Andrea Seccafien breaks Canadian half-marathon record in Japan

CBC

Andrea Seccafien said running a personal-best time twice in three days in the 5,000 metres at the track and field world championships last October confirmed she was on the right track for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Breaking Natasha Wodak's Canadian women's record in the half marathon on Sunday in Japan probably confirmed her fitness level is where it needs to be six months from the Summer Games.

Seccafien finished 17th at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon, posting a PB of one hour nine minutes 38 seconds after Wodak had set a new mark on Jan. 19 in Houston (1:09:41).

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Seccafien's time was nearly four minutes faster than her 1:13:19 debut in 2018 in Gifu, Japan.

Seven weeks ago, Rachel Cliff improved her Canadian mark by two seconds with a 1:10:06 clocking in Okayama, Japan.

World No. 27 in 5,000 metres

At worlds, the 29-year-old Seccafien shaved nearly four seconds off her PB in the 5,000 semifinals when she stopped the clock in 15:04.67. She was even stronger in the final, crossing the line in 14:59.95 for her first-ever sub-15-minute performance.

The time was well below the 15:10 qualifying standard for Tokyo and improved the Guelph, Ont.-raised runner's world ranking to 27th.

Canadian athletes can qualify either by achieving the standard in their event or occupying a spot in the top 40 on the world ranking list. Points are accumulated based on a runner's top five efforts determined by a combination of the time ran, calibre of meet and placing within the race.

Seccafien recovered from a foot injury in 2015 to meet the 2016 Olympic standard and was the top Canadian in her Summer Games debut, placing 20th in Rio.

The former University of Toronto Track Club member relocated to Australia after 2017 worlds to join the Melbourne Track Club.

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