On the final day of competition at the 2023 World Athletics Championships, the Canadian trio of Rory Linkletter, Ben Preisner and Justin Kent all placed within the top 30 of the men’s marathon on a hot and humid day in Budapest.
Leading the Canadian contingent was the seasoned Linkletter, undertaking his seventh marathon and his second consecutive world championship marathon, having withdrawn from the London Marathon earlier this year due to injury. Linkletter ran back-to-back 66-minute half-marathon splits, which resulted in the second-fastest marathon of his career to place 19th overall in 2:12:16.
“This was the most enjoyable marathon I’ve ever run,” Linkletter told Canadian Running. “I think this was the best marathon of my life.”
Linkletter said he felt he couldn’t have executed the race any better given the conditions, and that he gave his all. He was in 60th place at the 10K mark and, remarkably, advanced 41 positions over the final 32 kilometres. “I felt the best I ever felt in the middle of a marathon; the course was exceptional,” Linkletter said.
Kent and Preisner approached the race similarly to Linkletter. “We worked together to make smart decisions, considering the conditions, and aimed to pass as many runners as we could in the second half,” Kent stated during a post-race interview. Like Linkletter, they both managed to ascend almost 40 positions during the latter part of the race. Preisner was 28th overall at the world championship marathon for the second consecutive year (2:15:02), while Kent was 30th in his world championship debut (2:15:26).
“Representing Canada in the marathon was a dream come true,” Kent said. “Sharing the experience with Ben and Rory was truly incredible.”
All three Canadians executed strategic and tactful races as temperatures reached 27 C, which posed challenging conditions and led to slower finishing times. The warm conditions resulted in 25 runners, including 2022 world champion Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola, not completing the race.
Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat, a mountain runner and 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, surged around the 33-km mark and maintained his lead, securing gold for Uganda in 2:08:53. Remarkably, at only 23 years old, this marked Kiplangat’s second world title. In 2017, he claimed victory in the men’s race at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.
Israel’s Maru Teferi executed a late surge, advancing four positions in the final five kilometres to attain silver in 2:09:12. Ethiopia’s Leul Gebresilase settled for the bronze medal, with a time of 2:09:19.
The 2023 World Athletics Championships are taking place from August 19-27 at the National Stadium in Budapest, Hungary. All the action will be brought to you by Canadian Running and Asics Canada. Follow us on Twitter on Instagram for all things Team Canada and up-to-date exclusive news and content.