TORONTO. March 21st. April is now officially “Run Canada Month”, and Paul Gains has given us a lovely overview of this exciting new programme. There are lots of ways to celebrate RCM with Canada Running Series — at 3 events, in High Park Toronto on the 7th, with Harry’s Spring Run Off; on the 22nd with Reid Coolsaet & Dayna Pidhoresky at the Toronto Yonge Stret 10K; and on the 29th at Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal that doubles as the National Half-marathon Championships, starring Dayna P., 2-time winner Matt Loiselle and a cast of thousands in beautiful Parc Jean Drapeau. Enjoy Paul’s article, get pumped, then make sure you enter 1 or all the celebrations of RCM at www.RunCRS.ca See you at the races…SOON!
Run Canada Month, by Paul Gains
April has been designated Run Canada Month in Canada and, as Chris Moulton, the program director explains, it is the perfect opportunity for Canadians in every region to celebrate this most natural of sports.
The Guelph, Ontario based Moulton is best known for being the manager and assistant coach of Speed River Track Club as well as an associate coach at the University of Guelph. As they say, if you want something done give it to a busy guy. Moulton points out that more than one hundred races have signed on with the initiative.
“Running is a great sport in this country and there’s a lot of people who do it and a lot of them do it in fragmented parts,” says Moulton. “Certainly we hope to find a way to bring those groups together and get more people involved. But we also want to give the people who are involved a greater appreciation of all the different parts that exist.
“That was certainly a goal of ours to make sure there was representation across the country. It actually started out ‘Run Canada Week’ and we decided to make it a month. The main reason we chose April is because there are so many great events already. The Vancouver Sun Run, the Toronto Yonge Street 10k, The Canadian Half marathon championships in Montreal along with all the other wonderful events. There are a number of really strong events already in the month of April and that really lends itself to Run Canada Month.”
Three of the races, Harry’s Spring Run Off (April 7th) Toronto Yonge St 10km (April 22nd) and the Banque Scotia 21km in Montreal (April 29th), which is the Canadian Half Marathon Championship, are all part of the prestigious Canada Running Series.
“I think its terrific to see our federation (Athletics Canada) reaching out to embrace all runners,” says Alan Brookes, founder and director of the Canada Running Series. “The one big tent” is a tenet, a core value for the Canada Running Series and always has been, just like London and New York City with the marathon and the New York Road Runners club. I was asked the other day if elite and recreational runners can co-exist? Of course they can. One big tent. One sport, One love! All in it together.“
“It feels great to have three races included. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to showcase Run Canada Month and bring everyone’s energy together. I think the goal is awareness, this first time out, to get as much media and celebration of our sport as possible.”
Moulton was first approached by Athletics Canada last fall to consider the project. Then a meeting was set up with Brookes who was quick to embrace the project. That was a key moment in the initiative.
“I have a great deal of respect for him,” Moulton says of Brookes. “He is one of the main stakeholders in the sport. He has been a huge mentor of mine and he was incredibly supportive right from the start. Already we have started talking about ways we can grow this. It’s important to have the largest running series in the country involved. I think CRS has a database of 200,000 runners in this country. That is a great place to start.”
In addition to linking races in a celebratory fashion the Run Canada Month project seeks to spread the history of Canadian running through schools and also to get school children active. Moulton says information is being dispensed through provincial teachers’ federations. Schools are also being challenged to form relay teams to complete the full marathon distance (42.2km).
“Canada has such a tremendous history in distance running,” he continues. “A lot of young Canadians don’t realize Canada has the third largest number of Boston marathon winners of any country. We wanted to do something to celebrate this history whether its through class projects and look into the history of our sport.”
Although the project is designed to have mass appeal there is also an elite athlete component. Participants may sponsor Canada’s Olympic marathoners Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis who are consistent performers in the Canada Running Series. Coolsaet, in fact, is the defending champion.
“The general population can donate to Reid through the Toronto Yonge Street 10k,” says Moulton. “It’s a great initiative. Reid and Eric are obviously two people I am close to (both are members of Speed River TC) and the feeling was they don’t just want to go to the London Olympics just to experience the Olympics. They want to go there and be competitive.
“Eric was at the Olympics in Beijing, Reid ran really well in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in less than perfect conditions (2:10:55). We don’t want to get to the point that in September we are saying ‘what could we have done better?’ So that is the goal this year to campaign and move forward.”
The Brantford, Ontario based accounting firm Millard Rouse and Rosebrugh quickly donated $1,000 to the Olympians, a figure that was matched by Athletics Canada. The money will help offset Coolsaet and Gillis’s expenses. The pair will be at a high altitude training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona for much of April. Coolsaet recently spent six weeks in Kenya training with world class marathoners.
Clearly there is something for everybody in the month of April whether it’s the beginner, the novice or the elite marathoner. And how refreshing it is that Athletics Canada has reached out to the masses. It bodes well for the future of Canadian distance running.