took the win in 1:11:39. While this time is two minutes shy of her national record of 1:09:38, the result was almost a full minute ahead of second place. This was just the third race of the year for the 30-year-old Olympian, but it marks the close of what has been a spectacular season, and Seccafien is likely brimming with confidence as she heads into 2021.
Taking the win
Seccafien, who lives and trains in Melbourne, Australia, beat Australian Olympic marathoner (and 2018 STWM fourth-place finisher) Jessica Stenson to the line by close to a minute. Stenson took second place in 1:12:27, and the next-closest runner finished five minutes later. This is the second-fastest half-marathon of Seccafien’s career (and just her third crack at the distance overall), and it’s one of the best times ever run by a Canadian. Her 1:11:39 finish is the 16th-fastest half-marathon in national history, and although she ran much faster to grab the national record in Marugame, Japan, in February, Seccafien’s run in Tasmania is still very impressive, especially considering it’s her first race in 10 months.
Australian half-marathon record holder Brett Robinson took the overall win on Sunday in 1:01:38. Like Seccafien, Robinson ran his national record of 59:57 in Marugame earlier this year.
A fractured season
Like every runner, Seccafien had to deal with a strange 2020 season. She raced twice in February and then took an extended break from competition due to COVID-19. She opened her season with the race in Marugame, where she finished in sixth place. Her time in Japan beat Natasha Wodak‘s Canadian record of 1:09:41, which Wodak had set just two weeks earlier at the Houston Half-Marathon in Texas. Prior to that run, Seccafien’s half-marathon PB was 1:13:19. Just a few weeks after her record-breaking run in Japan, Seccafien ran to a 10K PB of 33:05 at a race in Hobart, Australia (which, like Launceston, is also in Tasmania). Finally, on Sunday, Seccafien ran her third big result of 2020. It may have been far off her time from earlier this year, but her finish in Launceston would have smashed her previous half-marathon PB.
Moving into 2021, Seccafien still has her sights set on the track for the Olympics. She competed in the 5,000m at the Rio Games, and now she is looking to qualify for the 10,000m in Tokyo. It will be exciting to see her race any distance, but based on her results this year, it looks like Seccafien has a bright future on the road. After the Olympics, it will be interesting to see where her career takes her, and if she makes a move to the marathon, another Canadian record could very well be at risk of being beaten.