Biggest breakthroughs in Canadian running in 2017

These runners made significant jumps in 2017

December 19th, 2017 by | Posted in The Scene | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Massive improvements are hard to come by in running. It often takes months and years, as opposed to days and weeks, for significant jumps to be made within the sport, with hundreds of hours of preparation on display for a fraction of that time on race day, when it matters the most.

Here are some, but certainly not all, of the breakthroughs in Canadian running from the past 12 months, in no particular order.

Thomas Toth

Thomas Toth
Photo: Norbert Wilhelmi.

In his marathon debut, a 2:18:58 in Hamburg, Germany, Thomas Toth qualified for his the IAAF World Championships team after representing Canada at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships earlier in the year.

Melanie Myrand

Melanie Myrand
Photo: Kevin Mackinnon.

Having never broken 3:00 in the marathon, Melanie Myrand ran 2:39:10 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which doubled as the Canadian Marathon Championships. She finished third in Toronto and second at the Canadian 10,000m Championships in June.

Victoria Coates

Victoria Coates
Photo: Kevin Mackinnon.

Victoria Coates won the Canadian 10,000m title, finished second at the Canadian Cross-Country Championships, represented Canada at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships and won the Indianapolis Half-Marathon in a personal-best time of 1:13:43. She PB’d in the 5,000m, 10,000m, 5K, 10K and half-marathon in 2017, according to All Athletics.

Kevin Blackney

Kevin Blackney
Photo: Matt Stetson.

Kevin Blackney broke 30:00 in the 10,000m and reached the national podium for the first time as a senior finishing second at the Canadian 10K Championships, part of the Ottawa 10K, in May. The only runner who beat Blackney that day was three-time Olympian Eric Gillis.

Mallory Richard

Mallory Richard
Photo: Geoff Cordner.

After getting into running in 2011, Mallory Richard posted her best result to date at the Western States 100, finishing 11th overall in one of the world’s most competitive trail 100-milers. She then set a course record winning the Hennepin Hundred, a 100-miler in Illinois, in 16:28:14.

Justyn Knight

Embed from Getty Images

Justyn Knight was already one of the nation’s top distance runners prior to 2017, narrowly missing qualifying for the 2016 Olympics. In 2017, Knight arrived on the international scene, qualifying for the men’s 5,000m at the IAAF World Championships and running 13:17.51 for 5,000m. After his track accomplishments, Knight went on to win his first individual NCAA Division One Cross-Country title.

Kieran Lumb

Canadian Cross-Country Championships
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

A talented all-around athlete, Kieran Lumb ran for Canada at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships, shortly after winning the NACAC Cross-Country Championships. Lumb went on to run for Canada at the World Mountain Running Championships and then won the U20 8K at November’s national cross-country championships. He also helped UBC win its first-ever men’s team cross-country title at the NAIA Championships earning individual bronze.

Lyndsay Tessier

Lyndsay Tessier
Photo: Matt Stetson.

After winning the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, Lyndsay Tessier finished second at the Canadian Marathon Championships taking nine minutes off of her previous PB, from 2014, running 2:36:55. Her half-marathon split in that race was 51 seconds off her half-marathon PB, set in Vancouver in June.

Connor Black

Photo: Kevin Mackinnon.

After finishing 20th at the Canadian university cross-country championships in 2015 and subsequently missing the event in 2016, the University of Guelph’s Connor Black earned his first individual U Sports cross-country medal in November, finishing second only to Yves Sikubwabo.

James Linde

James Linde
Photo: Mathieu Belanger.

James Linde’s 100m PB of 10.42 was set at the Harry Jerome Track Classic, perhaps the most prestigious athletics event in Canada, where he finished second to three-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse. Linde went on win silver at the World University Games.

Claire Sumner

Claire Sumner
Photo: Tim Huebsch.

Yes, Claire Sumner was the Canadian university cross-country champion in 2016. But the jump to Canadian senior cross-country champion is significant as Sumner won the national title in November after finishing second at this year’s university cross-country championships.

Shelley Doucet

Shelley Doucet
Photo: Joe Viger/provided.

Shelley Doucet won the women’s marathon at the Francophone Games and ran 2:45:46 for the marathon in Boston. She also represented Canada internationally in mountain running finishing in the top-10 at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.

Jaimie Phelan

Jaimie Phelan won the women’s 1,500m at the NCAA Division One Track and Field Championships passing 11 runners in the final lap in a kick for the ages. She covered the final 400m (last lap) in 61.62 to win in 4:13.78, just off her PB of 4:11.92.

Eric Bang

The Toronto runner improved his lifetime best to 2:23:54 at the Chicago Marathon from 2:28:30 in 2016. He’s the sixth-fastest marathoner in Canada in 2017, according to Marathon Canada rankings.