By GARY KINGSTON
BURNABY -- Female distance runners are generally lithe and willowy.
Regan Yee would definitely fall into that category, although on Thursday night at Swangard Stadium, the Trinity Western University grad was wishing she had a little more . . . well, a little more bosom.
Yee set a Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic meet record in winning the 3,000 metre steeplechase in nine minutes, 40.06 seconds, but came agonizingly short -- six one-hundredths of a second -- in cracking the 9:40.00 qualifying standard for the IAAF world championships in Qatar in October.
“Ah, that’s so painful,” exclaimed Yee while burying her head in her hands after seeing her time pop up on the electronic scoreboard. “That’s like (a little more) lean. So painful. That’s like a lean! That’s like one cup size bigger! Oh, my gosh.”
Yee, who grew up in tiny South Hazelton in west central B.C., ran the third-fastest steeplechase ever by a Canadian woman last summer, a 9:37.31.
The Jerome was her 2019 season-opener after she had to pull out of a race in Portland two weeks ago after a bout of strep throat. When she turned out to be allergic to the prescribed medicine, “I had to have other stuff for that, so I’m just glad I got to the start line today.”
Yee ran well early in a pack of about four runners, then watched Australian Rosie Donegan open up a 10-metre lead before the final lap. Yee caught her down the stretch and held on at the finish, with Donegan clocking in at 9:40.47. Charlotte Prouse of London, Ont., was third in a season-best 9:42.01.
“I’m so glad (Donegan) was there because she really pushed the pace that last 800,” said Yee, who collected $2,000 for the win and $1,000 for setting a meet record.
She says she will likely try to make the worlds qualifying standard at the B.C. championships in Kamloops in a couple of weeks, but could go searching for another 3,000 metre steeplechase elsewhere.
“I know it’s there, but it is just so frustrating to run seven and a half laps, three kilometres, and it comes to like inches.”
Or, the difference between a B cup and a C cup.
COOL NIGHT COOLS DOWN RED-HOT BROWN
Canadian sprint star Aaron Brown, coming off a pair of Diamond League wins at 200 metres over national team rival Andre De Grasse, won the Jerome 100 metres in a pedestrian -- for him -- time of 10.30 seconds.
“It was pretty chilly, I just wanted to get through healthy and come out in one piece, have a good run and get ready for my next race,” said Brown, who will defend his 2018 Canadian championship wins at 100 and 200 metres in July in Montreal.
Brown, who said earlier that he likes to run in temperatures between 25C and 30C, said he was cognizant of warming up “extra hard,” to ensure he didn’t pull a hamstring.
“You never know what the conditions are going to be (whenever you race), so you’ve just got to be professional and deal with it.”
Jerome Blake, the former Kelowna resident now training in Coquitlam, was second in 10.42. Earlier in the evening, Blake won the 200 metres in 20.89. James Linde of Coquitlam was second in 21.17, with American Remontay McLain third in 21.22.
De Grasse, who had run Jerome in 2017 and 2018, was in the Czech Republic on Thursday, where he won the 200 metres at the Ostrava Golden Spike meet in a dazzling 19.91, the fifth-best time in the world this season. He also won the 100 in 10.05.
“That’s a strong performance, one of his fastest since his Rio performance (when he won Olympic silver behind Usain Bolt),” said Brown, who’s season best at 200 is 20.06.
“He definitely put down the gauntlet and I’m ready for the challenge,” said Brown. “It’s going to be fun.”
Khamica Bingham of North York, Ont., won the women’s 100 (11.54) and the 200 (24.06), while veteran Canadian Olympian Phylicia George captured the women’s 100 metre hurdles in 13.23.
MASON HAPPY TO GET WIN, FEEL HEALTHY
Three-time Olympian Mike Mason of Nanoose Bay won the men’s high jump with a leap of 2.21 metres, well off his season-best and world-leading 2.31 from early April.. But after straining a hamstring in training three weeks ago, he wasn’t complaining.
“Clearly, there was a little bit of rust on there even if it wasn’t much time off,” said Mason. “There were a few jumps that I really hit it and hit it well, like my 2.21. I made that nice and clean.”
“I went for (2.26), but to be honest, I don’t think I was close. I think I could have got the height, but the technical was off. It was good just to get out here and jump today.”
Mason will jump at provincials, nationals and the Pan Am Games before heading to the world championships.
“I think there’s a lot of possibility for me to do well there, just the way things were going before this little injury. But maybe this was a good time for it, just get it out of the way. There’s a lot of opportunity this year.”
In other events at Swangard, Canadian champion Christabel Nettey of Surrey won the women’s long jump (6.56 metres), Vancouver’s Liz Gleadle threw the javelin 58.13 metres to finish second to American Ariana Ince (61.41) and Amercian Hannah Green won the women’s 800 in 2:01.76, finishing just ahead of North Vancouver’s Lindsey Butterworth (2:02.46)