A drama is in the making in the lead-up to the May 28 IAAF Gold label Ottawa 10K race with a larger than usual number of contenders returning to compete for a podium spot and a record race time.
The IAAF designation, flat course and generally favourable weather make Ottawa a preferred course for repeat racers and confirm its profile as an international destination with athletes coming from as far away as Kenya and Algeria. It is also a good tune-up race for athletes already qualified for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Among the field of elite women racers, last year’s second place finisher Peres Jepchirchir from Kenya will be at the start line to see if she can shave down her 31:18 time and maybe break the 30:56 course record time set in 2015 by compatriot Gladys Cherono. Jepchirchir ran 30:55 last September in Prague (Czech Republic), so a course record is within reach.
Among elite men, Kenyans may dominate the field in numbers but will face strong competition from Ethiopians. Nicholas Bor is coming back to defend his 2015 27:55 first place finish. He is hungry to break the 27:24 course record set by Ethiopia’s Deriba Merga in 2009.
Simon Cheprot – who placed second last year with 27:57 – will also be back to see if he can beat fellow Kenyan Bor. Cheprot is in good shape, having recently posted a 1:00:12 time at the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales at the end of March.
Kenyan Wilson Kiprop is also coming back. He won the Ottawa 10K race in 2014 in 28:00:07.
The Canadian 10K Championships taking place again this year in Ottawa will make for an entertaining race, with Lanni Marchant defending last year’s win against Natasha Wodak and Laura Batterink, who took the silver and bronze titles. Lindsay Carson – the fourth Canadian to cross the finish line and among the top 10 overall last year – will join Rhiannon Johns and Kate Bazeley in showing spectators that home-grown talent is a force to reckon with.
Reid Coolsaet, who returns to Ottawa after a long absence, will be eyeing the podium for Canadian men. He has had some strong recent finishes in the half marathon (1:04:56 at the 2016 World Half Marathon Championships) and marathon distances (2:10:28 in September 2015 in Berlin). He will be joined by fellow Canadians Matt Loiselle (last year’s bronze medalist) and Jeremy Deere, who also ran Ottawa in 2015. Like the women, there is a large field of Canadian elite-level men racing Ottawa this year, many of whom have potential to run sub-30 minutes.
First place winners in the Canadian 10K Championships take home $3,000.
With the right conditions, records in the women’s race could easily fall, and the men’s results could prove equally surprising.
“There’s a different edge to this year’s 10K race, with athletes returning to improve their times and test their training against last year’s competition.”
Manny Rodrigues, Elite Athlete Coordinator, Run Ottawa.
“The 2016 edition of the Ottawa 10K race is proof of Ottawa’s standing as a world-class race destination. The combination of our IAAF Gold label designation, a flat race course and great May weather are highly appealing for athletes.”
John Halvorsen, President and Race Director, Run Ottawa
“Athletics Canada is proud that the Ottawa 10K will be the host once again for the Canadian 10K Championships. It attracts one of the world’s best fields of elite runners, not to mention a favourite destination for thousands of participants from across the National Capital Region and beyond.”
Rob Guy, Chief Executive Officer, Athletics Canada
Key facts and information:
- 13,000 runners are expected to take part in the 2016 Ottawa 10K
- Ottawa 10K is one of only four Gold label 10K races in the world
- The course records for the Ottawa 10K race are also the Canadian soil records:
- Women: 30:56, set by Gladys Cherono (Kenya) in 2015
- Men: 27:24, set by Deriba Merga (Ethiopia) in 2009
- This is the second year in a row the Canadian 10K Championships will be held in Ottawa.
- Winners of the 2015 Canadian 10K Championships:
- Men: Eric Gillis (28:57)
- Women: Lanni Marchant (31:48)
- Winners of the 2015 Ottawa 10K race:
- Men: Nicholas Bor (27:55)
- Women: Gladys Cherono (30:56)