TORONTO. April 22nd. Defending Champion and London Olympics-bound Reid Coolsaet of Speed River TFC won today’s Toronto Yonge Street 10K in thrilling and dramatic style by 3/10s of a second over Lethbridge’s Kip Kangogo. Both were timed in 28 minutes, 36 seconds. (see VIDEO finish). Tarah McKay-Korir of St.Clements, made it two for two, following up her victory at Harry’s Spring Run Off Toronto 8K on April 7th. Her victim was again Athletics Toronto’s Kate Van Buskirk. Tarah’s 32:07 was a big PB and the best women’s time on the fast, downhill course in 5 years, since Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat set the Course Record of 31:47 in 2007. More than 6,500 runners and walkers of all levels took part in the annual dash down Yonge, and $50,000 was raised for 10 charities in the inaugural Canada Running Series Foundation Charity Challenge. While the run was renamed this year, following the departure of its previous title sponsor, it has been part of the prestigious Canada Running Series since the circuit was established in 1990, and was a signature event of Athletics Canada’s 2012 Run Canada Month. In keeping with Run Canada Month’s goal of bringing together fitness folks of all abilities and promoting physical activity, this year’s Toronto Yonge Street 10K included a formal push-rim wheelchair race for the first time, won by Richard Vander Wal in 23:39. Running Room Founder, John Stanton, TTC Chair Karen Stintz, Councillors Mike Layton & Mary Fragedakis all helped as Honourary Starters, then jumped in a ran. Councillors Jaye Robinson and Sarah Doucette were also out to help at the Start & Finish lines, making it a great community celebration of running and healthy lifestyles – complete with civic leadership!
In the Men’s race, a men’s lead pack of 9 moved out from Start, including Coolsaet, Kangogo and the other pre-race favourites. They passed 1km in 2:49 and 2km in 5:41, before Hamilton’s Josephat Ongeri moved to the front and pushed the pace along. By 6K (17:09), the group was down to 5: Ongeri still at the front with Coolsaet, Kangogo, Oakville’s Giitah Macharia (who was on the same Canadian Marathon team as Reid that went to the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, but has struggled with injuries since), and Smithville’s 22 year old Terence Attema (who was 2nd to Reid at last month’s Around the Bay 30K). By the time they turned off Yonge Street onto Richmond at 7km it was a two-man duel. Across Richmond, down Blue Jays Way with the CN Tower and Rogers Centre as backdrops (8K in 22:55), across Front Street (9K in 25:5), onto Bathurst, Coolsaet and Kangogo surged back and forth, testing each other in “a real
dogfight” as Race Director Alan Brookes tweeted from the lead vehicle. Like last year, it all came down to the last 800m on Fort York Boulevard. While the result was the same, this year’s script was even more thrilling than 2011. Turning the corner onto the finishing straight on Fort
York, Kangogo made his move and gapped Hamilton’s celebrity marathoner. With 200m to go it appeared the Alberta resident had it won; then from somewhere Coolsaet unleashed a wicked, come-from-behind kick to take Kangogo by a step at the line, 28:35.7 to 28:36:00. CBCs Scott Russell called it: “Great win by Reid Coolsaet at Toronto Yonge St. 10k What a finish! Fit for the Olympic Marathon coming up this summer!” Afterwards, Coolsaet said, “Kip just ran so tough, I had problems keeping up with him. Luckily enough I had just enough to get him. I wasn’t confident that I was going to get him! Kip pulled away with about 400m to go and I somehow came back on him. I needed every single, last metre to beat him. If the Finish line was 10m earlier, I’m not sure I would have got him.” Reid now plans to spend one down week and then start his build-up for the London 2012 Olympic Marathon to be run on August 12th. Kip will begin his training for his big goal, October’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 14th), in about a month. Ongeri held on for 3rd (29:02); Macharia was 4th (29:04), and Attema 5th (29:11). In all, 8 men got under 29:30.
While the women’s race lacked the closing drama of the men’s, it perhaps delivered two comparatively faster performances from Tarah McKay-Korir and Kat Van Buskirk. The talented, young Canadian pair who had battled it out over the hills of High Park two weeks ago, resumed their friendly rivalry today. They ran together for the first third of the race, passing 2km stride for stride in 6:08. By 4km, near Rosedale Station, Kate had begun to slip a fraction (12:27 & 12:31). But as Tarah said in her post-race remarks, she had trouble shaking the Athletics Toronto 1500m star, who was still only 6 seconds back (18:57 to 19:03) at 6km. Racing her first-ever 10K –something she acknowledged as “serious over-distance”- the 24 year old Van Buskirk tired a little over the final third, but hung on for an impressive 32:25. The 25 year old McKay-Korir had the added thrill of breaking the Finish tape that was held by her husband, Monday’s Boston Marathon Champion (2:10:40), Wesley Korir. Both will now head to the track in the hope of making the Canadian squad for London in the 5000m and 1500m, respectively, and then perhaps return to Canada Running Series on the roads in the Fall.
Accolades poured in for the organization of the run, along with the finishers, who were then treated to a fitting, high-energy post-race Concert with Shawn Brady and the Electric Blood Band.
Canada Running Series now moves onto the Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal next Sunday in Parc Jean Drapeau, that also doubles at the National Half-marathon Championships.
Further information and full Results from today’s Toronto Yonge Street 10K are available at www.RunCRS.ca
For details on Run Canada Month see www.RunCanada.ca