The London Runner Distance Club and local officials are set to host the largest competitive 1,500m field in Canada - the New Balance 1,500m Night - an annual event that has become a marquee meet on the Ontario Track circuit. This Friday June 22nd, at TD Waterhouse Stadium, over 260 athletes will compete over the 'metric Mile' distance, including an extensive list of Canadian Junior and Ontario high school medalists. The track events will begin at 7:50pm, following the Go the Distance road races, with the Open Womens sections starting things off. The hotly contested Open Mens sections will follow, with over 130 entries in that category alone, and at 9:30pm the highly anticipated High Performance races will begin.
The top Womens section features numeours National level competitors, including many Canadian University medalists such as Athletics Toronto athlete Megan Brown and Speed River teammates Andrea Seccafien, Nadine and Lydia Frost. The top local athlete is Leslie Sexton of the London Runner Distance Club, who will look to improve on her 8th place ranking, just as she did last year in taking the silver at this event.
The top Mens section will include #1 ranked Youth athlete Alexander Freemantle of the Newmarket Huskies and World Junior Track and Field Championship qualifier Aaron Hendrikx of the London Runner Distance Club. Freemantle may be looking to replicate the outstanding 2010 performance of his teammate Rob Denault, who set the Canadian Youth 1,500m record at this very event.
While difficult to list all the Provincial and National level medalists at this event, the main draw isn't the top-end performances, but the incredibly large number of athletes contesting the event. The New Balance 1,500m Night is a unique event in offering great competition for local and regional level athletes, while also presenting ideal opportunities for athletes to qualify to Canadian Youth, Canadian Junior, and Canadian Senior (Open) Championships. The event has also become well-known as a go-to race for World Youth and World Junior level qualifiers; in 2011, all four Canadian competitors in the World Youth Championships 1,500m achieved their qualifier standard at the New Balance 1,500m Night.
With free parking and admission, expo booths including New Balance and CBI Health, and an electric atmosphere, the New Balance 1,500m Night is a great event for Athletics fans to spectate. For those that cannot make it to London, there will be extensive coverage thanks to Track Group who will provide live twitter highlights, with race videos that will to be posted soon after the meet finishes.
The 3rd Runners' Choice London Distance Series meet is set for tomorrow night and track fans will have some exciting action on tap as local runners will be chasing after Canadian, Canadian Junior, and World Junior Championship qualifying standards. Hosted at TD Waterhouse Stadium, the distance races will kick off at 7:30pm with three heats of Mens 1,500m. In the top section, athletes from top Ontario clubs including Speed River and Greater Toronto TC will be vying for both the Canadian Championships/Olympic Trials standard (3:48), but also the World Junior mark (also 3:48) as the field includes some of Canada's top middle distance runners. Coming off a strong indoor season, Tommy Lecours is the favourite and will have several Speed River teammates pushing him along.
The expected highlight of the evening will be the highly anticipated double World Junior qualifying attempt in the Mens and Womens 3,000m races. Currently ranked #1 in Canada, Cleo Boyd of Physi-Kult Kingston missed the 9:35 mark by a millisecond earlier this week. London Runner athlete Madeline Yungblut will help 'pace' Boyd for the first kilometer, after which the #2 and #3 ranked entries Leslie Sexton and Becky Pieterson are expected to battle the youngster for the win.
Capping the evening off, at a 9:30pm start, will be a strong Mens 3,000m field in which once again a London Runner athlete, Adam Stacey, will help the field by leading the way over the first kilometer in hopes of setting teammate Aaron Hendrikx up to break the 8:15 World Junior qualifying mark. Hendrikx will be challenged for the win by a strong Toronto Olympic Club contingent, including Derek Nakluski and Hussein Hashi, along with London Runner training partner Kyle O'Neill. These four are already Canadian Championship qualifiers in the 5,000m, from their May 23rd performances at the London Distance Classic, a meet at which Hendrikx set the fastest 5,000m time of any Canadian Junior this year.
As always for the RCLDS meets, parking and admission is free. Come out and see some of the best distance runners in Canada compete Sunday June 10th, starting at 7:30pm.