Two new champions were crowned on Saturday afternoon in Ottawa: a pair of Vancouver athletes, Kieran Lumb and Ceili McCabe, won their first senior XC titles at the 2023 Canadian XC Championships.
McCabe, 22, led the women’s 10K from start to finish, winning the race by a staggering 41 seconds in 33:28. Lumb, on the other hand, waited patiently in the men’s 10K, pushing the pace down the final hill and holding off Quebec’s Philippe Morneau-Cartier to win by two seconds, in 29:18.
Lumb and McCabe are two of Canada’s rising track and field stars, with their sights on the Paris 2024 Olympics. McCabe, who is in her third year at the University of West Virginia, opted out of competing (red-shirted) this year in the NCAA to recover after the long track season. “With next year being an Olympic year, the goal is to train to be on that team,” says McCabe.
The queen of cross
In her first 10K cross-country race, McCabe was out front early on, joined by her former WVU teammate Mikaela Lucki of Toronto. Lucki was on McCabe’s heels through two laps of five, but soon began to fall off McCabe’s uptempo pace. McCabe grew her lead to 30 seconds heading into the final lap and extended it even more to win by 41 seconds over Glynis Sim of Vancouver, who crossed the line in 34:09. Kate Bazeley of St. John’s rounded out the podium in 34:18.
“I am really happy to come out here and race in Canada,” says McCabe. “I am generally not the best at running in front on my own, especially with it being my first 10K cross, but I got in a rhythm.”
Lucki wound up finishing fourth (34:22), while Victoria’s Katelyn Ayers finished inside the top five for the second year in a row, in 34:26.
Eight of the top 10 finishers in the women’s championship 10K are either from, or currently train in, British Columbia.
Lumb is golden in Ottawa
Lumb told Canadian Running in a post-race interview that he didn’t know what to expect in his return to nationals, and thought he could’ve been “tactically smarter.” Lumb positioned himself near the front through four laps, awaiting the moment to make his move. Coming down the final hill and into the final kilometre, Lumb made a move on Morneau-Cartier, Thomas Fafard and 2022 champion Connor Black. With 200 metres to go, Lumb looked over his shoulder, pumping his fist in triumph as he knew he could hold off a surging Morneau-Cartier for the win.
The 25-year-old middle-distance athlete was all smiles crossing the finish line to win his first Canadian cross-country title in six years. “The last lap, I decided it was time to make things hard,” says Lumb. “I did not want to leave it till the last-minute kick.”
Morneau-Cartier arrived at the Canadian XC Championships in good form, going undefeated this season on the Canadian U Sports collegiate circuit and leading the Laval Rouge et Or to a silver medal at U Sports. “I couldn’t ask for more,” says Morneau-Cartier on his second-place finish. “It’s been a pretty good season for me.”
Following Morneau-Cartier was his Club D’Athletisme de L’Universite Laval (CAUL) teammate, Fafard, rounding out the podium in 29:23. Both men and Lumb will most likely gain selection for the 2024 World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on March 30.
For full results from the 2023 Canadian XC Championships in Ottawa, check here.