“Brooks Running Becomes Major Partner in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon,” by Paul Gains

    Alan Brookes’s dream of taking the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) into the upper echelon of city marathons gained momentum recently with the signing of a three year deal. The agreement makes Brooks Running both the “Official Athletic Footwear & Apparel partner” and “Official Merchandise Supplier” of the event. The race has already achieved IAAF Silver Label status – one of just five marathons in North America to join the exclusive club – but Brookes believes this increase in sponsorship from the footwear giant is just the boost STWM needs. “We have been working since 2003, 2004 to try and build a big city world marathon of international quality for Canada and we can’t do it on our own,” says the energetic race director. “We have had a tremendous partner in Scotiabank for 17 years but we have really needed a major athletic brand. “This is the best athlete footwear and apparel partnership that we have ever had. We are absolutely thrilled and appreciative of Brooks, who have made a statement, the last few years, as a major player in the international running community. They are a running brand – they are not trying to be in 35 sports. They have really zeroed in on running.” The STWM team set a goal, a few years ago, of having 8,000 runners in the marathon while raising $5 million a year for the various local charities. He says the addition of Brooks will help realize these objectives over time.

Mike Dyon, a long-time key figure in Canadian distance running, pictured (left) at 1994 Spring Run off 8K in High Park -- a race he helped found. Next to him are US Olympic marathoner Ed Eyestone & Canadian Olympian Silken Laumann

Mike Dyon is Owner and CEO of RMP Athletic Locker, the company which distributes Brooks footwear and apparel in Canada. He says the investment his company is making for 2012 – 2014 represents a three-fold increase over previous years and makes great marketing sense. “Business for Brooks in the U.S. is growing leaps and bounds,” he reveals. “Brooks is the number one selling footwear company in specialty running for the U.S. At the end of March 2012 they had a 28% market share, 4 or 5 points ahead of Asics in specialty running stores. “We are focusing on the specialty running accounts in Canada. It is their consumers, the dedicated men and women who are training and running in the marathon and half marathons, that is our target. We want these runners to have a connection with the Brooks brand.” Dyon is not just a shoe salesmen. The 56 year old knows a thing or two about marathoning, having won four Canadian Marathon titles as well as representing Canada at the 1985 IAAF World Cup Marathon in Hiroshima. In 1981 he ran 2:14:28 for the distance. He admits to being particularly fond of the STWM and has been a fixture at the runners expo. The past two years he has also volunteered as a pacemaker using his company’s ‘ElliptiGo’ trainer to get around the course. “As a former athlete I can appreciate what Alan has done laying out the races, and managing all of the details behind the scenes,” he explains. “I know personally, you would love to run your personal best on your home course. Your best race is always in your hometown because you don’t have to alter your routine, and you have the support of friends and family. The energy in this city during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is unmatched.” “The three year deal involves a combination of cash and merchandise. Race officials and volunteers will wear Brooks apparel and high performance running shoes provided by the company.” In addition, Brooks will be bringing their US based technical booth, complete with expert staff, to the STWM runners’ expo where the Brooks team will conduct running gait analysis and help to ensure runners have the right footwear and apparel for the best run. Dyon says it’s all part of the “Brooks Experience” which has become a major attraction at events such as the Boston Marathon and the Rock ‘n Roll running series. “We are growing like crazy in Canada,” Dyon says of the importance of being involved with STWM, “but we are a year or two behind the US. I think we will close the gap by being involved in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. We want to bring the whole Brooks experience to Toronto so runners will find out what Brooks is all about.”

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TORONTO, June 2nd. Can’t believe it’s June already. As I was chatting with Mike Nishi, GM at Chicago Marathon this week, there just doesn’t seem to be any down time any more as the major news and exciting action in the marathon, road running and athletics world continues. Road to London; Road to STWM; Road to Moscow!!!

Just last night, there were some thrilling performances at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, that included a super Men’s 10,000m (that doubled as the Kenyan Oly Trials) & Women’s 10,000m, AND a Women’s 880m that saw Windor’s Melissa Bishop run 1:59.82 PB to make the Olympic A standard and become only the 3rd Canadian woman under 2 minutes, according to the Speed River tweets.

Our own Paul Gains is in Eugene reporting for the IAAF, so you can read his reports on the IAAF website.

The day before, on Thursday, Speed’s River’s Hilary Stellingwerff also ran a PB of 4:05.08 at the Rome Golden Gala meet, to make the A standard for the Women’s 1500m.

Closer to home, things are really staring to build for a super-exciting edition of STWM, 2012. The Official Running Room Clinics for the marathon get underway in the next two weeks everywhere across Ontario and into Quebec. You can check them out in the TRAINING Section of the website.

As Paul suggests, our EXCELLENT partnership with BROOKS Running is a major piece in STWMs trek to get to the next and highest levels of the marathoning world – IAAF Gold Label, mass runners, mass spectators, record times and even greater charity fundraising for the community. It’s a deal I’ve been trying to get from an athletic-brand trade partner for 10 years, and BROOKS has now delivered for us! BRAVO!

There are some very real, concrete benefits for YOU, as participants in STWM over the next 3 years:

STWM 2012 will feature a super long-sleeve, technical t-shirt from BROOKS (marathoners only), with separate Men's & Women's sizing

– quality, BROOKS technical t-shirts for all participants in the marathon, half and 5K, including a signature, sharp-looking black LONG-SLEEVE offering for this Fall.

– a strong Pacer Program in both the Marathon and Half, supported by BROOKS Running

– BROOKS support and enhancement of the Tune Up Training Runs on the way to STWM

– a great range of quality Official Merchandise

– an exciting, expanded “BROOKS Running Heaven” presence at STWM Expo

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