Thursday, February 28, 2008

CanWest, Geoff Kerr, Weaselhead

Last weekend at the Saskatoon Fieldhouse the U fo S Huskies hosted the university Canada West Track and Field Championships. 24 Dinos headed out to compete in everything from the shot put to the 3000m race, the 60m hurdles to the pole vault. 120 other competitors from universities in Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Victoria and Saskatoon toed the line as well, competing not just for individual medals but the overall team medals. The U of C was ranked first overall for their women's team, so expectations were high. The men's team was ranked fourth and ended up a few frustrating points out of first.

To get to the CanWest finals the Dino athletes had to either reach a varsity or national standard at some of the track meets in the past couple months, or they had to be expected to score points for the team. The first 6 people across the line score points, starting with 7 for first place, and ending with 1 point for sixth. You also medalled in your event if you were top 3. So, lots of chances to medal or score points, especially if you're in multiple events.

In the women's 1000m Heather Sim won in 2:54.90, followed by Rachel Romero in 4th and Valerie Hurdle in 5th. 12 points for the Dinos women. The men's 1000m had Scott Nicol in 5th in 2:29.97 and Madison Theriault in 6th for 3 points. In the women's 3000m Jessica O'Connell was 2nd in 9:49.81 for 5 points, and Geoff Kerr was 3rd in 8:43.70 for 4 points. That trend of women scoring more points than men in the same events continued for the some of the weekend, although the men were 1 and 2 in the 300m and 600m. The women's team capped the weekend with a great 4x800m relay win, and the overall points-leader CanWest banner.

Geoff Kerr's 3rd place finish in the 3000m was way off his personal best of 8:09.52 that he ran last year at this time. While his achilles wasn't bothering him leading up to the race, his calves weren't ready for the intense abuse of running that hard for that long and he ended up 21st in the 1500m the next day.

"The 3000m was first," writes outgoing team captain Kerr in an email. "I wouldn't describe it as a great race, but as good as I could do. I wasn't able to get up onto my toes which was very frustrating. I was lucky that the pace was fairly slow, and that allowed me to hang on. The cross training had the aerobic system ready to go, and so I was able to finish 3rd. The 1500 was the next day. I wasn't sure if I was going to run, because of the pain in my achiles and both calves, but we were in the run for the team title, and so Doug and I decided to give it a shot. The lower legs just gave out on me. The AT [athletic therapist] thinks I mildly strained both calves at some point in the race. I was forced to swallow my pride and finish basically limping on the track.

"As for the whole weekend, we had some great performances, although the guys came out agonizingly short of a team title. I wish my last Dinos race had gone better, but such is sport. I came into the program and there was never even talk about team placings because we were so far down the rankings, but this year it was the goal, and next year I believe the boys will come home with a banner for the first time in a decade."

The CIS National Championships are 9 days away in Montreal. The roster is posted at . There is also some post-race analysis from the Dinos on this page:

Keeping with the indoor track theme, this weekend there are the Alberta Provincials in Edmonton. Most of the varsity athletes are sitting this one out, either because they're saving their legs for CIS or they're already in transition to a rest period after the indoor season. For some people, like 74-year-old Roger Davies, this is the start of a season that ends in Regina in August with the Canadian masters championships. This weekend he'll be entered in the 3000m and the 1500m, as will fellow septagenarian Helly Visser. A lot of the younger competitors will be high school students like Mihai Prajea, Gareth Hadfield, Grace Kary, and hundreds more.

There was another event last weekend, the 9th trail race for the Calgary Roadrunners. The usual scenic, hilly, Weaselhead route was altered due to construction in the area, so the 90 people who turned out for a lovely spring-like afternoon run had a relatively flat course to follow. This brought out some competitive ire in the middle of the pack runners who spend a lot of time battling hills in other races, ended up running harder and faster than usual. Further evidence and photos can be found: and and The race was won by Andrew Carruthers in 23:57 for the men and Shari Boyle in 27:00 for the women.

On March 16th is the original St. Patrick's Day Run, which is a 5k and 10k race that starts the Timex series put on by Athletics Alberta. The premise is that Athletics Alberta, the governing body in this province for road and track races, selects 10 races around Alberta, like the Dino Dash 10k and the St. Albert 10 Mile and if you pre-register with Athletics Alberta for the series you collect points in your age group, redeemable at the end of the season for swanky prizes. More information on that is at: It starts with the St. Patrick's Day 10k and ends with Melissa's Road Race 10k in Banff in September.

There is also a competing St. Patrick's Day race, put on by the Running Room. Same day, same distance, with more corporate weight behind it. While it might seem that a city of 1 million people is big enough to support 2 similar races on the same day, the original St. Patrick's Day Race attendance will probably lose half its entrants to the Running Room race. What was once easily manageable with 1500 entries might mean belt-tightening with 700 entries. Still, 700 is a nice race, but will it be enough to close the roads around the campus and hire all the police to keep cars off the route? Time will tell.

The last two weeks of March are wide open for a race. And April has 6 good races, ending with the sold out Calgary Police Half. Also in March is the last Calgary Roadrunners trail race, this time in Fish Creek. This is open to anyone who wants to run a 4k or 8k trail run, and the fee is $7 for members and $10 for non-members.

Mar 1-2 Alberta Provincial Championships [300]
> Mar 6-8 CIS Championships, Montreal [24 from Calgary]
Mar 8 - Fish Creek XC [100]
Mar 16 - St. Patrick's Day 10k [1000]
Apr 6 Glencoe Icebreaker 10k
Apr 13 Spring Trio 15k/10/5k - [150]
Apr 13 Hustle for Hunger 10k 5k
Apr 19 Climb for Wilderness
Apr 20 Airdrie Half Marathon 10k 5k
Apr 27 Calgary Police Half + 5k

Athletics Alberta -
CRR XC Grand Prix -
Dinos Track Bulletin -

About the Calgary Road and Track Report
The CRTR is not directly affiliated with the Calgary Roadrunners Club, the Calgary Spartans, the University of Calgary Dinos, the Running Room, Athletics Alberta, or any other club or organization. This report is an independent source of information about running. The purpose is to give Calgarians information about upcoming race events and recent results. This may include interviews with race directors and elite athletes.

About Gabino Travassos
Among other things, Gabino is a recent running convert with 15 races completed. His best was a 41:45 10k in August.

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