In September 2018, on the streets of Berlin, Vancouver’s Rachel Cliff ran a debut marathon in the time of 2:28:53. The performance was just 53 seconds off of Lanni Marchant’s national record (2:28:00). On that day, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Cliff would be able to eclipse that record time. Saturday, she did just that, finishing the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in the time of 2:26:56.
“[I am]Really excited. Today was perfect,” She told Athletics Illustrated. “The experience I had from Berlin gave me a lot of confidence in this race.”
She took nearly two full minutes off of her own best time and one-minute and four seconds off of Marchant’s record that was achieved on the streets of Toronto in 2013.
The foreshadowing goes back a little farther to The Woodlands Half Marathon in The Woodlands, TX in March of 2018, where Cliff took down the national half-marathon record in the time of 1:10:08. In February 2019, she ran the Muragame Half Marathon in a near best of 1:10:28. During the 2018 St. Patrick’s Day 5K she ran a best of 15:51. She specialized in the 5,000-metre distance for years; her sub-16 road performance was no surprise.
In May of 2018, she ran a 10K road personal best in Ottawa at the Tamarack Ottawa Marathon, finishing in 32:23.
Two months later, she ran a 5000-metre personal best of 15:20.66 and a 10,000-metre best of 31:56.86. The latter performance happened at the Payton Jordan Invitational. The national 10,000-metre record, held by fellow Vancouverite Natasha Wodak with her 31:41:59 also happened at Payton Jordan in 2015.
All of this has happened since her move to BC Endurance Project.
“Just like in Berlin, I’m so happy everything came together – the weather was perfect and it was an incredible field of women. The pacesetters went out at 3:26/km and did a great job so it was a good opportunity to run well.”
Cliff now owns at least three national records: 21.1K in 1:10:08, 25K in 1:27:3 that she set on the way to the Berlin 2:28:53 performance and the marathon.
Cliff could not get into the Tokyo Marathon last month even though she ran a 2:28:53.
“That’s how deep the field was. I am not there yet,” she said at the time. Even though she owns the best all-time Canadian performance, she was quick on social media to point out the depth of the Nagoya field as well, where she finished 15th.
Details of her performance will be updated.
1 Helalia Johannes NAM 2:22:25 NR
2 Visiline Jepkesho KEN 2:22:58
3 Valary Jemeli KEN 2:23:01
4 Meseret Defar ETH 2:23:33 PB
5 Reia Iwade JPN 2:23:52 PB
6 Monica Jepkoech KEN 2:23:59 PB
7 Sara Dossena ITA 2:24:00 PB
8 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 2:24:09
9 Miyuki Uehara JPN 2:24:19 PB
10 Sairi Maeda JPN 2:25:25
11 Mizuki Tanimoto JPN 2:25:28 PB
12 Ayano Ikemitsu JPN 2:26:07 PB
13 Li Zhixuan CHN 2:26:15 PB
14 Ellie Pashley AUS 2:26:21 PB
15 Rachel Cliff CAN 2:26:56 NR