Melissa Bishop cruises to victory in first race of 2017

One race, one win for Melissa Bishop as she tops the women's 800m field at the Camel City Elite on Saturday in North Carolina. Nate Brannen also showed off his wheels winning the men's mile.

Melissa Bishop

Melissa Bishop

Canadian Melissa Bishop narrowly missed breaking her own women’s 800m meet record at the Camel City Elite on Saturday.

Bishop, the fourth-place finisher in the women’s 800m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, ran 2:02.49 for the win, just off her 2:02.10 mark from 2016. The 28-year-old Eganville, Ont. native is the Canadian record holder in the women’s 800m, both indoors and outdoors.

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Saturday afternoon’s meet was held at JDL Fast Track, a 200m indoor facility in Winston-Salem, N.C. (It wasn’t the only notable race in North Carolina on Saturday.) Bishop took the race out hard from the gun leading wire-to-wire. She split 28.75, 30.53, 31.03 and 32.20 for each 200m, respectively. Bishop won by nearly a second as runner-up Hanna Green of Virginia Tech clocked 2:03.31.

The Canadian, who spends much of her time in Windsor, Ont., had been training in Miramar, Fla. in the lead up to Saturday’s 2017 opener. She is expected to race two more times in February, both over 800m, in Europe.

Also in action on Saturday was Nate Brannen, a three-time Olympian for Canada in the men’s 1,500m. The unsponsored middle-distance runner won the men’s mile (1,609m) in 4:00.29 as he negative split the race running the second half faster than the first. A US$4,000 prize is awarded to each race winner. The Canadian edged Andy Bayer by 0.17 seconds for the win.

Brannen, 34, has been on a roll so far in 2017. In addition to his win on Saturday in North Carolina, the Olympic 1,500m finalist in Rio also set a indoor 3,000m personal best (7:47.18) last weekend at the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle.

Erin Teschuk was fifth in the women’s mile (4:39.59) while Robert Heppenstall was seventh in the men’s mile (4:08.87).