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Moh Ahmed and Natasha Wodak crowned Canadian 10K champions

Moh Ahmed wins his professional road racing debut and Natasha Wodak defends her Canadian 10K title

Wodak and Ahmed Ottawa 10K Photo by: Victah Sailer, PhotoRun

On a warm evening in Ottawa, Canadian Olympians Moh Ahmed and Natasha Wodak won the Canadian 10K Championships. Ahmed won the race in 28:22 in his first professional road race in a sensational battle against Cam Levins. Wodak successfully defended her 2022 title, leading the women’s race from start to finish to break the tape in 32:51.

Moh wins

The story going into the men’s race was the duel between the Canadian distance track star, Ahmed, and the marathon record holder, Levins. The race did not disappoint. The two men were out in front from the start, sharing the lead until the 9K mark, when Ahmed made his move. He surged to a two-minute and 40-second final kilometre down the Queen Elizabeth Driveway along Ottawa’s historic Rideau Canal, earning an 18-second victory over Levins, who finished second in a personal best time of 28:39. Jeremy Coughler of London, Ont., continues his string of impressive performances in 2023, finishing third in 29:31.

Photo: Marley Dickinson

As always, warm weather hit the nation’s capital (28 C at the start), which made for slower racing conditions. Levins and Ahmed were seen running through water sprinklers on the course to stay cool. Ahmed said in a post-race interview that he wished there were more water stations.

Two for Wodak

Wodak’s plan heading into the Canadian 10K Championships was to keep the race honest–and that’s what she did. The women’s race went out through the first kilometre in a conservative three minutes and 25 seconds. Wodak immediately surged, spacing out the lead pack and opening a 15-second lead on Leslie Sexton at the 5K mark. Wodak’s lead grew, and she didn’t look back, breaking the tape for the second consecutive year, in 32:51. “I felt stronger this year than my win in 2022,” says Wodak. “At 8K, I felt if someone came up on me, and that I had another gear.” She had intended to run the 2023 London Marathon but had to drop out the week of the race due to a stomach bug.

In a post-race interview, the 41-year-old referred to her win as “more icing on the cake.”

Finishing 22 seconds behind Wodak was the 2021 Canadian 10K champion, Sexton, who eagerly tried to chase Wodak down after her surge in the early stages. She is the runner-up in Ottawa for the second consecutive year, finishing in 33:13. Caroline Pomerleau of Quebec City passed four women in the final two kilometres to set a 45-second personal best and win bronze in 33:16. This is Pomerleau’s first podium finish at a national championship, and says this race has been on her calendar since last winter. “This is a huge confidence booster heading into the Canadian 10,000m Championships next month,” says Pomerleau. “I am still in disbelief.”

Top five men

1: Moh Ahmed 28:22
2: Cam Levins 28:39 (PB)
3: Jeremy Coughler 29:31
4: Thomas Nobbs 29:36
5: Andrew Davies 29:36

Top five women

1: Natasha Wodak 32:51
2: Leslie Sexton 33:13
3: Caroline Pomerleau 33:16
4: Katelyn Ayers 33:37
5: Elissa Legault 33:50

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