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Raez-Villanueva and Cliff are your Canadian 10,000m champions

The Speed River Inferno saw good results despite the rain and wind 

Runners showed grit and tenacity at the Speed River Inferno last night, persevering through 60km/h winds and dropping temperatures. In 10,000m action, Sergio Raez-Villanueva had a huge kick to out-run defending champion Evan Esselink. Raez-Villanueva finished in 30:19.19 and Esselink just behind in 30:20.16. Kevin Blackney was third in 30:37.95. 

Raez-Villanueva said he was surprised by his result, “I went into the race with the aim to be in the top three, but I would say closer to 3rd than 1st. The race started off very tactical and slow, understandably so as it was windy. I decided that I would try to move ahead and push the pace on the stretch with the wind in our favour.”

“Esselink and I sped through, and it came down to a kick around 150m to go. I miraculously found some deep inner strength to sprint hard and cross the line just a second or so before Esselink. The first thing that I thought when crossing the line was: Wait, I won?”

Coming off of a win at the Canadian 10K Championships two weeks ago in Ottawa, Rachel Cliff ran away from the women’s field once again, finishing in 33:06.53. Wednesday evening was an extremely impressive run for Cliff considering the conditions. Second place went to Kristina Popadich in 34:39.10, and third to Robyn Mildren in 34:50.51. 


The Canadian 10,000m Championships doubled as trials for the NACAC Championships, which are happening this August in Toronto. The first-place finishers in the men’s and women’s competitions automatically qualify for the team. Cliff and Raez-Villanueva, provided they accept the invitation to the team, will represent Canada in August on home soil. 

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In sprinting action, Keira Christie-Galloway broke a 36-year old U20 Canadian record in the 100m hurdles. Christie-Galloway finished in a time of 13.31, besting the previous record of 13.32 set in 1982 by Karen Nelson. The record will be reviewed by Athletics Canada before it’s made official. 


Corey Bellemore won the men’s 800m, and followed up his win with some pacing duties later on in the evening. Bellemore looked strong to finish in 1:50.06. Canadian Olympian Brandon McBride paced the men through 500m. 

Jenna Westaway was the winner of the women’s 1,500m. Westaway is now stationed out of Big Bear Lake, California where she trains with American Olympian Brenda Martinez and Big Bear Track Club. 

In the junior men’s 1,500m Isaiah Frielink came out on top. Frielink won in a time of 3:52.21. Despite missing the standard for the World Junior Championships in Finland this July, Frielink was happy with his performance, and looking forward to his next race at London 1,500m night. 

Looking for more opportunities to watch track and field? Many of these talented Canadian runners are competing this Saturday evening at London 1,500m Night. The event gets underway at 6:40 p.m.

The high-performance sections in London go at 10:00 p.m. for the women and 10:15 p.m. for the men.