With dozens of elite runners set to compete at the Ottawa 10K on 23 May, organisers of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race believe it could end up being one of the fastest 10km races in the world this year.
World half-marathon champion Gladys Cherono leads the entries. The world 10,000m silver medallist is aiming to beat the 31:21 course record, set last year by Mary Keitany.
Cherono, who has a 10km PB of 30:57, could even threaten the Canadian all-comers’ record of 31:05, set by Angela Chalmhers in Vancouver in 1996 and unofficially bettered on a slight downhill course in the same city by Isabella Ochichi in 2006 with 30:55.
The women’s race in Ottawa starts about four minutes earlier than the men. The first athlete, man or woman, to cross the finish line receives a $2000 bonus.
Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga, who finished second in Ottawa last year in 32:20, will return to the race. The 21-year-old won the African junior 5000m title in 2013 and has a 10km PB of 31:35.
Kenya’s Peris Chepchirchir will be another formidable contender. The 22-year-old won a handful of top-level road races in France last year, including a 10km victory in Houilles in a PB of 31:34.
Canadian marathon record-holder Lanni Marchant and Rotterdam Marathon third-place finisher Krista Duchene will both contend the national 10km title.
Last year’ second-place finisher David Kogei returns to the men’s race, looking to go one better than in 2014 when he clocked 28:06 to finish runner-up to Wilson Kiprop. Kogei is in good form too, having smashed his half-marathon PB with 59:46 earlier this year.
Ethiopia’s Tilahun Regassa boasts faster PBs than Kogei over the half marathon (59:19) and 10km (27:32) and will be making his Canadian debut.
Kenya’s Nicholas Bor and Amos Mitei both have PBs faster than 28 minutes and will also be expected to challenge for the win.
Switzerland’s Tadesse Abraham will be looking to add the national 10km record to the one he holds over the half marathon (1:00:42).
Eric Gillis will aim to defend his national 10km title within the men’s race. He will be joined by a strong field of domestic competitors, including Kelly Wiebe, Canada’s top-placed finisher at the recent IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
“The combination of being a Gold Label event and hosting the National Championship has led to the deepest 10km field that I have seen on Canadian soil,” said elite athlete coordinator Manny Rodrigues.
“We have six men ranked in the top 25 for road running right now, and we have the top runners from seven countries. The depth is incredible.”
Organisers for the IAAF