On a sunny Edmonton afternoon, many of the top athletes in the world impressed fans with some of the fastest times ever run in Alberta and Canada at the Edmonton International Track Classic.
The race of the day was Canadian Aaron Brown’s 200m upset over a stacked field that included multiple world and Olympic medallists. Jamaica’s Warren Weir was the favourite going into the 200m, having won a bronze medal in that event at the 2012 London Olympics and finished runner-up at the 2013 world championships. Weir led until the final metres, where he was overcome by Brown, who won in 20.25, a new meet record.
“I kind of surprised myself a little, I’m not going to lie, but I’m happy to do it and I’m happy I got to do it in Canada,” said Brown after the race. “It’s a great meet.
“This is a definite confidence boost that I belong on the circuit, I can run with the best in the world and I feel really good moving forward with my career.”
Brown, a Toronto, Ont., native has been having a standout season, earlier this year breaking the Canadian 200m record. He had a great NCAA season competing for the University Southern California but the Canadian national championships did not go as well as 22-year-old had hoped, missing the coveted 100m title. He will compete later this season for Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
After the Devil’s 5K, always a crowd favourite event at the Edmonton Track Classic, Francena McCorory and LaShawn Merritt, two American athletes, ran blistering 400m times to win their respective events. McCorory won her race in 50.43 and Merritt raced to a 44.30. Both times were meet records. Merritt, who served a two-year doping ban, won the 2008 Olympic Games in the 400m.
American Justin Gatlin won the men’s 100m in running 10.05, which tied the meet record . Many were hoping he won run under 10 seconds, which may well have happened had the wind cooperated. Gatlin won the 2004 Olympics but, like Merritt, served a doping ban after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. He returned to the sport after serving his ban and is currently the top-ranked 100m runner in the world.
American Jeneba Tarmoh had a strong day on the track, winning both the women’s 100m and 200m races in 11.11 and 22.82.
The men’s and women’s 800m races were won by Duane Solomon and Charlene Lipsey, respectively, in 2:02.57 and 1:44.92. Solomon’s mark shattered the previous meet record.
In the field events, Canadian high jump record-holder Derek Drouin of Corunna, Ont., broke the meet record in jumping 2.32m.