One thing you can’t deny is that Canadian women’s distance running is at its peak; we have seen incredible and influential performances in the last year, from Natasha Wodak smashing the national marathon record to Lucia Stafford running 2:33.75 to break the North American 1,000m record in Boston and Camryn Rogers becoming the first Canadian woman to win a medal in a field event at Worlds. Canadian women are a driving force in athletics and continue to inspire and create opportunities for the next generation.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to highlight five up-and-coming athletes who got next and inspire those to come.

Jazz Shukla

The 24-year-old from Toronto, Ont. will be a name to watch this spring. Last summer, Shukla had a breakthrough season, running 2:00.67 to knock a whopping four seconds off her 800m in the space of two months. 

Shukla currently leads all Canadian women in the indoor 800m rankings, running an indoor PB of 2:01 flat at Boston University. Over the past year, she’s consistently been knocking on the famous two-minute barrier, a feat only eight Canadian women have accomplished.

View this post on Instagram

When Madogo, 22, arrived at the University of Guelph in 2018 as a soccer recruit, she had no intention of joining the school’s track and field team. Five years later, Madogo holds the program’s record in women’s 60m and has won too many OUA and U Sports medals to keep track of. 

Another incredible stat is that Madogo has not lost a 60m race on Canadian soil in three years. Her last defeat came at the 2020 U Sports championships, where she won silver to her training partner Shyvonne Roxborough.

The Ottawa native currently ranks eighth all-time in the women’s 60m, with a PB of 7.25, and is 12th all-time outdoors in the women’s 100m (11.29).

Savannah Sutherland

This 20-year-old 400m sprinter from the University of Michigan is putting her hometown of Borden, Sask., on the map. This season, Sutherland has dominated the 400m in the Big Ten Conference, running a Canadian-best time of 51.41 at her conference championships to help the University of Michigan win the women’s team title.

View this post on Instagram

Sutherland has represented Team Canada twice at the U20 level, winning bronze at the 2021 U20 World Championships in the 400m hurdles (her main event) and helping the U20 women’s 4x400m relay team to fifth place at the 2022 World Championships in Cali, Colombia.

This weekend, she will represent the University of Michigan at the 2023 NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., where she will compete in the 4x400m relay and the 400m.

Cameron Ormond

Before Ormond arrived at the University of Guelph in 2019, she dominated the high school level, winning four consecutive Ontario High School Championships (OFSAA) in cross-country (the only woman to ever do it). Instead of heading to a big school in the NCAA, Ormond decided to stay in Canada to be close to her friends and family to keep a balance between athletics and academics.

The Aurora, Ont., runner battled injuries in her first few seasons with Guelph before the pandemic interrupted U Sports competition. Now Ormond is back and dominating the OUA conference, winning both the women’s 1,000m and 1,500m titles at the 2023 OUA Championships. 

Earlier this season, Ormond made headlines as she ran the ninth-fastest Canadian mile time in history at age 21, clocking 4:30.17 in Boston. The only U23 athlete who has run faster is Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, holding the record of 4:29.07.

Emily Cescon

In terms of ‘who’s next’ in Canadian distance running, Toronto’s Emily Cescon is a frontrunner. This 16-year-old phenom represented Team Canada in the U20 race at the 2023 World XC Championships in Australia, placing 46th overall.

Last year, Cescon won the Canadian U20 1,500m title at 15 and several OFSAA titles in the 800m and 1,500m. Last fall, she earned herself a spot on the Canadian XC team by placing fourth in the U20 race at the 2022 Canadian XC Championships, competing against athletes three to four years older.

Cescon isn’t just a remarkable runner–she also competes at the provincial level in swimming in the 50m-200m freestyle.

This content was originally published here.