Canadian stars COOLSAET, GILLIS, PIDHORESKY to lead record field at Sporting Life Toronto 10K, as road running excitement comes to Toronto, Sunday May 1st.

  • More than $1 million to be raised for Camp Oochigeas
  • Record field of 15,000 to “Run down Yonge without getting run down”!

Run down Yonge without getting run down!

TORONTO. April 25th. Several of Canada’s exciting new road running stars will be leading the charge down the country’s most famous street this Sunday, May 1st, as a record crowd of 15,000 will “Run Down Yonge without getting run down” in search of fast times, Olympic dreams, and to raise more than $1 million for Camp Oochigas – a very special camp where dreams come true for kids battling cancer. Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis, Canada’s #1 and #2 ranked marathoners from the NB Speed River Track Club in Guelph, plus Lethbridge’s resident Kenyan, Kip Kangogo,  are all set for a great battle in the men’s race. Dayna Pidhoresky of Windsor is hoping she can fend off London’s Leslie Sexton and Kenyan Lucy Njeri, for a hat-trick of Spring 2011 victories. She took the crown at the prestigious Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton  last month, and again at Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K in Toronto on April 2nd, before a 2nd place finish at the Canadian Half marathon Championships last weekend in Montreal.

Reid Coolsaet celebrates winning Canadian Half marathon Championships on a tough, windy day in Montreal

Coolsaet, Gillis and Pidhoresky represent a new wave of talented, internationally-competitive  Canadian distance runners, who are part of the current Marathon Mania sweeping the globe, from Boston to London, Tokyo to Toronto. Steadily building over the last 2 years, the world and Toronto has been a BUZZ this past week, following the first 2:04 ever at the London Marathon and a remarkable 18 women under 2:28 in last Sunday’s race; followed by the unreal, gob-smacking 2:03:02 by “the other Mutai”, and the 3rdplace finish of Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2010 champ Sharon Cherop in a thrilling duel to the line, in Boston last Monday.  Besides the Sharon Cherop connection, our top Canadians are also very much part of the excitement.After their 2:11:23 and 2:12:08 performances at Toronto Waterfront last September, Coolsaet and Gillis were invited to London this Spring. Coolsaet’s time was the fastest run by a Canadian in 24 years, and his performance gave him the 3rd fastest 10thplace finish in marathons around the world in 2010 – in other words he’d have been in the top 10 at every marathon in the world except Paris and Frankfurt! Unfortunately, slight but nagging injuries hampered their preparations and they were forced to fore-go the London 42K in favour of shorter road races this spring as they prepare for Olympic qualifying bids at this year’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th. A month ago, Coolsaet raced an international field at the New York City Half marathon, recording a PR of 62:42. He placed 13th, ahead of American aces Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezghi [2009 NYC Marathon champ], and only a minute behind two-time NYC Marathon champ Marilson Gomes dos Santos of Brazil. Last Sunday, Dos Santos was 4th in London in 2:06:34 and Hall was 4th in Boston in an astonishing 2:04:55!

Eric Gillis winning this year's Harry's Spring Run Off Toronto 8K

 Internationally competitive, Coolsaet and Gillis are part of a new group of fast, confident Canucks, heading towards London 2012. And they are also racing at home, to give Canadian recreational road runners and fans a real treat. A month ago, Gillis was a repeat champion at Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K in High Park. Last Sunday, Coolsaet claimed the Athletics Canada Half marathon Championships at Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal fighting a tough wind [64:55], while Eric Gillis became the first Canadian to triumph at Vancouver’s famous Sun Run 10K since 1998 [29:06], where he won a great battle over Dylan Wykes and Kip Kangogo. According to the Sun newspaper, the win was significant, as the “new wave of talented Canadian male distance runners made another breakthrough Sunday.”

This Sunday, they’ll be hammering down Yonge Street, on Canada’s fastest 10K course, in what promises to be a mouth-watering duel between the NB Speed River training partners, with Kangogo in the middle to mix things up and make sure things don’t get too cozy for the team-mates. This will also be the 10K “rubber-match” between Gillis and Kangogo: the latter outsprinted the former to win Sun Run 2010. This year the tables were turned!

According to Coolsaet:  

I’m really looking forward to racing Sporting Life Toronto 10K!

Of course I would like to win but it’s going to be very tough.  I definitely want to take advantage of the downhill nature of the course and run a fast time.  Something under 29 minutes for sure.

Gillis and I have been training together and we’re both in similar shape.  I would say he has an advantage having run a 10km two weeks out as opposed to my two recent half marathons.  Having said that I won’t give him an inch. If he wins he’s going to have to dig deep. 

The Toronto 10k will bridge my recent 1/2 marathons to my upcoming track races, which will be at 5000m and 10,000m.  I want to start my marathon build-up to Toronto Waterfront in June, having decent 10,000m speed, which I haven’t had in past marathon preparations.  

Eric Gillis agrees, it’s going to be a good scrap and a fast race!

Sporting Life Toronto 10k is a chance to run fast, so I’m hoping to get a 10k road PB.  

I’ll leave the predictions to the tnfnorth crowd, but Reid and I always have fun racing each other. 

SLT fits in the middle of three 10k’s I’ll be doing this Spring [Sun Run and Ottawa 10K]. I’m treating it as a close-to-home, competitive, fun race. The master plan is to get speedy this Spring to help me in my Olympic qualifying effort at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon come October.

Kip Kangogo knows how to win! Pictured at Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon, 2010

Trying to further upset the form sheet, will be a solid men’s pack that includes Athletics Toronto’s Rejean Chiasson and Andrew Smith who were 3rd and 6that the Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal Championships; London’s Brandon Laan who was 10that the Sun Run [30:34]; Toronto’s Danny Kassap who returned to racing after a 2-year break following his heart attack in the Berlin Marathon, with a 3rdplace at Harry’s 8K [25:43]; Waterloo’s Adam Hortian [8thin Montreal Championships in 68:00], Toronto Olympic’s Trevor Caldwell [who ran a PR 29:45 on the track two weeks ago], and Montreal’s Bagdad Rachem [5th at 2010 SLT10K].

Dayna Pidhoresky, on course, Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal 2011 Championships

On the women’s side, 23 year old Dayna Pidhoresky will be gunning to overcome her visible disappointment at finishing 2ndat the National Half marathon Championships at Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal last weekend.  A new talent who only burst onto the on the scene last Fall, this is her first full season on the roads, and her first Sporting Life Toronto 10K.

Already, she has claimed the prestigious Around the Bay 30K Road Race crown on March 27th and was a convincing winner again at Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K in High Park, just six days later on April 2nd. There, she trounced the field, which included her main competition at Sporting Life Toronto 10k next Sunday — London’s Leslie Sexton [3rdat Harry’s], and resident Kenyan, Lucy Njeri [5th]. After her poor showing at Harry’s 8K, however, Njeri went onto win the women’s title at the Sun Run 10K in 33:41. Lucy also knows the course well after finishing 2ndat last year’s Sporting Life in 34:06. Rounding out the competitive women’s pack will be CRS Champ Josiane Aboungono [4th at SL Toronto 10K 2010; 6thin Montreal]; Jane Cullis [7th at SLT10K; 9thin Montreal]; and Ayesha Rollinson [8th at SL Toronto 10K 2010; 9th at Harry’s 2011].

 “We’re just thrilled that a good piece of the current global euphoria about road running and our Canadian stars are coming to Toronto for Sporting Life Toronto 10K,” said Race Director Alan Brookes.“It’s definitely a very exciting time. And in keeping with the global movement right now, the Toronto 10K race is about a lot more than just the elites. It’s a huge festival: 15,000 runners massing down Yonge Street to visibly promote healthy lifestyles; more than $1 million being raised for Camp Ooch and giving back to the community; Coach Jenny Hadfield of Runner’s World in for the weekend from Chicago; bands every mile; all the fun of the fair as it comes to our town!”

Councillors Karen Stintz and Jaye Robinson, whose Wards [16 & 25] straddle the beginning of the course, will be this year’s Honourary Starters to sound the horns and get the first of the 5 wave starts underway next Sunday at 8am on Yonge Street, at Castlefield just above Eglinton.  Now a Councillor, Jaye Robinson spent 20 years at City Hall as Director of Events, organizing festivals such as Nuit Blanche and issuing permits for races like Sporting Life Toronto 10K. “All those years I was doing the paperwork, working with you to build the race. Now I get to sound the Start horn. This is GREAT, thanks!” said the Councillor.

TTC Chair, Councillor Karen Stintz finishing Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2009

A keen recreational runner as well as TTC Chair, Karen Stintz successfully completed the 2009 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 4:32:53, and will jump into this year’s race right after sounding the horn. This will be her 5thSporting Life Toronto 10K, where she has a PR of 53:49. Councillor Stintz will then run down to the finish on Fort York Boulevard, where she’ll be welcomed by fellow Councillor Mike Layton [in his Ward 19] and Councillor Sarah Doucette [Ward 13 High Park] whose daughter Claire will be running in the event. As well as a good crowd, finishers’ medals and tech souvenir t-shirts, Tom Hayes & The Twisters will be waiting to celebrate the 15,000 winners after they cross the line.

Sporting Life Toronto 10K: 2010, Finish Line joy!

For complete information on the event, including on-course bands and spectator viewing locations, see:

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One Response to Canadian stars COOLSAET, GILLIS, PIDHORESKY to lead record field at Sporting Life Toronto 10K, as road running excitement comes to Toronto, Sunday May 1st.

  1. Tory says:

    I bow down humbly in the presence of such gertneass.

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