Kelowna long distance runner Malindi Elmore will be looking for a three-peat this weekend as she is set to defend her title as the fastest woman at 1,500 metres in Canada.
Elmore will race in the 1,500 metre event Saturday at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary, looking for a return to the winner’s circle after winning the Canadian title in both 2009 and 2010.
“My goal going into the weekend is to win the race,” said Elmore, before heading to Calgary. “I won in 2009 and 2010 so it would be nice to continue the streak. I am feeling very positive about the race and have had some strong races so far this year.”
Heading into the Canadian championships Elmore is the woman to beat. Her time of 4:09.10 from the Payton Jordan invitational meet in Stanford in May is the fastest time for a Canadian woman this year, although there are a few runners nipping at Elmore’s heels.
Canadian Sheila Reed won the NCAA title in the 1,500 while Kate Van Buskirk was third in the NCAA championship. The pair are expected to be Elmore’s chief rivals in the race after veteran runner Carmen Douma Hussar is not racing this year.
“It’s a bit of a changing of the guards,” said Elmore of the up and coming youngsters vying against more veteran runners. “I am feeling very positive about the race and have had some strong races so far this year.”
Elmore has raced in four different 1,500 metre races so far this season as she looks for a time of 4:05.80, the standard she needs to meet to qualify for the World Championships in August. That would be four seconds faster than her best time so far this year.
She finished second in the Stanford race followed by a jet-lagged, ninth place finish in Qatar a week later. In late May Elmore was seventh against a top field at the New York Grand Prix. In her other start Elmore was tripped part way through the race and finished well behind the leaders.
“Each race has been very unique and while I have not run my fast times yet, I have competed well and I am optimistic for the season ahead,” she said.
Following the Canadian championships, Elmore will be looking to ramp up her times as the World Championships approaches. She will compete at the Harry Jerome meet in Vancouver on July 1 before running an 800 metre race in Victoria on July 3. Then she will fly to Europe with the hopes of meeting that world championship standard sometime before August. The World Track and Field Championships are in Daegu, South Korea at the end of August.
You can watch Elmore run in the Canadian championships on CBC television this weekend. The network has coverage between 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday.