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Canadian athletes shine on the track in California and Kenya

A recap of the weekend's top performances from Canada's Aaron Brown, Lindsey Butterworth, Madeleine Kelly, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and Gabriela DeBues-Stafford

Photo by: Kevin Morris

With under 10 weeks to go until the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore., many of Canada’s top athletes competed at meets in California and Kenya this weekend. This edition of the weekend recap is highlighted by several athletes returning to their personal best form early in the season and two female 800m runners dipping under the two-minute barrier.

Canadian 800m runners Lindsey Butterworth (left), Madeleine Kelly (middle) and Addy Townsend (right) at the Sound Running Invite at JSerra High School, in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Photo: Kevin Morris

At the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya, Canada’s Aaron Brown won his first 200m race of the season in a slightly wind-aided time of 20.05 seconds (+2.1 m/s). Brown’s time was only a few milliseconds off his 2021 best of 19.99 seconds, which he ran at the Tokyo Olympics. Brown’s next 200m race is on Friday, May 13 at the Doha Diamond League, where he will go up against the likes of 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley and Olympic 200m bronze medallist Noah Lyles.

Many Canadian distance runners made the trip down to San Juan Capistrano, Calif., for the Sound Running Invite. Canadian 800m Olympians Lindsey Butterworth and Madeleine Kelly kicked off the list of stellar Canadian performances in Cali, as both ran sub-two in the 800m. After opening the season in 2:00.40, Butterworth continued to impress over two laps, running her second-fastest time ever over the distance, in 1:59.59. In the same race, Kelly ran a personal best time of 1:59.83 to become only the 10th Canadian woman to break the two-minute barrier. These times by Butterworth and Kelly are excellent considering it is still early in the outdoor season.

Olympic 1,500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen taking pictures with fans post-race at the Sound Running Invite. Photo: Kevin Morris

In the men’s 5,000m, Olympic 1,500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen stole the show, opening up his 2022 season with a win in 13:02. Canada’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot was seventh, with a personal best time of 13:12.78, setting a new Quebec record in the 5,000m and achieving the world championship 5,000m standard of 13:13.50. Since missing qualification for the Tokyo Olympics last year, Philibert-Thiboutot has now achieved the 2022 WC standard in the 1,500m and 5,000m and set a Canadian 5K road record (13:35).

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford won the women’s 1,500m in 4:03.20 at the Sound Running Invite. Photo: Kevin Morris

Another world championship standard was hit in the women’s 1,500m, as Gabriela DeBues-Stafford clocked 4:03.20 (one second under the standard of 4:04.20) to win the 1,500m in her first race since leaving Bowerman Track Club last month. DeBues-Stafford looks to follow up her record-setting 2022 indoor season with some strong outdoor performances ahead of World Championships in July.