The Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic has an illustrious 32-year history on the Canadian track and field scene, and this year will include Special Olympics events for the first time.
Sixteen Special Olympics BC athletes (eight men and eight women) will race 100-metre events at the June 8 meet at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium. The SOBC athletes will hit the track alongside nearly 400 athletes from 16 countries, including 32 Olympians and elite athletes seeking to finalize qualification to race in the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto this summer.
The Jerome is an internationally recognized meet and provides an opportunity for Canada's elite athletes to compete against the best in the world on their home turf. It is the third stop on the National Track League series.
We can’t wait to cheer on the SOBC runners who will lace up for this exciting opportunity:
Tamika Shaw, Suraya Pitalwala and SOBC – North Shore athletics coach Molly Evanshen participated in the Harry Jerome Track Classic press conference at the BC Sports Hall of Fame on May 26, where meet organizers warmly welcomed the SOBC contingent and shared their excitement at including Special Olympics events for the first time.
Pitalwala, who raced in the 2014 BC Games in Nanaimo, said she really likes competing in athletics. When she races at the Harry Jerome Track Classic, she says she will be thinking about “doing my best.”
Shaw is a talented multi-sport athlete who also participates in Special Olympics figure skating and alpine skiing. She was encouraged to give track and field a try by SOBC – North Shore coach Molly Evanshen, who says Shaw is “such a great all-around athlete.”
“It’s a pretty fun sport. I didn’t know it would be this much fun,” Shaw said.
Pictured at right: Pitalwala and Shaw leading the parade of athletes into the press conference; Evanshen pictured with small flag
Diane Clement, Olympian and longtime athletics volunteer and Harry Jerome Track Classic media organizer, welcomed Pitalwala, Shaw, Evanshen, and the whole Special Olympics group participating in the meet. She also shared advice from her own extensive athletics background.
“The finish is 10 metres beyond the line,” she said, encouraging all athletes to run their hearts out until they’re past the finish line.
Among the runners who will compete in the generic races are Jessica Smith andCameron Proceviat, who volunteer with SOBC – Burnaby. Smith is a 2012 Olympian and former SFU track star seeking to cement her Pan Am Games berth.Read more here. Proceviat is a strong member of the SFU track team and a nationally ranked middle-distance runner.
Big thanks to SOBC – Burnaby athletics coach Debra Colvin for organizing this outstanding opportunity for SOBC athletes to showcase their skills!
The Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic is set to run on June 8 from 6:15 to 9:30 p.m. at Swangard Stadium. The SOBC athletes are scheduled to run their 100m events at 7:57 p.m. and 8:03 p.m. More meet information