A record 45 Women Break 20 Minutes in Emilie Mondor 5k!
By Lynne Bermel
Saturday June 23 saw a moving tribute to one of Canada’s top distance runners – and the fastest women’s only 5 kms in Canada this year – as over 300 women took to Ottawa’s scenic Rockliffe Parkway for the Emilie Mondor Memorial 5kms.
In the end, Pauline Githuka of Hamilton hit the tape first in 16:37.1, just 2 seconds ahead of a hard charging Nicole Stephenson of Toronto, who admitted that she may have started her kick a little too late to defend her title and take home the $1,000 purse, as well as the $100 primes for each fastest kilometre. Emily Tallen of Kingston, who finished second here last year, was third in 16.55.2 while fellow Kingstonian Paula Wiltse, finished fourth in 17:25 in her debut as a masters runner.
The race was in memory of Canadian Olympian Emilie Mondor who died tragically in a car accident near Ottawa last September. Emilie had been training in Ottawa under coach Ken Parker, the race’s founder and its Honorary Chair. She was training for her marathon debut at the ING New York City marathon. Instead, the professional women in New York wore black wrist bands in memory of Emilie.
In today’s race, the field wore Emilie’s picture on their race shirts and felt the presence of the personable young track star throughout event. Emilie’s parents, Francois and Nicole Mondor, fired the starting gun and gave an emotional talk at the awards ceremony.
Pauline Githuka, Ken Parker, Nicole Stevenson; Photo - Steve Bower for the Runner's Web
It was one of the fastest women’s fields ever assembled – with a record-setting 45 women breaking 20 minutes.
In 2006 the women’s only 5K was run as the RunnersWeb5K.com Race for women, sponsored by the Runner’s Web, an
Ottawa based running and triathlon resource site run by Parker.
Start of Emilie's Run - The Emilie Mondor Memorial 5K Race for Women; Photo - Steve Bower for the Runner's Web