Predictions and 5 Things to Watch: Canadian 10,000m Championship Preview

The race is finally here – a race which will bring innovation and change to Canadian distance running. Last year, the British Columbia Endurance Project (BCEP) announced that it would be hosting the Canadian 10,000 Championships – but would be changing how the race is run.

Image result for bc distance carnival

This year, instead of being held at a usual track meet, BCEP has is trying to recreate democratic running experience which is so often discussed on the roads, and bring it to the track. Before the elite races, Saucony will be hosting a chase the pace for local runners who will aim to get PBs over the 5,000. After their races, these participants are encouraged to head to the track-side beer garden to cheer on the elite runners.

For those not running their own race, the elite races are worth the price of admission alone. Instead of a thirty-plus lap time trial (which is often the case), organizers are providing the opportunity for Canadians to run fast AND race – and for some hopefully achieve the World or Olympic Standards.

Don’t forget, Sports Canada TV will live stream the race at this link – you won’t want to miss it!

Women’s Start List

Name Division Club Seed Time
Wodak, Natasha Open PIHR 31:43.27
*Pagano, Sarah Open ADID 31:51.66
*Tabb, Elaina Open ADID 31:55.00
Cliff, Rachel Open M2M 31:56.86
Middleton, Kinsey Open UNBC 32:30.82
*Inglis, Sarah Open LANG 32:36.00
*Ramos, Beverly Open NEW 32:36.03
Setlack, Emily Open UNAB 33:03.00
Boyd, Cleo Open PHYS 33:11.00
MacDougall, Branna Open PHYS 33:14.21
Digby, Erica Open M2M NT
Lee, Kirsten Open MI2M NT
Yee, Regan Open LANG NT

* Denotes a non-Canadian. Pagano and Tabb are Americans. Ramos is Puerto Rican. Inglis (who trains in Canada) is Scottish.

Men’s Start List

Name Division Club Seed Time
*Bruce, Ben Open HOKA 28:09.29
Linkletter, Rory Open UNAB 28:12.00
Flanagan, Benjamin Open REEB 28:19.51
Bruchet, Lucas Open M2M 28:30.00
*Ward, Jared Open SAUC 28:36.00
Esselink, Evan Open M2M 28:55.98
Tate, Mike Open OSPR 29:09.36
De Jong, Caleb Open LANG 29:30.00
Travaglini, Matthew Open UNON 29:38.04
Kent, Justin Open CTC1 29:54.00
Lumb, Kieran Open UNBC 30:00.00
Coffey, Kevin Open MI2M 30:15.00
Labonté, Patrice Open VAIN 30:24.28
Hunt, Theo Open M2M 30:25.56
Wong, Brendan Open COQC 30:33.20
Charlton, Braeden Open TBIR 30:40.06
Turek, Max Open HARB 30:48.00
Mason, John Open OSPR 30:48.22
Gay, John Open TBIR NT

*Denotes a non-Canadian. Bruce and Ward (who trains at BYU with Rory Linkletter) are both American runners.

5 Things to Watch

1. Cliff vs. Wodak

Rachel Cliff and Natasha Wodak have developed quite a friendly rivalry over the past couple of years – especially over the 10k distance. On the roads it has been all Cliff with wins at the 10k Champs in 2018 and setting the Canadian Half Marathon Record (Wodak just missed this mark in January). Oh, and don’t forget about Cliff setting the Canadian record over 42.2 as well. Wodak has dominated on the track however, beating Cliff at the Commonwealth Games and most recently at Peyton Jordan.

Most recently, Cliff ran 15:32 for 5,000 in L.A. The story line for Cliff is whether she can still use her track speed now that she is transitioning to the marathon. Wodak ran the Ottawa 10k at the end of May, making her Canadian Champion over the road distance – running a time of 32:12 (race recap here). That time was the second fastest of her career on the roads.

2. Linkletter vs. Flanagan

Rory Linkletter and Ben Flanagan may not be known to many Canadian fans. The pair both recently graduated from their respective schools and are now entering life as professional distance runners. Flanagan who graduated from Michigan in December is running full time with the Reebok TC (Justyn Knight also runs there). Linkletter just finished at BYU, coming from arguably the most successful NCAA distance running program.

This will be Linkletter and Flanagan’s first shot at the Canadian 10,000m title. Flanagan finished 3rd in the 5,000 Champs last year, won the 5k road champs, and also ran at ACXC in November. Linkletter also ran ACXC qualifying for the World XC Championships in Denmark.

Linkletter most recently ran a 29:55 at the NCAA D1 Champs, but perhaps a better indication of his performance was the 28:12 (pb) at Peyton Jordan. His PB for 5,000 is 13:36. Flanagan won the NCAAs in 2018 elevating him to stardom, but set his PB this May at Peyton Jordan in 28:19. Most recently, Flanagan ran 4:00.7 for the mile in St. Louis. His PB for the 5,000 is 14:06 (2016).

3. Luc Bruchet returns from injury

Lost amongst the young guns and the marathoners sometimes is Luc Bruchet. The 2016 Olympian was sidelined with an injury for much of the winter, but has slowly returned to racing in the last couple of months. When it was announced that BCEP would be hosting the 10,000 Bruchet was on the front lines pitching it to fans – now it will serve as a true fitness test to see where he is at as he looks to return to the Olympics in 2020.

Bruchet sports PBs of 28:46 (2015) and 13:24 (2016). This spring, due to injury, he has only been able to run one race in LA – 13:45 over 5,000. Since then, Bruchet has had about a month to train and fine tune.

If he is not on form, Bruchet may not even be the first BCEP runner to cross the line. The Canadian field is very deep with guys like Evan Esselink, Justin Kent, and Kieran Lumb not far behind.

Either way, this race will act as a good measuring stick.

4. International Talent

Not only is the Canadian talent amazing for this race – the best we have seen at the 10,000 Championships in a long time, but the race organizers have managed to land some names from across the border and one from across the pond.

On the men’s side Jared Ward, a 2:09 marathoner and 8th place finisher at the Boston Marathon is toeing the line. Ward has had an amazing season to date, finishing 4th at the NYC half and recently (only 6 weeks after a marathon) running Bolder Boulder 10k in 29:53 and then the Bellin Run 10k in 29:45. I do not expect Ward to be able to hang with the guys who are track focused but his toughness may surprise a few.

Also on the men’s side is top seed Ben Bruce. Bruce is coming off a 2:26 marathon in Rotterdam this spring, but also managed to run a 28:48 10k only weeks earlier. Bruce has not raced since and will provide a good challenge for the Canadian guys – perhaps even pulling them to lifetime bests. His PB is 28:09 over the distance.

For the women, Canadian all-comers record holder for the 5k, Sarah Inglis joins the fray. Inglis is well known in Canadian running circles as her all-comers record was set at the St. Patrick’s Day 5k in Vancouver. Inglis has a PB of 32:36 over the 10,000 and 32:24 on the roads for the 10k.

Sarah Pagano and Elaina Tabb also toe the line. Pagano’s PB of 31:51 rank her second in seed times for the field and I expect her and Natasha Wodak to have a good battle. Pagano’s PB was set just last month so she should be in good shape. Elina Tabb is a runner I admittedly do not know much about her PB was also set this spring and is 31:55. She has a half marathon time of 1:10 and will be competitive in this race as well.

Finally, watch out for Beverly Ramos. Aside from her times which are quick, Ramos is a great story. She is best known for running New York only weeks after her home of Puerto Rico was stricken by the worst hurricane the island has ever seen – that day she ran with a heavy heat, but touched millions of spectators who heard her story on TV and in the media. Ramos is more than a good story though – she is a 1:12 half marathoner, 32:36 10,000 performer, and 15:46 5,000 performer.

5. Who will take the next step?

Emily Setlack has had a heck of a season. First, she ran marathon Pb of 2:35 in Rotterdam then ran a PB of 33:03 for 10k on the roads in Ottawa. Look for Setlack to demolish her track PB (35:23) in this race.

Mike Tate has come a long way in the last year – look for him to drop his time over the 10,000. Tate is training for the World University Games and this race will be a fitness tester for the up-and-coming Canadian. Tate recently ran 29:24 at Peyton Jordan.

Justin Kent finished second at in the Ottawa 10k, running close to his track PB for the same distance. The run in Ottawa was hot and humid and according to his training partners, Kent is the fittest in the group. Look for Kent to take a chunk off his time in a “home” race.


Women’s Race:

  1. Wodak
  2. Cliff
  3. Pagano

Dark Horse: Branna MacDougall

Men’s Race:

  1. Linkletter
  2. Flanagan
  3. Ward

Dark Horse: Mike Tate

*Watch out for Kent, Esselink and Bruchet – I am certainly not writing these guys off.

Thanks for reading! I would love to see your predictions in the comments or on Twitter! Let me know @AndersenRuns.

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