Alexa Dow, Clara Chudley, Ella Ballard and Angelina Shandro celebrate setting a new national record in the distance medley at Centennial Stadium in Victoria last weekend. (Submitted)

Alexa Dow, Clara Chudley, Ella Ballard and Angelina Shandro celebrate setting a new national record in the distance medley at Centennial Stadium in Victoria last weekend. (Submitted)

Cowichan Valley runner helps set a new national record

Alexa Dow anchors Harriers distance medley team that breaks 12-year-old mark

A distance runner from Cowichan Bay teamed up with three other runners from Victoria to crush a 12-year-old Canadian record.

Alexa Dow ran the first leg for the Prairie Inn Harriers team that set a new U23 national record in the distance medley during the BC Endurance Challenge presented by BC Athletics at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium last weekend.

In the distance medley, all four team members run a different distance. The first runs 1200m, the next 400m, then 800m and 1600m. Dow, 14, ran the 1200m, then handed off to 14-year-old Clara Chudley, followed by 16-year-old Ella Ballard and 19-year-old Angelina Shandro.

The Harriers quartet finished their race in 12 minutes and 5.42 seconds, taking a significant chunk off the old Canadian record of 12:17.12, set in Windsor, Ont. in 2009. That team included Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, a three-time Olympian who will be representing Canada in the 800m in Tokyo next week.

Dow and her team are coached by two-time Olympic marathon runner Bruce Deacon, and Gary Barber, who represented Canada in the 1500m at the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

Dow also competed solo in two other events at the provincial meet, winning gold in both. She won the 800m with a new personal best time of 2:14, and her gold-medal time of 6:21.02 in the 2000m broke the BC Summer Games U16 record by more than three seconds, and was just under two seconds shy of the Canadian U16 record.

Track and field