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Weekend recap: Canadian races, NCAA Championships and more

With the Olympic qualification window closing in just two weeks, Canadians continue to chase standard

The past weekend featured some of the best racing Canada has seen since the start of the pandemic, with the Harry Jerome and Johnny Loaring classics both on Saturday. South of the border, the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships took place at the University of Oregon’s newly-renovated Hayward Field, and the NYRR Mini 10K ran in New York City. These events produced exciting and jaw-dropping results, including national records and Olympic-qualifying runs. 

Harry Jerome Classic 

The Harry Jerome Classic, which took place in Burnaby, B.C., is part of Athletics Canada’s Tokyo Qualifier Series, and it lived up to the series name, as Luc Bruchet hit Olympic standard in the 5,000m. Bruchet ran a massive PB of 13:12.56, beating the Olympic standard of 13:13.50. His previous best was 13:24.10, which he ran exactly five years before his PB on Saturday.

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Bruchet’s run now places him third all-time among Canadians in the 5,000m and it makes him the third Canuck to hit standard in the 5,000m (Moh Ahmed and Justyn Knight have both run sub-13-minute results during the qualification window). He is not guaranteed a spot on Team Canada, but every country can send three athletes per gender in each event, so if no one else hits standard in the coming weeks (the last day of qualifying is June 29), Bruchet will likely join Ahmed and Knight in Tokyo. 

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Evan Dunfee also raced in Burnaby, although he wasn’t looking to qualify for the Games, as he has already been selected to Team Canada in the 50K race walk. Instead, he focused on the shorter 10,000m race, and he beat his own Canadian record by about 15 seconds, with a 38:39.72 finish. In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, Regan Yee and Alycia Butterworth finished in first and second, both agonizingly close to the 9:30.00 Olympic standard. 

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Yee crossed the line in 9:31.07, a four-second PB, and Butterworth finished in 9:31.27, improving on her previous best by nine seconds. The race moves Yee into second all-time on the Canadian 3,000m steeplechase list, and Butterworth sits just behind her in third. The national record holder, Geneviève Lalonde, also raced at the Harry Jerome Classic, where she finished in third in 9:40.62, but she has already qualified for the Tokyo Games. 

For full results from Burnaby, click here.

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Johnny Loaring Classic

The Johnny Loaring Classic was also part of the Tokyo Qualifier series, but unlike the Harry Jerome Classic, no one managed to hit Olympic standard. The meet was held in Windsor, Ont., and the race of the day came in the women’s 800m. Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, who has already run the 800m standard of 1:59.50, won the race in 1:59.60, which beat her own meet record of 2:00.87 from 2014. 

Second place went to Madeleine Kelly in 2:00.11, and Lucia Stafford crossed the line in third in 2:00.80. These results are PBs for Kelly and Stafford, both of whom have been inching closer and closer to Olympic standard throughout 2021 (although Stafford has focused more on the 1,500m). 

Full results from the Johnny Loaring Classic can be found here

NCAA Championships 

The NCAA Outdoor Champs featured plenty of amazing races, but the biggest run of the weekend had to be Athing Mu‘s win in the 400m. Mu entered the event as the heavy favourite, as she already owned the collegiate record of 49.68 seconds (which she ran at the end of May), along with several other NCAA and U20 American and U20 world records.

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She delivered as expected, winning in 49.57, yet another NCAA record to add to her resume. That same day, Mu also helped her Texas A&M team to the win in the 4 x 400m relay. She ran an amazing split of 48.85 seconds, and the team finished in 3:22.24, which is also a collegiate record. 

There are plenty of other results from the NCAA Championships, including great finishes from Canadian athletes. For full results from the meet, click here, but stay tuned on the Canadian Running website for a recap of the top Canadian results from Oregon. 

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Mini 10K 

The women-only NYRR Mini 10K took place in Central Park in NYC over the weekend, and Sara Hall defended her title, taking the win in 31:33, which beat her previous best over 10K by 41 seconds. Second place went to Kenya’s Viola Cheptoo in 31:39, and her compatriot Monicah Ngige finished in third in 31:59. Hall’s time was the fastest by an American at this race.

To view the full results from the Mini 10K, click here

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