Carson takes 59th at XC worlds in China

In her second time racing senior at the world championships, Lindsay Carson notched a second top-60 finish.

In her second time racing senior at the world championships, Lindsay Carson notched a second top-60 finish.

The Whitehorse runner placed 59th in senior women out of 82 of the world’s best at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China, on Saturday.

“The whole experience was awesome,” said Carson. “It was a very well run and organized meet … It just made our job as athletes easier preparing for the race, and being able to have a great time experiencing all of China’s cultural opportunities before the race.

“I was on a very supportive Canadian team.”

The 25-year-old placed third out of five Canadians in the race, helping the team take 10th for Canada’s best team result. The Canadian men’s team took 17th, the junior men’s team 16th and the junior women’s team 13th.

“I’m happy to be Canada’s third placer,” said Carson. “This is only my second time competing as a senior at worlds, so it just makes me hungry for next time. My goal is to come in the top half of the field.

“I had a strong finish, but it was really tough at altitude in the middle sections of the race – to get through it. It was more of a survival race.”

Guiyang, a city of 4.5 million, sits at about 1,400-metres above sea level. Following an 18th place finish at the Pan-American Cross Country Cup in February, Carson flew to Kenya to train at high altitude for three weeks to prepare for the championships.

“It was just to experience training with some of the world’s best runners,” said Carson. “I was at altitude, but probably not long enough to get the benefits of it. So I really went there for the Kenyan experience and to see what it’s like to train in Kenya.”

Carson completed the eight-kilometre course in 29 minutes and 53 seconds. She was 3:52 behind the winner, Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya. In fact, Kenyan and Ethiopian runners claimed all the top-10 spots in the race. Ethiopia took first in the team event, Kenya second and Uganda third. The hosting Chinese team placed fourth ahead of the United States in fifth.

“The last lap I lost some ground on other girls pulling up front,” said Carson. “I just tried to race within my abilities. I’ve had it before where I go out too fast, am in among the leaders … but the finish can be horrible. That’s happened to me in the past, so this time I tried to go out more conservatively and just hold my own during the race.”

Carson took 60th at her first senior world championship in 2013. She has competed at numerous worlds at the junior level. Her top finish was 31st in junior women at the 2008 worlds in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Carson made the Canadian senior women’s team with an eighth-place finish at the 2014 Canadian Cross Country Championships in Vancouver at the end of November.

Athletics Canada offered spots on the worlds team to the top six finishers and Carson was added after two runners ahead of her chose not the go.

“We didn’t send our best team; we had two really strong girls who decided not compete in China this year,” said Carson. “But given the members on the Canadian squad, I think we did OK.

“All around our team scoring wasn’t the greatest, but it’s kind of a developing program within Canada. So we just have to keep up the support and eventually we’ll see results. We have placed well in the past. When I was a junior our best placing was fifth as a team and a couple years before the senior girls came third.”

Carson took third at the 2014 B.C. Provincial Cross Country Championships in October and has also had fantastic finishes on pavement last year.

She was the top female in the eight-kilometre race at the Victoria Marathon in October and took sixth at the 2014 Canadian 10-kilometre Road Race Championships in September.

Carson, who moved to Whitehorse from Cambridge, Ontario in 2013, placed second out of 19,377 female runners at the Vancouver Sun Run last spring and took second for open women (first for women 20-24) at the 2014 B.C. 10-Kilometre Championship in July.

Contact Tom Patrick at