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Kevin Tree continued his rise on the Canadian running scene on Saturday at the 10,000m Olympic Trials, held in Guelph. Tree placed second in a new personal best of 29:18.86, 19 seconds behind the winner, 2-time Olympian Eric Gillis. Gillis will compete in the Olympic marathon event in Rio.
Gillis, Kevin Friesen, and Tree broke away from the pack at about 4km mark and ran together until about 6km when Tree started to fall back. He had a rough patch from 6-9 km but managed to run tough and stay within 100m of Friesen. With 1 km to go he started to close the gap and had a great final lap to edge out Friesen for the silver medal.
“Great race today from Tree,” said Lakehead running coach Kip Sigsworth. “Training this summer hasn’t been perfect with some illness but he stepped up on the day and got the job done. He didn’t panic when he cramped up a bit in the middle of the race and managed to close really well. It is his first National senior medal which is very exciting.”
In terms of the Olympic implications, although Tree was 2nd at the trials he does not qualify since his time fell beyond the standard of 28:00. His next race will be the Olympic Trials 5,000m in Edmonton in 12 days.
“I thought Saturday went really well,” commented Tree. “Over the course of twenty-five 400m laps there is bound to be some rough moments and last night was no exception. I think I weathered those tough moments well and kept racing right to the end and it worked out. It was great to have a lot of support out there last night, which was definitely a big help.”