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Athletics Canada selects four athletes to represent Canada at 2019 WPA World Marathon Championships

First chance to earn qualification slots for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Ottawa – Athletics Canada announced today the four athletes who have been selected to represent Canada at the 2019 WPA World Marathon Championships set to take place on April 28 in London, England. The event will be held in association with the Virgin Money London Marathon.

“All four athletes have put in an enormous amount of time, effort and planning to prepare for these Championships,” said Carla Nicholls, Athletics Canada’s Para Performance Lead. “It is a great opportunity for each of them to focus on one event, the marathon, this early in the season. The London Marathon is challenging due to its unique course design; however, I have no doubt that this cohort representing Canada will be up for the challenge.”

This will be the second time London has hosted the Championships following a successful event in 2015 that saw three world records broken on the streets of the British capital. Though none of the Canadians who will compete on April 28 took part in that race, three of Canada’s marathoners took to the same course in 2018 to compete in the WPA Marathon World Cup. The World Cup drew hundreds of thousands of spectators who cheered them on along the entire 42.1295-kilometre course and gave them the necessary experience to perform well on the world stage.

Joshua Cassidy, Canada’s most experienced marathoner, will complete in a World Marathon Championships for the first time in April. To date, the veteran wheelchair racer has competed in more than 40 marathons, five of which took place in London, in addition to the 2012 Paralympic Games. Cassidy also holds the T54 Canadian marathon record of 1:22:02 that was set in June of 2011.

“My goal for the London Marathon is to finish at the top. I haven’t been on the podium since winning in 2010,” said Cassidy. “It is a difficult course, with many turns and rough patches, and it is usually windy if not raining. These factors increase resistance making for a hard-working marathon, which is right up my alley.”

The event will feature five different medal events in the 2019 WPA World Marathon Championships, which will mirror the marathon events in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games programme. The London Marathon will also be the first opportunity for athletes to gain qualification slots for their respective National Paralympic Committees, as the top four ranked athletes in each medal event will obtain one slot for their respective nation.

Sprinter turned distance racer Brent Lakatos has had an exciting start to his marathon career. Lakatos competed in his first marathon in the fall of 2017 where he clocked a time of 1:32:55. Lakatos then join Alexandre Dupont at the WPA Marathon World Cup in London last April before winning the 2018 Berlin Marathon in 1:29:41 in September. Already one of Canada’s most decorated Paralympians, Lakatos hopes to find himself on the podium for the marathon in Tokyo in 2020.

“Knowing the course makes a huge difference,” said Lakatos when asked about the World Championships. “It’s very easy to get dropped by a peloton if you are unaware of the tricky parts of the course. I made a mistake last year that cost me several placings. I will not be repeating that mistake this year in a World Championships race.”

Also donning the red maple leaf in London will be Dupont, who is no stranger to the marathon. Dupont has competed in six marathons since 2013, including the London Marathon on 2018. Rounding out the team will be newcomer Tristan Smyth, who like Lakatos only took up road racing in 2017 and only has three marathons under his belt, one of which was a fourth-place finish at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“Canada has constantly put forth a strong group of marathoners, whether it be the World Championships or any of the top-ranked international races. Our team of four accomplished and experienced racers definitely puts us in the mix for multiple Top 10 performances,” said Rick Reelie, head coach of Canada’s WPA World Marathon Championships team. “The London course is one of the most technical courses the group will see on the circuit, any previous experience will be beneficial come race day.”

Representing Canada at the 2019 WPA World Marathon Championships will be:

Athlete

Hometown

Coach

Club

Joshua Cassidy

Port Elgin, Ont.

Amanda Fader

Ottawa Lions

Alexandre Dupont

Clarenceville, Que.

Rick Reelie

Club d’Athlétisme Saint-Laurent Sélect

Brent Lakatos

Dorval, Que.

Arno Mull

Unattached

Tristan Smyth

Maple Ridge, B.C.

Jennifer Schultz

WC Race Series

 

 

 

 

Staff

Hometown

Role

 

Rick Reelie

Saskatoon, Sask.

Head coach

 

Patricia Roney 

Victoria, B.C.

Physiotherapist

 

For more information on the 2019 WPA World Marathon Championships, visit www.paralympic.org/athletics or www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com.

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