Canadian takeaways from the 2019 Pan Am Games

Canada holds three new Pan Am Games records. Here's a look at the runners responsible for these killer performances

August 12th, 2019 by | Posted in Runs & Races | Tags: , , , , ,

Canada had a great showing at the 2019 Pan Am Games, bringing home a total of 15 medals in track and field, the most obtained at an out-of-country Games since 1979. Not only is Canada bringing home a solid medal haul, but three of our athletes are also responsible for new Pan Am Games records. Natasha Wodak (10,000m), Marco Arop (800m) and Gen Lalonde (3,000m SC) all set new Games records and won their first Pan Am Games titles.

Wodak is ready for a huge performance at Worlds

Wodak has had an amazing 2019. She won the Canadian 10,000m championships, the Canadian 10K championships, has come extremely close to breaking her own Canadian 10,000m record and now has a Pan Am record of 31:55 and gold medal to her name. Next up for the runner are the World Championships in Doha.

RELATED: Canadian results from the 2019 Pan Am Games

The 2020 Olympic criteria include a dual qualification system, which means there are two ways to qualify for the Olympics. An athlete can either achieve the standard (in Wodak’s case a 31:25.00), or qualify based on their world ranking. Wodak is currently ranked 13th on the IAAF World Rankings for the 10,000m. That should be huge for her confidence heading into Worlds and also great news for her Olympic selection come 2020. If the distance runner can have a strong showing at Worlds, the points accumulated from that event (which have a huge bearing on world rank) will nearly guarantee her a spot on Team Canada next summer.

RELATED: The problem with the 2020 Olympic qualification system

Arop made the right call in the spring

Arop, who runs for Mississippi State, sat out the collegiate season this spring due to an injury. While that decision was surely difficult to make, the 800m runner is seeing the benefit of listening to his body.

Arop’s new Pan Am record of 1:44.25 is a new personal best and a huge jump forward for the 20-year-old.

Lalonde is one of the most well-rounded athletes on our roster

Lalonde is so consistently good. The Canadian record-holder in the steeplechase broke her own national record earlier this year in Shanghai, following one of the highest placings that Canada has ever seen at the World Cross-Country Championships.

She’s followed those performances up with another Canadian national title in the steeplechase, a Canadian championship record, a new 1,500m personal best and now a Pan Am record of 9:41.

Cliff has impeccable range

Rachel Cliff didn’t set a Pan Am record, she didn’t even win gold (because Wodak did), but she has had one of the best 2019’s of any Canadian. Cliff now holds four Canadian records (half-marathon, 25K, 30K and marathon), has world standard in the 5,000m and Olympic standard in the marathon.

While the worlds team has yet to be fully named, Cliff has asserted herself as one of Canada’s best runners in 2019 and her bronze medal performance at Pan Ams is further proof. She’s been running fast for eight months and showing no sign of slowing down.