June 17, 2024

A green and grey track was the new race surface at Swangard Stadium for athletes from almost 35 countries at the 2024 Jerome Classic on June 15.  Competitors were at the event to either tune up or make the standard for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

“This event brings attention to our city and we are happy to host,” says Burnaby City Councillor Sav Dhailwal.  The previous track ran into what he calls some unexpected problems, so the track was re-built with input from the sporting community. “We didn’t do this ourselves,” he says.

With national and international athletes competing in the Jerome Classic, Dhaliwal says the road to Paris Games has a stop in Burnaby.  “So, absolutely, it’s a moment of great pride for Burnaby and the region.”

“It means a lot to come here and get a win,” said B.C. athlete Matti Erickson, after his 800-metre race.  He has been racing at Swangard for 12 years and says “it feels like home,” adding ‘it’s relaxing, I know the environment and I know the trails around the stadium.”

Erickson calls the new track “super responsive” and says “they did a great job with the colour scheme. I think the grey and green looks really good. It fits the Burnaby colour scheme really well. I had a lot of fun running on it.”

This was the first time at Swangard Stadium for 2023 shot put world silver medallist Sarah Mitton. “The stadium is awesome. Lots of people are out to cheer They redid the circle for us, so it’s been awesome to be here.”

Vancouver’s Kieran Lumb set a new meet record in the 1,500-metre race.  “It’s great, especially doing it in front a home crowd. I was trying to aim for the [Olympic] standard, so it’s bittersweet to come up a bit short. But a win is a win.”

Lumb and other national-level athletes will be heading to the Bell Track and Field Trials in Montreal June 26-30, where Canada’s 2024 Olympic team will be named.

Results | The Jerome Classic

Photos: Sam Corea