Four Olympians entered in Speed River Inferno

Four Olympians entered in Speed River Inferno

GUELPH — Four Olympians are among the entrants for the Speed River Inferno Track and Field Meet Presented by New Balance that is set for May 31 at Alumni Stadium.

In all, more than 75 athletes representing eight countries have confirmed their entries.

The four Olympians are steeplechasers Alex Genest and Taylor Milne of the host Speed River Track and Field Club, men’s 200-metre sprinter Winston George of Guyana and men’s 800-metre runner Julius Mutekanga of Uganda.

Genest ran in the men’s steeplechase at the London Olympics in 2012 while Milne competed in the men’s 1,500 metres in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

George competed in the men’s 400 metres at the London Olympics and was the flag-bearer for his country in opening ceremony while Mutekanga ran in the men’s 800 metres at the London Olympics.

Confirmed male international athletes include Kevin Thompson of Jamaica in the 200 metres; Sean Atkinson of the U.S. in the 400-metre hurdles; Lucas Manring of the U.S. in the 800 metres; Lamont Marshall of Bermuda in the 1,500 metres; Sean Keveren of the U.S. in the 5,000 metres; and Riley Northrup of the U.S. in the high jump.

International female athletes who have confirmed their entries are Ashley Kelly of the British Virgin Islands and Sharay Hale of the U.S. in the 200 metres; Lorain McKenzie of Jamaica and the U.S. trio of Stephanie Herrick, Lauren Hagans and Natalie Picchetti in the 800 metres; Sarah Madebach of the U.S., Danielle Burke of the U.S. and Rachel Felton of the United Kingdom in the 5,000 metres; and U.S. long jumpers Anita Rogers and Nyeisha Wright.

Genest and Milne will be joined in the men’s steeplechase by teammate Chris Winter.

Anthony Romaniw of Speed River’s Olympic division is to compete in the men’s 800 metres along with Mathieu Sturkenboom and Scott Leitch.

Other members of Speed River’s Olympic division entered in the meet are Rachel Aubry, Chantelle Groenewoud, Genevieve Lalonde and Andrea Seccafien.

Aubry and Katelyn Ayers of the Guelph Gryphons are entered in the women’s 800 metres while Groenewoud and Lalonde are in the women’s steeplechase along with Julie-Anne Staehli.

Seccafien is to run in the women’s 5,000 metres along with Rachel Hannah and Carise Thompson.

Other notable Canadians entered include Ross Proudfoot, Jeremy Rae and Charles Philibert-Thibout in the men’s 1,500 metres; Andrew Nixon, Aaron Hendrikx, Peter Corrigan, Tristan Woodfine and Hussein Hashi in the men’s 5,000 metres; Paul Galas and Phillipe St. Hilaire in the men’s high jump; Tyler MacLeod in the men’s 200 metres; Marie Colombe in the women’s 200 metres; and Julia Wallace, Caroline Ehrhardt and Jen Cotton in the women’s long jump.

The main portion of the meet is to start at 7 p.m., although the premeet competition is to begin an hour earlier. The meet closes with the steeplechase events. The women’s race goes at 8:30 p.m. and the men’s race goes at 8:45 p.m.

Tickets for the meet are available at Scotiabank locations in Guelph or through the meet’s website (

Let’s Light it Up!

Tomorrow is the Speed River Inferno. While only in its 2nd year for the meet in the newly renovated Alumni Stadium at the University of Guelph, the meet has already established itself as one of the best meets to take place on Canadian soil each year. Looking at the start lists for tomorrow it looks like the meet has been taken to another level this year with numerous Olympians and Olympic Medalists scheduled to compete. With the weather forecast calling for sunny skies and warm temps, tomorrow’s races should have the perfect set up.

This is good news because many Canadians are looking for one final opportunity (#lastchanceforglasgow) to hit a standard for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.  (To see who has already hit a qualifying time check out Athletics Canada’s Commonwealth Games Athlete Tracking List)

While every race features some of the best athletes in Canada (and in some cases the world!) the 4 events with athletes right on the bubble, chasing a standard are:

Men’s 800

In the men’s 800m we have Speed River’s very own Anthony Romaniw looking to punch his ticket to Glasgow. He has run 1:47 this year and needs 1:46.20 to put himself in the selection pool. Anthony is no stranger to pressure, last year he was travelling from race to race in Europe looking to hit a qualifier for the World Championships in Moscow and it wasn’t until the 11th hour, somewhere in Belgium, that he finally hit it. Let’s hope he can find some similar magic tomorrow night!

Men’s 1500

In the men’s 1500m Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, who had a breakthrough race down in LA a few weeks ago, is knocking on the door of B standard (3:37) and Luc Bruchet has been on fire all year long and I’m sure he will be looking to push Chuck all the way to the line.

Women’s Steeplechase

The women’s 3000m Steeplechase has really shaped up nicely with both Jessica Furlan and Chantelle Groenewoud capable of hitting B standards (9:48.00) which, in doing so would also take down the Canadian record! With these two ladies, among a couple of others that have dipped under the 10:00 barrier in the past, this could well be the race of the evening!

Men’s Steeplechase

My personal interests lie in the men’s steeplechase. With Chris Dalhanty unselfishly offering to pace the race at ‘A’ Standard pace (8:26.00) for 2000m and with friends, training partners, and past Olympians Alex Genest and Taylor Milne in the field, along with some other top notch “long-hurdlers” Ryan Brockerville and Mark Draper, things should be set up very nicely for a shot at a fast time. The Guelph Mercury put out a nice article this morning talking about the race.

This season has had a very different feel to it. The last couple of years have been a blur of travel and excitement with PBs seemingly coming every weekend. However, with a couple of hiccups in the Winter I came into the outdoor season well behind where I would like to have been. That said the last couple of months have gone great and I finally feel like I am back to where I was in previous years. I’m healthy and fit and tomorrow should provide the opportunity I need to take a good crack at it.

If you live in Guelph, you are likely well aware of this meet and are likely planning on attending. However, if you are from anywhere outside of Guelph and think you can make the trip, do it! If you can’t make it in person there will be a live feed for the meet here. Show up or tune-in as it’s rare to have a meet of this quality held this close to home. Tomorrow night promises to be special.

For more info about the Speed River Inferno check out the event’s website (here)

List of confirmed Athletes (Here)

Schedule of Events (Here)


Photo Courtesy of Rob Massey and the Guelph Mercury
Photo Courtesy of Rob Massey and the Guelph Mercury


The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time

Where does time go?! 6 weeks ago I was in a major funk. I was struggling to get over my lingering health issues and had finally decided to take a week completely off from training and just relax. I wasn’t confident in my body and each run was a major stressor. I had another cardiologist appointment coming up and a figured I’d just hang tight until I met with him. During that meeting he had me do an Exercise Stress Test and he cleared me to keep training and to head to altitude for a planned training camp. I got back into some easy running for a few days and then headed off to Phoenix fitted with a nifty Cardiac Event Monitor. This little device was going to be my training partner and roommate for the next month. Other than a daily shower I was going to be wearing it full time to ensure than there was nothing funky going on with my heart that they couldn’t catch in short term monitoring. (I thought about wearing this thing while on the plane, but had second thoughts when I imagined what the TSA would do when they saw this “device” strapped to me! Ha!)

So there I was, In Flagstaff, Arizona at 7,000 ft and in pretty awful shape. I knew the next couple of weeks were going to be rough. And they were. Altitude has this amazing ability to make even the best athlete feel like the little fat kid in gym class. Everything is hard. So when you’re not in great shape life sucks. The first workouts were the worst! That said I just tried to keep everything in perspective. I adopted the Oregon Football motto “Win the Day”. I just took each day as it came and tried to get the most out of it as I could. With each workout I saw improvement and by the end of the 3.5 weeks at altitude I could see the light. I felt like a runner again.




Once back down at sea level I got to say goodbye to my event monitor. That little guy I will not miss. The data from the previous month was analyzed and again I was given the all clear. This was good news. It was time to start thinking about racing!

A couple of quality workouts and there I was, standing on the start line at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Nothing like one of the best meets of the year to use as a “rust buster”! My goal was to just get in the mix and feel it out. And it felt great! I lacked some confidence and my hurdling was awful, but I managed to roll an 8:37 and I felt pretty darn good doing so!

payton jordan 2014
payton jordan 2014 (Photo Cred: Aric Van Halen)

Before this past weekend I had my trepidations about racing. It had been almost 6 months and training had gone off the rails a few times. Now with one under the belt I’m pumped for the next one down in LA in a week’s time.

"Team Canada"getting in a pre-comp workout
“Team Canada”getting in a pre-comp workout