All four defending champions and two course record holders return to the BMO Vancouver Marathon
Vancouver’s only Marathon sees one of the most competitive fields in event history
May 5, 2018 – Vancouver, BC –
The elite roster at this weekend’s BMO Vancouver Marathon is shaping up to be one of the most competitive fields in event history. With top distance runners including Olympian Natasha Wodak (CAN) and Kip Kangogo (CAN) leading the pack, Vancouver’s only Marathon may find itself a new course record this year.
All four defending champions – Daniel Kipkoech (KEN), Gladys Tarus (KEN), Kangogo and Wodak – return for another chance at the top of the podium, in addition to course record holders and multi-time champions Paul Kimugul (KEN) and Jane Murage (KEN).
Local run coach Rob Watson (CAN) is upgrading to the Marathon at this year’s event after winning the Half Marathon in 2015. Watson enters the event with one of the top three times with 2:13:29 (2013). Watson also coaches many runners who will be running in this year’s event.
“No matter what happens out there, you train hard, you’ve gone through the winter, you’ve woken up early or stayed up late… you sacrificed so much to get on that starting line,” shares Watson. “I guarantee you that at some point during the race, you’re going to go, ‘why am I doing this?’, and when that thought comes into your head, you think about this time; you think about the sacrifices you made.”
Entering the race with the fastest time is Haron Kiptoo Sirma (KEN) with 2:13:07 (2017). Top contenders also include Felipe Mendez (MEX) and last year’s Top Canadian Craig McMillan (CAN).
On the women’s side, Zhiling Zheng (CHN) comes in with the fastest time at 2:33:50 (2017). After finishing the Shanghai International Marathon, the event’s sister Marathon, as the Top Chinese Woman, Zheng is expected to go head-to-head with defending champion Gladys Tarus.
The Marathon will also serve as the host of the BC Marathon Championships, in conjunction with BC Athletics. Top performers will receive additional prize money and move on to represent BC at the Canadian Marathon Championships in Toronto.
“It’s an awesome competition out here,” adds Watson. “Can’t wait to throw it down with these guys.”
The Half Marathon elite field features the most past champions to date, including last year’s top finishers Kip Kangogo and Natasha Wodak.
Kangogo will have to face off against a competitive field lead by three-time winner and course record holder Paul Kimugul, two-time and defending full Marathon champion Daniel Kipkoech, and last year’s Marathon runner-up George Towett (KEN) to defend his title. Kangogo himself has won three times, with last year being the first time he has won representing Canada.
Natasha Wodak and Jane Murage are the favourites to win the women’s competition and enter the competition with the two top times. Wodak, who lives and trains in Vancouver, aims to break Murage’s course record and take home her fourth win in her hometown race.
“I love being here; the energy’s really happy,” says Wodak. “This is my home, my course, my race – I’m excited!”
Eleven countries will be represented among the elites at the Start Line tomorrow. The Half Marathon champion is expected to cross the line around 8am, and the Marathon champion at 10:45am.
Marathon course records are held by Luka Chelimo (KEN) at 2:18:37, and local Kim Doerksen (CAN) with 2:37:00. Kimugul and Murage hold the records in the Half Marathon at 1:02:36 and 1:12:53, respectively.
Come out and cheer on the runners at the Finish Line and Street Festival. This year, we welcome a record of 17,000+ registered runners.
“We have such an amazing running community out here,” adds Wodak. “Everyone is active, everyone wants to run this weekend!”