VANCOUVER – TRAVEL – Vancouver’s only Marathon may find itself a new course record this May. The BMO Vancouver Marathon is hosting the BC Marathon Championships, and athletes from several nations including China, Kenya and Ethiopia will be in town to challenge BC’s Best and Fastest. A stacked elite field also sees the return of eight past Marathon and Half Marathon champions, as well as nearly 20 athletes with personal best times faster than current course records.
Marathon course record holder and 2015 champion Luka Chelimo of Kenya will return to defend his record of 2:18:37. Chelimo boasts a personal best of 2:10:11 — the fastest of all elite contenders — but nine others have also finished with times faster than the event’s course record.
Kenyan Jonathan Kipchirchir Chesoo (2:10:57 PB) and local running celebrity Rob Watson (2:13:29) are also among the group of elites after the 2018 crown. Chesoo finished third last year with a time of 2:32:08, while Watson took home the Half Marathon title in 2015 and holds the Canadian Half Marathon course record with 1:04:48.
“The Marathon has always been my favourite distance and I figured it made sense to run the hometown Marathon. It’s a great race, always a fun time,” shares Watson. “I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to train hard and then go out on the 6th and compete.”
Watson took home his third First Half Half Marathon win this month with a time of 1:06:57. The First Half was established as a local build-up event to Vancouver’s only Marathon.
On the women’s side, defending champion Kenyan Gladys Tarus is back to better her time after posting a new PB last year, and runner-up, America’s Allison Macsas (2:39:41), who also finished with a new PB, will once again be right on her heels.
Canada’s Catrin Jones (2:42:45), a multiple Top 5 finisher at the event, is set to return after missing last year due to her pregnancy.
Vancouver’s own Kimberly Doerksen holds the women’s course record of 2:37:00.
Chinese top contenders Ding Hong Yang (2:13:37) and Zhiling Zheng (2:33:50) are also expected to post competitive times. Yang and Zheng both rounded off a successful year with new PBs and took the top Chinese Male and Female spots at the Shanghai International Marathon, a new sister-city Marathon to Vancouver.
Last year’s winner Canadian Kip Kangogo (1:03:22) returns to face course record holder and 2017 runner-up Paul Kimugul (1:02:35) of Kenya once more. Both Kangogo and Kimugul are three-time BMO Vancouver Half Marathon champions, and will be joined by another three-time champion Canadian Jim Finlayson (1:05:41). All three will be looking to win their fourth BMO Vancouver Half Marathon title.
Local Anthony Tomsich (1:09:57) also returns to compete after placing 8th last year and winning the RUNVAN®-organized Fall Classic Half Marathon this past November.
Past multi-time champions Kenya’s Jane Murage (1:12:53) and Canada’s Lioudmila Kortchaguina(1:10:47) are set to go head to head in the women’s field. Murage holds the women’s course record of 1:12:53 and won in two consecutive contests. Kortchaguina has emerged victorious in both the Half Marathon and Full Marathon. Both Kortchaguina and Murage finished third in the Marathon and Half Marathon, respectively, last year.
Canadian Kate Gustafson returns to better her time after finishing with a PB of 1:18:43 last May.
The top Half Marathon champions are expected to cross the Finish Line just after 8am. Join in at the BMO Vancouver Marathon’s eccentric Downtown Finish Line and Street Festival.