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Athletics Canada selects six athletes to represent Canada in the mixed relay at the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Ottawa – Athletics Canada announced today the six athletes who have been selected to represent Canada as part of the mixed relay at the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. The eight-kilometre relay will kick-off an action-packed afternoon in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 30 that will feature five different cross country races.

“The mixed relay allows more of Canada’s distance runners the opportunity to test themselves against international competition. And since all of the athletes on the team have international experience, we strongly believe a Top 8 finish is promising even with the world’s most dominate distance running nations taking part,” said John Lofranco, head coach of Canada’s IAAF World Cross Country team.

The race will be contested by teams composed of two men and two women who will each run one loop of the course, in any order they wish. The runners will pass a wrist band that serves as the baton through a 20-metre long exchange or takeover zone. In 2017, more than a dozen countries participated in the mixed relay, with Kenya coming out on top in a time of 22:22 over eight kilometres. Canada will be participating in the mixed relay for the first time in the event’s history and will be led by middle-distance runners/steeplechasers, John Gay and Regan Yee.

“The World Cross Country Championships have been described as the greatest footrace on earth, and to be part of that is very exciting. The addition of a Canadian mixed relay team adds to the excitement, as it will be the first time Canadian men and women compete in the same race at the senior cross country level,” said Gay. “The concept of a race that is mid-distance in length, while ruggedly cross country in nature, will make for some thrilling action. As a steeplechase specialist, the distance and terrain will cater well to my strengths. I’m excited to race hard and make Canada’s first foray into the mixed relay an outstanding success.”

“We used to run a mixed cross country relay when I was in university (Lake Padden Relays) to kick-off the season and I loved it,” said Yee. “Relays really pull teams together in a sport that can be very individual, which is the aspect of relays that I enjoy the most.” When asked what it will be like to compete in the mixed relay for Canada, Yee added “it’s an incredible feeling to be at the start line knowing you are representing Canada and that there are family, friends and even strangers back home supporting you. I can’t wait to get out there and make ‘em proud.”

As Gay alluded to, “world cross country starts fast and gets even faster as the race progresses,” said Lofranco. “There is not a lot of time to make-up lost ground, so we’ll be pushing the Canadian team to get up front and hang on. It is sure to be a physical race, so they will need to stand their ground.”

It’s not just the fierce competition the mixed relay team will face, but an unprecedent course that has 75 metres of elevation, looping through grass and open woodland that will see athletes pass through sand pits and mud. The course peaks as it takes the runners up the steep grass roof of the Moesgaard Museum. Overall, a challenging course that will take cross country back to its roots.

Representing Canada in the mixed relay at the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be:

Athlete

Hometown

Coach

Club

Lindsay Carson

Burnaby, B.C.

Mark Bomba

Unattached

Erica Digby

Vancouver, B.C.

Richard Lee

Mile2Marathon

John Gay

Vancouver, B.C.

Chris Johnson

Vancouver Thunderbirds

Justin Kent

Burnaby, B.C.

Richard Lee / Scott Kent

Coastal Track Club

Yves Sikubwabo

Quebec, Que.

Félix-Antoine Lapointe

C.A. Université Laval

Regan Yee

Vancouver, B.C.

Mark Bomba

Langley Mustangs

For more information on the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, visit www.iaaf.org.

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