Photo credit: Reebok
By Paul Gains
TORONTO, ON, September 21, 2021 — “It’s partly a no brainer,” Ben Flanagan said, confirming he will run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 10K on October 17th and thereby challenge for the concurrently held Canadian 10K title.
“I love the 10K, I love the roads, and I love running in Canada so it’s a beautiful trifecta for me. I am making sure I can get my body in the right place to set myself up for another really important season with the World [Athletic] Championships next summer.”
Since his inspiring 2018 NCAA 10,000m victory for the University of Michigan, Flanagan, 26, has competed professionally for the Reebok Boston Track Club, which, despite its name, is based in the hills of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Last month, he won the renowned seven-mile Falmouth Road Race for the second time in four years, which went a long way in reducing the disappointment of missing out on the Tokyo Olympics.
Training alongside fellow Canadian Justyn Knight, the second fastest North American of all time in the 5,000m, Flanagan searched for competitive races where he could tackle the Olympic qualifying standards. Despite running personal bests of 13:20.67 in the 5,000m and 27:49.09 in the 10,000m, he fell short.
“I had a hunch that I was going to be either just in or just out,” he declared with a smile. “So everything I did around the season was solely decided to give myself the best opportunity to represent Canada at the Olympics Games. I set a PB [personal best] in almost every event. I tried to not put too much pressure on myself and went into every race doing everything I could to get the best out of myself.”
He admitted, “Other guys really got the best of me, to be honest. Mohammed Ahmed and Justyn Knight — two of the best guys ever in North America — and Luc Bruchet had a clutch performance out in BC [to qualify for Tokyo 2020]. It’s tough competition and it’s exciting to be a part of one of the best eras in Canadian distance running.”
Flanagan will have the chance to test himself against Bruchet, a BC Endurance Project runner, alongside fellow Olympian Ben Preisner at the Canadian 10K Championships Recently, Flanagan started ramping up his training again after a brief rest.
“Any chance I get at setting myself up for a Canadian title is definitely what I am shooting for,” he explained. While early season races can be unpredictable, Flanagan is confident in his training progress. “With another month of training, I should be in a pretty good place. But it is so different compared to racing at the end of the season, where you have a strong understanding of where you are at.”
Despite mid-season uncertainties, Flanagan radiated optimism: “I am excited to go in and challenge for the win. There’s nothing to lose out there so I am going to put myself in it and try to have some fun. Canadian running is in a phenomenal place right now. I definitely expect some great athletes to show up and it’s going to be a hard-fought battle no matter what.”
Flanagan has adjusted to life as a professional runner with the support of his family in Kitchener, Ontario, alongside his teammates and coach, Chris Fox, at Reebok Boston TC. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology/Exercise Science and a Master of Social Work he has always filled his days wisely.
“I always thought that once I dropped the classes and focused on running, it would ultimately make me a better athlete right away,” he revealed. “That wasn’t necessarily the case for me. I have a busy mind. I found it a little bit tough to have that much time in the day. After some time, I got a little bit bored. About a year ago, I started working part-time remotely for a Canadian company, ‘Streamline Athletes.’”
The company helps prospective student athletes find post-secondary opportunities, something that Flanagan has great experience with.
“Now I spend 20-30 hours a week dedicating my time towards my professional career,” he said, adding, “I also love spending time with my girlfriend, Hannah. We have a dog named Norman, who I do everything I can to take good care of.”
The partnership of Athletics Canada, Run Ottawa (which had initially planned to host the Canadian 10K Championships in May before the pandemic struck), and Canada Running Series is offering considerable prize money: 1st place $5,500, 2nd place $3,000, 3rd place $1,500, 4th place $1,000, 5th place $750 and 6th place $500. With Preisner, Bruchet, and now Flanagan as confirmed entries, the competition will be extraordinary.
Media interested in covering the STWM 10K can register for accreditation here. All media must receive advance accreditation to gain access to the in-person event on October 17th.
For more information:
Jenna Pettinato, Manager of Communications
About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier running event and the grand finale of the Canada Running Series (CRS). Since 2017, the race has served as the Athletics Canada national marathon championship race and has doubled as the Olympic trials. During the 2020 event, participants raised over $2.96 million for 163 community charities through the
Scotiabank Charity Challenge. In 2021, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will host a 10K along Toronto’s scenic lakeshore, the first in-person race for Canada Running Series since the pandemic began, which will also double as the Athletics Canada 10K Championships in partnership with Run Ottawa.
Using innovation and organization as guiding principles, Canada Running Series stages great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians to recreational and charity runners. With a mission of “building community through the sport of running,” CRS is committed to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process. For more information, visit: https://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/
About Athletics Canada
Athletics Canada is the national sport governing body for track and field, para athletics, crosscountry running, and road running. Its purpose is to support high performance athletics excellence at the world level, and to provide leadership in developmental athletics. Athletics Canada is a not for profit, charitable organization operating under a board of directors elected by provincial / territorial members. For more information, visit: https://athletics.ca/
About Run Ottawa
Run Ottawa is the National Capital Region’s premiere running organization and the organizers of Canada’s most popular multi-day running event, The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. For more information, visit: https://www.runottawa.ca/