Canadians finish strong at Sound Running’s On Track Fest

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, Ben Flanagan and Rob Heppenstall led the charge for Canada’s sizable contingent at the Sound Running Track Fest in Los Angeles on Saturday. DeBues-Stafford finished second in the women’s 1,5000m final in 4:06.71, and missed defending her 2022 title by just .37 seconds.

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford missed defending her 2022 victory in the 1,5000m at Running Sound, pictured, by just .37 seconds on the weekend

Her performance on the weekend marked a confident comeback for the 27-year-old, who was sidelined from racing for almost a year with a sacral stress fracture. She crossed the finish hot on the heels of US runner Sage Hurta-Kleckerwho took first in 4:06.34. Susan Ejore of the US ran 4:07.10 to round out the top three.

Flanagan shaved an impressive seven seconds off his PB to finish third in the men’s 5,000m final, finishing in 13:13. The 28-year-old was once again on the heels of his teammate, Morgan Beadlescomb (who recently won the BAA 5K) in second, and Cooper Teare took the win in 13:12.73.

Rob Heppenstall at the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Trials in Montreal

The 26-year-old Heppenstall, meanwhile, came from behind in the 200m final to score a dominant win in the men’s 1,500m, breaking the tape in 3:36.97, a third of a second ahead of Woody Kincaid, who ran 3:37.32.

In addition to the successes of Canadian athletes, this year’s On Track Fest featured notable performances by a pair of young American athletes. Katelyn Tuohy21, broke jenny simpson‘s NCAA record in the 5,000m with her 15:03.12 result. Connor Burnsa senior at Southern Boone County High School in Ashland, Mo., broke Galen Rupp‘s high school 5,000m record with 13:37.30 and is off to the University of Oregon next year.

In the 800m women’s final, Halimah Nakaayi (2:00.21) edged out Claire Seymour (2:00.21) and McKenna Keegan (2:00.81).

Yared Nuguse won the men’s 800m final in 1:46.30, followed by Tonatiu Lopez (1:46.75) and Isaiah Harris(1:46.93)

Josette Andrews (formerly Josette Norris) won the women’s 5,000m final in 14:43.36, beating Joselyn Brea (14:47.76) and Laura Galvan (14:49.34).

Adrian Wildschutt crossed the finish line in 27:23.10 to win the men’s 10,000m, followed by Alex Masai (27:23.10) and thomas george (28.06.26)

In the women’s 10,000m, Fiona O’Keeffe ran 30:32.77, followed by Diane Van Es (31:02.24) and WuGA HE (31:14.94).

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