Two of Canada's three Olympic marathoners will lace up June 24 for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon.
The race will be the last for Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet before they compete in the Olympic marathon on Aug. 12, the final day of the London Summer Games. The 42-kilometre race begins and end's at London's Mall.
"I am looking for a solid effort," Coolsaet said in a news release of the 21-km half-marathon. "The course is downhill then has a pretty big uphill coming across the Burrard Street Bridge. It will be different. I am looking forward to it. I am not fixated on a certain time. Definitely, I am running against the guys I usually run against so I am definitely looking for the win."
Both runners met Canada's Olympic qualifying standard at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on a wet and windy October morning. Coolsaet finished third overall in two hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds. Gillis crossed the finish line fourth in 2: 11: 28.
They each had to meet a nationally set standard but didn't run as fast as Dylan Wykes, who was the last to qualify for the national team, meeting the standard at the Marathon Rotterdam in April. He bested both men with his time of 2: 10.47.
Wykes, who calls Kitsilano home, will continue training in Flagstaff, Ariz. and not race in the Scotiabank half-marathon this weekend in Vancouver.
Defending Scotiabank halfmarathon champion Kip Kangogo, who also beat the pack at the BMO Vancouver half-marathon in May, is back and looking for his fourth-consecutive win.
Kangogo leads the Canada Running Series overall standings. The Kenyan-born resident of Lethbridge, Alta. is seeking his Canadian citizenship.
The Scotiabank Charity Challenge is targeting $650,000 for 60 charities. The Olympians join 7,000 runners for the half-marathon, which begins at 7: 30 a.m. June 24 at the University of B.C. and finishes at Stanley Park.
In-person registration for the half-marathon and 5k is open Friday and Saturday at the Empire Landmark Hotel (1400 Robson St.).