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Canadian elites team up for Athletics Canada 42K Relay Challenge

Olympians, world championship runners and U Sports champions hit the roads across the country to compete in this fast and fun event

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The 2020 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (which doubles as the Canadian Marathon Championships) was supposed to be run on Sunday, but it was of course cancelled due to COVID-19. As a fun alternative to the race, Athletics Canada teamed up with STWM organizers to create the Athletics Canada 42K Relay Challenge—a virtual event for the country’s top road runners. Eleven teams of four runners each participated across three categories, producing many quick results. Teams had to run 42.2K, and each runner had to cover at least 5K. With that satisfied, teams could split the distance however they pleased. The winning times were 2:09:01 for the men, 2:22:39 for the women and 2:11:46 in the mixed division. 

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Quarantine Queens win big

The women’s relay title went to the Quarantine Queens, a team that featured Malindi ElmoreNatasha WodakKinsey Middleton and Emily Setlack. Their cumulative time was ahead of the second-place Rockin’ Rock Ladies (who finished in 2:31:36) and the Bayfront Bellas (who ran 2:45:14) in third. With an 11.11K leg, Wodak ran the farthest for the Quarantine Queens, covering the distance in 36:45. Middleton and Elmore both ran 10.55K, posting 37:02 and 36:03, respectively, and Setlack ran 10K in 32:49. 

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All four members of the all-Newfoundland Rockin’ Rock Ladies team ran even 10.55K legs, with Bazeley posting the foursome’s quickest split in 36:24. Krista DuChene took most of the load for the Bayfront Bellas, running 27.22K in 1:48:56, with her teammates each running 5K. 

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Backroads Bandits take the W 

The London-based Backroads Bandits won the men’s event in a speedy 2:09:01, finishing ahead of the Guelph Marlins of Southgate in second and a Mile2Marathon team in third. The Bandits each ran about 10.55K, led by Mike Tate in 31:27. Phil Parrot-Migas was next-fastest in 31:52, followed by Chris Balestrini 32:50 and Jack Sheffar in 32:52. The Marlins of Southgate, who posted a 2:12:41, also split the 42.2K evenly, and the team was led by Mitchell Ubene in 31:56. Team M2M’s 2:14:22 was good enough for bronze. 

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Close finish in mixed relay 

Team BCEP White edged out BCEP Red for the win in the mixed category, and the Random Track Club finished in third. With Justin Kent leading the way for BCEP White with a 1:02:34 half-marathon PB, his teammates Kevin Coffey and Erica Digby ran 8K each, and Kirsten Lee finished things off with a 5K to give the team a winning time of 2:11:46. Not far behind, BCEP Red finished in 2:12:41, with Ben Preisner running a 1:04:33 half-marathon and Rachel Cliff posting a 26:44 8K. In third, the Random Track Club was led by Matt Hughes‘s 21.01K in 1:05:18, and the team finished in 2:17:36. 

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Kent, Preisner, Cliff and Parrot-Migas were all set to run in Poland on Saturday at the World Half-Marathon Championships, but Athletics Canada pulled the team from the even just days before the athletes were set to leave. A virtual relay doesn’t compare to a world championship event, but they were at least able to put their accumulated fitness to use in a competitive format over the weekend. 

For full results from the relay, click here

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