TORONTO April 19th 2015. Despite a very strong headwind and cool temperatures for most of the race Lanni Marchant narrowly missed the course record at the Toronto Yonge Street 10k this morning.
The 30 year old resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee crossed the finish line in a time of 31:49, just seven seconds off Florence Jepkoskei’s 2007 record time. It was her second victory in three years at this Canada Running Series race.
Marchant, who famously beat the Canadian women’s marathon record at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (2:28:00), was all smiles as she greeted well wishers after the race. Missing the record didn’t disappoint her in the least.
“I am really happy with how I ran today,” she said. “I have been really focusing more on the 10,000m stuff for the track. With the wind and conditions today I was happy to dip under (my P.B. on this course). I think I was 31:58 two years ago so I was a bit quicker than that this year so I will take it.”
From 3 kilometres on Marchant, who is originally from London, Ontario, was alone in the women’s race her chief rival, Tarah Korir, dropping back around that point. Korir, the 2012 Toronto Yonge Street 10k winner, spends most of the year in Cherangany, Kenya where her husband Wesley is a Member of Parliament. Marchant trained in Kenya during the winter and spent a lot of time with her friend and rival.
“I have known Tarah for years and we trained together in Kenya,” Marchant explained. “We did a lot of workouts in Kenya. She really made me work hard over there and she really made me work hard at the start of the race today.
“I never line up expecting to win or be the favourite. I never want to doubt another girl’s fitness. I know how quickly I came on the scene so I never doubt how quickly another girl is going to do the same thing.”
Korir finished second in a time of 32:57 and soon after joined her parents at the Kenyan Kids Foundation table in the post race area. This is the charity she and Wesley started to help educate young Kenyan children. Although shivering in the cold wind she was pleased with her performance today.
“I started out with (Lanni) but then I felt like that pace was a bit too quick to maintain so I dropped back a little bit,” she revealed. “It was maybe 3 or 4k before I felt I was able to maintain a pace. I was able to pass runners.
“It was a lot better than a year ago. I was hoping to run a little faster but it was a decent race. I just want to continue improving from here.”
Marchant heads back to her latest high altitude training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona this evening where she will prepare for a pair of important track meets.
“I have been training in Flagstaff the last couple of weeks,” the London, Ontario native said. “I will head back there tonight then I head to California to do the Payton Jordan 10,000m on the track and try and get under 32 minutes for the IAAF world championships standard. Then I will be in Ottawa for the national 10k championships.
“I am going to do the Pan Am Games marathon so I will be back in Toronto for that. I can’t do two marathons in one summer and I really want to go to the IAAF world championships, so I have to become a 10k runner to do so.”
Two time Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis accomplished his goal of winning the men’s race albeit in a time reflective of the windy conditions. That time of 29:16 is more than a minute slower than his best on this course. He surged with 3 kilometres remaining in the race and earned a gap on Matt Loiselle which he held to the finish. Loiselle took second in 29:35 with the surprising Lamont Marshall finishing 3rd in 29:50.
“I wasn’t feeling that great this week,” Gillis revealed. “Some hip issues, so I played it conservative. Crazy wind out there all the way down Yonge Street. It didn’t feel as fast as normal on that course. But then things kind of clicked when I picked it up with 3k to go. I am a little sore now but I will get some therapy and I will be good to go.”
“I had Matt (alongside) until 7k and he did a bunch of the leading. Matt did a ton of the work. Just before 7k I knew we were going to make a turn and I was hoping the wind wasn’t going to be in our face and it wasn’t. I just kept up the tempo from there, tried to feel good. I was feeling like if it was more than a 10k I could keep the rhythm going. I am pleased with the win and glad to get this one in.”
Loiselle had started the race wearing a hat but a gust of wind blew it off barely two hundred metres down the road. After losing the better part of two years rehabilitating from injuries he was pleased to make it to the starting line and test himself against Gillis. Two weeks ago the pair had raced at Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8k with the Olympian prevailing by 22 seconds.
“I am satisfied, I guess,” Loiselle, a 30 year old Athletics Toronto member, said. “Usually we have the wind coming from the north and, of course, today it was coming from the south.
“Originally I wanted to kind of push the pace and take it out from the gun. I tried anyway, maybe got a little bit of a gap at about 3k but Eric caught up to me. We stayed together until around 7k and he made a pretty good surge and I couldn’t react. Overall I am definitely happy with the effort. It was a better race than two weeks ago. Each week is getting a little bit better.”
Another notable performance today was the third place finish of Lioudmila Kortchaguina in a time of 33:44. The Russian born Canadian, who represented Canada in the 2007 IAAF World Championships marathon, is now 43 years of age.
There were so many winners today including Red Door Family Shelter who went home with $12,700 to fund their Children’s Programs and Sick Kids Hospital who benefited from the fundraising efforts of the Justice League Runners. Toronto 2015 mascot PACHI joined the celebrations at the finish line as the star of many runners’ photo selfies during a special day for Toronto!
For Race Results: Toronto10k.ca