On Tuesday, Athletics Canada announced the team for the 2020 World Half-Marathon Championships, running on October 17 in Gdynia, Poland. On the women’s side, Rachel Cliff is the lone Canadian representative and on the men’s side Canada is sending Trevor Hofbauer, Justin Kent, Ben Preisner and Thomas Toth.
This event was postponed in March due to COVID-19, but is now set to go in less than a month’s time. While Canada is sending a team, several other countries, including the U.S and Japan, have pulled out of the championship, citing safety reasons.
Hofbauer, one of the few Canadian runners who has already earned a spot on the 2021 Olympic team, leads the field. The 1:03 half-marathoner will be joined by Kent (who qualified in a time trial on September 13 when he ran a 1:04), Preisner, who ran a solo 2:15 marathon in April, and Toth, also a 1:04 half-marathoner.
“Our team is strong and I’m looking forward to sharing this milestone with the rest of the team,” said Hofbauer in a statement to Athletics Canada. “We are in a good position to improve our world ranking. This year has tested every fibre of who I am, which I’ve had to be adaptable and accepting of every situation that has arisen. To put my feet on the start line and to give it my absolute best will make up for some of the downs this year.”
Cliff, who’s the former Canadian half-marathon record holder (she’s since been overtaken by Andrea Seccafien), owns a personal best of 1:10:06, which she set last December in Japan. She told Athletics Canada that she’s looking forward to understanding what the ‘new normal’ of racing will look like.
While AC is committed to sending this team to the championships, they will continue to monitor the ever-changing impact of COVID-19 to ensure it’s safe for athletes to compete.