Fresh off her Ottawa Marathon win last month (first Canadian to cross the finish line), Dayna Pidhoresky knows that three weeks isn’t that long ago. But the experience of winning gives her a great deal of momentum heading into the Canadian Half Marathon Championships set to take place on June 16.
It’s not a lot of time between races, but Pidhoresky sees the positives of competing in a Canadian Championship. “I am coming into this race completely open-minded in terms of possible performances,” said Pidhoresky. “I feel pretty well recovered from Ottawa and I know not much fitness has been lost, so I’m confident that the work I did earlier this season will be right there for me to access on race day.”
Joining her in the Canadian Half Marathon Championships is a talented group of women all capable of having big races. This year’s runner-up Malindi Elmore and Canadian cross country team member, Claire Sumner, among others, are currently entered to race on Sunday in Winnipeg and could challenge for the Canadian title.
For Pidhoresky, the women’s field is always great during road races. With a strong group entered in Winnipeg, Pidhoresky also believes that the championships could be better placed during the year so that it wouldn’t be so close to other Canadian championships and would ultimately draw more athletes out to compete. Either way she’s ready for the challenge.
“It’s a group of very fast ladies here in Winnipeg,” said Pidhoresky. “To get the best performances, we want all the top contenders here. I’ll be trying to get the best out of myself. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m prepared to suffer.”
On the men’s side, reigning Canadian Half Marathon Champion Trevor Hofbauer makes his return, as well as Canadian 10K Champion Dylan Wykes who looks to keep his momentum going in Winnipeg.
Coming in as the reigning champion, Hofbauer brings a lot of experience from last year’s race in Calgary to Winnipeg this weekend. “Last year’s race was very tactical, we went out really slow then picked up our pace over the last 11 kilometres,” explained Hofbauer. “The experience of pulling away from the field with more than half the race to go is beneficial for any race.”
For Wykes, he’s ready for any kind of pace that the field puts in place for the half-marathon race. After his victory at the Canadian 10K, his training has gone smoothly and he is feeling good going into Sunday.
When asked about the field for the race, Wykes believes it will always be a challenge once the race starts and he is excited to get onto the road. “The 10K Championships reminded me that I can still compete out there and that racing hurts,” said Wykes. “Any time you line up at a National Championship, it’s going to be competitive. It’s a great group of men lining up this year. No one seems to be head and shoulders above the rest, so I think it’s going to be a really exciting race.”
Having his years of experience, the 2012 Olympian will be using that knowledge for a leg up on the rest of the men’s field. “I’m very much the veteran in these races now. I haven’t competed against some of the younger guys in the race and I don’t know a lot about them, their times or how they race,” explained Wykes. “I’m ready for any type of race that they throw at me and it’ll be fun and refreshing to mix it up out there with them.”
As they toe the line on Sunday, Pidhoresky described their mindset the best. “Any time I line up, I want to challenge for the win. I’m ready to do that on Sunday.”
The Canadian Half Marathon Championships will be held on Sunday, June 16, at 8 a.m. ET in Winnipeg.