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Andrea Seccafien breaks Canadian half-marathon record in Japan

Andrea Seccafien broke the Canadian half-marathon record on Sunday in Marugame, Japan, running a 1:09:38. The Canadian, who’s stationed out of Australia, ran an extraordinary race to break this Canadian women’s record for the third time in only seven weeks.

In mid-December, Rachel Cliff broke her own half-marathon record, running a 1:10:06 to improve upon her previous record by two seconds. Then, only four weeks after that, Natasha Wodak became the first Canadian woman to run under 1:10:00 in the half, setting a new national record at 1:09:40 at the Houston Half-Marathon on January 19. Now, only three weeks after Wodak’s killer race, the number has been lowered again by three seconds.

Seccafien made her half-marathon debut in 2018 when she ran a 1:13:19 in Gifu, Japan. Then she took a break from the distance in 2019 before running her remarkable race today.

Seccafien did things the hard way on Sunday, positive splitting the event after coming through 10K in a blazing 32:39 (which is only 45 seconds off of the national 10K record).

The runner relocated to Australia following the World Championships in 2017 and joined the Melbourne Track Club, which has members like World Championship steeplechase finalist Gen Gregson and 2:24 marathoner Sinead Diver.

Seccafien was already an accomplished runner when she joined the group (national 5,000m champion, 2016 Olympian in the event) but since making the move she’s gone from a competitor in international competition, to a contender.

This race suggests that there’s lots more to come from the runner this Olympic year.

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.

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