Seven minutes. Each.
That’s Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky’s margin of improvement that vaulted them onto Canada’s Olympic team for Tokyo 2020. Today, at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the two – by virtue of finishing as the top Canadian man and woman – earned an automatic berth to next year’s Summer Olympics.
In what was the fastest overall marathon in Canadian history (both all-comers records set), Hofbauer ran 2:09:51 to dethrone national records holder Cam Levins of the title, lowering his PB from 2:16:48 (2019, Hamburg). For Pidhoresky, her breakthrough came courtesy of a 2:29:03. She entered Sunday’s IAAF Gold Label Marathon with a lifetime best of 2:36:08 (2017, Ottawa).
The two achieved Olympic standard too, eclipsing the marks of 2:11:30 and 2:29:30. Before today, Rachel Cliff and Lyndsay Tessier were the one Canadians with the Olympic marathon standard (or equivalent) as that pool doubled on Sunday.
Conditions were perfect on Sunday. Cool-to-mild conditions, sunny with a mix of overcast skies, and little wind. Case in point: Kenyans Philemon Rono and Magdelyne Masai ran the fastest marathon times ever recorded on Canadian soil, setting all-comers records for men and women. Rono, now a three-time champion, ran 2:05:00 while Masai ran 2:22:16.
Rono famously trains with the NN Running Team alongside world record holder and sub-two-hour marathoner Eliud Kipchoge. Running fans may know Masai as she is the wife of Kiwi Jake Robertson, that country’s marathon record holder.
Also of note, Canadian Emily Setlack broke 2:30 in the marathon running 2:29:48. Meanwhile, Tristan Woodfine set a PB finishing second to Hofbauer running 2:13:16. Levins, the Canadian record holder in the marathon, settled for third in the Trials running 2:15:01. Kinsey Middleton was the third Canadian woman in 2:34:36.
Hofbauer, who had won the Canadian Marathon Championships in 2017 and who took a moment to stare at the clock after he finished today’s race to soak in what he had just done, had the following to say, via Athletics Canada.
“There was an opportunity to make the Olympic team and that’s why I came down here, that’s why I run, everything that I have done for the last five years was to get to this moment,” he says. “Going home and winning that Calgary half-marathon championship race last year was big for the community and for me. From there, I built the momentum going into this year.”
One of the first things Hofbauer did when he crossed the finish line was looking to the crowd to find his father, who was in attendance.
For Pidhoresky, this result has been years in the making. After the race, she told Athletics Canada, “I feel like I have had this performance in me for years. I’m in awe that it all came together when it mattered the most,” said Pidhoresky, who had her splits written on her hand before the race, saying how she was able to run under them throughout the race.”
Interestingly, both runners are unsponsored for apparel, after previously being affiliated with New Balance. Hofbauer wore a NB singlet today without the logo, and his situation may have been a blessing in disguise. Because he has no affiliation with a brand, he was able to wear the shoes of his choice, which happened to be the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%. Pidhoresky wore the same shoes.