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Lindsey Butterworth goes sub-2 for 800m national title and Olympic auto-qual

Robert Heppenstall took the national title in the men's 800m

Lindsey Butterworth of Vancouver surged ahead of Canadian record holder Melissa Bishop-Nriagu and 2019 national champion Madeleine Kelly to take the win at nationals in Montreal today in a meet record of 1:59.19, which is under the Olympic standard and a PB for Butterworth. Bishop-Nriagu finished second in 1:59.50 and Kelly third in 2:00.30.

RELATED: Olympic-Bound Canadians: Women’s 800m with Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, Lindsey Butterworth and Maddy Kelly

Butterworth has struggled all season to attain that elusive Olympic standard, though her position in the world rankings meant there was a good chance she’d be selected anyway, especially with the boost that comes with a national title. But achieving it means she can relax in the knowledge that she has made the team. Butterworth was the 2018 national champion. She finished fourth at nationals in 2019.

Kelly will race again at Tuesday’s La Classique meet in Montreal.

Men’s 800m

Robert Heppenstall is the new national champion in the men’s 800m. His time was 1:46.79, a second and a half off the Olympic standard of 1:45.20. This was his first senior nationals; Heppenstall is a former OFSAA and junior champion and now attends Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Mohand Zine Khelaf finished second, in 1:49.01, and Olivier Desmeules was third, in 1:50.00. Heppenstall will compete again on Tuesday at the La Classique meet in Montreal. 

The action continues with the men’s and women’s 3,000m steeplechase tonight in Montreal.