TORONTO. March 28th. Toronto’s premier 10km race will mark the occasion of the first ‘East versus West’ elite team contest in Canadian road racing history on April 13th.
The Toronto Yonge Street 10km, a foot race down one of the country’s most famous streets, is expected to attract more than seven thousand runners intent on chasing a fast time and enjoying the associated festivities. The race will finish near historic Fort York in front of a large crowd of spectators.
Among those who will toe the start line are some of the country’s best racers who will compete for a challenge trophy, and more importantly, for the accompanying bragging rights.
“I think the East-West challenge idea is an excellent one,” says Richard Lee, coach of the BC Athletics Endurance Project, who will oversee the West team. “The more friendly rivalries and strong club or group structures we can have in Canada the better for everyone.
“It harkens back to the 1980’s with the Toronto Olympic Club and the Etobicoke Husky Striders versus the Richmond Kajaks and the (University of Victoria) Vikes. That produced many of the strongest distance runners in Canadian history. The competition between clubs, groups or regions, adds a little more importance, excitement and flavour to events like the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. It’s great that the Canada Running Series is adding a little spice to the regular road race scene.”
Lee will bring several athletes from his extremely talented group including Canadian international marathoner Rob Watson and Natasha Wodak, who won the Canada Running Series kick off event, the Modo Spring Run Off 8km, last weekend in Vancouver.
The defending Toronto Yonge Street 10km champion Kip Kangogo of Kenya will also add his significant presence to the West all star team. The 35 year old is a resident of Lethbridge, Alberta and is awaiting his Canadian citizenship. In the meantime he has been making an enormous impact on the Canadian running scene. A year ago he was the Canada Running Series overall champion.
The East team is managed by Chris Moulton of the University of Guelph, who just returned from leading the Canadian national team to the FISU world university cross country championships in Entebbe, Uganda. He acknowledges his team will be in a fight but insists they will be extremely competitive.
Moulton points out that the East team includes two time Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis, Krista DuChene, who represented Canada in the 2013 IAAF World Championships marathon and Tarah Korir, the 2012 Toronto Yonge Street 10k champion. Korir is returning to Canada following six months of high altitude training in her husband Wesley’s native Kenya.
The times of the top two males and top two females on each team will be added together and the team with the lowest total time will be declared the victor.
The contest resulted from a discussion involving Canada Running Series director, Alan Brookes and Lee. The pair were simply sharing ideas in an informal brainstorming session and this concept arose. Since then it has taken on a life of its own.
The appointment of Chris Moulton as the East team’s manager was a natural choice. Moulton is also manager of Speed River Track Club and the University of Guelph track and cross country teams.
“As our team sits right now we think we have an outstanding shot at having a highly competitive race with the West team,” Moulton adds. “We love this concept and are happy to take on our friends from the west and defend our turf.
“Richard has put together a terrific team and we look forward to a good battle. Our athletes have a lot of experience racing on this course and I feel that will benefit our team greatly.”
The course records are especially quick – not surprising since the race is downhill – with Kenyans Stephen Koskei (27:47) and Florence Jepkoskei (31:42) the holders. Over the years leading Canadians have also run fast. In 2011 for instance Olympians Reid Coolsaet (28:08) and Gillis (28:09) held off Kangogo by a step. [great VIDEO].
The men’s race will likely come down to a tussle between defending champion Kangogo and Eric Gillis but Watson could spring a surprise. Both Gillis, who is a member of Speed River Track Club and Watson are preparing for the Ottawa Marathon and see this race as an important test of their fitness.
Meanwhile, Tarah Korir, Natasha Wodak and Krista DuChene will provide the excitement at the front of the women’s race. But we shouldn’t forget Toronto’s own Rachel Hannah who was second last year.
A well organised fast course, accurate finishing times, 10 great charities to run for and excellent post-race entertainment will ensure the seven thousand runners have a great day in Toronto. Now, we’ll also see who reigns supreme, East or West?
PRELIMINARY TEAMS: EAST VERSUS WEST
Eric Gillis (Guelph ON)
Nick Sunseri (Toronto ON)
Peter Corrigan (Toronto ON)
Kyle O’Neill (Aylmer, ON)
Krista Duchene (Brantford ON)
Rachel Hannah (Toronto ON)
Tarah Korir (St Clements ON)
Kate Bazeley (Cornerbrook NL)
Lisa Avery (Orillia ON)
Kip Kangogo (Lethbridge, AB – Kenya)
Rob Watson (Vancouver BC)
Adam Byles (Vancouver BC – Australia)
Richard Mosley (Burnaby BC)
Natasha Wodak (Vancouver BC)
Dayna Pidhoresky (Vancouver BC)
Erin Burrett (Nanaimo BC)
Sabrina Wilkie (Vancouver, BC)
Catherine Watkins (Vancouver, BC)
Note: The times of the top two males and top two women on each team will be added. The team with the lowest aggregate will be declared the winners.
Final teams will be declared on Friday April 11th.
For race registration: www.canadarunningseries.com