In another exciting evening of racing Thursday night, Canadian track fans were delighted to watch Natalia Hawthorn storm to a definitive win in the women’s 1,500m, hitting Olympic standard down to the hundredth of a second, in 4:04.20.
🚨Natalia Hawthorn runs 4:04.20 (PB) at the Stumptown Twilight 1,500m tonight.
🚨TIES Olympic standard
Tie goes to the runner, said track announcer.
— Alex Cyr (@Cyresy_10) June 4, 2021
Six days earlier, the Bracebridge, Ont. native was just 0.2 seconds off the Olympic standard, and last night’s race came right down to the wire. After a tight race, Hawthorn pulled away from the pack in the last 100m to take the win with not a second to spare. Fellow Canadian Kate Van Buskirk, who led for a good part of the race, followed just a few seconds behind, crossing the finish line in 4:07.12 for third place.
Hawthorn’s run makes her the second Canadian woman to run Olympic standard in the 1,500m, behind Gabriela Debues-Stafford, who ran the Canadian record at Worlds in October 2019 in 3:56.12. Lucia Stafford and Mariah Kelly are also in the running, because while neither of them have run standard, they are within the World Athletics rankings, in 33rd and 41st, respectively (the top 45 women in the world are eligible to be selected to their countries’ teams).
The outdoor track season is beginning to slow down as we get closer to the Olympics, but there is still time left for athletes to jump up (or down) in the rankings, or to run standard. Hawthorn, who has also qualified in the 5,000m, has put herself in an excellent position to be selected to Team Canada, and in just a few weeks we will find out who is selected to represent the red and white in Tokyo.