Canada 8th in 15-team mixed relay run at cross-country world championships

Erin Teschuk and Canada's mixed relay squad ran to an eighth-place finish Saturday at the cross-country world championships in Bathurst, Australia. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press/File - image credit)
Erin Teschuk and Canada's mixed relay squad ran to an eighth-place finish Saturday at the cross-country world championships in Bathurst, Australia. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press/File - image credit)

Matthew Beaudet, Kate Current, Perry MacKinnon and Erin Teschuk of Canada combined for a running time of 24 minutes 55 seconds to place eighth in the mixed relay on Saturday at the World Athletics cross-country championships in Bathurst, Australia.

Winnipeg's Teschuk warmed up for the event with a fifth-place finish (eight minutes 46.46 seconds) in the women's indoor 3,000 metres last weekend at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston.

A week earlier in New York, the New Balance athlete and 2016 Olympian clocked a personal-best 4:31.21 in the indoor mile.

In 2019, the last time the world event was contested due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada finished seventh in mixed relay in Aarhus, Denmark.

Kenya won Saturday's race in 23:14, followed by Ethiopia (23:21) and Australia (23:26).

Later, Regan Yee of South Hazelton, B.C., and Natalia Allen of Bracebridge, Ont., crossed the finish line at the same time in 34th (36:43) to lead Canada's six-women contingent in the senior 10-kilometre race.

On Jan. 21, the 27-year-old Yee opened her indoor season with a two-second PB and world-leading time of 4:30.46 in the women's mile.

The 2020 Olympian captured the indoor 3,000 (8:48.53 PB) on Jan. 28 at the Boston University Terrier Classic following a tough end to her 2022 campaign in which Yee didn't advance to the 3,000 steeplechase final at the world championships. She also placed fourth at the Canadian 5K Championships in Moncton, N.B.

Julie Ann Staehli of Goderich, Ont., was 40th on Saturday (37:03) following up her sixth-place performance in the women's 3,000 two weeks at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston.

Katelyn Ayers (Orillia, Ont., 43rd, 37:09), Maria Bernard-Galea (Calgary, 46th, 37:23) and Kate Bazeley (St. John's, 51st, 38:20) were the other Canadian runners.

Other Canadian results

Men's under-20 (64 finishers) — Heath McAllister (32nd, 27:02); Jack Lehto (54th, 28:08); Gaetano Pocchi (56th, 28:37); Tristan Coles (57th, 28:55); Jaxon Kuchar (58th, 29:01); Tanner Hueglin (59th, 29:30).

Women's under-20 (51 finishers) — Marika Couture (38th, 24:15); Muriel Lovshin (44th, 25:05); Emily Cescon (46th, 25:19); Ella Ballard (did not finish); Erin Vringer (DNF); Michelle Gray (did not start).

Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia was leading the women's race when she turned her head slightly to get a glimpse at fast-finishing Chebet, tripped on a mound and stumbled to the ground as the 22-year-old Kenyan ran past her for a memorable win.

Chebet won in 33 minutes 48 seconds and, making matters worse for Gidey as she sat on the ground, her back to the finish, teammate Tsigie Gebreselama took second place in 33:56 and Agnes Jebet Ngetich of Kenya finished third in 34:00.

"I didn't expect to win, but I hung in," said Chebet, who closed a 20-metre gap with a late burst of speed that put pressure on a fatiguing Gidey. "I saw that toward the finish Gidey was a bit slower and I ran hard and I won."

Gidey holds the world records in the 5,000 and 10,000 (the latter event she won at last year's worlds) along with the half marathon.

Meanwhile, only four of six Canadians completed the men's race as Connor Black and Mitchell Ubene did not start.

Lightning strike

John Gay, who was 15th in the men's steeplechase at his first Olympics in 2020, led the Canadian team Saturday in 44th (32:09) among 109 finishers. Max Turek was close behind in 53rd (32:30) and ahead of Philippe Parrot-Migas (62nd, 33:01) and Andrew Davies (68th, 33:21).

Lightning cracked as Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda was finishing his win, waving his arms to celebrate as he strode the last steps of a downhill run to the line.

The men's race started immediately after the women's event, 20 minutes ahead of schedule because organizers were worried about thunderstorms approaching the course at Mount Panorama, the annual venue for Australia's premier touring car race.

The men's 10K race was a tight contest until a four-man group surged with one 2 km lap to go on the hilly, challenging course, with the temperature dropping quickly and the wind picking up.

All three medalists from the 2019 worlds were in contention, with defending champion Joshua Cheptegei leading with only a half-lap to go, jostling with fellow Ugandan Kiplimo, runner-up at the last worlds, and Kenya's two-time champion Geoffrey Kamworor.

Kiplimo timed his kick to perfection, finishing in 29:17 to win from Ethiopia's Berihu Aregawi in 29:26 and Cheptegei holding off Kamworor for the bronze in 29:37.

"I think my tactics were the best," Kiplimo said. "I want to win another gold medal for my country. That's my mission."

The course featured tight turns, undulations and steep inclines, as well as a muddy pit in a section called the Billabong that made conditions slippery.