Ex-TWU runner off to worlds in Qatar

The 24-year-old Langley university grad qualified Tuesday in California

By Gary Kingston/Special to the Langley Advance Times

It’s a long way from tiny South Hazelton, B.C. to glittering Doha, Qatar, but steeplechaser Regan Yee has given herself a chance to get there for the IAAF world championships in late September by running under the qualifying standard in her event.

Yee, a 24 ex-TWU runner, who missed the 9:40.00 standard for the 3,000 metre steeplechase by the blink of an eye at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium three weeks ago – she ran 9:40.06 – went 9:35.49 in winning a Sunshine Tour race at Azusa, Calif., on Tuesday.

“I was just so relieved, it was a weight off the shoulders to have the standard now,” said Yee, a Trinity Western University grad whose personal best time at Azusa made her the third fastest Canadian woman ever at the distance.

“But there’s so much work still to be done. Nationals is going to be very competitive, but at least I can check (making the standard) off the list.”

RECENT COVERAGE: Langley’s Yee sets record at Harry Jerome track meet

The race was a last chance of sorts to make the qualifying standard.

“It was really the only opportunity in North America,” said Yee. It’s super hard to find a competitive steeplechase. We were supposed to have a pacer and then that fell through, but the race attracted a big group of girls wanting to run the world standard.”

Yee now needs to finish top three at the national championships in Montreal later this month to be considered for selection to the Canadian team to worlds.

“With a few of us having made standard now, it would be crazy not to take three of us (to Qatar),” said Yee.

The field in Montreal will include 2016 Olympians Genevieve Lalonde, who ran a Canadian record 9:29.82 at Shanghai in May, and UBC grad Maria Bernard-Galea, who ran a personal best 9:36.12 at Azusa on Tuesday to finish a close second to Yee.

That could make it a tactical race at Montreal, with those three just trying to assure themselves of a podium finish.

“But there are a bunch of girls just on the cusp of getting standard, so I would imagine they would want to make it a faster race,” said Yee.

That group includes Yee’s Langley Mustangs Track Club teammate Alycia Butterworth, who was fifth at Azusa in 9:40.71 and Ottawa’s Charlotte Prouse, who ran 9:42.01 at the Jerome.

Yee and Bernard are now the 26th and 27th fastest women in the world this season in the 3,000 steeplechase, although they are well back of Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech’s world-leading time of 8:55.58. Chepkoech is the only woman to break the magical nine-minute mark this year.

“At this point, that seems like it’s very far out of reach, but you never know,” says Yee. “Just keep chipping away and training hard. For me, (9:00.00) would seem impossible, but people are doing it.”

Yee said her goal if she goes to worlds would be a finish in the top half of the field. “I don’t want to be too ambitious. If I do make it, it would be my first ever major Games. I’d be satisfied with a top half finish.”

Yee needs to go under 9:30.00 some time in the next 10 months to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but after lowering her PB to 9:35.49, she’s convinced that’s within reach.

“Oh yeah, I know it’s there.”

READ MORE: Langley runner nominated for B.C. university athlete of the year

Just Posted

WEATHER: A mostly cloudy Monday in Langley

Environment Canada says rain is expected late afternoon

VIDEO: Giants toppled by visiting Hurricanes

Sunday afternoon play at Langley Events Centre saw a team from Lethbridge defeat Vancouver, 6-0

VIDEO: wet weather a boon to Langley salmon hatchery

Rain raises water levels enough for Nicomekl Enhancement Society to collect fish

VIDEO: Spartans men’s volleyball coach Josephson records 200th win

Former player with Langley-based Trinity Western University team has a .763 winning percentage

Statistically, Trinity Western Spartans women’s volleyball team played a great game against Manitoba. Also, they won

Langley-based team started with an opening set by hitting .731 and committing just one error.

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Environmental and animal rights activists chain themselves to front doors of Kelowna bank

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Cell phone tickets worse tax grab than speed limits, SenseBC says

Distracted driving statistics questioned as B.C. tickets pile up

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

VIDEO: Collision in Surrey breaks axle off SUV

Two people were reportedly sent to hospital

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

Most Read