Wolves Athletics Club runner Mirelle Martens parlayed some strong pack running tactics into a silver medal winning performance in the women’s 3000m Friday night at Foote Field in Edmonton at the 2015 Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships.
A lead group of four runners including Martens, Erin Dietz (USA), 2015 Canadian Junior 5000m champion Anne-Marie Comeau (CAN), and 2015 Pan Am Junior Cross Country Running champion Saida Menese (PER) blazed through the opening kilometer in 3:08. Dietz broke away at the halfway mark opening a small gap on the trailing trio and rolled to the victory in a time of 9:37. Martens gradually pulled away from Comeau and Menese over the last 800m to secure second place in a personal best time of 9:41. Menese followed Martens for the bronze, recording a time of 9:43.
Friday’s performance represented redemption for Martens. In late May she ran a Pan Am qualifying time of 9:42 in a race in Victoria, yet at the Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships in early July, she posted a rather modest time of 10:07 and finished 8th. Post race, she remarked, “I really wanted to prove to people that I deserved to be here.”
Martens silver was Canada’s second medal of the meet. Earlier Friday, Edmonton’s Kendra Clarke wowed the hometown crowd by winning the women’s 400m with a personal best time of 52.55.
After Day 1 of the championships, Team USA leads the medal standings with 7 Gold, 7 Silver, and 5 Bronze.
The Pan Am Jrs wrap up on Sunday. Over 500 athletes from 38 nations, including 63 members of Team Canada, are taking part.