Can’t make it to Kingston? Watch the free live webcast of the event on AthleticsCanada.tv
OTTAWA – The 2017 Canadian Cross Country Championships take place on Saturday, Nov. 25, in Kingston, Ont., with a host of Canada’s top distance runners looking to compete for a national title. The annual event serves as the cross country national championship for under 18, under 20, senior and masters age category athletes. The event will also serve as the selection trials for the 2018 Pan American Cross Country Championships that will be held on Feb. 17 in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Senior women’s 10km race
The senior women’s race will feature 2016 Canadian and 2017 USports champion Sasha Gollish of Toronto. Gollish’s 2017 season has been successful with her representing Canada at the IAAF Cross Country Championships and posting fast times from 1500-metres to the half marathon. “I’m looking forward to Saturday. I have no expectations other to enjoy my time out there on the course,” said Gollish.
Two-time champion Natasha Wodak of Vancouver missed last year’s race, but looks to be in fine form to challenge for the top spot. Wodak recently raced to a second-place finish and a time of 1:13:19. She told Athletics BC, “It’s going to take a smart race and a lot of toughness over the last few kilometres to win the race.” Rachel Cliff of Vancouver has been a consistent performer, earning a place on the podium at the last four Canadian Cross Country Championships. Cliff looks strong and should contend for the top spot.
Last year’s bronze medallist and 2017 USports runner-up Claire Sumner of Calgary looks to challenge for the top spot on the podium, as well as Canadian marathon champion Leslie Sexton of London, Ont., 2017 Canadian 10,000-metre champion Victoria Coates of Hamilton, Ont., and USports bronze medallist and newly minted senior competitor Branna MacDougall of Kingston, Ont.
Senior men’s 10km race
With two-time defending champion Ross Proudfoot of Sudbury, Ont., out with injury, Canada will have a new senior men’s cross country champion for the first time since 2014.
Rio Olympians Lucas Bruchet of Vancouver, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City, Reid Coolsaet of Hamilton, Ont. and Eric Gillis of Antigonish, N.S., are sure to be in the mix. While they generally race different events on the track or road, Saturday’s race presents a great opportunity to watch them go head-to-head over the same distance.
“[Cross country] is all about guts, instincts and mental grind. The most [raw] form of foot face,” said Philibert-Thiboutot. In Kingston, Philibert-Thiboutot says he’s “Going to send it. Give my best and help Équipe Québec and Laval Track Club to make it to the top of the podium.”
Other athletes to keep an eye on include 2016 bronze medallist and current Canadian marathon champion Trevor Hofbauer of Guelph, Ont., 2016 and 2017 USports champion Yves Sickubwabo of Ottawa, Canadian 10,000-metres champion Evan Esselink of Courtice, Ont., and 2017 IAAF World Cross Country team member Nicholas Falk of Windsor, Ont.
U20 women’s 6km race
Last year’s runner-up Brogan MacDougall of Kingston, Ont., looks to be the favourite on Saturday, but this race will feature a talented field of junior women. Looking to challenge MacDougall will be Georgetown freshman and 2017 IAAF World Cross Country team member Martha MacDonald of Toronto, 2016 U18 champion Savanna Jordan of Calgary and Catherine Beauchemin of Quebec City.
U20 men’s 8km race
After placing fifth in 2016, Andrew Alexander of Toronto looks to land on the podium on Saturday. Alexander will face a solid group of challengers, including USports cross country rookie of the year Jean-Simon Desgagnés of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., 2017 OFSAA senior cross country champion Thomas Witkowicz of Brooklin, Ont., 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist Joshua DeSouza of Brampton, Ont., and NAIA bronze medallist and 2017 IAAF World Cross Country team member Kieran Lumb of Vancouver.
For more on the 2017 Canadian Cross Country Championships, visit http://athletics.ca/championnat/2017acxc