On Saturday May 9th, the Runners' Choice London Distance Series kicked off the 2009 outdoor season at TD Waterhouse Stadium in superb fashion - hosting the strongest Ontario 10,000m Championship race in many years. Hosting the event for the 4th year in a row, the London Runner Distance Club has helped this event to grow to new heights and the most recent edition is turning heads and drawing comments from many, including the current Ontario Men's record holder.
2008 Ontario 10,000m Champion Adrian Walton was a prime example of how big a step forward this event has taken; despite very windy conditions, Walton came very close to his winning performance of 30:48 from last year but merely managed to place 5th. "I think it was a big breakthrough for the event," said Walton. "The competitors showed that this is a fun championship race to run and the quality of their performances will make it attractive for people who want to run fast times in future years."
Renowned long-distance coach and head coach of the Brooks Canada Marathon Project Hugh Cameron captured the significance of this early-May event succintly: "The Ontario 10000m Championship fits a vital role in the overall track program because there are not many opportunities for longer distance people to run a solid 10000m in Ontario with a decent field. Hopefully more clubs will support this event in the future to make it a stronger competition and to use it as an opportunity to achieve National Qualifications, standards for Quest for Gold or to attain a personal best. This year despite the conditions both Derek Nakluski & Andrew Smith proved you can run a solid time (in Ontario) on a great track and behind them were some encouraging performances as well." Indeed, with Nakluski and Smith both breaking the 30-minute barrier and an outstanding 9 men qualifying for the Canadian Championships 10,000m - to be held June 27th in Toronto - athletes flying across the continent in search of a deep 10,000m field may well reconsider their travel plans for 2010.
Newly crowned Ontario Champion Derek Nakluski of the Toronto Olympic Club claimed victory over a talented field that included a duo of Quebec athletes, hopefully the beginning of a tradition travelling down from La Belle Province. When asked for comment, Nakluski stated that "going into the Ontario 10k champs my goal was to win and if I ran a solid time that would be a bonus. So I was very happy with the result. Andrew Smith ran a tough race and set a good pace. Getting a new meet record is also kinda cool. This race will set the table for the rest of my season."
On the women's side, a notable return to the track from Rebecca Patten proved a good choice as the Toronto athlete's first outdoor track race of the decade proved victorious. In her debut at the distance, Patten felt that she "probably ran too conservatively" and "look(s) forward to going faster next time." We'll be looking for Patten and silver medalist Bethany McChesney of the London Runner Distance Club, along with many others from this event, at Nationals next month.
The next two meets in the Runners' Choice London Distance Series include the June 3rd Summer Kick-Off and the June 9th New Balance 1500m Night, a unique new event that promises to provide the deepest 1500m field in Canada this year. Both events start at 7:00pm at TD Waterhouse Stadium, at the south end of the UWO campus.
For more information, contact:
RCLDS Race Director and London Runner Distance Club Head Coach