Tristan Woodfine revealed what his true potential may be over 42.2K at the 2018 Ottawa Marathon.
On May 27, Woodfine ran 2:18:55, which ranks him second among Canadian men’s marathoners in 2018, behind John Mason’s 2:18:23 in Rotterdam. He was the top Canadian (10th overall) in Ottawa, one of two IAAF Gold Label marathons in Canada, along with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which doubles as the Athletics Canada national championship.
“My goal was to just run hard, stay strong mentally and get a feel for the distance.”
Woodfine was the 2017 Canada Running Series men’s champion, capped off by his win at the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon. Earlier this year, the Cobden, Ont. native (and resident) won the Race Roster Spring Run-Off 8K and Scotiabank Montreal Half-Marathon, a perfect two-for-two start to the 2018 Canada Running Series circuit.
“Since it [Ottawa] was a race close to my hometown, I had a lot of friends and family out along the course which really helped me stay positive,” he says. “The marathon is a tough race and you’re always going to go through some rough patches so seeing familiar faces out there really helped me to refocus and stay strong.”
The 24-year-old, whose time in Ottawa crushes his previous personal best of 2:27:55 from the 2015 Rotterdam Marathon, split 1:09:14 through halfway. Overall, his finishing time translates to 3:17 per kilometre pace, which puts him as one of four Canadian men to have run sub-2:19 since January 2017.
“Going sub 2:19 has definitely set me up well going into future marathons,” he says. “Getting one good marathon under my belt has given me the confidence to be more aggressive in future races. The marathon can be a very challenging distance and being able to run strong throughout the race and finish with a good time is hopefully the first step towards more success at the marathon going forward.”
19:59 (15-21.1K) / 1:09:14
Woodfine, since competing for the University of Guelph, has been dominant on the Canadian road running scene. He’s won the last three Canada Running Series races he’s entered and has PBs ranging from 14:33 for 5K to 1:06:18 for the half-marathon, now adding a sub-2:20 performance to the longest IAAF championship distance. His 8K (24:15) and 10K (29:54) road PBs were set on Canada Running Series courses including the Race Roster Spring Run-Off and the Toronto Waterfront 10K.
Interestingly, Woodfine has returned to training under his longtime triathlon coach. “I am currently being coached by Greg Kealey of the [Ottawa-based] Bytown Storm Triathlon Club. He was my triathlon coach in high school, and we stayed in touch throughout university,” Woodfine says. “Since last fall we have been working together again, with our focus being the marathon.”
Rather than tracking his mileage too closely, Woodfine instead focused on the day-to-day process of this marathon build ahead of Ottawa. “Balancing school and student placement while marathon training was tough at times so focusing on process goals rather than metric goals allowed me to keep a better mindset,” he says.
Overall, Woodfine says he was very happy with Ottawa. “My goal was to just run hard, stay strong mentally and get a feel for the distance,” he says. “I feel like I accomplished all those goals and running sub-2:19 was definitely an added bonus. I learned a lot of good lessons from this marathon and the build leading into it. My goal now is to take those lessons and use them going into a fall marathon.”
Cover photo: Kevin Morris/Photorun.