That’s like… the Bulls without Mike… or hockey games without fights
First off, a big congratulations to Dylan Wykes for not only running 2:12:39 at Cali Int Marathon but also for winning the race. It sounds like the other elite runners let Dylan get an early lead thinking they would reel him in later on however, that never happened and he came home victorious leading wire to wire. In 2008 Dylan ran 2:15:16 and was the talk of the town for Canadian marathoning. In 2009 Dylan and I ran 2:18 and 2:16, respectively, at the World Champs and we were not pleased with those times but knew we had to run in hot conditions. Dylan, admittedly, was a little more shell shocked about his time than myself but in the end we both knew we would hit better weather and run something more indicative of our fitness. After Gillis and I ran well this fall in Toronto and Simon Bairu was slated to do big things in New York Dylan was all but forgotten outside small running cirlces. And then Dylan goes and wins a big marathon with a 3 minute PB! He just went about his business, trained hard and executed and now people are noticing once again.
Myself, Dylan and Trent running in a forest in Germany before 2009 World Champs.
So now Canada has a 2:11, 2 X 2:12, and two other talented athletes (Simon Bairu and Rob Watson) looking for big performances in 2011. This motivates me quite a bit because although I’m the only one with the Olympic qualifying time I don’t, for one second, think that it’s safe that 2:11:23 will remain in the top 3.
Another example of Canada moving in the right direction with distance running: This week I was up for the Athletics Canada award for outstanding off-track performance (Fred Begley award), an award I won last year for my 25th placing at Worlds. This year I felt I had a better marathon than last year and I knew I was not going to win the award. 10th place at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon simply does not hold up to Simon Bairu’s 13th place at the World Cross Country Championships (not to mention Josh Cassidy’s win at the London Marathon in the wheelchair division). 13th place at World Cross is absolutely outstanding. Simon’s 27:23 is also outstanding but is not counted in the ‘off-track’ category. However, it is counted in the main awards category where Simon shared one of the major awards with Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.
The other big news in Canadian distance running (or mid-distance to be specific) is the retirement of Gary Reed. Gary has been one of the best 800m runners in the world since 2004 and boasts a PB of 1:43.68 (Canadian record). The 800m is a very, very competitive event, just about every country produces good ‘long-sprinters’ or ‘fast distance runners’. Gary reached the final in three major championships in a row (2005 Worlds, 2007 Worlds, 2008 Olympics) and came out with a 2nd and a 4th in the later two. You can bet there are very few 800m runners who have ever made three major finals in a row. Obviously Gary was very inspiring to watch, a Canadian (who lived and trained in Canada) who was mixing it up with the best of the best in the world. I got to know Gary fairly well over the years and he taught me a lot about attitude, competition and living as an elite athlete. Also made me laugh my ass off with his Dave Chappelle impersonations (playa hata’s ball was amazing). It was a weird feeling not having Kevin Sullivan at Worlds last year and it will be a weird feeling this year at Worlds in Daegu (although I’m likely going to skip Daegu for a fall marathon).
Here are Gary’s best times each year over a six year period.
|2009||1:43.95||Athína (Olympic Stadium)||13/07/2009|
My last two days in the Barbados were sweet. I took a catamaran trip up the island where we stopped twice to snorkle, once over a couple of shipwrecks and schools of fish and once with turtles. On my last morning I rented a jet-ski. In the beginning I felt like I was going pretty fast and I looked down at the speedometer and saw 40km/hr. A little later, as I got more comfortable, I got it over 50km/hr. And then over 60km/hr. Finally I hit 71km/hr on that thing and it felt incredibly fast with the waves and all.
The beach by my hotel.
Catamaran with beach in background.
Diving off Catamaran.