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Weekend recap: St. Patrick’s Day road races kick off spring season

Vancouver's Glynis Sim missed the course record at the B.C. St. Patrick's Day 5K by one second. Her winning time of 15:37 put her sixth-fastest all-time among Canadian women

TOronto St. Patricks Day 5K Photo by: @caught_inn_motion

St. Patrick’s Day is a day not only celebrated by those of Irish descent and heritage across the world, but also by many runners across Canada as they kick off their 2024 road race season at festive St. Patrick’s Day races. In Ontario and B.C., more than 2,000 runners (combined) took to the roads decked out in green to partake in the Irish celebrations and to chase fast times.

The St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Vancouver’s Stanley Park saw Glynis Sim clock the second-fastest time in the history of the event to win in 15:37. Her time was only one second behind the course record set by two-time Olympian Natasha Wodak, who ran 15:36 to win in 2019.

Sim won by a big margin, crossing the finish line nearly 30 seconds ahead of Leslie Sexton, who finished in 16:05. Katelyn Ayers-Murray took third place in 16:15. All three women will be heading to Serbia in 10 days to represent Team Canada at the 2024 World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade.

On the men’s side, Canadian Olympian John Gay got out quickly and never looked back, winning the race in a course-record time of 14:04. Former U Sports XC medallist Andrew Davies finished second in 14:20, and Canadian marathon champion Thomas Broatch was third in 14:25. For full results, check here.

Toronto St. Patrick's Day 5K
Toronto St. Patrick’s Day 5K in the Don Valley Brickworks. Photo: Jason Dam / @iamjasondam

In Toronto, nearly 1,300 runners and walkers turned out for the 25th anniversary of the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K/10K. Canadian middle-distance runner Kieran Lumb made an appearance to guide top Achilles runner Radane Wright, who won the Achilles 5K division for the second year in a row in 22:34.

In the open race, Etobicoke’s Kyle Grieve returned to the top of the podium on the new out-and-back course, crossing the finish line in 15:35. Matthew Lozano of Ajax, Ont., followed Grieve for second place in 15:43, and Brent Smalley of Uxbridge, Ont., rounded out the podium in 15:47.

Toronto St. Patrick's Day 5K
Toronto’s Kyle Grieve crosses the finish line in 15:35. Photo: Jason Dam/@iamjasondam

On the women’s side, Erin Mawhinney of Hamilton, Ont., won by a margin of 46 seconds. Becca Brennan of Ottawa was the second woman to cross the finish line in 17:45, while Toronto’s Sarah Nolan took third place in 18:33.

The course at the Achilles 5K ended up being long (by around 200 metres) due to a mis-marking of the course at the turnaround point. This was the first year that the historic Toronto road race moved to a new location by the Evergreen Brickworks, outside of the downtown core (where it had been held in the past).

For full results from the Achilles 5K and 10K, check here.

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