Lucas Bruchet of Vancouver and Claire Sumner of Calgary ran very different races to each earn national titles at the 2017 Canadian Cross Country Championships. Rain and windy conditions along with a muddy circuit made for a classic day of cross country racing at Kingston’s Fort Henry.
In the senior women's race, a pack consisting of Sumner, Rachel Cliff of Vancouver, Natasha Wodak of Vancouver, Brogan MacDougall of Kingston, Ont., and Victoria Coates of Hamilton, Ont., went through the first 7km together. Over the final 2.5km loop, Summer put in a strong move to pull away and claim her first senior women’s national cross country title. Coates employed a late kick that was enough to pass Cliff and secure a silver medal. Cliff’s bronze medal finish is her fifth championship podium in a row. Kingston-based Physi-Kult made it three in a row in capturing the senior women's club team champion. The win earned the club 2,000$ in Run Ottawa prize money.
In a pre-race interview, Lucas Bruchet was confident and open about how he planned to attack the Fort Henry course on Saturday. The 2016 Olympian executed his front running/take it out hard race plan to perfection, winning the men’s senior championship race. The 5000-metre Olympian and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot put a 100-metre gap on the field over the first 1.5km of the race and Bruchet never looked back on his way to victory and crossed the line 21 seconds before the next finisher. Eric Gillis of Antigonish, N.S., was able reel in Philibert-Thiboutot over the closing stages to earn silver, while the 2016 1500-metre Olympian from Quebec claimed bronze. Speed River Track & Field Club claimed the men’s senior team title and the Run Ottawa $2,000 prize purse.
Brogan MacDougall of Kingston, Ont., who placed runner-up last year, made a move in the middle of the race to pull away and win the U20 women’s 6-kilometres race. Running on the course she knows so well, the Kingston native looked relaxed and in control on her way to victory. A strong last lap by Kieran Lumb of Vancouver was more than enough over the final 2-kilometres to win the U20 men’s title. 2017 has been a great year of cross country for the Vancouver native that included a IAAF World Championships team, podium finish at NAIA and his first Canadian title. University of Toronto Track Club won the women's and Speed River Track & Field Club won the men’s U20 club competitions.
Campbell Lee of St Catharines, Ont., and Sadie Sigfstead of Edmonton earned Canadian Cross Country titles in the U18 division. Central Toronto Athletic Club won the women's and Speed River Track & Field Club won the men’s U18 club competition.
Michael Gill (Oakville, Ont.) and Sarah Nagy (Newmarket, Ont.) were the top runners in the master's division.
The Canadian Cross Country Championships return to Kingston, Ont. in 2018 for the final installment after a four year run.