Natasha Wodak had a feeling that this year would be special. Having hit the IAAF World Championship standard in the 10,000-metres in her first race of the season at the Payton Jordan Invitational, it allowed her to perform without the stress of reaching the 31:50 standard. It showed when she captured her first Canadian 10K title in May.
Fast forward two months after her season opener, Wodak is a double Canadian champion, winning the 10,000-metre title in her hometown of Burnaby, B.C. with a time of 32:09.69. Having won the Canadian 10K title just three weeks ago, Wodak was confident heading into the race that she could come out with another victory. For the first few laps of the race, it was about getting into a rhythm.
“I didn’t feel that fantastic for the very first bit so I was trying to tell myself to settle down, it’s a long race and to ease into it,” said Wodak.
Wodak’s time of 32:09.50 topped a competitive field, edging out Sarah Inglis (32:11.42) and Rachel Cliff (32:12.24), who closed out the top three finishers.
Running her main event in front of friends and family for the first time in her career, Wodak gives credit to the energy of the crowd at Swangard Stadium. “The crowd was amazing,” said Wodak. “I had some of my friends from high school and elementary school, my parents, my boyfriend, his parents, I felt overwhelmed with support. It was awesome.”
Putting on a show himself on the men’s side was Ben Flanagan, who claimed the Canadian men’s 10,000-metre title with a time of 28:37.49. Lucas Bruchet (28:42.29) and Rory Linkletter (28:55.38) followed closely behind, finishing second and third, respectively.
Always enjoying his races in Canada, Flanagan stayed focused on his preparation and stayed patient throughout the race. “There’s so much that can happen in a 10,000-metre race, I just tried to stay really patient and relaxed early in the race. When I went to the front I just pushed as hard as I could,” said Flanagan. “With about six and a half laps to go, a spot opened up at the front, so once I got there, I tried to really hammer it home and never looked back from there.”
Having not competed in Canada a lot during his season, Flanagan is happy to be walking away with a good experience, possibly coming back for more in the future. “To come out here and compete as hard as I could. To come away with the title amongst some great athletes,” said Flanagan. “I just love being back in Canada, everyone was so supportive and it was such a privilege to be here.”
Top 5 Canadian Women
Natasha Wodak – 32:09.69
Sarah Inglis – 32:11.42
Rachel Cliff – 32:12.24
Emily Setlack – 32:56.83
Branna MacDougall – 33:15.32
Top 5 Canadian Men
Ben Flanagan – 28:37.49
Lucas Bruchet – 28:42.29
Rory Linkletter – 28:55.38
Justin Kent – 29:38.63
Evan Esselink – 29:42.21