The 2017 Canadian Marathon Championships return to the streets of Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 22, in conjunction with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The marathon holds the prestigious IAAF Gold Label distinction and will feature a world-class field to challenge the top Canadians.
An absence of past champions provides an opportunity for a different group of marathoners to battle for the top spot in Toronto. While there are no favorites to win the Canadian titles, expect to see some exciting, back-and-forth racing over the 42.2 kilometres.
The women’s elite field will include Leslie Sexton of London, Ont., Natasha Labeaud of Kelowna, B.C., Catherine Watkins of Vancouver and Melanie Myrand of Pierrefond, Que.
Leslie Sexton has returned to marathon racing after sitting out last year due to injury. In 2015, Sexton ran a personal best of 2:33:23 to finish second in the Canadian Marathon Championships. Natasha Labeaud, who represented Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games at 10,000-metres, was finished one spot behind Sexton that year. Sporting a marathon personal best of 2:35:33, Labeaud should be a contender for the title.
Catherine Watkins looks to become the fastest 45+ year-old Canadian marathoner of all-time. Watkins represented Canada in the marathon at the 2015 Pan American Games where she placed eighth. Melanie Myrand has been strong in the 2017, taking bronze in the Canadian Half Marathon Championships. She also represented Canada in the 10,000-metres at the Francophone Games. Lyndsay Tessier of Toronto, Megan Kuikman of Brantford, Ont., Kait Toohey of Princeton, Ont., and Meggan Franks of Calgary, will also take their shot at the Canadian title.
The men’s race will be interesting as 2017 IAAF World Cross Country teammates, Sami Jibril of Toronto and Trevor Hofbauer of Guelph, Ont., are expected to lead the way. Jibril sports a half marathon personal best of 1:04:30 and hopes to translate that to a fast marathon time in his hometown. After success in cross country and the half marathon, Hofbauer will make his marathon debut. Hofbauer’s half marathon personal best is the same as Jibril’s, 1:04:30.
Experienced Canadian marathoners to keep an eye on in the men’s race include, Rob Winslow of Guelph, Ont. (2:19:00, 2015), Kevin Coffey of Vancouver (2:21:40, 2014) and John Mason of Drumbo, Ont. (2:22:35, 2015).
The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon offers $25,000 to the overall winner and features a deep international field that includes last year’s defending champion, and sub-2:05 performers, Philemon Rono and Endeshaw Negesse.
Fans can watch the action unfold live on www.athleticscanada.tv beginning at 8:45 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Prize pool – click here for full details
Open men and women (all amounts in Canadian dollars)
1st - $25,000
2nd - $15,000
3rd - $8,000
4th - $6,000
5th - $4,000
6th - $3,000
7th - $2,500
8th - $2,000
Men’s course record (2:07:05): $40,000 bonus
Women’s course record (2:22:43): $40,000 bonus
Canadian Championships – Men and women
Gold - $5,000
Silver - $3,000
Bronze - $2,000
4th - $1,000
5th - $300
6th - $200
Visit the Athletics Canada pop-up shop at the Running, Health & Fitness Expo (Direct Energy Centre) on Friday and Saturday. Our team will be on-site with an assortment of Athletics Canada merchandise, including Nike ACTF Air Zoom Pegasus 34 running shoes, Team Canada singlets and select items from our National Team kit.