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Rory Linkletter takes down 23-year-old Canadian men’s half-marathon record – CBC Sports

Calgary-born Rory Linkletter crossed the finish line eighth in 61 minutes eight seconds on Sunday in Houston to set a Canadian half-marathon record and eclipse Jeff Schiebler’s 61:28 performance from Jan. 15, 1999 in Tokyo.

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Calgary-born Rory Linkletter, right, completed the Houston half-marathon in 61 minutes eight seconds on Sunday to shatter Jeff Schiebler’s Canadian record that stood since Jan. 15, 1999. Ben Flanagan, middle, of Kitchener, Ont., ran 1:01:30 while Texas-based Canadian Calum Neff, left, was 28th (2:19:33) in Sunday’s marathon. (Submitted by Ben Flanagan)

New year, new coach, new half-marathon personal best and a Canadian record for Rory Linkletter.

The Calgary-born runner crossed the finish line eighth in 61 minutes eight seconds on Sunday in Houston to eclipse Jeff Schiebler’s 61:28 performance over 21.1 kilometres from Jan. 15, 1999 in Tokyo.

“Beyond stoked,” the 25-year-old Linkletter wrote to his Twitter account on the heels of his 2:12:52 PB in the California International Marathon on Dec. 5 in Sacramento.

Subject to verification, Linkletter also surpassed the 15 km and 20 km records (held by Paul Williams and Cam Levins, respectively) en route with his 43:23 and 58:05 splits, according to Athletics Canada records manager Tim Berrett.

Linkletter’s previous half-marathon PB of 1:01:44 was also achieved in Houston on Jan. 19, 2020. He also placed ninth later in October of that year in the Michigan Pro Half Marathon (1:02:37).

Milkesa Tolosa of Ethiopia won the race in 1:00.24, followed by Kenya’s John Korir (1:00:27) and Wilfred Kimitei of Great Britain (1:00:44).

Ben Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., who recently departed Reebok Boston Track Club after three-plus years for On Running, also set a 1:01:38 PB in Sunday’s race for a 12th-place finish among 5,174 men’s participants.

WATCH | Flanagan wins 10K road race debut last fall:

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Ben Flanagan captures his 1st Canadian 10K road race title

Ben Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., won Sunday’s Canadian 10km Championships in a time of 28 minutes 41 seconds at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. 0:28

In December, HOKA released Linkletter from his contract and he left the Northern Arizona (NAZ) Elite track club after joining in 2019.

“I felt like there was a disconnect between the training I was putting in and th results … it was just this succession of underwhelming performances,” he told letsrun.com in December.

Sara Hall sets U.S. women’s mark

At age 6, Linkletter moved with his family to the United States of which he became a citizen in 2020.

The unsponsored athlete, who now lives in Flagstaff, Ariz., is now coached by retired professional runner and U.S. marathon record-holder Ryan Hall, whose wife Sara placed second in Sunday’s women’s race in 1:07:15 to beat Molly Huddle’s 1:07:25 national mark 15 years after Ryan achieved the feat.

Sara Hall is also the second-fastest U.S. marathoner with a 2:20:32 run in The Marathon Project in December 2020 in Chandler, Ariz.

“[A] couple [of] weeks back, Ryan told me I was ready to run 4:40s [four minutes 40 seconds per mile] and have a crack at this record,” Linkletter said in an Instagram post Sunday.

Linkletter, a Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) alumnus, finished third his first post-collegiate race in the summer of 2019 at the Canadian 10,000-metre Championships.

The three-time NCAA first team All American made his marathon debut at the 2019 Toronto Waterfront event and stopped the clock in 2:16:42 for 16th place and fifth among Canadian men. He went 2:12:54 (The Marathon Project) and 2:23:34 (Boston, last October) in his next two marathons.

“It’s definitely scary because there’s no guarantee that I’ll get another deal in my lifetime,” Linkletter told letsrun.com. “I like to believe I’ll perform at a level that will put me in a position of power where I’ll get something … so I’m just betting on myself.”

Emily Setlack of Kingston, Ont., was 20th in Sunday’s women’s race in 1:12:48 that attracted 6,151 runners. Her effort was just over one minute behind her 1:11:40 PB, set two years ago in Houston.

In November, Flanagan won his third consecutive road race, prevailing over a 7.6 km route in Manchester, Conn. A month earlier, the 27-year-old opened a new training season by winning the elite men’s road race of the Canadian 10K Championships in Toronto. Flanagan, who missed on his Olympic debut in Tokyo after failing to qualify on the track in the 5,000 and 10,000, went on to take the Falmouth Road Race in the coastal town on Cape Cod, Mass., in August.

Before Sunday’s race, he told Canadian Running he would run the two events in the spring in an attempt to secure a spot on the Canadian team for the world track and field championships this summer in Eugene, Ore.