Saturday May 12 is the first of two meets at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Saturday is the Occidental Invitational and the following Thursday is the USATF High Performance Distance Classic. The Distance Classic is a hot-spot for Canadians to make both Olympic and World standards in their events.
Saturday’s invitational serves as a warm up for the big show five days later. A large Canadian contingent has travelled to California to race both events. This group includes 2016 Olympian Luc Bruchet and Canadian half-marathon record holder, Rachel Cliff.
After a few near misses finally dipped under that 32-minute barrier in the 10k at Payton Jordan! Had fun racing some speedy ladies over the last 2k and happy with 31:56 for 3rd place. 📸@john_doenut_foto #paytonjordan #standordtrack #californiaracing #racingseason #trackandfield #pbcm #soloenergy #nuunelite #bcathletics #BCEP
The women’s 1,500m goes at 3:15 p.m PDT and includes Canadians: Rachel Cliff, Natalia Hawthorne and Natasha LaBeaud. Cliff is the Canadian half-marathon record holder and typically runs longer distances. She will likely use the 1,500m as speed work before running the 5,000m later in the evening. Hawthorne is a Bracebridge, Ont. native but moved to B.C. to attend the University of British Columbia. LaBeaud of Kelowna B.C. primarily runs the marathon, but shows good range and continues to compete often on the track.
Rob Denault and Thomas Riva are the Canadian representatives in the men’s 1,500m. Denault is a Villanova alumni who relocated from his hometown of Aurora, Ont. to Victoria B.C. to train with the Athletics Canada West Hub. The West Hub is a group dedicated to developing Canadian athletes who are on track to make Olympic and World teams. Riva is a former Canadian 1,500m National champion, and USports Champion for the University of Victoria Vikes. Riva also trains with the Athletics Canada West Hub. The 1,500m goes at 3:40 p.m PDT.
Heat one of the women’s 800m is almost an entirely Canadian field. Leading the Canadian women is 2017 World Championship team member Annie Leblanc. The University of Oregon alumni comes into this outdoor season with a personal best of 2:01.56. Other Canadians in the field are: Samantha Murphy, Laurence Cote, Elizabeth Whelan and Adrea Propp. The women’s 800m goes at 5:35 p.m PDT.
The men’s 3,000m steeplechase has Luc Bruchet and Justin Kent as the two fastest incoming seed times. Bruchet, a 2016 Olympian over 5,000m, has decided to move down to the 3,000m steeplechase as his primary event. The steeplechase goes at 8:30 p.m PDT.
Rolled 13:27 last night after a month in Flagstaff. Strong as an 🐃, now to pipe some speed into these legs. And give this steeplechase thing a real go
— Lucas Bruchet (@lucabruca) May 4, 2018
The women’s 5,000m has Aurelie Dube-Lavoie and Rachel Cliff on the start list. Dube-Lavoie is a University of Laval track and cross country runner who has had many strong performances on the track. She was third at the USports Championships in March over 1,500m. Saturday is a big night for Cliff, who will run the 5,000m after running the 1,500m three hours earlier. The 5,000m goes at 9:30 p.m PDT.