Bedard Accomplishes Triple Toronto Waterfront Marathon. By Paul Gains

TORONTO October 22nd 2012. Runners waiting nervously for the start of last weekend’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon had little idea that one man amongst them was about to successfully complete his third successive run around the 42km course.

Jean-Paul Bedard stood next to Ontario  Premier Kathleen Wynne when she fired the starter’s pistol looking haggard and pale then joined her in the second wave. They would run the first five kilometres together before the 49 year old Torontonian pushed on, completing a staggering total of 126.6 kilometres.

Photo Credit: Christine Spingola/Canada Running Series

Photo Credit: Christine Spingola/Canada Running Series

Bedard was running to raise awareness of campaigns to combat sexual assault. As he ran with the Premier, the pair discussed ways Bedard could be part of the Liberal government’s #ItsNeverOk campaign. The Premier was interested in having a male voice and she could not find a more articulate nor, sadly, a more appropriate candidate.

When he was 12 years old two men took Bedard to a ravine and raped him. For years he suffered psychological issues including depression, drug and alcohol addiction. He attempted suicide.

Two years ago he finally revealed to his wife Mary-Anne and their adult son what had happened to him. He entered a treatment centre for victims of sexual violence. Running, he says gave him back his life.

Initially he was going to embark on his epic run around midnight Saturday.  But when Premier Wynne’s office confirmed she’d be delighted to run with him it meant he had to alter plans slightly for security purposes.

“I started a bit earlier,” he recalled. “It is not a great thing to have a lot of gap time between marathons. I had no down time between 1 and 2 and I planned a very short gap time between 2 and 3 but because of this we had to go a bit longer. And then when we saw the weather forecast and how cold it was going to be we realized it was not going to end well.”

He laughs at that statement. The temperature was hovering below freezing when he began with only his wife in support around 10:30p.m. Saturday night. A photographer, Edison Yao, accompanied them recording the adventure. Bedard says he often experiences a dodgy stomach and had to be careful with his refueling during the race.

“I ate my big meal at noon Saturday and then had some toast later in the afternoon before I went out,” he continues. “Then it was just gels and PowerBars every once in a while. And between each of the marathons Mary-Anne gave me rice cakes and peanut butter.

“I was trying to run each of the first two marathons in 4 hours 15 to 25 minutes – in that  range. That would include the time of running, the time of running towards a car to get something to eat and then time to get to the start because the start and finish aren’t in the same place.”

Twice he stopped to do live television interviews. Mostly he ran on the roads. He chose to run the first ‘lap’ alone but was joined on the second by runners of different abilities.

“The hardest part of this whole thing was getting the first one done,” he says. “I had my phone on me and it was just beeping the whole time I was running. There were messages coming in all night.

“The second one went really well. I finished that and I got in around 7:30 a.m. and then I got the second medal put on me. Then we had to try to make our way to an area to get changed. I was quite wet from running in the damp for so long.”

STWM15_JP Bedard with Premier TF

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Shivering and suffering from the effects of having run 84 kilometres in freezing cold temperatures he had to be ready to meet the Premier before security was further heightened. When he reported to the official start with the 26,000 other runners he was warmly greeted by the Premier.

“I was walking towards her and she saw me,” he recalls. “I was completely pasty, my lips were blue and I was shaking and wrapped in blankets. She had her staff around her and she pushed them aside and just wrapped her arms around me and said ‘we have got to warm this guy up.’”

After she and her security team reached the 5 kilometre mark he ran with another victim of sexual assault, named Athena. This young lady was a ‘friend of a friend.’ She had been sexually assaulted while running in a Toronto park just two months before the marathon. And she was tormented by the ordeal.

“Every time she ran it would bring up all the issues with the sexual assault,” Bedard explains. “So I said ‘why don’t you run with me and I promise I will stay with you.’ She was worried about slowing me down. I said ‘I will have run two marathons, it’s not about time, it’s about getting it done.’ After the Premier pealed off Athena and I ran together.

“There were points where I wanted to stop and there were points where she wanted to. Then we hit a really low point after about 22km. We were on an isolated part of the course on Bayview. It’s quiet there. It’s nice to run on but when you are suffering it’s not the place to be.”

As they slowed to a walk and contemplated dropping out, a group of runners dressed as characters from the Justice League comics literally came to the rescue. They recognised Bedard and offered support.

“They were supporting us and so I just said to Athena ‘listen I am not crossing that finish line without you,” Bedard continues. “If it takes us five hours to get through this last two k it takes us five hours, I don’t care. We are crossing this line together. So stop crying and let’s not talk about this again.”

Bedard texted Canada Running Series staff to keep them abreast of their location.

“When we came up Bay Street with 300 metres to go I looked over at Athena we both started to cry,” Bedard reveals. “We crossed the finish line holding hands with the ‘Superheroes’ right behind us.”

Photo Credit: Christine Spingola/Canada Running Series

Photo Credit: Christine Spingola/Canada Running Series

“It was the most emotional thing. We wrapped our arms around each other hugged and kissed. It was a special moment. It was exactly why I was doing this.”

With three finisher’s medals hanging around his neck he set about answering the thousands of messages sent from victims and supporters around the world. Three days after the run he was still dealing with them. People were asking where they could donate money.

Running four consecutive Toronto Waterfront Marathons is not in the cards, Bedard says. But fundraising is very much on his mind for 2016.

“I have talked to Alan (Brookes) about this,” Bedard says. “In New York they have Fred’s Team (named after New York Marathon co-founder Fred Lebowitz). I would like to find a way of bringing more people in and make a team. I want to raise awareness while tapping into a huge way of raising funds.”


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Chemtan and Demise Emerge Victorious in Toronto by Paul Gains

DSC_2869TORONTO October 18th 2015. On his second visit to Canada Ishhmael Chemtan of Kenya won the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon today in a time of 2:09:00 narrowly outsprinting his countryman Gilbert Kirwa who finished a second behind.

Chemtan was 3rd in the 2014 Ottawa Marathon.

The defending Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront champion, Laban Korir, struggled with a stitch at 35 kilometres faded badly before recovering to battle his way back into 3rd place in 2:09:20.

Kirwa, who has three times dipped under 2:07 in his career was not disappointed with his narrow loss in this IAAF Gold Label race.

“I was very confident that I could win the race but maybe the other guy has prepared  himself very well,” Kirwa said. “We used to train together a long time ago so he knows me very well and also I know him very well.”

The affable Kirwa agreed to act as translator for the victor who preferred to speak Swahili rather than English at the post race press conference.

Defending champion Laban Korir also of Kenya suffered a stitch at roughly 35km and after fading from the picture recovered to amount a fast finishing charge. He finished 3rd in 2:09:20.

DSC_2938The women’s race was won by Ethiopian sensation Shure Demise who ran away from the world class field to win in 2:23:37. Behind her the course record holder Kenya’s Sharon Cherop and Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia, battled elbow to elbow finishing in the same time of 2:24:16.

Officials took several hours to study the finish line video before deciding they had tied and will each receive $12,000 prize money.

Conditions were less than ideal with temperatures hovering around freezing point at the start and so it was only Canada’s Eric Gillis and Lanni Marchant among the elites who achieved what they had set out to do timewise:  finish under the Olympic qualifying standard.

Gillis ran 2:11:31 to finish 7th overall while Lanni Marchant was on pace to beat her own Canadian record (2:28:00) until 30km when her left calf cramped once again. It has been a problem throughout her marathoning career. But she was all smiles realising she  has now got Olympic qualifying standards in both the 10,000m and the marathon.

“It feels really good,” she concluded. “I came in here DSC_2980with less pressure on me. I tried to go for my record and I was good until about 30k then, like typical me, the left calf went and I was running on borrowed time at that point.

“It was the Rio standard that was the ultimate goal and if I got the record that was going to be icing on the cake. I came pretty close. I came around the bend (with 250 metres remaining) and thought ‘you gotta be kidding me but I am well under the Olympic standard and that’s a good place to be especially in 2012. I was almost there and now for certain I am going to be there and I get to my pick of events.”

Both Gillis and Marchant were well supported by their respective families as well as by the crowd to whom they have become certifiable stars since racing in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Indeed, Gillis’s five fastest times have all come on this course and Marchant’s Canadian record was set here two years ago.

Gillis and his training partner, Reid Coolsaet, who was busy driving to and from the airport on behalf of the event, both have the Olympic standard. Barring two other athletes achieving the time Rio will mark Gillis’ third Olympic team. Amongst distance runners only Kevin Sullivan, Leah Pells and Paul Williams ran in three Olympic games.

DSC_2894A year ago Gillis ran a personal best of 2:11:21. Now at the age of 35 he is still showing good form.

“I probably got Plan ‘C’” Gillis joked afterwards. “If I was starting with plan ‘A’ would probably go to break 2:11 plan ‘B’ a personal best and then plan ‘C’ 2:11:30 something right where I have run before. Feels good. Thats more than acceptable to do that here today.”

“It feels great to have a qualifying time under my belt and I wanted to run sub 2:12 and get it by at least a minute and I did that. So what I could control I controlled and I hit the time that was in the ball park I wanted. It’s a good feeling right now to execute and get that first checkmark.”


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Kipyego Chasing Toronto Waterfront Victory. By Paul Gains

2012 Tokyo Marathon Tokyo, Japan Febuary 26, 2012 Photo: Yohei Kamiyama@PhotoRun 631-741-1865 www.photorun.NET

Photo Credit: Photo Run

TORONTO October 13th 2015. Add Kenya’s Michael Kipyego to the list of elite athletes chasing the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon record October 18 and accompanying Cdn$35,000 bonus.

The 33 year old from Marakwet ran a personal best of 2:06:48 at the 2011 Eindhoven Marathon in his first year of marathoning and since then has beaten 2:07 three times – twice at the Tokyo Marathon.

Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia holds the course record at 2:07:05 and was scheduled to race in Toronto – an IAAF Gold Label event – but withdrew earlier this week due to illness.

Up until 2011 Kipyego was best known as a 3,000m steeplechase specialist. Indeed, in 2002 he won the IAAF World Junior Championships in that event, eventually racing to a splendid time of 8:08.48 in 2009. But in a country where the steeplechase is the dominant track event, not to mention a source of national pride, he wisely chose to change disciplines.

“I was a good steeplechaser but on the track you need a kick and I was lacking that,” he explains. “I had my success on the track but it was time to move on and try the marathon while I am still fresh in the head.”

Kipyego will line up against one of his training partners, Laban Korir, the defending Toronto Waterfront champion, and fellow Kenyan Peter Some at the start on Toronto’s University Avenue. Kipyego believes he is in the kind of shape he needs to be in to win the race.

“I ran 2:06:58 twice in Tokyo, in 2013 when I was second and in 2014 when I was 4th,” he reveals. “The first time I was in the shape that I am still looking for as we did a very fast last 7.2km there. I think with even pace I can run 2:06 again in Toronto.

“I don’t know anything about the Toronto course other than it is a relatively fast course and I saw Laban winning it last year. I have raced Peter Some in Tokyo twice. I beat him once and he beat me once. I don’t think I have raced Laban. I am looking forward to meeting everybody as great competition brings us great results.”

Kipyego comes from a very successful running family, indirectly the result of a tragedy early on in his life. When he was only six years old his father died leaving his mother to raise seven children.

Furnishing school fees was nigh impossible. But the legendary Irish Catholic priest, Brother Colm O’Connell, sensing Kipyego had some promise, arranged to have his tuition fees waived so he could attend St. Patrick’s High School in Iten and compete in athletics. This is the school that boasts numerous Olympic medalists.

Brother Colm coached him to the world junior title in 2002 before he joined the camp of Patrick Sang, the 1992 Olympic 3,000m steeplechase silver medalist. Today the training group reads like a who’s who of marathon running and is having an enormous positive effect on Kipyego’s preparation for Toronto.

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Photo Credit: Photo Run

“Training is going well. After a slow approach, because I dropped out with an injury in Tokyo (this year), I picked up fitness nicely and at the right moment, it seems,” says Kipyego. “I train with athletes like Emmanuel Mutai (second fastest all time at 2:03:13), Eliud Kipchoge (2015 London and Berlin winner), Bernard Kipyego, Bernard Koech, (Uganda’s 2012 Olympic champion) Stephen Kiprotich and the Toronto-defending champion Laban Korir among many others.”

A year ago Michael’s eldest brother, Christopher Kipyego at the ripe old age of 40, ran 2:11:59 at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. And the 2012 Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, Sally Kipyego, is their younger sister.

Kipyego is a committed Manchester United fan just like compatriot Peter Some. When he is not training he shares, with his wife, the parenting duties of their two young children and watches English Premier League soccer. He also visits his mother. With his race earnings he built a house for her in the village of Kemeloi in the Marakwet area.

Toronto Waterfront offers Cdn$20,000 to the winner with the runner-up earning $12,000. Of course, he can find use for such a sum. So the task at hand will be to fight for the victory. He looks forward to implementing his race tactics next Sunday.

“Normally I try to conserve energy for the latter stages of the race. It also depends on the other athletes who are still there. You will have to adjust your tactics on what you see around you,” he suggests.

“At the 2012 Tokyo Marathon Haile (Gebrselassie) and (Hailu) Mekonnen went out crazy after half way and they got almost forty seconds on me.  But after 35km they both came back to me and I was able to leave them. In that race I didn’t attack once and it came to me.

“But in 2013 I should have attacked in Tokyo because I responded too late to (Dennis) Kimetto’s attack. He got ten seconds on me which was stable for like 8-9 km and I wasn’t able to close it anymore.”

On that day Kipyego finished 2nd to the man who eventually beat the World Record in Berlin last year.

A victory in Toronto will by no means be easy as the field is of the calibre befitting an IAAF Gold Label race. But spectators can be sure Michael Kipyego will come to run.


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“Bridge The Gap” Urban running Crew Movement comes to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Parkdale Roadrunners

Parkdale Roadrunners

TORONTO October 8th 2015. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is excited to welcome the “Bridge The Gap” urban running crew movement to this year’s event, and have them as an important part of our 26th edition. A total of 29 crews from 13 cities in 7 countries, representing more than 300 runners, will descend on “The 6” for the October 15th-18th weekend. Bridge The Gap Toronto is being hosted by the city’s largest crew, Parkdale Roadrunners (pictured above), with the marathon and half-marathon as a focal part of the experience.

Now a decade old since its beginning with Bridge Runners in New York City and Run Dem Crew in London, England, the movement is dominated by millennials in big cities from Berlin to Amsterdam, Paris to LA, and is a powerful force in driving the current running boom and re-shaping it. BTG members bring both new energy and new values.

Most important, the movement is about “community”. It is about sharing and caring, and actively engaging to shape the kind of cities millennials want to live in. Participants eschew the traditional name and format of “running club” in favour of “crew”, who welcome all, most-often with no membership fees to be paid – “everyone welcome; no-one left behind.” According to Charlie Dark, the charismatic founder of Run Dem Crew, “‘crew’ is about family first and foremost and the running is actually secondary. Crew is about supporting and elevating everyone in your crew, particularly newcomers, beginners, and making everyone the best that they can be.”  It is also about using running and social media – especially Instagram – as a vehicle for creative expression, and for discovering your city, connecting with it, often at night. It’s about #crewlove, and members are “bonded together by similar values and perspectives on physical activity, community and culture,” says the Parkdale credo. Charlie Dark, who recently gave a TEDx presentation at Canary Wharf, will be speaking about the movement and its values at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon [Free] Expo, on the Main Stage at 1:30pm on Saturday, October 17th.  “You have to have style and learn to be original,” says Charlie. Some of this original style is nicely captured in RDC member, Steve Lennon’s series of VLOGs he’s produced on the road to Toronto Waterfront:

Alan's Journal - Run Dem Crew

Run Dem Crew

“We’re thrilled to play a part in hosting #BTGYYZ and the Bridge The Gap weekend in Toronto,” said Race Director Alan Brookes. “Our mission at Canada Running Series is ‘building community through running,’ so this is a perfect fit. We also share BTGs values of inclusion and innovation and ‘style’. Several of our CRS event medals this year have featured bridges, as bridges connect and unite us.” The STWM 2015 Finisher’s medals feature the Humber Bay Bridge near the 12km turnaround on the course.  “We are also pleased to have an Official Race Cap #STWM from Montreal company Ciele, who are a part of crew scene in Canada,” added Brookes.

“Hosting the first Canadian Bridge The Gap is an honour and privilege,’ said Steven Artemiw, co-founder of Parkdale Roadrunners. “ We are so excited to host a few hundred members of our international running family here in Toronto. We are flattered so many of them are making the trip from Europe as well as across the USA. This is an opportunity for us to showcase what a great multi-cultural hub Toronto is, with a thriving running scene to boot. We have numerous events planned through the weekend, but the highlights will certainly be Sunday’s race and our post-race party. Look out for that on-course Cheer Squad too!”

The on-course Cheer Squad is a key feature of the movement and BTG gatherings. As Charlie Dark says, “If you can’t run you MUST cheer.” Cheer Squads are famous for their music, inspirational signs and confetti that are all part of ‘community’ and supporting fellow runners!

Marathon weekend in The 6 will begin on Thursday evening 15th at 7pm, with a Marathon Flame Torch Relay from Alexander the Great Parkette on the Danforth, led by Parkdale Roadrunners, and including several of Toronto’s other key crews:

Everyone is encouraged to join in the Bridge The Gap Toronto experience by using the hashtags #BTGYYZ and #STWM.

For further information on Bridge the Gap Toronto, see and

For entry, spectator information and information on Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon see

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2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Start List Released

STWM Start For Start List

TORONTO October 7th 2015. There are just eleven days remaining until the 2015 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Elite Start List is revealed below.

Several of the elite men are capable of challenging Deressa Chimsa’s course record of 2:07:05 while Sharon Cherop’s course record of 2:22:43 could be under threat by athletes – including the star Kenyan herself!

This IAAF Gold Label race will double as the Canadian Championships also. For many athletes this is a chance to beat the Rio Olympic qualifying standards.

Race fans all over the world will have access to the live broadcast of this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon via Athletics Canada TV! Our live stream broadcast will begin at 8:15am and can be accessed via our homepage at

Real-time runner tracking will be available on our homepage so you can follow your favourite runners throughout their race. Just visit on race day and you’ll see the link!

You can also join the conversation on race day and interact with our Twitter Team, including @RunCRS, Pan Am Games Bronze medalist Sasha Gollish @SGollishRuns and the team at @CanadianRunning! Use hashtag #STWM on Twitter and Instagram to see your content live on our Social Hub:

Men’s Start List

1 KORIR, Laban KEN 30 2:07:54 Paris 2015 KORIR
2 SOME, Peter KEN 25 2:05:38 Paris 2013 SOME
3 KIPYEGO, Michael KEN 32 2:06:58 Tokyo 2014 KIPYEGO
4 KIRWA, Gilbert KEN 30 2:07:44 Paris 2015 KIRWA
5 ASEFA, Belay ETH 23 2:07:10 Hamburg 2014 ASEFA
6 CHEMOSIN, Robert KEN 26 2:08:05 Warsaw 2015 CHEMOSIN
7 CHEMTAN, Ishhimael KEN 24 2:08:25 Ljublijana 2014 CHEMTAN
8 KIPTOO, Edwin KEN 22 Debut. 60:11 Half RAK 2015 KIPTOO
9 EL QADY, Najim MOR 35 63:26 Marrakech Half, 2015 EL QADY
10 GILLIS, Eric CAN 35 2:11:28 STWM 2011 ERIC
11 RIZZO, Patrick USA 32 2:13:42 Houston 2012 RIZZO
12 KANGOGO, Kip CAN 36 2:15:35, Victoria, BC 2013 KIP
14 JIBRIL, Sami CAN 26 Debut SAMI
15 MOORE, Joe USA 32 2:18:22 Duluth 2015 MOORE
16 CANCHANYA, Wily David PER 24 Debut 64:51 STWM Half 2014 CANCHANYA
17 BOWEN, Mathew KEN 32 2:10:57 Rennes, France 2013 BOWEN

Women’s Start List

F1 CHEROP, Sharon KEN 31 2:22:28 Berlin 2013, 2:22:43 STWM 2010 Champion CHEROP
F2 DEMISE, Shure ETH 19 2:20:59 Dubai 2015 DEMISE
F3 SADO, Fatuma ETH 24 2:26:25 Warsaw 2015 SADO
F4 CHEPCHIRCHIR, Flomena KEN 34 2:23:00 Frankfurt 2013 CHEPCHIRCHIR
F5 HABTAMU, Atsede ETH 27 2:24:25 Berlin 2011 HABTAMU
F6 MARCHANT, Lanni CAN 31 2:28:00 STWM 2013 LANNI
F7 DAVIES, Mary NZL 33 2:28:56 STWM 2012 Champion DAVIES
F8 DRAZDAUSAKAITE, Rasa LTU 34 11th World Championship, Beijing 2015 DRAZDAUSAKAITE
F9 JEPKOECH, Monica KEN 30 2:30:53 Beyrouth 2014, 69:44 Paris 2014 JEPKOECH
F10 LABEAUD, Natasha CAN 28 2:35:33 STWM 2014 NATASHA
F12 KORIR, Tarah CAN 28 Debut. 73:39 Prague Half 2015 TARAH
F14 SEXTON, Leslie CAN 28 2:39:34 Virginia Beach 2015 LESLIE
F15 JOHNS, Rhiannon CAN 25 2:40:24 Birmingham, AL 2014 RHIANNON
F16 DE LA CRUZ, Jovana PER    23 Debut DE LA CRUZ
F17 ARIAS, Kellys COL 26 Debut. 74:43 Palmira Half 2014 ARIAS
F18 VAIL, Eva CZE 31 2:45:54 Victoria, BC 2014 VAIL


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Kenya’s Peter Some Looking for Redemption at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. By Paul Gains

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Photo Credit: Photo Run

TORONTO October 6th 2015. A year ago Peter Some found himself at the front thirty kilometres into the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon battling the cold and windy elements. Confident and empowered by the appearance of his rivals the Kenyan pushed on expecting to win the race.

But within the next two kilometres his compatriot Laban Korir appeared on his shoulder and then went on to a surprise victory in 2:08:15.

Some faded to 6th place in a time of 2:10:07. Despite being in top shape he left Canada’s largest city very disappointed with his performance vowing to learn from the experience.

The 25 year old will have his chance at revenge as the pair will renew their rivalry at this year’s event October 18. The Toronto event will be, for the first time,  an IAAF Gold Label race.

“Like last year, my fitness is very good,” Some reports from his training camp in Kenya.  “Last year I was pushing too early.  I am more experienced now and hope to be better.

“I felt very good and decided to push it. Later on I realized that it was too early. I was disappointed that I lost. I don’t care who was beating me I just wanted to win myself.”

Some has a terrific personal best of 2:05:38 from the 2013 Paris Marathon making him the fastest man in the elite field in Toronto. And any man who can keep up in training with world record holder Dennis Kimetto and Geoffrey Mutai, a Boston and New York winner, is himself a talented athlete.

He comes by his gift honestly, after all, he is the son of the great Some Muge the man credited with starting the Kenyan dominance at the 1983 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Gateshead, UK. There he earned the bronze medal the country’s first individual medal in cross country. Though he died when Some was a child, the son remembers he and his brothers being encouraged to be a runner also.

“My father was a famous and well known athlete in Kenya,” he declares. “He became national champion in 10,000m and cross country in the years 1982, 1983 and 1984.

“Unfortunately, my dad passed away when I was eight years old. My mother encouraged me to run and she always watched and inspired me when I was running in training or races.”

2014 Scotiabank Toronto Marathon

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Inspiration these days comes closer to home. Some and his wife have a two year old daughter named Sheerlen Jebet and he runs to ensure a bright future for his family.  The winner’s prize in Toronto is $20,000. Again, he also has his eyes on Deressa Chimsa’s course record of 2:07:05 and the accompanying $35,000 bonus that comes with it.

Until this week Chimsa had been expecting to run also but an injury has hampered his preparations and he withdrew at the beginning of the week. Some knows the field will be strong, nonetheless.

“Like in past years Toronto always has some great athletes running,” Some says of the field he will face. “I hope we can work together and do something special. I was happy with the 2:07:22 I ran in Tokyo (February 22, 2015). I tried my best and hope to improve now in Toronto.”

The Kenyan star, when he is not training or caring for his family, enjoys following Manchester United Football Club with England International and club captain Wayne Rooney his favourite player. This is something he had just learned he has in common with Toronto Race Director, Alan Brookes.

“Yes, I have watched them play and I am happy with most of their performances,” Some says. “I did not know (Brookes was also a fan). But it’s great that we share this. I watch the games mostly at home or in the training camp with my friends and training mates.”

Preparations for Toronto have been going as well as expected and he has interrupted his buildup only once and that was to race the Chemususu Dam Half Marathon in Kenya two weeks ago. He finished 3rd in a strong field that included other leading Kenyans preparing for a fall marathon. Now he begins the tail off in mileage to ensure he is primed and fit for the battle with Korir as well as an outstanding support cast – any of whom could be dangerous on the day.

For a man who has seen much of the world he admits that he takes his meals in the hotel and rarely ventures outside except for press functions and to race.

“I like traveling, but when I am traveling for a marathon, there is no time to see the city. When my career is over I hope I can visit Toronto again to do some sightseeing,” he offers.

“We eat at the hotel and did not do any visits. I liked the Toronto marathon, that why I am happy to be back again.”

Of course he will be much happier if he can cross the finish line first on October 18th.


For More Information:


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New Zealand’s Mary Davies Chasing Rio Standard at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. By Paul Gains

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Photo Credit: Photo Run

TORONTO September 29th 2015. Three years ago Mary Davies’ victory at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon wasn’t so much a surprise as a shock to the thousands lining the streets expecting another East African to reach the finish line first.

But the New Zealander’s persistence paid off as she earned both $20,000 prize money and a personal best time of 2:28:57.

“I remember it being very surreal,” she says from her home in Houston, Texas. “I think it took like a week to realize I had won it. It was just an amazing experience.

“I passed (Kenya’s Agnes) Kiprop around 41 k and really wasn’t sure, I couldn’t really believe I was passing her, and then with 800 metres to go I looked around and there was no one there.”

The Kenyan had run a personal best 2:23:54 a year earlier and was favoured to win. But after going out hard she had nothing left in the final few kilometres and Davies could see her struggling.

Davies remembers being overjoyed that day but there was little time to celebrate. She and her husband Gabriel Sawakuchi, together with their infant son, Lucas, caught a train back to Ottawa a few hours later. Sawakuchi was a physics lecturer at Carleton University at the time.

Now at the age of 33, and having given birth to a baby girl fifteen months ago, Davies is returning to Toronto to attempt the qualifying standard for the Rio Olympics in this IAAF Gold Label race.

“Our Olympic ‘A’ standard for the Rio is 2:27 and the ‘B’ is 2:29 so definitely I am after 2:29 in Toronto,” she says, “and we will see how the day is and what the pacers are doing and go from there. But definitely the 2:29 is the preferred goal and then anything after that.

“Training is good. In terms of the quality and I am feeling similar to how I was before Toronto in 2012.”

A little over two years ago Davies and her family moved to Houston where Gabriel is a medical physicist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre. The couple had met while studying at Oklahoma State University. Davies had been recruited to the NCAA institution to run and in her final year she made news by winning a unique triple at the Big 12 conference – 5000m, 10000m and 3,000m steeplechase. She was also third in the NCAA 10,000m final.

Davies has an added incentive to get the standard for Rio. Gabriel is Brazilian. If she is successful in Toronto the family will likely be on site to lend support.

“I think they will all go,” Davies reveals. “A lot of Gabriel’s family is in Brazil and it would be pretty special if I made the team and having that goal there in the background is going to be pushing me in the training.

“I think my husband is very supportive and that helps a lot. And my mother in law, before important races, comes from Brazil and stays for two or three months.  So when I am training I can leave the kids with her. So for those months I have a lot of support. And then the times when I don’t I have been kind of doing it before my husband goes to work and after work. We have found a balance that works.”

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Davies runs 160 kilometres in a typical week under the guidance of Jim Bevan, head coach of the Rice University Women’s team. An occasional training partner is Becky Wade winner of the California International Marathon in 2:30:41. And she remains good friends with Canada’s Krista DuChene who stayed with her for a few weeks while training for the Rotterdam Marathon in the spring.

“She came down for a training camp before Rotterdam,” Davies reveals. “That worked out really well. She is a lovely lady and we get along very well. I was very sad to hear that she had broken a bone in her foot. But having the standard at least that is a bonus, in terms of Rio. But I know for her Toronto is a big one being on home soil and with the record there.”

For Davies representing New Zealand, her birthplace, is of paramount importance. Following her 2012 Toronto victory she was selected to run in the 2013 IAAF World Championships marathon in Moscow which was actually her second time at the World Championships. She had also run in Berlin in 2009. But the conditions on both occasions were less than ideal.

“I had been training in Houston so I really didn’t find the heat the problem (in Moscow),” she explains. “They found a cyst on my spleen. I had really bad stitch-like pains and they don’t really know if that was the cause of it. I couldn’t really breathe much during that race. It was a pretty terrible race. It was not much fun.”

It is quite likely the conditions in Toronto will be less sauna-like than Moscow, and far more conducive to running fast times. Race Director Alan Brookes has lined up pacemakers to help Davies, Canadian record holder Lanni Marchant and others such as Canadians Tarah McKay and Natasha Labeaud as they chase the 2:29:50 Olympic standard. Then they will fight not only for an Olympic place but for the podium.

Davies is asked if she sees herself beating her personal best time in Toronto.

“I think if everything is perfect – it’s hard in a marathon with the course the weather and all the different factors – if I can keep healthy and training keeps progressing as it has, then yes,” she replies.

And there is every reason to believe that should the East Africans – Kenya’s Sharon Cherop and Shure Demise of Ethiopia among them – falter during the race, Davies could be there in the latter stages. After all it wouldn’t be the first time.


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Canadians Chasing Medals and Prize Money at Toronto Waterfront Marathon. By Paul Gains

TORONTO September 22nd 2015. History will be made at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 18th as the event will serve as the Canadian Marathon Championships for the very first time.

The race has also been honoured with IAAF Gold Label status joining Boston, New York and Chicago as the only marathons to enjoy such stature in The Americas.

Canadian citizens will be eligible for Canadian Championship prize money with the first domestic male and female runner earning $5,000 each – in addition to the open prize money. Medals are also at stake.

The fields are superb and with several athletes eyeing the Rio Olympic standards the Canadians are likely to battle each other while offering the foreign contingent all they can handle.

_NGE7361Leading the Canadian women is Lanni Marchant who set a national record of 2:28:00 here two years ago. She was third overall on that occasion earning $8,000 for her position and another $28,000 bonus for beating Sylvia Ruegger’s 28 year old record. Scotiabank has put up another $30,000 for a new record this year.

The 31 year old Marchant, who works part time as a criminal lawyer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, needs to run under 2:29:50 in order to be eligible for the Rio Olympics.

At present only Krista DuChene of Brantford, Ontario has the standard having raced to a 2:29:38 clocking at the Rotterdam Marathon this past April 12th. Unfortunately, DuChene will not be running Toronto having suffered an acute fracture of a metatarsal bone. She will, however, be on site as part of the “live” broadcast team for the race.

Marchant, who earned a Pan Am Games bronze medal in the 10,000m and also finished 18th in the IAAF World Championships 10,000m in Beijing announced her participation at a Toronto press luncheon earlier this month. She noted the strength of Canadian women’s distance running which has surged since 2012 when she and DuChene narrowly missed the Olympic standard.

“I don’t think Krista or I ever expected that we would help ignite a spark in women’s marathoning in Canada when we lined up at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon,” she said. “We had some great ladies before us – obviously Sylvia but also Nicole Stephenson and Tara Quinn-smith. But women on the road hadn’t really gained the same following the men had.

“Now, just looking back over these years since 2012 we have seen more and more women line up and debut with some pretty amazing marathon performances. I think right now is the best time to be part of the Canadian running scene as there is such a charge of Canadian women absolutely killing it on the roads and I’m excited to see what will happen next.”

Marchant also said she doesn’t expect her record to stand nearly as long as Ruegger’s did. That record lasted twenty-eight years until Marchant and DuChene bettered it in Toronto. DuChene, a Brantford, Ontario resident, ran her personal best that day with 2:28:32.

Amongst those expected to challenge for medals are two female marathon debutants who have excelled on the roads in the Canada Running Series, Tarah McKay-Korir and Dayna Pidhoresky. The latter is finally healthy after several injuries and appears ready to perform to her potential. After all she ran an excellent 1:11:46 half marathon in 2011.

Another promising talent is Natasha Labeaud who debuted on the streets of Toronto a year ago finishing in 2:35:33. That earned her 8th place overall. She focused on 5,000m this past summer finishing 8th at the Pan Am Games.

Not to be forgotten is the 2014 Canadian marathon champion, Rhiannon Johns who, at the age of 23, ran cautiously to a 2:40:24 debut in Birmingham, Alabama. The fight for medal podium places is sure to be epic.

Thirty-five year old Eric Gillis will also be seeking the Rio Olympic standard and a berth on what could be his third Olympic team. The men’s standard is 2:12:50. Gillis represented Canada in the 10,000m in Beijing eight years ago and in the marathon in 2012. A year ago he raced to a new personal best of 2:11:21 in this race earning 9th place.

If everything goes according to plan Gillis will follow specially assigned pacemakers through 30 kilometres and defend the Canadian title he won a year ago in Ottawa. But should he falter both Kip Kangogo (2:15:35 PB) a Kenyan born resident of Lethbridge, Alberta, who acquired Canadian citizenship just a year ago, and Toronto’s Matt Loiselle could be there to claim his medal.

Though Loiselle’s personal best is just 2:16:01 he is determined to produce a great race when it counts.

“I have got up to about 30k at 2:12 pace. Both times that I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon I got to 30k at 2:12 flat pace. That’s when the pacemaker dropped out,” says Loiselle.

_NGE7011“If you look at my best half marathon time, which is under 1:04, I think it’s doable. I just believe in myself and I believe we will get good training in. And, it will help having Sami there too.”

Loiselle’s training partner, Sami Jibril is making his marathon debut in Toronto. The 26 year old works the 3pm to 11pm shift installing and repairing street car lines for the Toronto Transit Commission.

“I am definitely aware of the Olympic standard,” says Jibril. “However, my goal for Toronto Waterfront, in my debut, is to run the best race I can and the rest will take care of itself.

“Matt and I do train three days a week when we can but not always, due to shift changes mainly on my part. However, we both have to do what we have to do in terms of getting miles in the legs. There is no short cut to a marathon.”

Competitive fields and a fast course await the entrants and when it is over will two new Canadian champions be crowned? The prospects of a memorable day are immense.


For more information and to run with Canada’s best marathoners:

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Tarah and Wesley at the Finish Line of the 2012 Toronto Yonge Street 10k, celebrating Tarah's victory. And Wesley had won Boston 6 days before!

Tarah and Wesley at the Finish Line of the 2012 Toronto Yonge Street 10k, celebrating Tarah’s victory. And Wesley had won Boston 6 days before!

TORONTO. September 17. It’s really shaping up to be a special year at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and this is one of a number of very fine stories in our 2015 edition. The Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships are bringing us great depth, and this is especially so on the women’s side. No doubt inspired by the groundbreaking, record-setting exploits of Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene, a new group is emerging, that includes Kelowna’s Natasha LaBeaud, Vancouver’s Dayna Pidhoresky [also on debut], London’s Leslie Sexton, Rhiannon Johns, and the subject of today’s story, Tarah McKay-Korir from St.Clements, Ontario and Cherangany, Kenya.

Tarah’s story also has a special twist, in that she connects Kenya and our new Canadian hotbed or marathon running. And she massively shares our Canada Running Series passion for “building community through running”.  I know you’ll enjoy this story; then coming out to visit with her at the STWM Expo on Friday evening, October 16th from 6pm to 8pm; then running with her, or cheering loudly for her on Race Day.

Alan [Brookes], Race Director.



Lured by the challenge of the ‘classic distance’ and, with a few years of high altitude training in Kenya behind her, Tarah McKay-Korir will compete in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, October 18th.

In addition to being an IAAF Gold Label race for the first time the event will also serve as the 2015 Canadian Championships.

A junior star, who represented Canada at three successive IAAF World Cross Country Championships McKay-Korir, has slowly built up to this point in her career and encouraged by her husband, Wesley Korir, the 2012 Boston Marathon champion, she feels this is the time to debut.

“The marathon distance is something I have always wanted to cover someday,” she said from her home in Cherangany, Kenya. “ I don’t know if I will ever feel completely ready but I am confident in the training that I have been doing. I ran my first two half marathons this spring so I had started increasing my mileage earlier this year.”

In March McKay-Korir made her half marathon debut in Prague finishing cautiously in 1:13:39. Training under the guidance of Wesley, who is one of Kenya’s top marathoners, she has been running between 80 and 100 kilometres a week at high altitude with one long run of up to 32km weekly.

Transcend 287

“I am hoping to use my debut marathon as a chance to raise money to provide scholarships to the young runners we have been mentoring in Kenya,” she adds, referring to the Transcend Running Academy she and Wesley together with the producers of the film ‘Transcend’ – a film about Wesley Korir’s life – have started. “I know how fortunate I was to get good coaching and resources in high school and university and I want to help athletes in Kenya to reach their potential.

“Many Kenyan runners lack fees to go to high school and our goal with the running academy is not only to create great runners but great future leaders of their Kenyan communities which will not be possible without an education.”

To help improve the areas of education, health and agriculture Tarah and Wesley, whom she met while running at the University of Louisville, founded the Kenyan Kids Foundation. The Canadian chapter, which is chaired by Tarah’s father, Blair McKay received official charitable status in Canada last year.

Already the Foundation has had a major impact in the Cherangany region where Wesley was elected as a Member of the Kenyan Parliament and where the couple and their two children live most of the year. With a combination of fundraising measures and donations from Canadian companies such as the Gay Lea Foundation four gigantic milk coolers together with power generators were delivered earlier this year.

Volunteers are helping construct water towers, wells and septic tanks as part of the project. In addition, a representative from Semex Canada spent a week speaking to Kenyan farmers about genetics to improve their cattle breeding techniques.

school gateThe Kenyan Kids Foundation literacy program is in full swing. Thousands of used books were also shipped to Cherangany primary schools along with computers for high school students and McKay-Korir is busy initiating a reading buddy program. And the Transcend Running Academy is also off to a great start.

“In June, we had a group of high school runners from Louisville Christian Academy come to meet our Transcend Running students and run with them and visit their homes and schools,” McKay-Korir reveals. “It is important to me that people see our students for the potential they have and not just as poor Kenyan kids in a remote Kenyan village.

“During the month of August I had a full house. The Transcend students were on holiday from school so we hosted a two week training camp for the high school students and then the week prior to their camp we hosted a camp for potential future scholarship recipients in class 7/8.”

With all the charity work she does it is a wonder that McKay-Korir is able to train at the level she does. However, she has always made her visits home count. She has won prestigious Canada Running Series races such as the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8k and the Toronto Yonge Street 10k.

IMG_2451“I never lack people to run with in Kenya,” she declares. “I have been doing a number
of workouts and long runs with a group of Kenyan women who also happen to be mothers. There are some Kenyan boys who stay with us also and I sometimes also run with Wesley.

“Many marathon runners run for a cause and it gives them extra strength to push through the pain. Using my marathon debut to raise funds for these athletes to get an education is something very important to me.”

Among the group she meets up with a few times a week is Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon record holder Sharon Cherop and Mary Keitany, winner of the New York and London marathons.

On Friday October 16 McKay-Korir will appear at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon expo (6:00 p.m.) to talk about her charitable work, to introduce a special screening of ‘Transcend’ (6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.) and then participate in a Q & A with runners.

Wesley Korir will run in the Chicago marathon the Sunday prior to Toronto and then fly up to support his wife. Along with the countless spectators lining the Toronto streets there are many young Kenyans who will also be waiting to see how their mentor performs in her marathon debut.

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Shure Demise to Run Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. By Paul Gains

Shure Demise 1

Photo Credit: Photo Run

TORONTO September 15th 2015. As a young girl Shure Demise dreamed of becoming a world class runner like her hero and compatriot Derartu Tulu. Then, in January of this year, the young Ethiopian raced to a fourth place finish at the Dubai Marathon recording a stunning time of 2:20:59 in her marathon debut.

That mark is almost three minutes faster than Tulu, the two time Olympic 10,000m champion and winner of the London, Tokyo and New York Marathons, ever ran for the distance.

Most remarkable was the fact Demise celebrated her 19th birthday just two days before Dubai. The $20,000 US prize money she earned was, indeed, an expensive birthday present.

The result is in fact an ‘unofficial’ world junior record although the IAAF doesn’t keep junior records in the marathon.

“I used to watch Derartu Tulu on television,” Demise recalls. “Then I got motivated by her brilliant talent and wanted to be like her. So I started running.

“Then when I started running I got to know about (three time Olympic champion) Tirunesh Dibaba. I heard on the TV that she was so famous, and an elite athlete of Ethiopia.”

Demise hopes the experience she has gained in racing in Dubai – followed by an 8th place finish at this year’s Boston Marathon – will help her as she prepares for the upcoming Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, October 18. It is a race she has only heard about from some of her training partners in Ethiopia.

“I know that it is a big race and some of the most well known athletes participate in it.” she says. “With the help of the Almighty I want to win this big event and become a well known athlete.

“I learned a lot about techniques of running (in Dubai). Before this race I didn’t know that water was taken (during the race) but in that race I saw and used it in Boston. I just want to set the Toronto course record and I want to go with that pace.”

Demise grew up in the southern part of Ethiopia in a town called Bore. It is in a fertile region known as Guji zone.

“My parents are farmers,” she reveals, “and the countryside is green land where many cattle are found. My parents have thirty cattle.”

“There are ten children in the family: five brothers and five sisters. My brother is a policeman and they shifted him to Addis where he works in police station. I lived with him at first but now I live alone in Addis.”

Like many Ethiopian distance runners, Demise was introduced to running at school where cross country is the main sport and where children all know the names of the leading Ethiopian runners. As a sixteen year old she ran 33:24 in a 10km in Assella, Ethiopia. That was at 2,430m/ 8,000 feet altitude and the result quickly attracted attention of coaches and officials.

shure Demise 2

Photo Credit: Photo Run

Today she trains with coach Gemedu Dedefo as part of the Demadonna Athletics group. The group includes Aselfech Mergia, a three time winner of the Dubai Marathon and Tirfi Tsegaye. The latter won the 2014 Berlin Marathon in 2:20:18 and was the second place finisher in the 2010 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. No doubt she will provide useful intelligence on this IAAF Gold Label race.

In February 2014 Demise finished an impressive 3rd in the junior women’s race at the Jan Meda International Cross Country meeting.

Rather than compete on the track, which would be the natural progression, she decided to focus on road racing instead. A third place finish in the Rome Ostia Half Marathon with a time of 1:08:53 helped her decide to go straight to the marathon even at her early age.

“I saw many athletes being successful in marathon running so I wanted to proceed directly to the marathon,” she confirms.

As for the future Demise wants to create a name for herself much like her predecessors the leading Ethiopian Olympians.

“Yes, during my training time I met most of them,” she says, “but I didn’t get the chance to sit with them and share experiences. In the future I hope I can do that.

“I want to become a number one well known athlete and to participate in the Olympics. Yes, with no question I want to represent my country.”

In Toronto she will line up against a strong women’s field which includes the previously announced Sharon Cherop of Kenya, the course record holder at 2:22:43, and Canadian record holder Lanni Marchant.


For more information and to register for the race:

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