Terrace’s Tyler Dozzi raced against the fastest track and field runners in Canada this week and secured silver to tie up his season.
He took off at the gun with 14 runners in the 5000-metre, under-20 (U20) race at the Canadian National Track and Field Championships July 6.
The Ottawa weather was humid and windy, and Dozzi says he was prepared for a very tactical race.
“The race went out at a really slow pace,” he said, adding that he knew people would get impatient and take the lead, but no one wanted to risk pushing the pace themselves.
The race picked up slightly at two-kilometres, with Dozzi among the eight runners who pulled ahead to form a lead pack.
Then, just over ten minutes into the race, last year’s champion Thomas Fafard kicked it up another notch, running at a pace of approx. 2:45 minutes per kilometre.
Several runners dropped off, and Dozzi surged ahead into a four-peron lead pack with only Canada’s top-three runners. Thomas Fafard, Jean-Simon Desgagnés, and Kieran Lumb, had all clocked remarkable 5K times under 14:17.
As the four of them rounded the final 600-metres, Desgagnés moved hard for a final kick.
Dozzi and Lumb managed to hold on, with Dozzi gunning in third place for the next half a lap.
Dozzi made his final kick with only 150-metres left, racing past Lumb but not quite catching Desgagnés before the finish.
Dozzi finished in silver with a time of 15:01.34. He was just two seconds behind gold winner Desgagnés at 14:59.12 and two seconds ahead of bronze finalist Lumb at 15:03.98.
“I kicked hard but I couldn’t quite catch the leader,” he said, adding that he was pleased with his silver result.
“Really happy about the race,” he said.
Competing in these national races, and watching the senior men’s races afterwards, Dozzi is also starting to rub shoulders with prominant Canadian athletes.
His dad Paul Dozzi was excited for his son, to hear he had chatted with the three fastest Canadian runners, including olympians Mohammed Ahmed and Luc Bruchet, and national-level athlete Justyn Knight.
He also chatted with Doug Alward, a friend of Terry Fox, who approached Tyler and encouraged him at his record-breaking attempt at provincials earlier this year.
Dozzi returns to Terrace later this month and come fall he’ll head to the University of British Columbia where he’ll run with the UBC Thunderbirds and study engineering.