“Reid Coolsaet to Race Toronto Yonge Street 10km,” by Paul Gains

“Reid Coolsaet to Race Toronto Yonge Street 10km,” by Paul Gains

Reid's famous fist-pump after finishing STWM 2010 with the Olympic standard!

Canada’s leading marathoner, Reid Coolsaet, will defend his Toronto Yonge Street 10km title on Sunday April 22nd. The Toronto event is one of the country’s premier road races and will be the final opportunity for local runners to toe the line with Coolsaet before he runs in the London Olympic marathon August 12th. The 32 year old Hamiltonian jets in from a high altitude training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona just four days before the Toronto race and will tackle an elite field. A year ago he held off Kenyan born Albertan Kip Kangogo and his training partner – and fellow Olympian Eric Gillis – to win the race in an impressive time of 28:08.0 [see VIDEO of last 800m]. Gillis and Kangogo were just steps behind on that occasion with Gillis taking 2nd. Coolsaet and Gillis both qualified for the Canadian Olympic team by virtue of their performances at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, though wicked environmental conditions conspired against their attempt at Jerome Drayton’s Canadian record of 2:10:09. Nevertheless, Coolsaet still managed a personal best of 2:10:55 for third place. That race also locked up the 2011 Canada Running Series overall men’s title for him. The Toronto Yonge Street 10km is also a CRS race. “The Yonge Street 10km obviously is a downhill race and it’s nice to feel fast and get a fast time and kind of carry that 10k speed into the marathon buildup,” Coolsaet explains. “My plan is hopefully to feel fresh and healthy going into the marathon training phase. I will be cutting back the mileage a little bit to feel a little quicker. Hopefully it works.”

The race is expected to attract roughly 7,500 runners and has long been the traditional spring 10km in Toronto. This year the start time is one hour later, at 9:00 a.m. affording competitors an extra hour of kip the night before. While the race has a decidedly party atmosphere, where beginners and Olympians can share the road and entertainment along the route, Coolsaet will use the race to further measure his Olympic preparation. He will face Kangogo (3rd last year in 28:09.4), Kenya’s Nelson Ndereva a 2:10:58 marathoner with Canadian landed immigrant status as well as Terrence Attema and Giitah Macharia.

Reid (centre) battles it out down Yonge Street in last year's 10K, with clubmate Eric Gillis (left) and Kip Kangogo (white vest)

Coolsaet himself spent six weeks in Iten, Kenya during the winter months training with some of that country’s talented marathoners. He stayed at a hotel owned and operated by Kenyan born Dutch superstar Lorna Kiplagat and would each day jog down to a meeting point where scores of world class runners waited to go training. Among the group he ran with were several who had run 2:06 or 2:07 for the marathon though he never knew their names. Upon returning to his home in Hamilton he raced at the Around the Bay 30km (March 25th) winning handily despite a minor complication. “It was a great test for my training going into London,” he says of the ATB race. “Obviously I was happy with the win but not with the way I raced. I was a minute slower than I wanted to be. That minute came between 21k and 25km, I got a really bad side stitch after 21km and that really slowed me down drastically. By the time I got to 25km I kind of knew the course record was out. “I lowered my mileage for it I had to because I injured my hamstring the week before. The only way I was going to heal before the race was to take it easy. So it wasn’t ideal going in. The sixteen weeks prior had gone really really well. The last two weeks (before Around the Bay) were a bit of a challenge. I felt good going in and I gave it a shot.” Coolsaet says one of his gluteus maximus muscles “wasn’t firing properly” and his hamstring was bearing the strain. The injury might have sent most runners into a panic but Coolsaet, as is his custom, simply viewed it as a minor nuisance. He used massage and other physical therapy to recover. One thing is very clear: there are many more weeks of marathon type training in his legs than a year ago. “Before I got injured I was right exactly where I needed to be,” he confirms. “Everything was going perfectly I was feeling healthy. Workouts have been going as well as I could expect them to go I am really happy. Obviously this was a bit of a setback. Now that the 30km is done I had some time to heal before the real marathon training starts.” The day after winning Around the Bay Coolsaet joined his Speed River Track Club teammates and personal coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, in Flagstaff where they resumed the mileage necessary for the Olympics. “Training in Flagstaff has been good,” he said from Flagstaff earlier this week. “I’ll be on the track Thursday running kilometre repeats with (1,500m runners Taylor) Milne and (Kyle) Boorsma. That should be interesting. We’ve been playing a lot of pool lately, the marathoners, me and Gillis, versus the track guys (Milne and Boorsma). We haven’t won a game yet.” Stephen Koskei’s course record of 27:47 might have to wait but Coolsaet will certainly be in form to approach the 28 minute mark in Toronto. And, once the race is over he plans to hand the medal he won at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to the winner of a draw. People can gain an entry to this draw with $25 donations which help offset Coolsaet’s Olympic training expenses. Commitment to the Olympics and commitment to the Toronto Yonge Street 10km. Reid Coolsaet is truly the ‘people’s runner.’

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For More Information and entry: www.toronto10K.ca

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