Can’t make it to Kingston, watch free live webcast of the event Saturday on AthleticsCanada.tv
The 2016 Canadian Cross Country Championships are set for this Saturday, November 26 in Kingston, Ont., with a host of Olympic and World Championship caliber athletes looking to test the competition and race for a national title. The event serves as the cross country national championship for under 18, under 20, senior and masters age category athletes. The event is also the selection trials for the 2017 NACAC Cross Country Championships and the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be held March 26, in Kampala, Uganda.
Women’s Senior 10km race
The senior women’s race features 2014 champion and last year’s runner-up, Rachel Hannah of Toronto. Hannah has had a successful 2016 winning the Canadian 10,000-metres title, and finishing runner-up at the recent Canadian Marathon Championships.
Rachel Cliff of Vancouver, B.C., has been a consistent performer, earning a place on the podium at the last three consecutive Canadian Cross Country Championships. After a breakthrough season on the track, Cliff looks strong to contend for the top spot.
2015 Pan Am Games’ 1500-metres bronze medallist Sasha Gollish of Toronto has been moving up in distance and has the strength to contend over the 10-kilometres race. Others to watch include last year’s fourth place finisher Leslie Sexton of London, Ont., 2016 USports champion Claire Sumner of Calgary, Alta., and Lindsay Carson of Whitehorse, Yk.
Men’s Senior 10km race
Last year’s defending champion, Ross Proudfoot of Sudbury, Ont., is no stranger to the Fort Henry course and knows the challenges it presents.
“The Kingston course is one I’ve raced many times. It’s quite a fast course with fewer technical parts but can be extremely windy with the wind blowing off the lake. I’d have to say the most challenging area by far is the back-hill section. Not only do you have a climb, but the following downhill leads to a slanted section of the course and into an extremely tight corner that usually causes a number of falls each year,” said the defending champ.
Rio Olympians Matthew Hughes of Oshawa, Ont., Luc Bruchet of Vancouver, B.C., and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec are all sure to be in the mix. While they generally race different events on the track, Saturday’s race presents a great opportunity to watch them go head-to-head over the same distance.
Other athletes to keep an eye on include 2016 USports champion Yves Sickubwabo of Ottawa, Mike Tate of Antigonish, N.S., and Kevin Tree of Tottenham, Ont.
U20 Women 6k race
Last year, Hannah Bennison of Vernon, B.C. ran away from the junior women’s field winning by an astounding 21 seconds. Bennison will back to defend her title and earn a spot at the IAAF World Championships. Looking to challenge Bennison will be Arizona freshman Jennie Baragar-Petrash of Winnipeg, Man., last year’s runner-up Madeleine Ghazarian of Cambridge, Ont., 2016 OFSAA champion Martha MacDonald, and last year’s one-two in the U18 race, Brogan Macdougall of Kingston, Ont., and Catherine Beauchemin of Quebec. Macdougall is sure to be familiar with the course as she competes for the host club, Physi-Kult.
U20 Men 8k race
The champion from last year’s U20 men’s race, Ehab El-Sandali of Toronto looks to make it two in a row. El-Sandali represented Canada this past summer at the IAAF World U20 Championships in the 10,000-metres.
A talented pair of athletes from Kingston should make a run for the title on familiar turf at Fort Henry. Cameron Linscott and Ben Workman both earned a spot on the podium at last year’s championship and look to do the same in 2016.
Others looking to challenge include 2016 OFSAA champion Andrew Alexander of Toronto, Canadian U20 5000-metres champion Thomas Fafard of Repentigny, Que., and CCAA third place finisher Félix Lapointe-Pilote of Saguenay, Que.
For more on the 2016 Canadian Cross Country Championships visit: http://athletics.ca/championnat/canadian-cross-country-championships