Winter rules in Canada

North Vancouver’s Chris Winter wins cross country running national title

DECEMBER 17, 2014 12:00 AM

Chris Winter

North Vancouver’s Chris Winter outsprints Kelly Wiebe in a thrilling duel to finish the Canadian Cross Country Running Championships held Nov. 29 in Vancouver. Winter picked up his first senior men’s national cross country title with the win.   Photo Vid Wadhani/

A brain perched atop an exhausted body after an intense exertion — throbbing with pain and excitement and terror and joy — can go to some interesting places.

Moments after he won his first ever Canadian Cross Country Running Championship Nov. 29 in Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Park, North Vancouver native Chris Winter was asked how he was able to catch up to rival Kelly Wiebe in a frantic finish and pull away for the win. His response: “I unleashed the bear.”

Recalling the quote later, Winter says he has no idea where it came from.

“After you run 10 kilometres you’ve got a lot of adrenalin and endorphins going,” he says with a laugh while trying to come up with a few more exact words to describe how he chased down Wiebe in the final kilometre, sprinting through sloppy conditions to earn a narrow victory. “Honestly, I dug deeper than I ever have before. . . . I knew that was my chance right then and there — if I put in that surge, was able to dig deeper, I was going to win that national championship, something I’d never done before.”

The race was an important one for the Handsworth grad. This was the last year that Vancouver was scheduled to hold the annual championships following a four-year run. Next year’s race will be held in Kingston, Ont. In the three previous Vancouver-hosted championships Winter finished fourth then third then second. A mathematician might argue that the logical next step would be a first-place finish, but Winter knew he’d need more than a simple number sequence to take that final step to the top of the podium.

“You can kind of see it all lining up there, but I knew that this was actually probably going to be one of the deeper fields since we’ve been there,” he says. “It was no foregone conclusion that I was going to win it. . . . It’s a grind of a race. It’s all kinds of tough.”

On the morning of the race Winter awoke to a welcome sight: snow.

“I was pretty excited when I saw that,” he says. “I am one that benefits from running in muddy and sloppy conditions. The more rain, the more snow, the better.”

By the time the senior men lined up for the final race of the day, the two- kilometre course had been chewed up by 600 runners in earlier competitions. That’s just what Winter wanted to see.

“You want it to be muddy,” he says. “It’s not a track race. You want those obstacles.” Winter battled with a pack of elite racers through much of the five-lap race but by the time it came down to the final circuit it was just Winter battling it out with Wiebe, a 25-year-old up-and-comer who already has a Vancouver Sun Run championship under his belt.

“You couldn’t script a better race,” says Winter. “The crowd loved it, there was just two guys hammering each other.”

Wiebe made his move with about a kilometre to go, pulling ahead on one of the sloppiest parts of the course. Winter could see his championship title running away from him.

“When he made that move I was thinking that might be it,” he says. “I was trying my hardest and hoping to hang onto him.”

With 600 m to go the runners were emerging from the sloppy course onto the grass of the home stretch where cheering fans, including a vocal crew of Winter’s family and friends, were waiting. Winter realized that he wasn’t out of reach and was, in fact, starting to reel Wiebe in again. It was at around this point that Winter got a little grizzly, metaphorically speaking.

“I just dug super deep and found a little extra gear there,” he says. By 500 m they were even again, and then Winter took the lead and held on, crossing the line in a time of 32 minutes and 17 seconds, four seconds ahead of Wiebe.

“I crossed that line and there were people who’d been supporting me for 20 years, throughout my running career,” says Winter. “It was pretty emotional to be able to do that.” Winter also gave credit to Wiebe for bringing out the best in both of them.

“He’s a great runner,” says Winter. “I’ve definitely got to give it to him — he ran a great race.”

The win earned Winter a berth in the cross country world championships scheduled for March 28 in Guiyang, China, but he won’t be going to that race — he’s got bigger fish to fry. With the Canadian Cross Country Championships out of the way he is now switching fully into track mode and his No. 1 mission: the steeplechase. His sights are set squarely on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

For the last few years Winter has been pushed by the disappointment of missing out on the 2012 Olympic Games. Coming off an injury, he finished third at the 2012 Canadian trials which would have earned him a spot on the Olympic team except he fell just a couple of seconds shy of the international qualifying standard. He’s broken that barrier a number of times since, most notably when he finished sixth at the Commonwealth Games last August.

“That was probably the best race of my life,” says Winter. “I felt like I moved to a new level that day.” At the heart of Winter’s decision is the fact that steeplechase is an Olympic sport while cross country is not.

“I need to focus on what I need to do to line up for 2016,” he says. “It’s an important year just to make sure that you’re healthy, you’re running well. The momentum you build this year will carry on into the Olympic year.” There are also two big dates on the steeplechase 2015 calendar: the Pan Am Games scheduled for Toronto in July and the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August. “The one thing missing from my resumé right now is an Olympic team,” he says. “That’s what I’m going for.”

Watch out Rio — there’s a bear chasing you.

© North Shore News

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Evan Dunfee  photo by Cllaus Andersen

Evan Dunfee photo by Cllaus Andersen

Chris Erickson came from behind to win the Australian men’s 50km race walk title at Melbourne’s Fawkner Park on Sunday (14), effectively ensuring his selection for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing.

Erickson trailed visiting international Evan Dunfee of Canada for most of the race before surging to the lead with less than four kilometres to go. He went on to win by almost two minutes.

The 33-year-old crossed the finish line in a time of 3:56:38, while Dunfee – who led for the majority of the race before suffering in the closing stages – held on to set a PB of 3:58:34. On his debut at the distance, Brendon Reading was third in 4:19:30.

A field of six athletes lined up for the event, including triple Olympic medallist Jared Tallent. The hot early conditions made the race a war of attrition, however, and Tallent was forced to pull out after encountering stomach problems and vomiting shortly after the 18km mark.

Dual Olympian Adam Rutter and veteran athlete Andrew Jamieson both also dropped out of the race not long after, leaving the battle for the placings between Dunfee, Erickson and Reading.

The Canadian, competing in just his third race over the 50km, made the early pace and reached the 20km mark in 1:32.00, with a sizeable lead having opened up over Erickson, with Reading further back.

By the 40km mark, Dunfee (3:04:45) still had more than four minutes on Erickson (3:08:46) but the Canadian had started to tire noticeably.

Erickson finally made his move shortly after and rapidly made inroads into Dunfee’s lead. Six kilometres later, the Australian trailed by just 10 seconds when the leader passed the 46km mark in 3:37:10. Not long afterwards Erickson took the lead for good as he passed the struggling international and quickly built up a solid buffer of his own.

By that time Dunfee, who set a Canadian record for the 20km distance when finishing 11th at this year’s IAAF World Race Walking Cup, was spent and could not mount a comeback, leaving Erickson to cross the line and claim his third national 50km crown, following his titles in 2004 and 2008.

The win, coupled with his previous 11th-place finish at the World Race Walking Cup in 3:49:33 that bettered both the IAAF qualifying standard and the Athletics Australia additional guideline, effectively assures Erickson of a place on the Australian team for the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

Erickson said he concentrated on his own pacing during the race rather than worrying about Dunfee’s early break.

“We had a fairly steady start and then between about 6km and 8km we went 9:05 or something like that and I thought it was a little too fast for me at that stage,” said Erickson. “I thought the conditions were quite tough early and I thought they were too tough to start doing that, so I sort of let him go and settled back into my rhythm of 9:20s. I was just sort of holding that comfortably but I sort of got in a rough spot after about 35km and started to slow.

“Then conditions started to swing around a bit and it got a lot cooler. I got a second wind at about 40km and started to feel really good and then at that same time I realised that he was starting to struggle. I think courtesy of him having a bright orange shirt he was like a beacon in front of me and I could see him coming back (to me). I went a 10-minute lap and then the next one was 9:30 and then a couple of 9:20s. I was really reeling him in and I knew I had him at that stage.”

Erickson now plans to refocus on the 20km event ahead of the official trial at that distance in late February so that he can attempt to qualify in both events for the IAAF World Championships next year.

In the 20km events, Japan’s former Asian silver medallist Isamu Fujisawa won the men’s race in 1:22:05 to finish just a few strides ahead of New Zealand’s Quentin Rew, who set a national record of 1:22:11.

Olympian Beki Smith won the women’s race in 1:35:37, bettering the IAAF standard for the World Championships of 1:36:00.

Athletics Australia for the IAAF

Seb Coe reveals IAAF presidential campaign manifesto

Seb Coe reveals IAAF presidential campaign manifesto

Seb Coe reveals IAAF presidential campaign manifesto

by Athletics Weekly December 3, 2014

Proposals unveiled by the British middle-distance legend designed to “increase the reach and

appeal of athletics in a world that is rapidly changing”


Seb Coe has outlined his vision for athletics in his International Association of Athletics Federations presidential campaign manifesto entitled Growing Athletics in a New Age.

The British middle-distance legend, who is currently a vice president of the sport’s world governing body, last week confirmed his intention to run to succeed Lamine Diack and on Wednesday unveiled his manifesto at the British Olympic Association offices.

In his manifesto, Coe details an action plan that promises to breathe fresh life into the sport and outlines four “key pillars”:

» Embracing change to secure a better future
World Athletics calendar reform, sports presentation changes, city centre competitions and tailored development programmes

» Decentralisation and empowerment
A more devolved system of support for member federations, reviewing the role of IAAF regional development centres, building university partnerships, ensuring a greater voice for athletes in the IAAF and reviewing IAAF internal structures

» Maximising commercial growth
A focus on youth engagement, restructuring the IAAF commercial department and ensuring greater commercial opportunities for athletes

» Ensuring integrity and trust in everything we do
Increasing anti-doping and integrity resources, creating a new IAAF ethics department and supporting the independence of all member federations

“The vision and proposals that I am unveiling today are designed to increase the reach and appeal of athletics in a world that is rapidly changing,” said Coe, pictured above at this year’s World Athletics Gala in Monaco.

“I believe that it is essential that we open up a real debate and take a long hard look at the ‘product’ of athletics if we aim to attract more young people into our sport and drive increased participation and income.”

He added: “We must be ready to be creative, take action and embrace change.”

On his proposal of a calendar reform, Coe commented: “To many within and outside our sport, our calendar seems disjointed, lacks a narrative and the essential glue to build excitement and a loyal and passionate following.

“Many fans don’t know when the athletics season starts, when it ends, why it seems to bounce around from the USA to Europe to Asia and back again. A harmonised calendar is the key to promotion, marketing, the athletes and member federation development and we must address this.”

The two-time Olympic gold medallist also spoke more about the idea of a series of street athletics events, explaining: “We need to be more innovative in how we project and present our sport to the world, both in venue and on screen, give serious consideration to an ‘IAAF Street Athletics’ circuit to help reach new audiences, and create a new IAAF division that has the sole purpose of focussing on youth engagement, especially via social media.”

Not surprisingly, there is also a strong emphasis on the war on drugs, with plans to crank up the anti-doping effort and to create an IAAF ethics department.

Coe, who is expected to face competition for IAAF presidency from Ukraine’s pole vault great Sergey Bubka, continued: “Ensuring the integrity of athletics and the IAAF is also crucial if we are to win and maintain the trust of fans and all our partners, and that is why I will ensure increased resources are invested into this critical area.

“It is also important that we have a more devolved and targeted system of support for member federations that better reflects local needs so that a greater pool and spread of world class athletes can develop across the globe. Over the next decade we can, and must, grow the number of nations achieving IAAF World Championship finalist status from 60 to 100.

“I want the discussion on these issues to flourish in the weeks and months ahead and I am convinced that by working with this vision and in true partnership with member federations, our sport can embark on an exciting new era of global growth. Our aspiration has to be to see more young people become athletes, more people watching and consuming our sport and greater revenues flowing into the athletics family.”

On Monday Bubka announced via his Twitter account that he will make his own plans public “in due time”. He also extended his congratulations to Coe on his announcement.

Coe’s manifesto Growing Athletics in a New Age can be downloaded from

The race for IAAF presidency will conclude in August next year at IAAF Congress in Beijing.

» You can read more on Seb Coe’s IAAF presidential campaign manifesto in a News Focus feature in this week’s Athletics Weekly magazine, which is available digitally here now or on newsstands from Thursday December 4


Alan Hubbard: Coe versus Bubka, the heavyweight clash for IAAF Presidency

Tuesday, 02 December 2014

Alan HubbardAs a former parliamentarian Lord Coe – then plain Seb – knows what it was like to fight an election. So he will be well suited for a bout of tasty political scrapping having formally declared his candidacy for the Presidency of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Doubtless his familiarity with the hustings will stand him in good stead in the upcoming set-to with one-time chum Sergey Bubka when the 213-strong IAAF electorate go to the polls in August of next year to determine a successor to long-serving former Senegalese judge Lamine Diack.

And the fact that London 2012′s award-winning spinmeister Mike Lee has been brought in as Coe’s PR “campaign manager” suggests that his Lordship is aware that the contest may not be quite the shoo-in many anticipate.

Ukraine’s pole vault icon promises to fight Coe tooth and nail for one of the most prestigious posts in global sport. The word is that he has started to garner support, notably from allies in Eastern Europe, and will be suggesting that Coe’s many other commitments undermine his ability to do fulfil the role effectively.

Coe certainly seems be treating his campaign as seriously as he did when elected (albeit for just one term) as Conservative MP for Falmouth and Camborne in 1992.

Hence the acquisition of Lee to the Coe cause. After setting up his own agency, Vero Communications, post-2012, ex-UEFA spokesman Lee has built a formidable portfolio which includes the successful, if highly controversial, championing of Qatar for the 2022 football World Cup, the Rio Olympics in 2016, Pyeonchang’s 2018 Winter Games, the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, the inclusion of rugby sevens into the Olympic programme and significantly the election of Britain’s Brian Cookson as President of of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Seb Coe announced his candidacy for President of the IAAF where he will battle with Ukrainian Sergey Bubka ©Getty Images

Seb Coe announced his candidacy for President of the IAAF where he will battle with Ukrainian Sergey Bubka ©Getty Images

Lee’s influence is already evident with British Olympic Association (BOA) chair Coe, 58, calling a media conference at BOA headquarters tomorrow to unveil his IAAF presidential  “manifesto” for a campaign which even has its own logo: SEBCOE2015.

It is likely to be one which includes the-reshaping of athletics to appeal to a younger audience.

“I want us to have a renewed focus on engagement with young people and a real understanding of the global landscape that is shaping the next generation of athletes and fans,” he tells us.

“If we are guided by these principles as we review and reform our sport then I am convinced that athletics can enter a new era with confidence and ensure a bright and exciting future.”

Fighting talk. Just as well because 50-year-old Bubka will also have a heavyweight in his corner. Literally so – the giant Vitali Klitschko, the now retired former world champion and courageous anti-Putin political activist who has become Mayor of Ukrainian capital Kiev.

At the height of the Ukrainian civil unrest they were on different sides of the nation’s political divide, but have now united with “Dr Ironfist” backing Bubka all the way in a bout which could turn nasty.

For there are reports that Bubka is prepared to “fight dirty” by focusing on the many and varied hats worn by Coe, and even suggesting that his day jobs could bring a conflict of interests.

Could this become the athletics’ very own grudge match? If so, it is one fight fan Coe will relish.

Once he and Bubka were the best of buddies, but latterly the relationship has cooled.

Sergey Bubka will be in the race with Seb Coe to become the new President of the IAAF ©Getty Images

Sergey Bubka will be in the race with Seb Coe to become the new President of the IAAF ©Getty Images

Yet they have much in common. Both are Olympic legends and prolific world record breakers in their respective disciplines; have served in their national parliaments and are IAAF vice-presidents who head their domestic National Olympic Committees (NOC).

However Bubka’s personal reputation took a knock when he backed the wrong side during Ukraine’s political in-fighting and he also received flak as President of the Ukraine NOC when one of his senior officials was suspended over a London 2012 ticket-selling scam.

And the phenomenal pole vaulter certainly set the bar too high by challenging for the Presidency of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of which he is a member, getting only four votes out of 92 in a second round ko last year.

This Presidency is a perch many believe Coe could occupy one day but first he must to get on to the IOC itself. Becoming head honcho of world athletics would automatically guarantee him the seat that could be his springboard for a loftier ambition.

Much may depend on who 81-year-old Diack wants to succeed him as IAAF chief after 16 years. For some time it was thought Coe was to be the anointed son and he certainly gained brownie points by insisting that London’s Olympic Stadium remained a home for athletics after 2012, and a venue capable of hosting a World Championships, which it will do in 2017.

But Bubka clearly has other ideas by putting it about that unlike himself, Coe would be only a part-time President.

This summer Coe was strongly tipped to become chairman of the BBC Trust but after indicating initial interest he declined to put himself forward, declaring: “On reflection, I haven’t the capacity and I now want to concentrate on my current commitments and the IAAF election. As everyone knows, athletics is in my DNA.”

He also ducked out of another potential electoral tussle, repeatedly rejecting overtures from Downing Street to run for Mayor of London because he preferred to eye the IAAF prize, insisting: “My future is in sports politics, not real politics.”

Sergey Bubka has claimed that Seb Coe's roles in other organisations such as the British Olympic Association will have dire effects on his ability to perform as a full-time President of the IAAF ©Getty Images

Sergey Bubka has claimed that Seb Coe’s roles in other organisations such as the British Olympic Association will have dire effects on his ability to perform as a full-time President of the IAAF ©Getty Images

But even as a no-Coe area, sport could figure prominently in the 2016 Mayoral race.

The former Olympics Minister Dame Tessa Jowell, surely the best-equipped among the declared runners to become Labour’s candidate, believes that if selected she could be facing a shock choice from the sporting world in the battle to succeed Boris Johnson.

Jowell tells insidethegames there is growing speculation in Westminster circles that the West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady – now Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge – is being wooed by the Tories as their choice to stand in 2016. “The feeling is that their candidate will come from the House of Lords and there is a lot of talk about approaches being made to Karren Brady,” says the woman who as Culture Secretary first persuaded a reluctant Tony Blair to bid for the London Olympics during Labour’s administration – and was instrumental in getting Coe appointed to lead the London bid after American Barbara Cassani unfortunately proved a square peg in the Olympic rings.

It is no secret that, having repeatedly failed to persuade Coe to run, the Conservatives are anxious to field a high profile personality to try and follow the idiosyncratic but popular Bojo.

Brady, 47, has the profile. The “First Lady of Football”, previously managing director at Birmingham City and currently right hand woman to Labour peer Lord Sugar on TV’s “The Apprentice” is, like Jowell, London-born. She is politically ambitious and is a close friend of both David Cameron and George Osborne. She also sits on Sport England.

Should she be interested the timing could be right as by the time of the election in May 2016 she will have overseen West Ham’s move into the Olympic Stadium, a remarkably benevolent deal which she helped orchestrate. However she would face a formidable opponent in 67-year-old Jowell, by far the most electable of those vying to be the Labour candidate, who include London MP’s David Lammy and Diane Abbot and former politician and rugby international Derek Wyatt.

Karren Brady looks like a likely candidate to run for Mayor of London after Seb Coe refused the opportunity to run in order to focus on his campaign for IAAF Presidency ©Getty Images

Karren Brady looks like a likely candidate to run for Mayor of London after Seb Coe refused the opportunity to run in order to focus on his campaign for IAAF Presidency ©Getty Images

Jowell says she often chatted with Coe when they were on the 2012 Board about the possibility of them both running for Mayor. “We are good mates and joked that maybe we should do it as a job share!”

So what about those other jobs? Are they really a crucial factor in the IAAF election? Does Coe have too many fish to fry?

The executive chairman of CSM Sport and Entertainment is also global advisor to Nike and works with Chelsea FC, as well as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph.

He is also listed as strategic adviser and ambassador of PruHealth and PruProtect’s wellness programme ‘Vitality’ and Senior Independent Adviser, Deutsche Bank UK.

But he has promised that if he is elected to become the first British IAAF President since Lord Burghley, the 1928 Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion who held the position from 1946 to 1976, then he will devote himself to that role..

Which leads to the question of whether he could remain in one of his other principal posts as BOA chair. This must be highly doubtful.

If he does vacate it after the Rio Olympics then a strong candidate to take it on would be the former Sports and Olympics Minister Sir Hugh Robertson.

He is known to be considering standing down as an MP at the next election and has the pedigree for a top job in sports administration. It would make him the second ex-Tory Sports Minister, after Lord Colin Moynihan, to run the BOA.

Meantime it’s seconds out for Seb v Sergey showdown. Can’t wait. Ding, ding.

Alan Hubbard is an award-winning sports columnist for The Independent on Sunday and a former sports editor of The Observer. He has covered a total of 16 Summer and Winter Games, 10 Commonwealth Games, several football World Cups and world title fights from Atlanta to Zaire.

Chris overcomes Winter conditions at Canadian Cross Country


Chris Winter takes senior men’s title at Canadian cross-country


Chris Winter was not going to be denied this time.

The 28-year-old runner from Vancouver had finished third, fourth and second at the Canadian cross-country championships the last three years at Jericho Beach Park.

But in Saturday’s race, the last one at Jericho before the championship moves to Kingston, Ont., Winter bested a strong field to take home the senior men’s title with a time of 32 minutes, 17 seconds for the 10K.

“I really badly wanted it and I was fortunate to put myself into position to make it happen,” said Winter.

In a biting cold, on a muddy course dusted with snow, Winter ran the last two kilometres side by side with Kelly Wiebe, a Saskatchewan native now living and training in Vancouver. Each would take turns out front, until Winter eventually pulled away on the 400-metre finishing stretch to win by four seconds.

“With a (kilometre) to go, he went by me hard, and I was like ‘Ah, second’s pretty cool. That’s alright.’

“But I kept on grinding, kept on grinding. I realized his surge had only got him so far. I was like ‘come back on him and be your own momentum.’ With 400 metres to go, I unleashed the bear and I was fortunate.”

Matt Johnson, a University of Regina product, was third in 32:33. Defending champion Luc Bruchet of White Rock, who beat Winter by six seconds in 2013, was 10th in 32:55.

Rachel Hannah of Toronto won the senior women’s 8K in 28:50, 18 seconds ahead of Vancouverite Rachel Cliff, who is engaged to Winter.

Defending champion Natasha Wodak of Port Moody was third in 29:17.

The top six men and women qualified for the 2015 Pan Am cross country championships in Colombia in February.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Does IAAF decision counter logic?


Luciano Barra Looks At The Doha Bid

 Luciano Barra has long been involved in the upper levels of sports management and at one time worked for the IAAF during the Primo Nebiolo regime. This article originally appeared at




       The history in sport, and more than ever in athletics – a discipline where seconds/centimeter and gesture of athletes beat the time – is marked by certain dates. So it has been in 1936 with the 4 gold medals by Jesse Owens; in 1948 with the 4 gold medals by Fanny Blankers-Koen; in 1954 with the first 4 minute mile by Roger Bannister; in 1968 with the incredible jumps by Dick Fosbury; the 4 gold medals in the seventies by Lasse Viren; the 4 gold medals by Carl Lewis in 1984 and the records and the medals by Usain Bolt in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. 

It is not difficult to predict that November 2014 will remain in the history of athletics – the time will say if positively or negatively – due to the IAAF decision to held its World Championships in October, out of the athletic season at a latitude not exactly proper to the outdoor athletics competition.

What happened in Monte Carlo last week has to be commented and cannot be hidden, only to hand down to posterity. The story is well known, three city candidate for the 2019 Outdoor Championships: Barcelona, Doha and Eugene. The IAAF Council has decided for Doha who has proposed as a date the first week in October. Some commentators have correctly remembered that already in 1956 in Melbourne and in 1964 in Tokyo the athletics competition have taken place so late in the season, forgetting that 50 or more years ago the athletic calendar was a bit different.

Doha has recently presented its candidature for the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, but the IOC Executive Committee did not allow them to go to the final ballot for two basic reasons: the date indicated by the IOC for the Summer Games was July/August and, in that period, in Doha was impossible to compete due to the high temperature.

Lately FIFA decided to award the 2022 World Cup to Doha. Once chosen the venue FIFA had understood that that June/July in Doha the temperature do not allow to play such a demanding tournament. These are the news about today about the polemics around the scandals born on such a decision and the debate about the dates when the World Cup should be held.

Now the IAAF, not taking into consideration these signs, contrary to what indicated in the application form – that indicates the period for their Championships in the month of August – has decided to follow FIFA route and has awarded the Championships to Doha for the first week of October 2019. In this date surely the climate is much better than in August but we are in any case talking about temperature between 35 ° /40 ° (in the shadow) as indicated in the Report presented by the IAAF to its Council. Ignoring that in 2020 the Olympic Games are planned in Tokyo starting at the end of July. 

Obviously newspapers have reported how Doha, in order to achieve the awarding of the Championships, has put on the IAAF Council table, at the last moment and against the rules, some “additional benefit”, among them a check of 30 million US dollars, as 5 years sponsorships by a Qatari Bank. Naively, many have thought that this would have been the tramp car to achieve the Championship and to beat Eugene, the athletics American Mecca of athletics and Barcelona, a European Capital of athletics.

Who was in Monte Carlo has understood very well that the 30 million check has not been the real reason why 15 Member of the Council have voted Doha, against the 12 who voted for Eugene. What has happened with FIFA was fluttering in the corridor of the hotel, obviously there are no proof of it. Why then the 30 million were not important for the vote? Because due to the specific clause of the IAAF/Dentsu contract only 40% of that amount goes to the IAAF, therefore only 12 million. On the other side IAAF risks now to loose, in the renewal of the EBU contract, a large part of the 80 million that at the moment Eurovision gives to the IAAF. It will be difficult for EBU to digest a World Championship to be held in October. So the risk for the IAAF is that the balance will be negative.

But what looks surprising are the reasons, presented in writing on the IAAF Report, in which the candidature was based. Here they are:

a)  The weather conditions

b)  The International event calendar

c)  The international television viewership

d)  The possibility to the IAAF to extend its calendar in the 2019 season.

These four are clearly big lies that would have embarrassed even Pinocchio. The weather conditions? with 35 and plus degrees? The International calendar? With all the different Football events (Champions League, National League, National match for the Euro 2020 qualification), the professional NBA and NFL event in US, the Rugby World Championships in Japan? The international television viewership? For athletics in October? And the possibility for the IAAF to extend the 2019 season? With the Olympic Games 2020 just 10 months away?

       In spite of these four lies the IAAF Council has voted for Doha. Funnily in favor all IOC Members present in the IAAF Council, the same one – two of them seat in the IOC Executive Board – who have excluded Doha by the 2016 and 2020 Olympic bid. All this without remembering that Qatar has raised in the athletic history more for the athletes acquired by country like Kenya and Nigeria and for the impossibility to organize National Championships in athletics due to lack of participants. Let us leave it to others, like Amnesty International and to the Women Association, to comment the political-social aspect of Qatar.

       The IAAF due to the collapse of the TV ratings of the last years (8th Sport for number of hours and 16th as audience, following data provided by IAAF itself) has lost almost 10 million from the IOC distribution of funds from London 2012, equaled by Swimming and Gymnastics. Now there are rumors about the reduction of athletic events in the Olympic program, to allow other discipline to come in. I do remember about a previous IAAF President, Primo Nebiolo, that in front of such insult would have gone to Lausanne and he would have opened the door of the President Office with his feet.

       What do we have to think? Was it by chance that this year the annual Gala organized by the Athletic Foundation took place in circus?

Running couple aim for victories in Canadian Cross Country Championships in Vancouver

Chris Winter, left, and Rachel Cliff would love to record victories in the Canadian Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Vancouver.



Chris Winter and Rachel Cliff have unfinished business before the Canadian Cross Country Championships pack up and move to Kingston, Ont.

The Vancouver running couple and aspiring Rio Olympians finished second in the men’s 10k and women’s 7k at Jericho Beach Park last year.

Neither has won a national cross country title — Winter was third in 2011; they were both fourth in 2012 — and this could be their last chance to win in their backyard.

They live 10 blocks from the picturesque course, which has hosted four straight Canadian championships, including Saturday’s.

“I could run it with my eyes closed,” said Cliff, a 26-year-old distance runner who won the Sun Run 10k in April.

“It has a special meaning for me. It was my first big cross country race my Grade 12 year. It’s where I really got into the sport. I’m going to be sad when it’s not here any more.”

Same goes for Winter, a 28-year-old steeplechaser who’s looking forward to the predicted frigid and muddy conditions on Saturday.

“A great mess,” he called it, although thankfully this year should be dry and mostly sunny for the fans.

Winter and Cliff met five years ago while training together in Guelph, Ont., where Cliff won CIS titles in the 1,500m and 3,000m in 2011.

He proposed to her in September, after he returned from the Commonwealth Games, where he was sixth in the steeplechase. Perfecting the ring design over email from Glasgow was cause for more nerves than race day.

“I was sweating bullets trying to figure it all out,” he said.

They’ll get married in Vancouver next September, while the weather’s still good and after the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Beijing. There are a few world-class runners on the guest list.

“We’re joking about having a beer mile after,” Winter said.

“It’s pretty cool. Our relationship only works because we’re doing the same thing: going to bed at 10 o’clock on Friday nights, and all the travel and training and dedication.

“We really rely on each other to be supportive and we get kicks out of going for a run together in Pacific Spirit Park. That’s our time together.”

Cliff’s the more competitive one, Winter claimed, and she’ll need every ounce of that on Saturday (1:40 p.m. start).

The women’s field is especially deep, with another local runner, reigning champion Natasha Wodak, among those vying for the win, or at least a top-six finish.

The top six men and women earn qualifying spots for the 2015 Pan Am Cross Country Championships in Colombia in February and 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in China in March.

Wodak, who won in 24:31 last year — three seconds ahead of Cliff — has been battling plantar fasciitis, so she’s not sure what to expect in her first “real” race in eight months.

Other women’s competitors in the now-8k event include Calgary’s Jessica O’Connell, who was 10th in the 5,000 metres at the 2014 Commonwealth Games; Olympic triathlete Paula Findlay of Edmonton; and Natasha LaBeaud, a San Diego native and dual citizen who calls Kelowna her Canadian home.

LaBeaud and Cliff returned from Tokyo on Tuesday. They were part of Canada’s Chiba Ekiden marathon relay team. Cliff was the alternate there and won a 5,000m race.

That’s the distance she figures is her best shot for Rio, although the 10,000m is a possibility, too. Either way, she knows there’s a ton of work ahead.

Her personal best in the 5,000m is 15:48. The ‘B’ standard for the 2012 Olympics was 15:30.

“I need to get a lot faster,” said Cliff, who trains under Chris Johnson at the Vancouver Thunderbirds and juggles that with graduate studies at UBC in occupational and environmental hygiene.

“It’s tough with training,” she said, “but it’s a cool environment to be in.”

Winter’s schedule is free from studies, but the former University of Oregon athlete and Nike intern works part time for a digital marketing company to support his training.

It’s a job that allows him to work from anywhere in the world, which is ideal. He’s also sponsored by New Balance and became a carded athlete this year.

Cliff has an Asics sponsorship.

“It’s great, because you don’t make a lot of money in this sport,” Winter said.

The men’s title is up for grabs Saturday (2:30 p.m. start) because Cam Levins, the running sensation from Black Creek on Vancouver Island and the three-time champion, isn’t here.

Instead, Winter will go for glory against defending champion Lucas Bruchet of White Rock; Sun Run winner Kelly Wiebe of Swift Current, Sask.; and a pair of Olympians: Taylor Milne of Guelph, and Quebec’s Alex Genest. Barry Britt of New Brunswick, Canada’s 10,000m champion, is also here.

Winter would love the victory Saturday, but there are certainly more important and bigger-pressure moments ahead.

Rio will surely be his last shot at an Olympics and Canada is four men deep in the steeplechase. Only three can go, so it’ll be about beating out Genest or Milne or Canadian record holder Matt Hughes.

To watch three of them battle Saturday should be a fun preview.

“Even now, you start feeling each other out,” said Winter, who’s working with sports psychologist Kirsten Barnes, the Olympic champion rower.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years and it will come down to one day (at Olympic trials). It’s crazy. I just hope I’m not sick or something.”

Best ever finish for Canada at Chiba Ekiden in Japan


Best Ever Finish for Team Canada at 2014 International Chiba Ekiden

 Team Canada recorded their best ever finish today at the International Chiba Ekiden in Japan. The mixed gender relay team placed seventh overall and recorded the fastest time in Canadian history covering the 42.195 km course in 2:09:28. The overall competition was won by Japan in 2:05:53.
Lucas Bruchet (White Rock, B.C.) led off the team running 13:35 for 5k and handed off to Jessica O’Connell (Calgary, Alb.) with the team in third place. O’Connell clocked 15:33 for the third fastest women’s 5k of the day, followed by a solid 10k leg from Kelly Wiebe (Swift Current, Sask.). Natasha Labeaud (Kelowna, B.C.) covered her 5k leg in 16:20 passing off to Sami Jibril (Toronto, Ont.) for a 10k leg. Canadian marathon record holder Lanni Marchant (London, Ont.) anchored Team Canada home to their best ever finish at the annual co-ed marathon relay.

In the 5000-metres race held for team alternates, Rachel Cliff (Vancouver, B.C.) won the women’s race and Pier-Olivier Laflamme (L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que.) set a new personal best finishing 5th.

Team Canada Results
International Chiba Ekiden
Leg 1 (5k) – Lucas Bruchet - 13:35 - 3rd
Leg 2 (5k) – Jessica O’Connell - 15:33 - 3rd
Leg 3 (10k) – Kelly Wiebe – 29:14 – 7th
Leg 4 (5k) – Natasha Labeaud - 16:20 - 4th
Leg 5 (10k) – Sami Jibril – 30:37 – 9th
Leg 6 (7.195k) Lanni Marchant – 24:09 – 4th
Alternate 5000m Track Race
Rachel Cliff - 15:58 - 1st
Pier-Olivier Laflamme - 14:10 PB - 5th


UBC Women defend NAIA title in Kansas

Maria Bernard

Maria Bernard

British Columbia Claims Third-Straight National Championship

Thunderbirds’ Maria Bernard Also Takes Individual Crown

November 22, 2014

By Mike DeVader, Communications & Sports Information Intern

LAWRENCE, Kan. – (Results) On a dreary, breezy day at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kan., the British Columbia Thunderbirds put on a masterful performance to capture the national title in the 35th Annual NAIA Women’s Cross Country National Championships on Saturday.

British Columbia has now won three-consecutive banners, joining fellow Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) member Cal State San Marcos as the last team to accomplish such a feat. The A.I.I. now owns the last six team national titles.

This is the third championship in school history for British Columbia.

Leading the charge for the Thunderbirds in the 5-kilometer championship was NAIA All-American Maria Bernard – who finished third at the event last year – and took home the 2014 individual championship with a time of 17:03. The Thunderbirds flew away from the 36 other competing teams by placing three runners in the top four, and all five countable competitors finished in the top 29.

By virtue of finishing in the top 30, British Columbia’s Amelie de Fenoyl (3rd; 17:39), Natalia Hawthorn (4th; 17:45), Jackie Regan (10th; 18:11) and Tamara Harris (29th; 18:35) all join Bernard as All-Americans.

The No. 1-ranked squad in the final NAIA Women’s Cross Country Top 25 Poll compiled a team score of 43 – which was 98 points ahead of second-place and No. 4 Lewis-Clark State’s (Idaho) 141. Rounding out the top five was third-place and third-ranked Northwest Christian (Ore.) (181), No. 6 Carroll (Mont.) (234) and second-ranked Dordt (Iowa) (235).

Oklahoma Baptist’s Hannah Fields came in second with a time of 17:34. This is the second-straight year Fields has crossed the finish line in second-place at the championships. Coming in fifth with a time of 17:48 was Lindsey Martin of Columbia (Mo.).


Maria Bernard and Jack Williams win NAIA regional cross country as UBC teams take gold and Silver


UBC women when regional NAIA meet

UBC women when regional NAIA meet

The University of British Columbia won its third straight A.i.i. Conference Women’s Cross Country title on Saturday.

CLINTON, IOWA – Claiming seven of the top nine individual spots Saturday, the nation’s top-ranked women’s cross country team, the University of British Columbia – strolled to a three-peat at the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Women’s Cross Country Championships held at Ashford University.

The Thunderbirds behind All-American Maria Bernard swept the top three individual spots en route to and 18-point team performance to easily outdistance runner-up California State San Marcos for the team title. CSUSM finished with 42 points, while Johnson & Wales (Colo.) finished third with 109 points.

Maria Bernard

Maria Bernard

Bernard claimed the individual crown with a time of 17 minutes, 2.9 seconds over the 5,000 meter course. Bernard’s teammate Natalia Hawthorn followed in second with a time of 17:26.5, while Amelie De Fenoyl was third in 17:34.6.

UBC’s Jackie Regan collected a fifth-place finish in 17:57.1, while Tamara Harris was seventh (18:12.9), Sandra Kilmartin eighth (18:20.3) and Kirsten Lee ninth (18:31.4).

Three CSUSM runners were the only other runners to finish in the top 10 as Kate Bouvatte placed fourth (17:15.6), Natalie Rodriguez sixth (18:04.8) and Charlotte Kuzminski tenth (18:55.3).

For full results from the A.i.i. Champions go to: /d/2014-15/A_I_I__Women’s_Cross_Country_Results.pdf


 Association of Independent Institutions Men’s Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Ashford University won by California State University at San Marcos

The Cougars captured five of the top seven individual spots to claimed their seventh straight men’s cross country conference title by holding off the University of British Columbia. California State University at San Marcos finished with 23 points, while UBC had 33 in a 1-2 finish in the team race. Johnson & Wales (Colo.) placed third with 106 points.

Jack Williams

Jack Williams

UBC tried to snap the CSUSM streak as the Thunderbirds’ Jack Williams claimed individual conference honors with a winning time of 25 minutes, 20.3 seconds over the 8,000 meter course. But CSUSM would claim five of the next six individual spots to successfully defend the title.

CSUSM’s Enrique Ramirez paced the Cougars with a second-place finish in a time of 25:23.8, while his teammate Steven Ing followed in third at 25:26.7. The Cougars would then take the five thru seven places behind Andrew Tallamas (25:56.6), Zachery Laurenzana (26:01.2) and Easton Tackett (26:03.9).

Daniel Ybarra rounded out the top-10 finishes for CSUSM placing 10th with a time of 26:16.3.

Behind Williams for UBC, Evan Elder placed fourth (25:34.2), Ben Thorne eighth (26:09.5), Bilal Shamsi ninth (26:11.9) and Devin Rajala 11th (26:25.4).

For complete results from the meet, go to: