Track Stars Shine for Fans in Burnaby
It was an exciting finish to the two-day Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium June 27 as Canada’s top male sprinters set a new meet record in the 4×100-metre relay before a crowd of 3,650 fans. Anchored by Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse, Team Canada won the relay in a time of 38.42 seconds, beating a 25-year-old meet record.
“I always love coming here. Everyone is so gracious and kind and I just have fun being here,” said De Grasse as he met with fans and signed autographs following the race. “The crowd was amazing. This is one of the greatest historical meets in Canada. Getting a chance to run here is an honour. I am happy and fortunate and blessed to get a chance to run here.”
2018 marked the 35th anniversary of the meet. It’s an opportunity for local athletes to compete in an international meet with friends and family in the stands. “There’s quite a bit of talent in B.C.,” said Coquitlam’s Jerome Blake, after his 200-metre race where he placed second with a personal best time of 20.74. “It definitely feels good being able to compete out here in front of a home crowd.”
Langley’s Georgia Ellenwood competed in high jump in the Harry Jerome Track Classic at Swangard back when she was a grade 12 student. “I still remember it like it was yesterday,” she recalled. “It gave me confidence heading off to college.” Now 22, she’s making her mark with a recent win in the heptathlon event at the 2018 National Collegiate National Collegiate Athletic Association Division Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. She said the crowd as Swangard inspired her. “The atmosphere here is amazing. You just feed off the people.” She added this event provides more exposure to her sport. “In the U.S., track is promoted. And so it’s so nice to see that’s happening here now. With all of these people in the stands, they have the same passion for the sport that I do. That drives you and gives you motivation.”
The meet also featured the Team Sprint Challenge with the fastest sprinters from China and Canada competing in 10 events. Team China Manager Ling Jin said this was the first visit to Canada for the Chinese athletes. “It’s beautiful here. Beautiful town and weather and a new track. It’s perfect,” she said.
Full results of the 2018 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic are available here.