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Rachel Hannah and Eric Gillis lining up with elites at 2017 Boston Marathon

The countdown for the 2017 Boston Marathon is on. This year, two of Canada's favourite elites will be lining up on the blue and yellow startline.

Rachel Hannah
Rachel Hannah
Photo: Canada Running Series.

Time is ticking away and though we’re only two weeks into the new year, it’s really not too long until fans and runners alike flock to the streets of Boston for the 2017 running of North America’s favourite race. 

This year, Canadians in the crowd are going to go wild as two of the country’s favourite runners of the moment will be towing the blue and yellow start line in early spring.  

RELATED: Becoming elite: Rachel Hannah’s rise to the top

There’s a good chance Eric Gillis and Rachel Hannah are going to become the most talked about distance runners in Canada this year. As if their successes in the past couple of years weren’t enough, the two runners are going to line up with the rest of the elites to put their speed to the test at the 2017 Boston Marathon. Right now, with his 2:11.21 PB, Gillis sits 18th on the men’s elite list. Hannah is 19th having run a 2:32.09.


Top runners on the list for the men’s race are world record holder Dennis Kimetto. Kimetto’s 2:02.57 is the best the world has ever seen so there’s no doubt that the already buzzing vibe in Boston will be even more energetic come April. Emmanuel Mutai (2:03.13) and Patrick Makau (2:03.38) will also show up ready to knock out a fast 42.2. 

In the women’s race, the top three fastest women have all cracked the coveted 2:20 barrier. Eyes will be on Gladys Cherono (2:19.25), Edna Kiplagat (2:19.50) and Buzunesh Deba (2:19.59) who are sure to make the 2017 running one to remember. 

At this point though, the Canadian plot line is one to be really excited about. It’s hard not to be a fan of both Gillis and Hannah. Both athletes have a knack for raking in the successful race performances lately. Perhaps most importantly though is that they remain classy, level-headed and display great sportsmanship as they do so. That makes it all the more likely that Canadians fans will wish them the best on the streets of Boston this year. 

Gillis heads into this still reveling in his accomplishments from 2016. The marathon star made Canada proud at the Olympics in Rio this past summer when he earned himself a tenth place finish in the marathon. He then went on to run one of Canada’s favourite races, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and win the Canada Running Series title. In signing up to run Boston, he’s showing that 2017 is again going to be a big year. 

As for Hannah, she started her marathon running career on the right foot by running Canada’s second-fastest women’s marathon debut. At her first attempt in the distance, she managed a 2:33. That first stab at 42.2K was the second best the country has ever seen behind prominent icon Sylvia Ruegger. And lets not forget that her 2:32 PB is fresh– having set that time in 2016 means that she hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. It was also the best time run by a Canadian woman last year. Let’s watch her now to see what she has in store for 2017.

The Boston Marathon is three months away. Let the countdown begin.