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2017 was a slower year, by recent historical standards, in Canadian elite marathoning

A look at the top marathon times in Canada over the past 12 months

Fastest Marathoners Canada
Leslie Sexton
Photo: Matt Stetson.

With all big-city marathons completed for 2017, the final year-end rankings are set for the past 12 months.

The top times in Canada in 2017, by Trevor Hofbauer and Leslie Sexton, were set at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (which is seen multiple times in the rankings) in October. The event doubled as the 2017 Canadian Marathon Championships as Sexton and Hofbauer won the national titles.

The top Canadian men’s time, 2:18:06, was the slowest since at least 2006 and 2:35:44 was the slowest women’s top mark since 2011, according to Marathon Canada and Athletics Canada rankings.

Depth-wise, 10 Canadian women broke 2:45 while two Canadian men – Hofbauer and Thomas Toth – broke 2:19, according to Marathon Canada rankings for 2017. Those time marks – 2:45 and 2:19 – were the 2017 IAAF World Championships standards. (Other runners were eligible for said championships but with times from 2016.)

The past 12 months also saw a number of breakthroughs among the top-five ranked marathoners. Thomas Toth ran 2:18:58, which made him eligible for, and where he later raced, the 2017 IAAF World Championships. Lyndsay Tessier and Melanie Myrand took 34 minutes combined off their PBs at the 2017 STWM and Dayna Pidhoresky represented Canada in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in London. Toronto runner Eric Bang took roughly six minutes off of his previous PB to reach the 2:23s. In fact, the top-five men all PB’d and three of the top five women PB’d too.

Leslie Sexton
Photo: Matt Stetson.

Notable names missing from the list are Canadian marathon record holder Lanni Marchant, Canada’s second-fastest marathoners ever in Reid Coolsaet and Krista DuChene, Eric Gillis, who was 10th at the 2016 Olympics, Rachel Hannah, the 2015 Pan Am Games bronze medallist, Dylan Wykes, a 2:10:47 marathoner in 2012 and sub-2:13:30 marathoner Rob Watson. A mix of injury, illness, retirement, focusing on championship events or racing challenging courses contributed to their absences.

Below are the top-five performers, per Marathon Canada rankings, taking into account each athlete’s single-best time. (PB and debut listings were added by CR.)

Top-five men

1. Trevor Hofbauer – 2:18:06 (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, PB, debut)
2. Thomas Toth – 2:18:58 (Hamburg Marathon, PB, debut)
3. Sami Jibril – 2:22:04 (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, PB)
4. Blair Morgan – 2:22:14 (Prague Marathon, PB, debut)
5. Eric Bang – 2:23:54 (Chicago Marathon, PB)

UPDATE (Dec. 13): Not originally listed in the Marathon Canada or AC rankings is Terrence Attema’s 2:22:38 at the Grandma’s Marathon.

Top-five women

1. Leslie Sexton – 2:35:44 (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon)
2. Dayna Pidhoresky – 2:36:08 (Ottawa Marathon, PB)
3. Lyndsay Tessier – 2:36:51 (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, PB)
4. Melanie Myrand – 2:39:07 (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, PB)
5. Tarah Korir – 2:39:46 (Vienna Marathon)

Overall, 2017 was the single fastest year ever in Canada (for men) as Kenya’s Philemon Rono broke the national soil record in the marathon, clocking 2:06:52.

It should be noted that 2017 followed an Olympic year, which may have contributed to lack of chasing fast times, though the IAAF World Championships, which took place in London in August, is the most prestigious outdoor global event excluding the Summer Games. Comparing 2017 to 2013, the last post-Olympic year in recent cycles, the top times then were 2:11:24 and 2:28:00, according to Marathon Canada. (Marathon Canada doesn’t list the CIM results as of Dec. 12.) That year (2013) was when Marchant ran her Canadian record. (The men’s record is 2:10:09, set back in 1975.)

The first major event in 2018 to watch out for is the Houston Marathon.

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