Perfect weather greeted competitors at the 13th annual London 10,000m, hosted by the London Runner Distance Club with support from local officials and volunteers. The meet included the Athletics Ontario and Ontario Masters Athletics 10,000m Championships and was the first of four meets in the 2018 Runners' Choice London Distance Series.
Open 800m and 1,500m races made up the first portion of the meet. In the women's 800m, Olivia Romaniw won the fast section over Janelle Hanna with a time of 2:15.04, while the men's 800m saw Remy Binns put forth an excellent solo effort to win the fast section in 1:54.05. Local syblings Rhys and Tegan Parry respectively won the slow sections of the 800m. Emma Tallman clocked 4:42.30 in winning the women's 1,500m. The early meet was highlighted by a strong men's 1,500m that saw Junior Marcus Kemp win in 3:53.42 over Hunter Andrin.
The early laps of the women's 10,000m saw top seeds Branna MacDougall (Physi-Kult), Claire Sumner (Physi-Kult) and Leslie Sexton (London Runner) each take turns leading the race, before MacDougall broke the race wide open near the 3,000m mark. MacDougall extended her lead with each passing kilometer, producing an excellent debut 10,000m performance of 33:14.21 and claiming the Athletics Ontario championship. This time edged out Leslie Sexton's 33:14.91 as #2 all-time at the London 10,000m, just missing the series record of 33:10.47 (Megan Brown). Sumner hung on for the silver medal, and Sexton the bronze, followed by track 10,000m debutante Tanis Bolton in 4th and Molly Steer 5th.
A strong men's field produced an exciting race, as the lead pack of men established early on that they were targetting a sub-30:00 performance. Sergio Raez Villanueva of Harbour Track did much of the leading, with Kevin Blackney (London Western) sharing the lead and Blair Morgan (Harbour) making an effort to help out as well. These efforts kept the lead pack of four on sub-30:00 pace every step of the way, splitting 5,000m around 14:50. After the group lost a few seconds in third quarter of the race, Chris Balestrini made his first move to the front, appearing to have committed for a long push through to the finish. This move dropped Morgan and opened a gap on Villanueva, as Blackney hung on gamely, resulting in a thrilling final lap in which Balestrini dug deep for the win in 29:47.22 over Blackney's 29:48.57. Villaneuva clocked 29:51.93 as the top three all ran personal best times. Morgan finished 4th just a shade over the 30 minute mark, followed by Junior Max Turek (Durham Dragons) whose 30:48.14 clocking secured World Junior standard and earned him the Athletics Ontario Championship gold.
The final race of the night featured three Ontario Masters Athletics competitors, with Walter Faion (UTTC) taking the win in 44:39.94 over Chuck Edwards (London Pacers) and Steffen Kampe. Full meet results here.
Meet photos will be posted at Matt Goodale Photography.
The next event in the 2018 Runners' Choice London Distance Series is Trackie Mania on June 3rd, followed by 1,500m Night on June 16th and finally the Forest City 5,000m on July 16th. Other upcoming meets include the Hamilton Twilight Series, with their Season Opener on May 27th, followed by the Hamilton 100m and 800m Night on June 14th.
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