This year’s Victoria International Track Classic and finale for the National Track League Series, is culminating in a burst of experienced, age-defying athletes and young up-and-coming talent.
“The Track Classic is becoming a battle on a number of fronts with the older, more experienced athletes taking centre stage but also the emergence of the new, younger talent across Canada making a mark,” said Keith Butler, Meet Director. “On the one hand we have Canadian 800-meter record holder, Diane Cummins at age 39 still pushing top international times which I think has led to a following of younger competitors to follow suit such as Melissa Bishop, Karine Belleau-Beliveau and even our own University of Victoria athlete Rachel Francois who recently set her seasonal best. The women’s 800 meters is going to be a thrilling battle with all ages represented.”
The Track Classic also includes a match-up between veteran 100-meter hurdlers Angela Whyte and Jessica Zelinka with Whyte recently receiving the crown of National Champion and setting a personal best this season. Zelinka, who placed 2nd behind Whyte at Nationals, is a double London Olympic finalist finishing 5th in the heptathlon and 7th in the 100-meter hurdles. Both athletes have qualified for this summer’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia August 10-18th and face off in this Friday’s 100-meter hurdle event.
The 25th annual Victoria International Track Classic is one of two events the Victoria International Running Society operates, the other is the TC 10K, one of Canada’s largest participating 10K events. “We are excited to be hosting the finale for this year’s National Track League Series with $100,000 in prize money on the line,” said Brent Fougner, President of the Society. “This Friday’s event will see a number of athletes pushing their limits to qualify for this summer’s World Championships and to secure their placing in the Series.”
Other confirmed Olympians participating in the Track Classic include Kamloops shot putter Dylan Armstrong, Parksville high jumper Mike Mason who recently set a personal best of 2.31 meters, and Manteo Mitchell and Josh Mance, teammates on the men’s U.S. silver 4 x 400 meter relay team in London. U.S Olympic gold medalist Mary Wineberg, winner in the 400 meters in the Edmonton International and yesterday’s Harry Jerome Track Classic will battle it out with Canadian Olympian Jenna Martin in the women’s 400-meter event.
A total of 29 Olympians are taking part in Friday’s event and 23 of the 2013 Canadian Championship medalists, ten of them crowned Canadian Champions.
The Victoria International Track Classic gets underway with preliminary events starting at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 5th with the main events commencing at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets for the Victoria International Track Classic are available through Victoria’s Running Room stores, on-line at www.trackclassic.ca or at Centennial Stadium’s gate on July 5th starting at 5:00 p.m.