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Posted: June 25, 2016:  

Athletics: Canadian Olympians Dominate Toronto Waterfront 10K

By Paul Gains

Three of Canadaís Olympic bound marathoners chose the Toronto Waterfront 10 to test themselves this morning, coming away with confidence boosting performances on a very warm day.

Eric Gillis pushed the pace from the start leading a pack of five through the first 5km in 14:44 but only his fellow Olympian and Speed River Track Club partner, Reid Coolsaet could hang on. As the temperature soared into the mid 20ís Celsius it was Gillis crossing the line first in 29:23, with Coolsaet just two seconds behind.

An up and coming Speed River runner, Tristin Woodfine, rounded out the top three (29:54) ahead of roughly 6,000 runners in this, the newest Canada Running Series race.

"Thatís a decent time for where I am in my buildup, eight weeks out. I have got some good mileage in my legs," Gillis said afterwards. "Itís a new race, itís a quick one, so I wanted to get a decent time under my belt.

"Itís a bit muggy but thatís good to use as training as well. And just good to go through the motions. It was good rooming with Reid again and us both racing. We haven't done that much since 2012. Itís nice to get out there run with him."

With the race starting at 7:30am, Gillis and Coolsaet spent the night at a nearby hotel rather than driving in from Guelph. Both very much have Rio on their minds and admitted to racing with lots of high mileage covered in the past few weeks.

"Before (the 2012) London (Olympics) I did not have control of my form," Gillis revealed. "There were a lot of sore cool downs. I am focused and I am moving a lot better now and I canít see how it wonít improve my fitness. Even though I am ahead of the game, anything can happen so I have to be on the ball for the whole buildup."

Coolsaet has been nursing a lower back injury since returning from his winter high altitude training camp in Kenya. Between chiropractic and massage treatments, he ran 200 kilometres last week. In addition, he married his long-time girlfriend, Marie, last weekend.

"I still fit in 33k the morning of my wedding so I am not changing my training at all, " Coolsaet admitted with a smile. "On Thursday we move into our house, these two or three weeks (distractions) will be heavier than normal. The last six or seven weeks will be 100% focused on running.

"My injury is getting better every week. I am noticing improvement. I am still not quite 100%; I have to hold back all the time in training. I didn't notice it too much in the race today so that is a really good sign. Now that I have five really good weeks of solid training under my belt, I can see the momentum starting to build now. I am happy where I am.

"I am definitely in marathon mode and not sharp. I didn't want to back off for this race and take away from Rio. I want to do the best I can in Rio which means training for the marathon. Training for the 10k is a bit different and tapering is a lot different. I am looking for the best result I can get on August 21st not June 25. Today was a good day."

Krista Duchene, who will represent Canada in the womenís Rio Olympic marathon chased down and caught Vancouver resident Dayna Pidhoresky just before the 8 kilometre mark and opened a gap which she extended to the finish. DuChene, who resides in Brantford, Ontario was pleased with her winning time of 33:50 having run 180 kilometres in the preceding week in preparation for Rio.

"I had absolutely no time goal in mind," DuChene said. "I knew you had to go under 34 minutes for the prize money but that is never what itís about for me. It was about racing hard and knowing itís going to hurt the whole time. And Dayna is fast. I knew she would go out hard and I kept my eye on her. There was that hill before 8k and I thought Ďif I am going to do it I have got to do it now.í So I made my way towards her and had to pass her strong and then hang on for the last 2k.

"I thought if I have got to be hurting, I can probably run better hurting than she can, because of all my marathon training so far. Speed, I mean I think she is probably faster than me. That hill worked to my advantage today."

Pidhoresky who had led by five seconds at halfway (16:36) admitted to losing concentration as her rival passed her.

"I knew she was behind me. I felt really comfortable at that point but I think in the second half of the race I was starting to feel the heat a lot," Pidhoresky said. "It has been a little chilly back home in Vancouver. I didn't think it was going to be an issue. I sort of felt a little goose-bumpy in the last 4k going up the hill. I think I just had a lapse of mental strength. She sort of gapped me and that gap remained the same."

Pidhoreskyís time was 34:01 with Cleo Boyd finishing strong for third place in the womenís race (34:19). Catherine Watkins, the 44 year old who represented Canada in the 2015 Pan Am Games, was fourth but won the masterís race. Her time was 35:09. Based in Vancouver, she too found the heat surprising.

Following the race Toronto Mayor John Tory, MP Peter Fonseca, who ran for Canada in the 1996 Olympic marathon, and Ms. Ana Lelia Beninca Beltrame the Consul General of Brazil paid tribute to the Rio bound trio.

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