Evan Esselink and Rory Linkletter will both run their marathon debuts at the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this October. This year’s STWM will also double as the 2020 Canadian Olympics Trials and the event is stacked with Canadian talent.
Esselink ran the fourth-fastest half-marathon time ever by a Canadian (1:02:17) at the Houston Half-Marathon this winter. The only men to go faster are Canadian marathon record-holder Cam Levins, Canadian half-marathon record-holder Jeff Schiebler and Simon Bairu. That’s keeping pretty good company.
Esselink, who trains with the BC Endurance Project, told Paul Gains, “I am still scared of the event,” he admits, “The half marathon and the 10k are much more similar than the half and the marathon. It is going well so far; I have had no hiccups. It’s scary territory, I just feel as the distance goes up, I excel more. I think that’s where I am going to shine, in the marathon.”
Linkletter is only 23 years old and hasn’t run a half-marathon since 2014. He recently signed with Hoka One One and made the move to Arizona to join the Northern Arizona Elite. The runner finished his varsity career at BYU in the spring where he was a NCAA finalist in both the 5,000m and 10,000m.
Linkletter told Gains that he wouldn’t be doing a marathon this fall if it weren’t for the time crunch of the Olympics. “I wouldn’t be doing a marathon this fall if it wasn’t for the time crunch and the opportunity to make an Olympic team. This is the number one reason. In my heart I want to run in the Olympics, and I feel the marathon offers me the best opportunity to do that. I think my ceiling in the marathon is pretty high in comparison to the 5,000m or 10,000m.”
The two new marathoners join Canadians Reid Coolsaet, Dylan Wykes and Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins.