It took only two races after her year-long injury absence for Canadian middle and long-distance runner Sheila Reid to qualify for the women's 1,500 metres at the world track and field championships this summer.
The 27-year-old passed three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury of San Francisco late in Thursday's race on a warm night with little breeze at the USATF Distance Championships in Los Angeles to win in four minutes 7.07 seconds, one-tenth of a second faster than Rowbury (4:07.17). The world qualifying standard is 4:07.50.
Reid, who ran 4:10.40 to win the 1,500 at the recent Oregon Twilight Meet, was second at the bell Thursday after sitting on Rowbury for much of the race. It was the first outdoor race of the season for Rowbury, one of the top 1,500 runners in the world the past three years who placed fourth at the Rio Olympics last summer and led with a lap to go in L.A.
"At the bell I felt very within myself," Reid told CBC Sports. "At that point I just broke down the race into 100m parts: Stay with Shannon on the curve, protect my position on the backstretch and then try to slingshot off the last curve. The last 100 is all technique and I trusted my legs would finish.
"Shannon is world class and I have immense respect for her accomplishments. I would assume at this stage she is still far off her peak as am I. That said, anytime I can kick past a 3:56, 1,500m runner is a pretty good outing."
Reid said she was able to position herself early in Thursday's race, an improvement from the Oregon Twilight event, and added the only thing she needs to refine is her overall fitness. "I need more workouts where I practise going through 800m in about 2:08-2:10."
Last May, the Toronto-born Reid was diagnosed with a stress reaction in her right tibia – a large bone in the lower part of the leg that works with the fibula to stabilize the ankle – after a strained calf led to bursitis.
The Oregon Track Club Elite runner competed at the 2012 London Olympics, finishing 28th in the 5,000. Her personal best in the 1,500 is 4:02.96.
Meanwhile, fellow Canadian Jessica O'Connell, 28, clocked 15:16.79 in the women's 5,000 to finish third in a field of 20 and get the 15:22 world championship standard.
On May 5, the Calgary born and raised athlete ran 15:22.35 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in California.
O'Connell, who has a master's degree in exercise physiology from West Virginia University, raced the 5,000 in her Olympic debut at Rio, running 15:51 in the heats but failed to advance to the final. The three-time all-American has a PB of 15:06.
Other Canadian results:
Men's 3,000 steeplechase: Antoine Thibeault, 7th, 8 minutes 34.08 seconds; John Gay, 10th, 8:36.55
Women's 3,000 steeplechase: Maria Bernard, 5th, 9:45.01; Erin Teschuk, 7th, 9:53.83; Alycia Butterworth, 13th, 10:05.83
Crew makes history
At the Tucson Elite Classic on Thursday, Brittany Crew of east Toronto set a new Canadian record in women's shot put with a distance of 18.47 metres. Julie Labonte's old mark of 18.31 stood since June 2011.
In April, the 23-year-old threw 18.02 at the Virginia Grand Prix to meet the 17.75 world standard. Crew broke the 18-metre mark for the first time at last summer's Canadian Olympic trials with a then-personal best throw of 18.06. She finished ninth in her qualifying group in Rio, her Summer Games debut.
Crew, the 2016 Canadian Interuniversity Sports champion, became York University's first repeat female athlete of the year recipient in 31 years in April 2016.