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Weekend recap: Laura Desjardins and Lee Wesselius take wins at 21K de Montréal

A sneak peek at all the action you missed from Canadian athletes last weekend

Photo by: Canada Running Series

A sold-out crowd of 1,400 runners was on hand Sunday morning at the scenic Parc Jean-Drapeau for the 21K de Montréal. Two Ontario-based elites came out on top, as Lee Wesselius and Laura Desjardins took the victories over the half-marathon distance in speedy fashion. Conditions were near perfect–around 3 C with overcast skies and little to no wind.

Lee Wesselius of Mountain, Ont., set a new half-marathon personal best of 64:48.

The men’s race ended up being a battle between the top four men, as they all snuck under 67 minutes. The group of Wesselius, Halifax’s Kieran Mcdonald, Kingston’s Kevin Coffey and Montréal’s Mohamed Aagab got off to a quick start, with Wesselius pushing the pace early. Wesselius and Mcdonald broke away from the group at 8 km, working together, taking turns to block the wind a kilometre at a time. They did this for 16 km, when Wesselius opened up a gap on Mcdonald, pushing to the finish to take the win in a personal best time of 64:48. The 2021 ATB champion, Coffey, ran a smart race to take third in 66:13.

Desjardins led the women’s race from the get-go, sticking to her goal pace of 1:14-flat, breaking the tape in 1:14:48, three minutes ahead of Montreal’s Jenn Dowling-Medley, who finished second in 1:18:10m. Kim Brown was four minutes back of Dowling-Medley for third in 1:22:12. Desjardins’ time is a one-minute PB over the distance and her straight podium at a Canada Running Series event this 2022 season. “I ran strong until 15K,” Desjardins says. “The wind got to me there, but the great crowd pulled me through the last few kilometres.”

Canadians in action on the track

On April 23, at the University of Oregon Relays at the prestigious Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. ,Toronto native and University of Wisconsin middle-distance runner Abdullahi Hassan ran 1:47.66 in the men’s 800m to take second in a nail-biting finish between him and U.S. runner Derek Holdsworth.

Hassan just missed the 800m podium at his indoor conference championships in February, and looks to bounce back this spring ahead of NCAA qualifiers in late May. 

Canadian 4x100m Olympic relay medallist Brendon Rodney won the 200m in 20.23 seconds at the LSU Alumni Invite on Saturday in a heavily wind-assisted +4.4 m/s, which is outside the legal wind of +2.o m/s. Sprinting events at the race had to be pushed back until later in the afternoon because of the high winds in Baton Rouge, La. 

Up and coming 21-year-old Canadian sprint talent from Oakville, Ont. Ibrahim Ayorinde was first in the 200m in a personal best of 20.51 seconds (+1.2) at the UVA Invite Charlottesville, Va. Ayorinde is in his third year at Princeton University, and has set school records in the 100m and 200m.

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