Athletics Canada announced today that double Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield will compete in next week’s AGSI Canadian Cross Country Championships in Guelph, Ontario. The event takes place Saturday November 28th at the University of Guelph Arboretum and will serve as the stage for the national junior (19 and under), senior and masters titles (30 and up).
Whitfield won gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and silver at the 2008 Beijing Games in the Triathlon. “I’m really looking forward to racing cross country nationals, I don’t get to race cross country enough and when I do I always remember just how much fun it is. I have realistic expectations racing nationals, especially with where it fits into the season. I’d be flattered if people thought I could compete with (Simon) Bairu and company but the Regina speed demon is simply too fast for this old triathlete”.
The fields will be stacked with a number of elites taking to the start line with Canadian title aspirations. On the men’s side Simon Bairu from Regina has to be considered the favourite. Bairu is the reigning champion and just a few weeks ago in Toronto took the Canadian 10km Road Race title in a field featuring a number of the same athletes. Bairu also won the Cross Country national title in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He did not compete in 2007 due to an injury. Chantell Widney and Megan Metcalfe come in as strong favourites on the women’s side. Widney finished 3rd last year and was 4th at the recent 10km Championships. Metcalfe, who was 2nd at this year’s 10km champs, was a member of the 2008 Olympic team.
Senior Women Contenders
Name, Hometown, Club, Coach
Megan Brown, Guelph, ON, University of Toronto, Hugh Cameron
Lindsay Carson, Cambridge, ON, Tri City Track Club, Pete Grinbergs
Lisa Harvey, Calgary, AB, Calgary Spartans, Mike VanTighem
Megan Metcalfe, Edmonton, AB, Edmonton Thunder, Sean Cleary
Kendra Schaaf, Craven, SK, Queen City Striders, Steve Gersten
Chantell Widney, Edmonton, AB, Edmonton Thunder, Glen Playfair
Senior Men Contenders
Simon Bairu, Regina, SK, Queen City Striders, Jerry Schumacher
Reid Coolsaet, Hamilton, ON, Speed River, Dave Scott-Thomas
Eric Gillis, Antigonish, NS, Speed River, Dave Scott-Thomas
Taylor Milne, Callander, ON, Speed River, Dave Scott-Thomas
Cleve Thorson, Port Elgin, ON, Speed River, Dave Scott-Thomas
Dylan Wykes, Kingston, ON, Phisi-Kult, Steve Boyd
Press release provided by Athletics Canada.