Wednesday, 7 April 2010

P-K POM for March; Endurance Summit

The relatively dry winter and early spring seems to have set P-K athletes off to a quick start as they hit the roads for the 2010 racing season (with fast track times to follow in April and May, we hope).

Kicking things off was top P-K man Dylan Wykes, with two solid results in two outings: A brave, front-running 2nd place to Alberta- based Kenyan ace Willy Komsop at Harry's 8k in Stanley Park, the same athlete who turned Dylan away in the final few minutes of last year's Vancouver Sun Run (expect a west coast rematch in a month); and another hard fought runner-up effort at the end of the month, this time versus Canadian 1500m Olympian Taylor Milne of Guelph Speed River at the Around the Bay 5k, to close out the month. Running a close 3rd was national team member Rob Watson (steeplechase), also of the Speed River/Guelph group. These were reassuringly strong results for Dylan, who struggled for part of the winter with an achilles tendon strain. Next up for him is a trip out to California, where he will attempt to substantially revise the 10k personal best he set on the track out there one year ago.

Meanwhile, in Quebec, new member (but seasoned road racer)Christian Mercier was carving up personal bests over 15k and 5k respectively with new marks of 47:56 (old P.B. 49:20) and 15:17 (old mark 15:23). Chris will be trying to make it three-for-three when he hits the streets of Montreal in 10 days to contest the National Half Marathon Championships.

In the same race in which Chris re-wrote his 5k best, master (but rookie runner) and new member Rick Minichiello scorched a 15:27, to become the fastest over-40 runner in Canada so far this year (a mark that will surely stand up as one of the top few marks at the close of 2010-- unless he himself manages to better it a few times, which, odds are, he will). (I don't plan to make it easy for him, but I predict that Rick will be the first of the masters athletes I have coached to beat me head-to-head. And note to any men's 40-49 teams who have designs on beating P-K at the X-C nationals in the fall: Forget it!)

Finally, last year's P-K POY winner Mike Gill opened his season with a new personal best over 5k-- a hard-fought 15:45--, running a full 8 minutes (yes, minutes) better than the 220lb version of himself recorded on the same course exactly one year ago*. It's been a remarkable ride for Mike, but it's only getting started, as he had been slowed by a string of minor problems in the few weeks preceding the race. Expect him to flirt with low 15s over the course of the season, and perhaps sub-15 on the track in June or July.

*The race was actually April 1; but, it having been April fool's day, I'm counting it in March.

This is a fine clutch of performances to start the racing season, but Performance of the Month honours for March have to go to Rick Minichiello for a time so good that his old personal best is not even worth mentioning (actually, since he only started running in 2008, after a career as an elite cyclist, he didn't even have one!). Congrats, Rick. You are now in the running for P-K Performance of the Year for 2010, which is selected at the end of the season from all the POM winners. Its owner receives a small (but very nice) Mizuno prize package, courtesy of Mizuno Canada and Physi-Kultrunning.com

Finally for the this installment, I'd like to remind everyone that it is not too late to register for the Endurance Summit, a one day conference on running and racing to be held in conjunction with the Queen's University's 100 year alumni and World University Cross Country Championship festivities taking place in Kingston this weekend (April 10). For registration details follow this link: Endurance Summit

I will be participating on a panel along with national team athletes Dylan Wykes and Reid Coolsaet, and 1976 Olympian Thelma Wright. The topic will be "Making the transition from age-group athlete to senior elite".

Hope to see many of you there, or at the X-C race itself, which promises to be thrilling!

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