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Natasha Wodak Blitzes a Canadian All-Comers Record at the St Patrick’s Day 5K

March 17, 2018

Going into today’s St Patrick’s Day 5K presented by BMO, expectations were high that some records would be broken, and the race sure didn’t disappoint in perfect running conditions.

Leading the way were the women, as the anticipated match-up between Canada’s two 10,000m representatives at the upcoming Commonwealth Games resulted in the fastest time ever run in Canada. Natasha Wodak ran a blistering quick 15:39, bettering the old record of 15:42 set by Carol Montgomery in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland in 2006. Her Canadian team mate Rachel Cliff helped get things off to a fast start, scorching through the first downhill mile in 4:38, with Wodak 4 seconds back. But Wodak was able to sustain the pace better through the second half, particularly over the uphill final kilometer, and ran out a convincing winner. Cliff hung on gamely to also finish well under her previous course record, in 15:51.

Wodak collected $500 for the win and the BC Championship, plus a $250 bonus from Saucony for the course record. Cliff received $300 for second, and a consolation $150 from RunGo for first through the mile. Some ways back, Scotland’s Sarah Inglis took third in 16:27. Ontario Cross Country Champion Natalia Hawthorn finished fourth in 16:30. And defending champion Dayna Pidhoresky, preparing to defend her Around the Bay 30K title next weekend, was fifth in 16:39.

Not to be outdone, Lucas Bruchet also broke his own 2016 course record by 10 seconds, reclaiming the title in 14:12. Pre-race favourites Bruchet and Rob Denault were joined at the front over the first mile by Trinity Western University’s Levi Neufeld, who surged to claim the mile bonus in 4:18, helped perhaps by the Maserati pace car. Neufeld faded a little over the remaining distance, but still finished strong to place sixth. Meanwhile Bruchet and Denault pushed ahead, with Bruchet using his strength and course knowledge to open up a small gap before the last turn, and the final uphill 100m sprint to the finish. Denault couldn’t let up before crossing the line in 14:16, as he was chased all the way by UBC’s John Gay who took third in 14:19, and surprise fourth placer Matthew Travaglini from Calgary in 14:24. Rob Watson completed the top five in 14:41.

The depth of performances was evident throughout the field as many PBs were set. Fifteen men broke 15 minutes. Eight women broke 17 minutes. And race organizers Steve Mattina and Karen Warrendorf far exceeded their goal of having 50 under 17 minutes, when the 75th finisher crossed the line as the clocked ticked past that mark.

Top masters were Craig Odermatt in 16:20, and Marilyn Arsenault who set a BC F5054 record in 17:50. The aforementioned Carol Montgomery finished second in the F5054 category. Top juniors were Tyler Dozzi in 14:57, and Grace Fetherstonhaugh in 17:33.

In total over 1,400 completed the scenic Stanley Park course under sunny skies, many dressed in costume to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. Many also raised funds for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

In addition to being the 2018 BC 5K Championship, the race was also the fourth in the 2018 BC Super Series, a collaboration between BC Athletics and 12 of BC's best road races. The next race in the BC Super Series is the Vancouver Sun Run 10K on April 22.

Complete race results at https://www.startlinetiming.com/en/races/2018/stpat