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Will the Canadians at The Marathon Project crack the all-time list?

A rundown of the times the Canadian contingent will be chasing at The Marathon Project on December 20

A team of six Canadians will be in Chandler, Ariz., on Sunday, December 20, to run The Marathon Project, which could end up being the best race of 2020. None of these Canadians have run Olympic standard yet, so there is a lot on the line and a lot that could be won in Arizona. In the case of both the men and the women, running Olympic standards of 2:11:30 and 2:29:30 would catapult these athletes up the all-time Canadian rankings in the marathon. To see exactly who these six athletes are chasing on the national list, here are the five fastest marathons ever run by Canadians. 

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Photo: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series.

The women:

#5. Silvia Ruegger — 2:28:36 

Silvia Ruegger, who passed away in 2019, was one of the all-time great Canadian runners. Her career was unfortunately cut short following a car accident, and although she did return to elite running, she was never able to get back to her previous form. Before her accident, though, Ruegger competed in the 1984 Olympics (the first women’s Olympic marathon) in L.A., where she finished eighth. A year later, she ran her Canadian record of 2:28:36 in Houston. This record stood for 28 years before it was broken in 2013 by Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene

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#4. Krista DuChene — 2:28:32

DuChene and Marchant both beat Ruegger’s record at the 2013 STWM. DuChene finished just behind Marchant, posting a 2:28:32 to beat Ruegger’s mark by four seconds. She came so close to the Canadian record that day, but ultimately fell just short. 

Lanni Marchant marathon canadian record STWM
Lanni Marchant after setting the Canadian marathon record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2013.

#3. Lanni Marchant — 2:28:00

Marchant beat DuChene to the punch in Toronto in 2013, crossing the line as the top Canadian and taking the national record. Her record stood for a while (although not nearly as long as Ruegger’s), and it’s still the third-fastest time ever run by a Canadian woman. 

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#2. Rachel Cliff — 2:26:56

Rachel Cliff has only run two marathons in her career, one of which was a Canadian record. At the 2019 Nagoya Women’s Marathon in Japan, she ran to a blazing-fast 2:26:56 finish, beating Marchant’s six-year-old record by more than a minute. This was a significant amount of time to shave off the national best, and the result could earn her a spot on the Canadian Olympic team in Tokyo next summer. 

Rachel Cliff runs the national marathon record in Japan. Photo: Instagram.

#1. Malindi Elmore — 2:24:50

Less than a year after Cliff’s incredible run, Malindi Elmore ran an amazing 2:24:50 at the 2020 Houston Marathon. Unless more Canadian women manage to beat her record in the coming months, Elmore’s result pretty much guarantees she will be in Tokyo for what will be her second Olympics (she competed in the 1,500m in 2004). 

RELATED: Malindi Elmore, from 1500m Olympian to marathon record holder

The men: 

#5. Dylan Wykes — 2:10:47

Number five all-time among Canadian men goes to Dylan Wykes, who ran a 2:10:47 marathon in Rotterdam in 2012. This time qualified Wykes for the London Olympics that were run just a few months after Rotterdam. He went on to run 2:15:26 in the Olympic marathon that summer. 

Wykes finishes as the top Canadian at the 2019 Ottawa 10K. Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun

#4. Reid Coolsaet — 2:10:28

Reid Coolsaet‘s name will forever be linked to the Canadian marathon scene, as he was the man to beat for so many years. Until Cam Levins stepped up to the marathon, Coolsaet was the closest to lowering Jerome Drayton‘s long-standing national record of 2:10:09, which he set in 1975. Coolsaet’s best was just 19 seconds off Drayton’s time, and his 2:10:28 finish from the 2015 Berlin Marathon is still the fourth-best all-time. 

#3. Jerome Drayton — 2:10:09

As already mentioned, Drayton owned the Canadian marathon record for decades. He ran his 2:10:09 record at the Fukuoka Marathon (an event he won on three occasions) in 1975, and his time was not beaten until 2018. 

Canadian Running - Jerome Drayton winner of the 1975 Fukuoka Marathon and set Canadian Marathon record
Drayton after winning the 1975 Fukuoka Marathon, setting the Canadian record of 2:10:09.

#2. Trevor Hofbauer — 2:09:51

Trevor Hofbauer became the second-fastest Canadian marathoner in history when he ran to a 2:09:51 finish at the 2019 STWM. This race doubled as the Canadian Olympic Marathon Trials, and as the top Canadian on the day, Hofbauer booked his ticket to the Tokyo Games

#2. Cam Levins — 2:09:25

Just one year before Hofbauer’s run, Levins ran to the current Canadian record of 2:09:25, also in Toronto. He became the first Canadian man to run a sub-2:10 marathon, and he smashed Drayton’s 43-year-old record by 44 seconds. Levins is the only runner on either of these lists who will be racing The Marathon Project on Sunday, and he will be looking to better his own record and give himself a great shot at joining Hofbauer on the Olympic team in the process.