Over the past few weeks, LRDC athletes have taken on National and International level fields at three spring goal races. Most recently, Brandon Laan and Dave McNamee ran the Boston Marathon on April 19th. Laan faded on the tough 2nd half of the hilly Boston course, but still posted a strong 2:28:13 for 55th overall. Meanwhile McNamee dropped 15 minutes in his 2nd attempt at the distance to dip under 2:55 and join his father - Phil - as Boston finishers. Back in Canada, Chantelle Wilder ran her Half-Marathon debut at the Canadian Championships on April 18th. Clocking an impressive 1:18:41, Wilder was the 5th Canadian and is very excited for future races, stating that there were a "lot of easy things to improve on" from this experience. Given that her 10k split was an unofficial person best time by over 20 seconds, there could be a lot more fine performances coming from this 2009 World XC Championships competitor.
The highlight of the spring had to be the FISU World University XC race by Kyle O'Neill, back on April 11th. With the event taking place in Kingston, Ontario, many LRDC teammates and fans were able to travel down to support this UWO Mustang. O'Neill ran a very smart race, placing 20th overall and scoring as the #2 Canadian behind Kyle Boorsma of Guelph; this helped Canada to place 4th as a team, it's best performance at these championships. Video highlights of this race are available here. Post-race comments follow:
University of Western Ontario and Team Canada Coach Bob Vigars:
"I can't say enough about Kyle - Real Deal is so very apt for this fine fellow. He has such a good and strong heart, and man, he sure can bring it when he races. I am sure he is already held in esteem by his peers across the CIS, but there is no doubt he has risen much higher in their eyes with his huge performance on Sunday, following his equally clutch run last month at CIS Nationals."
London Runner Distance Club Teammate Rebecca Pieterson
"It's awesome to watch someone compete at such a high level. It's kind of like 'Wow, maybe I can do this.' It makes your dreams seem more in reach. It really gets you pumped to compete."
2010 CIS 3,000m Silver Medalist and FISU XC Competitor Kyle O'Neill
"I was very excited to represent Canada for the first time. The fact that it was in Canada made it even more special. The crowd support at the race was great, and an Australian that I was running beside during the race told me after the race that is must have been awesome to have such great fan support."
"This should set me up well for outdoor track and I'm hoping to mix it up with the best in Canada. I'm confident that my coaching and training have been consistent and that should yield a track season of personal bests. The London Runner group is a great atmosphere to be around and I can't wait to step on the outdoor track."
London Runner Distance Club Teammate Bronwen Douglas
"What an amazing experience to be able to support Team Canada at the World University XC Championships in Kingston. It was very exciting to have both McMaster (Jessica Pearo) and LRDC (Kyle) teammates representing Canada at such a prestigious race. It was a nice change to cheer for athletes from schools who we're usually competing against in our university races."
London Runner Distance Club Head Coach Steve Weiler:
"We're very fortunate to have someone like Kyle representing UWO and LRDC. His consistency at Canadian Championships has been outstanding, and he has now translated that to the International level."