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Lanni Marchant runs 1:14:07 in half-marathon comeback

Returning from injury, the 2016 Olympian ran her first elite race in years

Lanni Marchant at the Commonwealth Games Photo by: Brendan Cleary

On Wednesday, Lanni Marchant ran at the Michigan Pro Half-Marathon in Detroit, where she posted a final time of 1:14:07. The result is far off her half-marathon PB of 1:10:47 from 2014 (which is the fourth-fastest time ever run by a Canadian), but her result is far less important than the fact that she is back to elite racing after years of struggling with a torn labrum. This was the second elite-only event organized by Hanson’s Running Shop in as many weeks (after the Michigan Pro Ekiden), and Marchant — who represented Canada in the 10,000m and marathon at the 2016 Olympics — finished in 11th place out of 20. 

Marchant’s comeback run

American Keira D’Amato won the women’s race in 1:08:57, beating the second-place finisher by close to a minute, but Canadian viewers were more interested to see where Marchant stacked up against the top contenders. She opened the race with a 17:11 5K, putting her on pace for a 1:12:30 finish. She slowed in the next 5K, but not by much, and passed through 10K in 34:30, still on schedule for a sub-1:13 result. With a 17:26, her third 5K split was a few seconds slower once again, at which point she was hovering just over a 1:13 finish, but she faded quite a bit over the last quarter of the race and crossed the line just north of 74 minutes. 

RELATED: NAZ Elite team takes the win at inaugural Michigan Pro Ekiden

Even though this might not have been the time Marchant had hoped to run heading into the race, it’s still a decent result, and not many women have run faster in Canadian history. With the race calendar for 2020 and 2021 still so uncertain due to COVID-19, it could be a while before Marchant gets another chance to compete, but she’s officially made her comeback on the roads, and things will likely only get better for her as she continues to progress.

Linkletter’s 62-minute run

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In the men’s race, Canadian Rory Linkletter ran with his NAZ Elite teammates. Linkletter ran his half-marathon debut earlier this year at the Houston Half-Marathon, where he posted the second-fastest Canadian result of all time with a 1:01:44. This was just 16 seconds off Jeff Schiebler‘s 21-year-old national record of 1:01:28, and going into Wednesday’s race, the Canadian best was likely on Linkletter’s mind. 

He had a great start to the race, and he ran with the leaders through the first 15K. Somewhere between 15K and 20K, though, he fell off the pace, ultimately fading to ninth place and finishing in 1:02:37. American triathlete Morgan Pearson won the race (in his half-marathon debut) in a tight finish with four other men, all of whom were within three seconds of each other. Pearson took the win in 1:02:15. 

Full results from the Michigan Pro Half-Marathon can be found here.