Canadians will North American 5K Team Championship

Updated: October 23, 2005, 7:35 PM ET
Associated Press

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Canadian runners Paul Morrison and Emilie Mondor beat runners from the United States and Mexico on Sunday to lead their country to its second straight North American 5K Team Championship.

Morrison broke free from U.S. runner Fernando Cabada and Mexico's Juan Luis Barrios on the last of three laps on the 3.1-mile course around Chula Vista Harbor and finished in a time of 13:58. The win was Canada's first individual men's title in the race's four-year history.

"We knew we (Canada) had a strong team coming," said Morrison, who attended Princeton and is now a graduate student at the University of Texas. "The Mexican men have always been really strong at the finish. I didn't want to leave it to the kick. They are all 1,500-meter runners, so fast. My strategy worked perfectly, to go out fast. I'm really happy. Any time you wear the Canadian jersey, you want to perform well. It's a source of pride and you want to step it up."

Mondor won with a time 15:37 and it was her third consecutive North American 5K individual title.

"I said from the start, I'm going to go out fast and I'm going to win or I'll die trying," Mondor added. "It was a big gamble but I felt confident."

A prize purse of $25,000 was awarded to the teams, with Canada receiving $12,000, the United States $6,000, and Mexico $3,000. Morrison and Mondor each earned $1,300 for their individual victories.

The top two from each gender score in the race and the United States and Canada were tied as the race entered its latter stages. The championship was determined when Canada's Tara Quinn Smith battled past U.S. runner Amy Mortimer for third place behind Mondor and U.S. runner Amy Yoder Begley. That gave the Canadian women four points and the American women six. Behind Morrison's one point victory, teammate Reid Coolsaet finished third for the second straight year, combining with Morrison for a total of four points.

The race was held in conjunction with the 17th annual Arturo Barrios 5K & 10K Invitational.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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