TORONTO. February 5th. With the New Year has come an exciting new development for Canadian distance and middle-distance running with the evolution of the Brooks Canada Marathon Project into a new club, ATHLETICS TORONTO. The new club will continue to be led by Head Coach Hugh Cameron, and will have a similar high-performance training centre focus, but have a broader base, including a larger group of athletes and middle-distance runners in the mix. The idea behind this seems to be to build a larger, more-viable-sized performance group (to reach more of a critical mass for group training sessions) and to establish more of a pipeline to develop marathoners by nurturing and supporting development from their younger, middle-distance careers.
As Coach Cameron has explained it to Canada Running Series, it will be:
A high performance distance club for athletes with an Olympic mindset.
As you know there are very few high performance environments for post-University athletes and the intent of this club will focus on just that.
This will now mean that the Brooks Canada Marathon Project will cease operation as a registered club.
The current Brooks Project athletes will be registered in the new club and will remain under the sponsorship of Brooks.
In addition, the new beginnings of a Middle Distance group will emerge and we will be building the sponsorship side for this group. We have some early sponsors already, but a long way to go.
The structure will be:
Head Coach – Long Distance – Hugh Cameron
Head Coach – Middle Distance – Dave Reid
Assistant Coach for both – Eddie Raposo
Dave brings a wealth of experience both as a Coach & Athlete on the international scene as well as many valuable contacts from all facets that will help us.
Eddie also has a wealth of Senior Coaching experience and in our long term plan will eventually develop into the Long Distance Head Coach.
In line with a high performance unit along with the Coaches each athlete must have an Olympic mindset in commitment, ability and work ethic.
As well, we have 2 key financial supporters to date (however, we are working on more), a housing set up including a fitness room, medical support (various people), training facilities, winter training camp and a strong distance training group.
This club will have the flexibility that each member can have independent sponsors for money, shoes, medical, product, jobs, etc. For example: Ron O’Hare, 2011 Athletics Canada World XC Team Therapist and owner of Lifespring Inc., will sponsor one athlete for all physio & massage needs.
The new club will start with 9 athletes:
- Andrew Smith, Tara Quinn-Smith, Matt Loiselle, Lucas McAneney, Megan Brown
- Sheila Reid, Justin Duncan, Kate VanBuskirk, Mike Del Monte
During the holidays when all were in town we had some meetings and we also had some great workouts training together. All are very committed and some are ready for a breakout development year.All will be back together especially in the summer when the 3 in University return. The idea is to let University athletes know there is a viable option post graduation.
We have a few more people we are considering for the future as well.
We will work closely with the Athletics Canada Distance Coordinators regarding national high performance camps, and other programs.
We will use the AC new model for Olympic Development Program for all 3 tiers and partner with some Junior type clubs such as the Newmarket Huskies who have some great potential so they too will know there is an option post graduation.
For example – Athletics Toronto – Olympic Development Program
Rising Stars (20-24)
- Sheila Reid - 2010 NCAA XC Champion & Bronze medalist at NCAA Indoor 3000m in 9.01
- Justin Duncan – 2009 Canadian 1500m Silver medalist and 4 minute miler.
- Kate Van Buskirk – 2010 1500m 4.20 performance & 2010 Canadian XC Bronze Medalist
- Megan Brown – for the Marathon – Canadian University Champion and 5th at 2010 FISU XC Championship and recent winner of the 2010 Ontario University Award for Women for Outstanding Excellence in both Academic & Athletics – ALL SPORTS. That is a pretty prestigious award and good for Track & Field.
Junior Squad (17-19)
- Victoria Coates – 2010 Canadian Junior XC Champion,
- Rob Denault – 2010 Canadian Youth 1500m Champion & Record holder
- Alex Freemantle – 2010 Canadian Midget 800m & 1200m Champion.
- Natalia Hawthorn – 2010 Canadian Midget 1200m Silver Medalist
Playing the “devil’s advocate” I felt we needed to ask Coach Cameron about the success or failure of the Brooks Project. To that end, I queried: “BCMP was a bold experiment. Why did it fail? What have you learned from it?” Hugh replied:
Contrary to belief, the Brooks Project is alive and well. It is not dead nor is it a failure. It will remain a central part of the new club. We’ve had 4 different BCMP athletes who have won Canadian Championships. Two made the Canadian Team at the World Championships in Berlin.
BCMP men have won 3 consecutive Canadian Half Marathon Championships (2 subsequently represented Canada at World Half Marathon Championships).
Tara Quinn-Smith set a Canadian Women’s record at the 2009 Canadian Half Marathon Championships. BCMP has won two Canadian Marathon Championships at Ottawa.
That is not all bad for a start up record!
The Brooks Project has had some good success, but we are striving for more, and the hope for ATHLETICS TORONTO is to take the program to a higher level. Any success the new club enjoys will be in part due the transfer of Brooks Project to the new club and the continued significant support of Brooks in combination with some additional, new sponsors that we are able to attract.
There can be no question that the foundations laid by BCMP, and the evolution into a stronger club with more depth offers great promise. It’s another bold move from Hugh Cameron to create results. We’ll be following developments closely, and wish Coaches Cameron, Dave Reid and Eddie Raposo great success with the new venture. Follow Megan Brown, Andrew Smith, Matt Loiselle Lucas McAneney, and Rejean Chiasson to this Spring’s Canadian Half marathon Championships at Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal on April 17th.