Predictions and Preview: The Canadian Half Marathon Championships

This week, I suppose, is the week of Canadian Championships.

Often, many Canadians and Canadian running media neglect the Canadian half marathon championships. Previously, this was always because they were held in Calgary – on the same weekend as Ottawa (thus the attention turned to the Gold Label Races). But alas, no more! The Half Championships have moved to June and to the Manitoba Marathon.

Image result for canadian half marathon championships
Courtesy: Athletics Canada

I can promise you one thing – the course will be flat. The course is also pretty simple. It will start by Investor’s Group Field (home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and wind its way on either side of the mighty Red River. The coolest element of the course is that participants return to finish inside Investor’s Group Field.

This is the first time (at least that I could find) that a Canadian Championship for Track and Field will be held in Manitoba – so is an interesting change of pace for Athletics Canada.

The prize money is decent (for a Canadian race), and is broken down like so for our elite athletes:

  1. $5000 Cash
  2. $2500 Cash
  3. $1250 Cash
  4. $750 Cash
  5. $500 Cash

So – who is on the start list?

Women’s Race

Malindi Elmore – has had a breakout year in 2019. First, she ran the Houston Marathon in 2:32 (debut) launching her back into the Canadian running scene. She then set her 10k PB in Ottawa (32:57) by finishing 2nd in the Canadian Champs. Elmore will certainly be going for her 3rd PB of the year this weekend, as she currently has PB of 1:15 – set in 2015.

Kate Gustafson – the M2M coach is lacing it up for these Championships. Gustafson has PBs of 35:51 for 10k, 1:17 for the half, and 2:40 for the full.

Robyn Mildren – is the two time defending Boxing Day 10 Mile Champion – and a prolific racer. Mildren set her Half PB this winter in Houston, running 1:13 and haf a 10k PB of 34:14. She most recently was 7th Canadian at the 10k Champs in Ottawa.

Melanie Myrand – was 9th this spring at the Rotterdam Marathon (PB in 2:33) and the half this weekend will only be her second race of the year. Myrand has a PB of 1:15 over the half marathon and 34:12 over 10,000.

Dayna Pidhoresky – only 3 weeks ago she ran the Ottawa Marathon, running first Canadian in the hot and humid weather that Ottawa always seems to offer. Like Mildren she is a prolific racer, running seven races already this spring. Pidhoresky has a marathon PB of 2:36, a PB in the half of 1:11, and 10k in 33:02.

Claire Sumner – to date, Sumner’s biggest achievement has been the domination of the field at the Canadian XC Championships in 2017, but do not let that fool you – she has a lot of potential over the half marathon. This year, Sumner finished 66th in the World XC and ran 1:14 in Houston for the half, running a mere seconds from her PB.

Also in the women’s field are: Elizabeth Tomczak, Madeline Yungblut, Janine Zajac. Kristjana Britton. Courtney Brohart, Kaytlyn Criddle, Ashley King, Karen Lawson, Melissa Paauwe, Sabrina St-Gelais, and Alice Sherwin.

Men’s Race

Chris Balestrini – is amazing (as I said in by Ottawa Race Weekend takeaways). The guy ran a 30 minute 10k one night and then proceed to run a 2:37 marathon the next day as a pacer for Pidhoresky – amazing. Beyond these performances, Balestrini ran 2:22 in Rotterdam in May, then ran a 1:05 half in Vancouver. He followed these up with a 29:22 in the Portland Track Festival only last week an now is racing in Manitoba. His half PB is 1:05.

Trevor Hofbauer – set a PB for the marathon in Hamburg with his 2016 performance, and although he hasn’t raced since, did show fitness before hand with a second place and 29:30 in the Sun Run. Hofbauer was the 2017 Canadian Marathon Champion which vaulted him into Canadian stardom. His PB for the half is 1:04

Thomas Toth – flys under the radar for Canadian distance runners. He did resprent Canada in 2017 at the World Championships in the marathon, finishing 54th in tough conditions. Toth also represented Canada at World XC that year. This year, Toth ran Rotterdam in 2:19 (1 minute off his PB) and won the Washington DC half in 1:05. His PB for the half is 1:04.

Tristan Woodfine – is another Canadian runner that keeps a low profile and is a full time paramedic. Woodfine ran an impressive PB of 2:15 for the marathon in Houston this spring and has only appeared on the racing circuit once since. Woodfine has a PB 1:06 for the half marathon distance.

Dylan Wykes – the veteran of the men’s field and Canadian Olympian. Wykes is a 2:10 marathoner who finished 20th in London in the Olympic Marathon and has won the California International Marathon. This year, Wykes has begun his return to racing and punctuated the return with a 29:55 in the Ottawa 10k a result which won him the Canadian Championship. He looks for his second crown of the year this weekend. His PB for the half (his current distance of focus) is 1:02.

Also in the field are: Abduselam Yussuf, Nicolas Browne, Esteban Clavijo, Daniel Heschuk, Adam Hortian, Nickolas Kosmenko. Matthew Lozano, Jevin Monds, Simon Poulin


Women’s Race

1. Elmore 2. Pidhoresky 3. Mildren

Dark Horse (and probably 4th place): Myrand

Why: Coming off a full marathon only weeks ago, Pidhoresky will have tired legs. That leave Elmore as the class of the field.

Predicted winning time: 1:14

Men’s Race

1. Wykes 2. Balestrini 3. Woodfine

Dark Horse: Thomas Toth.

Why: Hofbauer is only 5 weeks or so removed from his marathon performance in Hamburg. Wykes on the other hand is fresh and just showed fitness over 10k in Ottawa. I am not sure where Woodfine or Toth are at but Balestrini has raced a lot recently, so he is a wild card coming into the weekend.

Predicted winning time? 1:04.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your predictions in the comments or over twitter @AndersenRuns.


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