Langley – Trinity Western University alum Regan Yee (’18, South Hazelton, B.C.) set the Canadian record and earned Olympic standard in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 9:27.54 Tuesday at the La Classique d’athlétisme de Montréal. With this result, Yee will earn a spot on Athletic Canada’s Tokyo-bound Olympic team, making her the first Spartan track and field alum to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Just four days earlier, Yee had won the national championship at the Olympic trials in Montreal with a time of 9:31.46, but on Tuesday – just hours before the Olympic qualification window closed – Yee put together the best 3000m steeplechase performance in Canadian history by knocking three and half seconds off her personal best. She bettered the previous Canadian record of 9:29.82, which was held by Genevieve Lalonde. The Olympic standard was 9:30. On June 13, Yee he had posted a then personal best of 9:31.07 to win at the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby, B.C.
Yee will now set her sights on Tokyo with wins in each of her last three races and a Canadian record in her back pocket.
“My coach, Mark (Bomba) just said ‘Go out there and don’t be scared. Don’t run with fear. Go out there and run,'” Yee said. “We had a great pacer for the first couple of laps and I went with her and I felt good, so I just kept running.
“I’m still a little bit in shock. I’ve trained super hard for the last eight years. I knew that it was in me and training has been going really well, but to actually get out there and be able to execute that race and have that time…yea, it’s pretty surreal.
“The weather was perfect and I had my teammate Alycia (Butterworth) with me and we were both in a really good place, so everything lined up perfectly for this race to happen.”
Just days before her record-setting race, Yee also announced she had officially signed with Under Armour.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yee’s last major international competition was in the fall of 2019 when she competed in the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. She finished 11th in her heat in 9:48.56.
On the same day at the Classique d’athlétisme de Montréal, fellow Spartan alum Nathan George (’17, Coquitlam, B.C.) finished first in the 400m in 46.05. His performance marked his second best result ever, only behind a 45.94 he clocked in winning the Canadian national title in 2016. Tuesday’s result came just days after finishing third at the Canadian Olympic trials with a time of 46.74.
Yee finished her Spartans career as a three-time national champion on the track, winning U SPORTS gold in in the 3000m in both 2016 and 2018 and in the 1500m in 2018. All told, she finished her Spartans track career with five U SPORTS medals and eight Canada West medals in her five years at TWU. In her final year, 2017-18, she was named TWU’s Female Athlete of the Year. Yee also holds TWU’s indoor school records in the 800m (2:07.97), the 1000m (2:42.99) and the 3000m (8:58.29).