· “Canada Running Series has revolutionized road running in Canada.” Richard Lee, coach to Dylan Wykes.
· “CRS is one of things that make me proud to be a Canadian runner!” JP Bedard.
Online registration for Canada Running Series 2012 events, including Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, opens at 12 noon today at www.RunCRS.ca. Early Bird fees and additional savings with the popular “Combo Packs” that allow runners to enter multiple events, offer particular enticements to register right away. In addition, almost all events in CRS 2011 sold out, so there is incentive to book a place in some of the country’s best road races before they reach their caps.
Canada Running Series 2012 will focus on enhancing the quality and quantity of the same 8 events that have gained such prestige for the circuit over the past few years. Indeed, 2011 was a banner year. According to Series’ Director Alan Brookes:
“Little did I think when I started organizing races in 1983 — with less than 100 folks at the Billy Taylor Memorial Jog-Along for the Red Cross in Guelph — that 3 decades later we’d have 60,000 folks in CRS runs for the year, and raise an absolutely stunning $6.5 million for charity. We began with a simple concept, that we’ve held firm on. We are runners ourselves, love running as a way of life, and like to feel ourselves part of the running community. We’re out on the street a lot, and like to feel we’re close to our fellow runners. And we’ve focused unswervingly on 3 things: promoting running and fitness as a way of life, and providing well-organized, great “running experiences”; promoting and supporting the “pursuit of excellence”, to develop Canadian heroes and role models; and to give back to the communities we live and run in – by providing a cost-free, risk-free platform for usually smaller, local charities to piggy-back on our races, and support them in their fundraising and awareness efforts.”
In addition to the great numbers, CRS 2011 saw some great Canadian as well as international performances from the likes of Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis, Dylan Wykes, Dayna Pidhoresky, Megan Brown and Ed Whitlock. Training Clinics, Tune-Up runs, “live” television, webcasts, and extensive media coverage brought new people to running and gave it an ever-widening audience across the country.
Over its 22 season’s Canada Running Series has gained a reputation for innovation as well as quality, well-organized, international-class events. “We’ve always tried not to coast, or to rest on our laurels – to always be going full-throttle to learn, to scour the globe for new ideas, and lead in continual innovation,” said Brookes.
“2012 promises to be no exception. We’ve got a new logo, a new-look website, and a shorter address to get there in www.RunCRS.ca. We’re working on bringing some great, new timing initiatives to our two Vancouver races, with all the latest technology of “Live Results”, split times, text, Facebook and Twitter messaging. We are working on having an improved course in Stanley Park for Harry’s Vancouver; we’ve found a way to tweak the Oasis ZooRun course and build in more Wave Starts, to ADD another 1,000 runners to the run that perennially sells-out earliest of all the popular CRS events.”
Team Layton, led by Toronto Councillor Mike Layton, is already confirmed to lead the fight against prostate cancer at Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K & 5K to open the season in West and East. Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal (April 29th) promises some great buzz in Quebec as Athletics Canada’s National Half marathon Championships. Oasis ZooRun (September 22nd) will again be the National 10K Championships, and a super, final tune-up for the Grand Finale, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half & 5K on October 14th, featuring Canada’s very best going head to head with international stars. Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will also return to its signature, more-spacious Nathan Phillips Square venue and is again committed to “live” television and a global webcast.
2012 also promises to be an exciting year for CRS’ Spring Toronto 10K. That’s the event that has been the “Sporting Life Toronto 10K” for the past 14 years, and is now the “Toronto Yonge Street 10K” to be run on April 22nd (race history). When the Series agreed to move off their traditional first-Sunday-in-May date to help accommodate the GoodLife Marathon’s move to the Spring, the title sponsor and their charity decided to leave the Series to hold their own run with more of a complete charity focus. “While we’re sorry to see Sporting Life move on, we understand they want to go in other directions, and we’re pumped about the opportunities that have now opened up,” said Brookes. “In the broadest strokes, we will have a free reign to build the event as a ‘Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in the Spring’ – ‘the complete run’, with a balanced focus on the 3 concepts that have been at CRS’ core for 30 years.”
A just-announced partnership with Running Room Clinics will undoubtedly bring a shared passion and considerable resources to promote running and healthy lifestyles around the 10K, and bring lots of new folks to the sport. Moving to a Charity Challenge format (like STWM) will allow the Toronto Yonge Street 10K to bring another 15 or 20 new local charities into the mix, reaching into many additional, needy corners of the community. And the continued partnership with New Balance with their slogan “Let’s Make Excellent Happen”, with NB athletes like Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis, provides the foundation to build the quality of the Toronto Yonge Street 10K as well as the quantity. Coolsaet and Gillis, who finished 1-2 at the 10K this past Spring, in one of the most-exciting sprint finishes of the year (VIDEO), are committed to return, as part of Run Canada Month on the road to the London 2012 Olympics. According to Reid: “There is no better place in Canada to run a 10km PB than the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. The course is fast, fun and entertaining.” And Eric adds: “I love the festive atmosphere. The Canada Running Series organizers know how to put on a first-class, big city road race, that’s for sure!” The Toronto Yonge Street 10K course remains the same as previous years, down Yonge from Eglinton to the EX.
“There’s SO many great reasons to sign up for CRS2012,” says Brookes. “It’s where the Canadian running community comes together to enjoy and celebrate what we do!” Full Canada Running Series 2012 Calendar, information and registration at www.RunCRS.ca
For now, DON’T forget to start signing up TODAY, MONDAY, November 28th, at NOON, to book your place in your favourite CRS events, and take advantage of the great combination of Early Bird fees AND Combo Packs!