Even with the Men’s 800M final, Women’s 10,000M final and the 1,500M finale to the decathlon, most of Thursday’s athletic schedule was preliminary races.
By Michelle Clarke (Photo Credits: Fred Tass)
Pan PanAm organizers have done an amazing job for the media, making it very easy for us to get around. I transitioned into my reporter role on a bus on my way to York University. I was determined to see some of the women’s 10,000M race, with Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak.
With one mile left in the race, I was watching the stream, listening to the audio and sprinting to the stadium so I could see the finish live in person. As I ran to the reporter’s section, I got to see the last few minutes of what turned out to be a great race. Unlike the men’s race the day before, this one didn’t start too quickly, the women stuck together for much of the race and runners weren’t messing around with surges.
It wasn’t until the last eight laps that things started to heat up. The two Americans, Desiree Davila and Liz Costello decided to make a move and picked up the pace and open the gap. There was some question if Marchant was going to go with them or not, but she soon made her move and closed in on the leaders followed by Mexican Brenda Flores. Wodak by this time was showing signs of struggle and was not holding onto the pace.
With just two laps to go, Marchant made gutsy move and took the lead, but didn’t look like she was going to hold it. The bell rang, the stadium was on their feet and Flores and Davila took off pulling away from Marchant. Battling it out with two very strong kicks, Flores took the gold medal for Mexico in personal best time of 32:41, Davila took silver and Marchant held on to her bronze medal position with 32:46.
As the Canadian marathon record holder, Marchant says she feels like she is getting a crash course in track and field, where she is learning about speed, finding her gears and pacing. It just goes to show you that even when you’re at the top of your game, there is always more to learn. “I kind of avoided [track] since university. I’m getting more confident with the [10,000m] event and that’s the goal for Worlds,” says Marchant.
Canadian 10,000M record holder, Wodak, placed 7th, with a time of 33:20. Earlier this year she broke Canadian record with a time of 31:44, crying as shed cam through the media area, it was clear that it just wasn’t her day.
En route to celebrating her bronze medal finish, I asked Marchant what advice she had for young girls. “I wasn’t someone earmarked to be really good with track and field and marathoning; I stuck with it,” explains Marchant. “There needs to be more of a push for young girls whatever sport it is. Sport opened so many doors for me. You don’t have to be the best, pick your sport and go for it.” I couldn’t agree more. Stick with it girls, the rewards are far greater than your personal best on race day.