It’s an amazing time to be a runner in Canada–especially a female runner. Sunday saw one of the best days in Canadian road running, possibly ever. In the space of one hour, running fans saw four records set on the women’s side and a near miss on the men’s. Natasha Wodak became the first Canadian woman to run under 70 minutes in the half-marathon, finishing the Houston Half-Marathon in 1:09:41. Just over an hour later Malindi Elmore smashed the women’s marathon record, running a 2:24:50 (she also broke the 25K and 30K records in the process).
In the men’s race, Rory Linkletter ran only 16 seconds off the Canadian half-marathon record in his debut.
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Let me be the first to welcome you to Kelowna! Gorgeous day for a 35 km “brisk” run day from Parkinson Rec Center to past the airport and back. Have I mentioned how great the new rail trail is? So many cyclist and runners – keeping our city active and healthy!! #ylw #kelowna #okanaganlife #marathontraining #running #trainracerepeat
In the past 13 months, the Canadian record board has seen almost a complete rewrite–in total, 20 women’s records have gone down. The coolest thing about this rewrite? It’s being accomplished by women at every age and stage.
On the track, we’re seeing young Canadian talent solidify themselves as some of the best in the world. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford and Sage Watson, both only 23 when they ran their records, are undeniably some of the best in the business. Jenna Westaway, Gen Lalonde, Rachel Cliff and Jessica O’Connell (all new record-holders) are in a similar phase of their running careers. All in their mid- to late twenties, these women are taking advantage of their experience in the sport and putting it to good use.
On the roads, Wodak and Elmore are proving that age is irrelevant when it comes to running very fast. The pair are 38 and 39 respectively, and they’re running faster than any Canadian woman has ever run.
The women’s record-board rewrite
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford: seven records
DeBues-Stafford broke her own 1,500m record three times, set the indoor mile record, the indoor 5,000m record, the outdoor mile record and the outdoor 5,000m record.
Rachel Cliff: four records
Cliff ran the 25K, 30K and marathon records in Japan in October. She followed that up by breaking her own record in the half-marathon in December.
Malindi Elmore: three records
Elmore ran the Canadian marathon, 25K and 30K records on Sunday morning at the Houston Marathon.
Jenna Westaway: two records
Westaway had a great indoor season in 2019, setting both the Canadian indoor 800m and 1,000m records.
Jess O’Connell: one record
O’Connell broke the Canadian indoor 3,000m record in February 2019.
Natasha Wodak: one record
Wodak broke Cliff’s Canadian half-marathon record on Sunday morning in Houston, running a 1:09:41. Wodak becomes the first Canadian woman to run under the 70-minute mark for the half.
Gen Lalonde: one record
Lalonde broke her own steeplechase record in May 2019.
Sage Watson: one record
Watson broke one of the oldest records in the book in October 2019. Her 54.32 took seven hundredths of a second off Rosey Edeh’s Canadian record of 54.39, set in 1996.