EDMONTON, AB. Sunday, July 22nd. Ontarians Reid Coolsaet (30:08) of Hamilton and London’s Leslie Sexton (34:07) were crowned champions in the inaugural Edmonton 10k this morning, in what was very much a celebration of running in Alberta’s capital. The city and a capacity crowd of 5,000 were ready. When registration for this latest Canada Running Series event, partnering with lululemon opened on April 5th, it sold out in a remarkable 13 hours and 27 minutes. Transforming the road race experience, it was billed as “A Party But With Running”, and it didn’t disappoint! The Finish Line banner proclaimed “The Party Starts Here” and was full of lululemon’s signature “surprise and delights”: birthday-cake donuts in individual boxes replaced traditional bagels; Saje aroma therapy treats; KIND healthy snacks and Oasis Pure Fruit Juices; reusable canvas totes from Saucony, and outstanding post-race coffee from The Colombian Coffee Bar & Roastery – beans from the Lopez family farm in Santa Rita, then roasted in Edmonton; murals for selfie backdrops; all topped off with 2 mass yoga sessions led by Edmonton teachers, and rad tunes spun by DJ Joanna Magik. But first there was some running done!
Canada’s 2-time Olympian Coolsaet took the pack out strongly from the start at the beautiful Alberta Legislative grounds, up and over the iconic High Level Bridge across the North Saskatchewan River. Skies were overcast, with good racing temperatures around 13 degrees celcius, but accompanied by some strong gusty winds blowing down the river valley. By the time they climbed up off the bridge at 2km, to begin the out and back loop along Saskatchewan Drive and Windsor Park, Coolsaet had pulled national 10k road champion and Speed River TFC clubmate Evan Esselink, and Calgary’s Trevor Hofbauer along with him and detached from the main pack.
“Because of the wind I was hoping someone else would push the pace and I’d tuck-in here and there and share the pace,” said Coolsaet.“But if I was going to make a move I didn’t want to leave Evan and Trevor together so they could work together while I was in front solo. Just before the 2k mark Trevor fell off the pace ever so slightly so I put in a fast km and dragged Evan away from Trevor a bit and distanced myself from Evan.
From the 2k mark onwards the three of us were separated.
Evan started to get pretty close to me by six and half km. So I put in another fast km and built up the gap. I was able to maintain that gap until the finish.
By they got back to “The Ledge”, Coolsaet had a 12-second advantage over Esselink, with Hofbauer another 7 seconds back after an absorbing tactical encounter. Reid’s time was just 10 seconds off the fastest 10k ever run in Edmonton, by Kenyan Kibet Rutto in 2012.
Leslie Sexton was something of a surprise winner in the women’s race. Despite being the reigning Canadian Marathon champion, she came in as decidedly third-favourite behind Toronto’s Pan Am Games 1500m bronze medalist Sasha Gollish, and national marathon team member Dayna Pidhoresky of Vancouver. While Gollish and Pidhoresky have been on a tear lately – with Gollish winning the lululemon Toronto Waterfront 10k on June 16th, and Pidhoredsky coming back to best her at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon a week later — Sexton said she has come of “a miserable Spring” in her own words. “It was a bit of a weird race for me,” said Sexton.
“My first 2 kilometres were a bit slow with the hill and the wind. I just did my best to latch onto Dayna and Sasha, and then eventually went by them around 4k. I looked back around 7 or 8k and they were gone. I was really happy with the race. A huge negative split for me (17:24/16:43 for the two halves). A good confidence booster moving forward with my Fall marathon build. I was on marathon training legs, so it took them a while to warm up! The course was awesome. So many people out at 7:30 in the morning. I’ve never been to Edmonton before. Great crowds. Great course. Tons of support. I’ll be back.
Gollish got by Pidhoresky for second, in 34:36, with the British Columbian another 28 seconds back.
Edmonton’s Kieran McDonald came in 4thin 32:02 as the second Alberta man home; Calgary’s Emma Cook-Clarke (35:37) had an impressive race to finish first Alberta female and just 33 seconds behind Pidhoresky. All of the top four females were under what was previously the fastest women’s 10k road race run in Edmonton, the 35:47 run by Chantell Widney in the 10k at the Edmonton Marathon Weekend in 2009
Then, as the donut boxes said, it was “Time to Party” and take a photo with friends in front of the event mural that said “EDMONTON, WE LOVE YOU”!
Lots of the energy and excitement of the day has been captured in the thousands of social media posts using the hashtag #Edmonton10k.