South Surrey's Luc Bruchet (left) stands with fellow Canadian Olympian Mohammed Ahmed during Canadian qualifiers earlier this summer.

Bruchet’s Olympic debut ‘a great accomplishment’

South Surrey runner Luc Bruchet competes in first round of men's 5,000-m race at 2016 Summer Olympics.

When Luc Bruchet took off from the start line during the men’s 5,000-m race in Rio de Janeiro Wednesday morning, he had quite a cheering section a few thousand miles north.

A handful of his former Peninsula Runners colleagues – including store founder Paul Williams, a past Olympian himself – gathered early Wednesday at the home of Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg to watch the 26-year-old South Surrey runner make his Olympic debut.

And though the preliminary heat did not go as planned for Bruchet – he finished 19th in his heat, in a time of 14 minutes, 2.02 seconds and did not qualify for the final – it did little to dampen the spirits of those watching at home.

“It was great that he got to go and experience it, even though he didn’t have the race that he might’ve wanted,” said Williams, a 5,000-m runner himself at three consecutive Olympics beginning with the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

“It was very inspiring too see him there, especially because it’s the 5,000, which is what I used to run.”

Bruchet qualified for the Rio Olympics earlier this summer, when he placed second in Canadian qualifiers behind Mohammed Ahmed. Ahmed ran the second 5,000-m heat immediately after Bruchet’s race Wednesday, and qualified for Saturday evening’s final after placing sixth.

Bruchet’s personal-best time in the 5,000-m race is listed at 13:24.10 – achieved last June at the Portland Track Festival – which leads Williams to believe that he was perhaps not 100 per cent for Wednesday morning’s race.

“Maybe he wasn’t feeling well – usually he’s in that lead group. But when it’s your first Olympics, you can get a little nervous. You don’t quite know what to expect,” he said.

The competition was extremely tough, too – Bruchet’s heat included defending Olympic gold-medallist Mo Farah of Great Britian as well as Bernard Lagat, who finished fourth in London.

The heat was won by Ethiopian runner Hagos Gebrhiwet, in 13:24.65.

Bruchet is the first Olympian to come from South Surrey/White Rock-based Ocean Athletics, which was formed in 2006.

“It’s very exciting to see somebody from Ocean Athletics make it all the way to the Olympics, and it just confirms that there’s a lot of talent (on the Semiahmoo Peninsula),” said Williams.

“It’s a great accomplishment… absolutely, we’re proud of him.”

Just Posted

Friends of ‘Mac’ rally to fund young family left behind by former martial arts teacher in Surrey

‘He’s well loved,’ says operator of Fraser Heights academy where Mackenzie MacWilliams studied, worked

Surrey burglar loses appeal on Hook & Ladder break-in conviction

The case centred on a Jan. 3, 2016 break-in at the Newton pub

‘Inventive ideas’ sought soon for Surrey One Act Festival, set to return to Whalley stage

Also planned by Royal Canadian Theatre Company is a Five Minute Play Writing Challenge

U.S. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into Canada, granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Bus driver assault in Vancouver once again raises safety concerns

A 49-year-old Surrey man was released on a promise to appear in court. No charge has been laid

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

Woman, 60, charged in connection to thefts at YVR

RCMP believe the foreign national is part of a larger organized theft group

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Worst 10 bus routes in Metro Vancouver for rider complaints

TransLink releases list, with Route 319 at the top

Amber alert issued for 5-year-old Ontario boy

Ethan Montes is believed to be in the company of his mother, 47-year-old Juliet Mohammed

VIDEO: Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Fraser Valley

The $235 million project includes upgrades to overpasses and a rail bridge

Port Moody mayor accused of sexual assault has first court appearance

Rob Vagramov’s case was adjourned to May 29

Most Read

l -->