TORONTO. May 1st. The renaissance and excitement surrounding Canadian distance running continued this morning as Hamilton’s Reid Coolsaet out-sprinted New Balance Speed River TFC team-mate Eric Gillis and Lethbridge’s Kip Kangogo to win the Sporting Life Toronto 10K in 28:08. A scant two seconds separated the top three men, in the 4thfastest edition of the race in the last 22 years. That it was two Canadian citizens and a Landed Immigrant [Kangogo] battling it out, added enormously to the enthusiasm of the morning. In contrast, Windsor’s Dayna Pidhoresky [33:02] had a comfortable time of it, winning the women’s crown by almost two minutes over last year’s Canada Running Series champion, Josiane Aboungono of Milton and Brockville’s Paula Wiltse, who fought it out for 2nd and third [34:49 & 34:52].
Good conditions helped set the stage for the fast race. It was 9 degrees with variable clouds and just a slight breeze out of the East for the 8am start of the dash down Yonge Street. Coolsaet, who ran an impressive Half marathon PR of 62:42 five weeks ago in New York City, was aggressive from the start, pulling a lead group of 4 through 1km in 2:44, followed by a 2:45 second kilometre. “I wanted to run fast,” he said. “So I started pushing right from the gun.”
Toronto Olympic’s Ethiopian, Dagim Yeshitela, dropped off the pace after 3km [8:23], leaving Coolsaet, Gillis and Kangogo to fight it out down Canada’s most-famous street. Settling into an even pace around 2:50/km, they passed 5k in 14:03 and 7k in 19:40. “By 8k I started to get tired,” said Coolsaet. “So I tucked behind Kip for a little bit. Then it came down to a pretty fast kick. We really made up a lot of time in that last 500 metres. Kip was still there.
Eric was pushing too. I haven’t moved like that in a long time. It was fun! A lot of fun out there.” The final kilometre was covered in 2:33, in what was an electrifying finish. Eric Gillis was also pleased with his performance: “It’s been a good Spring so far, with two victories [Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K in Toronto & Vancouver Sun Run]. The winning streak is over, but I’ll take the close second behind Reid! It was consistently fast out there. I got a Personal Best today. I’m happy.” Both Speed River stars will be competing in the Ottawa Race Weekend 10K on May 28th, then moving to the track for a race or two before beginning training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th where they hope to make the Olympic standard of 2:11:30 that will take them to London 2012.
Twenty-three year old Dayna Pidhoresky made it a hat-trick of wins this Spring with her 33:02, very comfortable win. She was also visibly pleased to get back into winning ways after showing great disappointment in placing 2nd to Megan Brown at the Canadian Half marathon Championships in Montreal two weeks ago. Earlier wins at Around the Bay 30K on March 20th, and then at Harry’s Spring Run Off just 6 days later, have made it an excellent Spring for the newcomer to Canadian road-racing. “I felt pretty relaxed the whole time today. I really tried to push hard the last part. I felt strong today,” she said.
According to Race Director Alan Brookes, “ We’re absolutely delighted with the performances today. Fast times, thrilling head-to-head combat, and fast times by Canadian stars. We’re just delighted!” Brookes was eager to add that it was a marvellous, record-setting morning all round. Almost 15,000 registered for this year’s event – -a record – and they raised in excess of $1.2 million for Camp Oochigeas, a very special camp for kids with cancer [another record]. Councillor Jaye Robinson [Ward 25] came out as an Honourary Starter and Councillor Mike Layton was out to hold the finish tape and welcome everyone to the line in his Ward 19 – despite it being a busy weekend for his family. Councillor and TTC Chair, Karen Stintz [Ward 16], helped Jaye Robinson with starting horn duties, then jumped into set a PR of 52:24 in her 5th Sporting Life Toronto 10K. The National Post’s Ben Kaplan retained his title as Canada’s fastest sports writer with an impressive 37:40. The Globe and Mail’s“Reluctant Runner” Amberly McAteer completed her first 10k after previously registering for 3 others but never making it to the line; Runner’s World’s Coach Jenny Hadfield guided a pack of happy runners down Yonge in just under the hour mark. Councillor Sarah Doucette’s [Ward 13] daughter Claire completed her first 10K in 54:54 as part of the winning Humberside team in the High School Challenge with her mom at the line to greet her, and the Toronto Star’s super-tweeter Jen Wilson made it round in 61 minutes before going onto brunch and dodgeball. CFTOs Tom Hayes and “The Twisters” asked Mike Layton if his dad would still speak to us if he becomes Prime Minister [the answer was emphatically “yes”], then rocked the crowds at the post-run party. Even the weather cooperated and the rain held off until after noon. “Toronto rocked today,” said Brookes. That’s the kind of special morning it was, with the promise of a whole lot more excitement to come in Canadian road racing before the year is done.
Complete Results at http://www.canadarunningseries.com/sportinglife/sl10kRESULT.htm