10 to Watch at the 2019 IAAF Gold Label Ottawa 10K
Five Women to Watch at the 2019 Ottawa 10K
Peres Jepchirchir Kenya 35
With a personal best 10km of 30:55, Jepchirchir attracts special attention. And, she is no stranger to Ottawa having won the 2016 Ottawa 10km in a time of 31:29. That effort, under very warm and humid conditions, saw her leave the finish area in a wheelchair. That same year she won the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships for Kenya. A year later Jepchirchir set a world half marathon record of 1:05:06 (passing 10km in 31:07) at the Ras Al Khaimah International Half Marathon. Then, at the end of 2017, she gave birth to a baby. Earlier this year she returned to RAK in her first race back finishing a strong 6th in 1:07:36.
Paskalia Kipkoech Kenya 30
This great Kenyan athlete has a personal best of 30:57 for the 10km distance, a time she recorded in winning the 2012 Santos 10km. That same year, she earned the bronze medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon championships. Since then she has been focusing on longer distances. On April 14th she took seven minutes off her marathon personal best finishing the Paris Marathon 6th in 2:26:04. Despite the change in training these past few years, she was victorious in all three of her 10km outings in 2018 including a 32:12 clocking at the Kapsabet 10km. Kapsabet lies at an elevation of 1,980m (6500 feet) above sea level. The Ottawa 10km won’t be her first time in Canada. In 2003 she took the 3000m silver medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Natasha Wodak Canada 37
Wodak is the Canadian 10,000m record holder (31:41.59) and represented this country at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is also the second fastest Canadian 10km runner ever with a personal best of 31:59 set in the 2015 Ottawa 10km. She has been training in the high altitude of Flagstaff, Arizona for the past five weeks. In the midst of this block of training she returned to the Vancouver Sun Run and won the race for the 3rd time. At the Payton Jordan Invitational (May 2nd) she ran her second fastest 10,000m ever with a time of 31:43.26 another indication she is in fine form. Wodak is now coached by Canadian 1500m record holder Lynn Kanuka.
Gete Alemayehu Ethiopia 20
Gete is an extraordinary talent with a personal best of 31:12 set in winning the Corrida Pédestre Internationale de Houilles in France last December. She first attracted attention when she finished 5th in the 2017 Great Ethiopian Run (Africa’s biggest road race with 44,000 runners) as a teenager. Already this year she has finished 2nd at the Venlo (Holland) Half Marathon in a personal best time of 1:08:23. She would like nothing more than to win the Ottawa 10km an IAAF Gold Label race.
Stacy Ndiwa Kenya 26
Since representing Kenya at the 2011 African Junior Championships where she took the 1,500m bronze medal, Ndiwa has been building an impressive resume. She has a personal best of 31:27 from a 10k race in the high altitude of Ziwa, Kenya but that result doesn’t tell the whole story. At the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships she finished an impressive 5th place. More recently she earned the silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games over 10,000m and followed up with the gold medal at the 2018 African Championships in a new personal best of 31:31.17. Like many East Africans she races her competitors and the times seem to follow.
May 21 update: Edith Chelimo has scratched. She has been replaced on this list by Stacy Ndiwa.
Five Men to Watch at the 2019 Ottawa 10K
Mohammed Ziani Morocco 26
This Moroccan star has a personal best 10km of 27:28 recorded in Casablanca, Morocco in 2016. He won the 2016 Ottawa 10km in 28:37 despite the very warm, humid conditions and a delay in arriving in Canada’s capital due to passport issues. As a member of the Moroccan Royal Guard, he was held up with national duties until the last minute. A year later he was unable to defend his title due to passport problems. He did return without incident in 2018 finishing 4th in 28:23. This year, much will depend upon how well he recovers from the Wuhan Marathon (China) April 4th) where he was 8th in 2:16:17 though he has a marathon personal best of 2:10:44 (Guangzhou, China December 2018).
Moses Kibet Kenya 22
Up until this year Kibet was focused on the 3,000m steeplechaser finishing 5th in the 2018 Kenyan Championships in that event and 7th in Kenya’s 2018 Commonwealth Games trials. Clearly he has speed to burn. His diversity is demonstrated by a quick look at his personal bests, which include a victory in 28:26 at the Langueux La Corrida de Langueux, France (June 16th 2018). Recently (April 21st) he finished 2nd at the Jianzhen International Half Marathon in China in a new personal best of 59:58. On the Ottawa course he will be a tough competitor.
Wilfrid Kimetei Kenya 34
Although Kimetei’s personal best 10km is 28:02 (2016 Brunssum 10km in Holland) he has run 27:54.2 for 10,000m in the thin air of Nairobi, which is an indication he can run much faster under the right conditions: sea level and on a fast course like Ottawa. That same year, 2016, he was the silver medalist at the African Championships 10,000m. Since those excellent runs, he has been leaning towards the half marathon distance dipping under the magic one hour mark with his 59:40 at the 2018 Ras Al Khaimah (in the United Arab Emirates). Indeed, on April 7th of this year, he finished 5th at Berlin’s Generali Half Marathon in a time of 1:01:53. No doubt he is ready to chase a podium finish in Ottawa.
Abderrahmane Kachir Morocco 26
Another strong half marathon competitor, Kachir is also very fast over 10km. His personal best is 27:50, recorded when winning the 2018 Casablanca Memorial Rahal 10km. He has never competed outside of Morocco – until now. Earlier this year he won the Marrakech Half Marathon in 63:09 and finished 3rd in the Rabat Half Marathon (63:10). He has a best half marathon time of 60:21, which was set in winning the 2017 Casablanca Half Marathon. Clearly he can run 10km very quick and will be chasing a podium finish in Ottawa.
Mohamed Reda El Aaraby Morocco 29
This year’s Ottawa 10km marks the third time El Aaraby has raced in the Canadian capital. He was 6th in 2016 and last year, while recovering from the Tokyo Marathon, he finished 3rd in 28:23. An incredible talent with a wide range, he began 2019 with a new personal best in the 10km running 27:58 in Valencia, Spain. Much will depend on how well he recovers from last month’s Boston Marathon. He was 13th in 2:13:46 well off his personal best marathon of 2:09:16, which came at the 2018 Chicago Marathon. He could very well come out on top in Saturday’s race.
May 21 update: Fikadu Haftu, Ben Flanagan and Emmanuel Kipsang have scratched. They have been replaced on this list by Wilfrid Kimetei and Abderrahmane Kachir.