Ethiopia’s Tariku Jufar Returns To Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

Tariku en route to victory at Ottawa Marathon 2013. Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

Tariku en route to victory at Ottawa Marathon 2013. Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

With the addition of Ethiopia’s Tariku Jufar to the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon organisers proudly point to the fact four men in the field have beaten 2 hours 7 minutes in the past three years. Two of them have also beaten 2:06.

The event, slated for October 19th, is once again an IAAF Silver Label race and, at this rate, it won’t be long before gold level status is acquired.

Jufar set a course record in the 2012 Houston Marathon with a personal best time of 2:06:51. Along with Kenya’s Peter Some (2:05:38) and Laban Korir (2:06:05) as well as fellow Ethiopian Shami Abdulahi (2:05:42), Jufar will focus on attacking the Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:06:55 and the course record of 2:07:05 set a year ago.

“Of course! If I break the course record I hope it will be as the winner,” the 30 year old says laughing. “I plan to run to my shape and if God allows me that day to beat the field and win then I will be happy.”

Jufar has won several major marathons during his accomplished marathon career. Just last year he became the first Ethiopian male to win the Ottawa marathon setting a then course record of 2:08:05. He also won the 2012 Beijing Marathon. Most recently he finished 4th in the 2014 Seoul Marathon March 16th in a time of 2:07:02. Consistent training with an outstanding group of athletes at high altitude has obviously contributed to this success.

Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

“I train under Coach Haji Adillo of ESMI (Elite Sports Management International) in Ethiopia,” he explains. “I train with some very strong athletes like Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45 pb), Tadese Tola (2:04:49 pb), Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52 pb) and Endeshaw Negesse (2:04:52 pb). They push all of us and make us all stronger. I feel very good coming into this year’s race.”

Like many of the elite Ethiopian marathoners Jufar benefits from daily training at high altitude sites just outside Addis. Indeed, the training is all done at roughly 8,000 feet above sea level with the training group numbering around eighty athletes. The discipline runs through the entire group and, at any given time, dozens from the ESMI group can be overseas at many of the world class marathons.

“We arrive for training at 7:00 a.m. and train and recover and stretch until 10:00 a.m.,” Jufar reveals, “then I eat and rest. In my free time I like to visit with friends and enjoy tea with my family.”

“I come from Debre Zeyit which is known in Oromo as Bishoftu. It is known for the crater lakes there, it is a beautiful region. My family are farmers. Some of them are still living in Bishoftu. Farming and running have been my life.”

Finishing STWM 2008.

Finishing STWM 2008.

Jufar, of course, remembers a previous visit to Toronto in 2008 and not so fondly. He struggled to a 13th place finish in 2:18:47 on that day. Obviously he has put that disappointment behind him with pragmatic thinking.

“Honestly, I have been in the marathon for some years now and I learned that it is a very unpredictable event,” he says of that day. “Sometimes it’s just is not your day and the race gets away from you and you cannot control it. A 2:18 was not anything I ever expected from myself.

“But Toronto is a beautiful city and has very nice people. The water (along Lake Ontario) was nice too! “

A year after his last visit Jufar was hit by a car while training in Addis. It was thought he would not run again. However, he proved the skeptics wrong with a series of meaningful results beginning with a remarkable time of 2:09:32 in Los Angeles. That was good enough for second place. Considering he had missed out on training most of the year he showed his immense talent.

The Toronto course has been slightly altered this year – a series of twists and turns that were added out of necessity due to downtown construction projects last year – have been removed. The course is thought to be even faster. Jufar knows he will have a tough time against the assembled field. But with a commitment from all of them and the right conditions the course record could fall. He’d like nothing more than to cross the line first with that record.

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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2014 goes For Green!

STWM Green Certification PhotoTORONTO October 2nd 2014. While 26,000 participants will be running for the fabulous gold, silver or bronze-bling Finishers’ medals on October 19th, the Canada Running Series organizing team will be racing hard for “Green”! Following the successful example of their Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon, they will be going all out for “Green Certification” from the Council For Responsible Sport.

The mission statement of the Canada Running Series is “Building Community Through Running”, and according to Senior Operations Manager, David Gilchrist, “everyone on the  Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront team is strongly committed to building a sustainable, healthy community. That starts with our events! We recognize that every choice we make comes with the opportunity to benefit our friends, neighbours, and our city.”

The 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) organizers — that include 16 full-time, professional Staff, some 500 Area Managers and over 3,000 volunteers — will be working closely with Oregon’s Council for Responsible Sport’s to implement their standards for Green Certification. Some of these standards include, but are not limited to:

  • minimizing carbon and water footprints through rigorous conservation and mitigation efforts,
  • choosing transportation options that minimize fuel consumption,which includes offering free Bike Valet Parking on Race Day
  • removing barriers to participation,
  • planning for low levels of waste production and a high rate of waste diversion,
  • and contracting with locally-owned businesses whenever possible.

Race Director, Alan Brookes emphasizes that,

“as an organization, we are pumped to set an example at the 2014 Toronto Waterfront Marathon by reducing our overall environmental footprint, ensuring participant accessibility, and supporting the local economy. We are really proud of what our team achieved in Vancouver, and are committed to raising the bar for Toronto running events also. Running has become a more and more important part of the city-building process, and should be both responsible and relevant. EVERYONE on October 19th is invited to join the programme!” 

About the Council for Responsible Sport:

Our vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm. Our mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing, and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. The current version of the Council’s Certification standards (v.4.1) was developed by an outside working group of both sustainability and sport industry experts, reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2013 and implemented in January 2014.
Website: http://www.councilforresponsiblesport.org/

About Canada Running Series and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

 The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5K is part of the prestigious, 8-event Canada Running Series. The Series prides itself on organizing great races that benefit communities, and on being the industry leader in innovation for Canada. In 2013 the Series attracted almost 60,000 participants and raised more than $5.5 million for 280 mostly-local charities.

Registration is now open at http://RunCRS.ca

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The Run Is Enough: The Sophomore Slump. By Jodi Lewchuk

TORONTO October 5th 2014. Digital Champion Jodi Lewchuk took up running after a long hiatus to exercise her energetic dog, Tilda, and her passion for the sport was rekindled as she connected with the running community and discovered what a positive impact being a physically fit and mentally tough runner had on her overall well-being. She believes running is a key that helps people unlock their true potential. You’ll often find Jodi and Tilda fording streams, vaulting logs and following winding paths as they run Toronto’s extensive and beautiful trail system, which is Jodi’s favourite place to train. Running makes Jodi happy, keeps her sane, and allows her to believe that anything is possible. Connect with Jodi on Twitter @jodilewchuk and on her blog. 

The Run Is Enough: The Sophomore Slump. By Jodi Lewchuk

It’s the phrase I’ve taken to calling what has JOdi and Tildabeen the second half of my 2014 training and racing season.

After a 2013 season that saw me hit and surpass every running goal I set for myself and taught me that my physical and mental toughness on the trail and road make me that way in the rest of my life, too, 2014 kicked off just as I expected it would: with two huge early-season personal bests at Around the Bay and the Toronto Younge Street 10K.

And then everything fell apart.

It’s hard for me to even put my finger on what, exactly, went wrong. But at some point in early summer I noticed that my training times started to flag. I would feel as if I was running with a good effort and be surprised when I’d glance at my watch to find myself 5 to 10 seconds off pace. Then my mental steeliness started to show wear and tear. I consider myself a stubborn runner. I’d rather drag myself over a tough stretch rather than walk. If I give in to the walk, it makes it too easy for me to give up the next time — I need to know that no matter what I can dig deep and keep going. Except that I found myself pulling off to the side of the trail to bend over and rest my hands on my knees every time I ran 15K or more. I’d look towards the direction from which I’d come, wondering what was going wrong.

I started to feel tense when it came time to lace up. Normally one to bolt out of bed in the morning to head out and run with my dog, Tilda, I’d find things to procrastinate with first. Normally my Sunday long run is my favourite workout of the week. I love being out on the trails for hours, listening to my footfalls, hearing the sounds of my breath, feeling my body working to carry me over kilometre after kilometre. And yet there I was, already worrying about the Sunday long run by the time Thursday rolled around. Would I be able to do it without walking? Would the season turn around before race day at the Soctiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon? Would I be slower than I was last year? Would I be better off dropping out?

That last thought was the one that sobered me. It was the first time I had ever considered pulling out of a race. And I realized how silly I was being. It’s true that I wasn’t having the best training season, but I wasn’t injured. I was out there running, healthy. I was in a slump, sure, but so what? One of the other lessons that running has taught me is that nothing lasts — neither the elation nor the pain. You live each of those feelings as they come on a run and prepare yourself for the inevitable change in momentum. If I hung in long enough, something would change.

Jodi Running ShoeSo I kept running. For at least three weeks I ran without my GPS watch. I just went out and laid down kilometers on the trails while watching the clouds traversing summer’s blue skies and the grasses in the valley growing up ever taller and the tree canopy getting thicker and more lush. And I realized that even if I never raced again, I wouldn’t stop running. I would run trails every day simply because I love to run.

That realization marked the turning point.

One day not long after that I ran a tempo run that actually felt quick. I did a hill workout in which it felt like I was in charge of my legs and not the other way around. I started to look forward to, and enjoy, longer distances again. It took an act of letting go to get everything in hand again.

I’m still not where I’d anticipated being training-wise for 2014. I may not take 10 minutes off my marathon time from last year as I had originally wanted to at the start of the season. But I’ve completed the tough, key workouts that I’ve needed to. I’ve met even more wonderful people in the running community and have benefited from their encouragement and support. I’ve remembered why I run in the first place.

Sometimes you don’t do the training run you planned, you do the training run you can manage at the time. Sometimes you don’t run the race you want, you run the race you have in you that day. Sometimes you don’t get the season you’d hoped for, you simplyget a season.

And sometimes you realize that none of it matters, because the run itself is enough.

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Mulu Seboka Has Canadian All Comers’ Record in Sight, by Paul Gains

Mulu all smiles with her STWM 2008 victory.

Mulu all smiles with her STWM 2008 victory.

Mulu Seboka has one thing in mind when she lines up for the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, October 19th, and that is to beat the women’s course record of 2:22:43.

That record was set in 2010 by Kenya’s Sharon Cherop and is also the fastest time ever run by a woman on Canadian soil.

If the Ethiopian, who celebrated her 30th birthday last week, is successful she will earn at least a $35,000 bonus in addition to the first place prize of $20,000. That, of course, is wonderful motivation.

“I have full confidence,” she declares, “if there is a good pace maker and good weather I will run the course record. My training is going very well. My condition is very good now. I am training with my husband Yohanes Nigatu Bekele and I am training in all the places (around Addis Ababa) Sendafa, Sululta, Ararat and Entoto.

“I have trained well and I hope I will do my best to make the organizers of the race and the good people of Toronto happy.”

Those are words that will almost certainly endear her to the organizers of this IAAF Silver Label race, who would like nothing more than to see both men’s and women’s records fall. With a personal best of 2:23:43 recorded at the 2013 Daegu Marathon the record is certainly in the realm of possibility.

Most recently she returned to Daegu and won the race in 2:25:23 (April 9th) This followed a surprising but very tough Dubai Marathon win (January 24th) in 2:25:01. Her margin of victory there was just twenty-two seconds, which in marathoning is too close for comfort.

But, she won’t have an easy time of it in Toronto. On paper, at least, the favourite has to be Aliaksandr Duliba, the Belarusian star, who has a personal best of 2:21:29 from the 2014 Boston Marathon. She was also 4th in Chicago a year ago (2:23:44). However, Seboka has one advantage over Duliba, and the rest of the field: she has twice before run the race through the streets of Canada’s largest city.

As a 24 year old she won the 2008 edition of this IAAF Silver Label race in 2:29:06 then finished second a year later to her compatriot, Amane Gobena.

Mulu in flight at STWM 2008 Finish. She returns as a faster, more-experienced athlete to recapture the feeling!

Mulu in flight at STWM 2008 Finish. She returns as a faster, more-experienced athlete to recapture the feeling!

“I remember there is very good support from the people along the full course so I really like the Toronto marathon,” she recalls from her previous visits. “I went to Dukem Restaurant after the race.”

The latter comment is in reference to what has become a post-race excursion for the Ethiopian community at this traditional Ethiopian restaurant, a place where legend Miruts Yifter, the 1980 Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion, is a frequent visitor.

Seboka comes from a region called Shoa Oromia, an area known for its fertile farmlands and where half of Ethiopia’s coffee is produced. Many of Ethiopia’s greatest runners also originated from Oromia but it was one athlete in particular who sparked Seboka’s interest in running.

“I was inspired by my sister-in-law, Alemitu Bekele, who is now a Belgian citizen. She was training in my home town when I was a child,” she explains. “She brought me to Addis in 2002. I go home once a month to Shoa Oromia.”

Her sister-in-law is not to be confused with the runner of the same name who is currently suspended for doping violations while running for Turkey.

Like many of her compatriots Seboka does not concern herself too much with the competition she will face on October 19th. When she is informed that fellow Ethiopian Mestawet Tufa and Duliba are co-favourites she appears nonplussed.

“I never raced with them and I know only Mestawet Tufa,” Seboka says. “She is really talented and a good athlete. I hope we will push the pace together as she is also a front runner.”

Unafraid to lead, Seboka will likely enjoy the benefits of early pacemaking which the Toronto marathon organizers have set up to encourage both the men and women to fast times. Then it will be her vast experience that will propel her onward chasing the record. Not surprisingly she has other long term goals.

“I want to represent Ethiopia in the 2015 world championships in Beijing and at the Olympics in Rio,” she declares.

It has been a few years since she last wore the Ethiopian national vest but with her current resume surely her goals are not too remote.

A victory against a strong Toronto field would help draw attention back in the offices of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation. A course record would further reinforce her ambition putting her amongst the highest echelon of women’s marathoners.

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Kim Doerksen Soccer Player Turned Marathon Star to Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

Kim finishing strong at recent Oasis ZooRun, National 10k Championships 2014

Kim finishing strong at recent Oasis ZooRun, National 10k Championships 2014

After she underwent surgery on an injured knee Kim Doerksen gave up her promising soccer career. A serendipitous moment, certainly, because she has since become one of the brightest prospects on the Canadian marathon scene.

This past spring the 23 year old from Gibsons, British Columbia – a small town on the province’s Sunshine Coast – won the Vancouver Marathon in a stunning debut time of 2:36:59.

Considering Canada’s top female marathoner, Lanni Marchant, ran 2:49:14 in her debut it’s no wonder organizers of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon are excited that she will compete in their IAAF Silver Label race on October 19th.

“I grew up in a family in which my dad played soccer and everything like that,” she reveals. “So I went to university to play soccer. I had a complete anterior cruciate ligament replacement and so when I started to play again I was still tentative going into tackles. I was a central defender so, going into tackles, I couldn’t exactly be hesitant.

“There’s a half marathon on the sunshine coast where I am from and my parents were ‘oh you should try running and see how it goes.” I went into the 2009 race. I was 18 and I won my age group and it was kind of ‘oh, that was kind of fun.’ So I joined a track club in Abbotsford, and ran cross country and made the BC team. But I didn’t go to nationals because I went to my uncle’s wedding instead.”

At 2014 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon in June

At 2014 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon in June

Demonstrating the exuberance characteristic of her young age Doerksen is approaching the Toronto race with confidence and a great deal of optimism.

“(Vancouver) was a great big surprise to me,” she admits. “We had gone into it not really putting out a time goal, because it was my first one and we didn’t want to have a negative impact and unnecessary stress. The way training had gone, in our minds, we were thinking I could do a sub 2:40. How far under we didn’t know. I would have been happy with a 2:40.

“Immediately afterwards I was thinking ‘what’s the next one going to be?’ But the first thing you think after finishing a marathon is ‘I am never going to do that again.’ Then once you catch your breath you are plotting which marathon you are going to do next. I was thinking if I can do a 2:37 in my first one, and, I keep getting stronger and smarter with the distance, then the world is your oyster and who knows what can happen – as long as you stay injury free.”

The ‘we’ she speaks of includes her coach John Hill, of the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club, a former Vancouver marathon winner. It is an association that began in May 2013. While many of her contemporaries save the marathon distance, perhaps for a few years in the future, she has dived in at quite an early age. It’s quite possible she can have a decade of running the distance and that is a sumptuous prospect.

Although she played soccer at the University of Fraser Valley she is currently a kinesiology student at Simon Fraser University. Her earnings for winning the Vancouver Marathon, and being the first Canadian, were put to good use, she confirms with a laugh.

“It was a lot of months of rent that I didn’t have to worry about,” Doerksen says. “It was $3500 or $4000 I can’t really remember. It went towards school and rent.”

Together with coach Hill she opted for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon after looking at the race results from previous years and talking with some of her club mates. “Flat and fast” was the way she heard the course described over and over again.

Kim Doerksen IMG_1811“I would love to ‘PB’ – the main goal is always to better yourself. But knowing the different standards for Pan Ams and worlds, that goes into the back of your head,” she admits. “In all honesty, I want to keep making my running resume look much better. Anything below a 2:36:59 would be fantastic.”

Although studying, training and the required recovery time fill up most of her day she still finds time to maintain her favourite passions. One is watching movies. In fact, her pre-race ritual includes viewing ‘Run Fatboy Run’ the Simon Pegg comedy. It’s about a man’s desperate attempt to win over the fiance he ditched on their wedding day by running the London Marathon. But then there’s another more time consuming activity she practices too.

“I love cooking!” she declares. “That’s probably my biggest thing. I cook a lot. Especially in any down time in school, I procrastinate. I bake instead of stretching.”

Doerksen laughs at that revelation which seems to unwind memories of when she lived on the Simon Fraser University campus. Apparently she is known for one of her specialties.

“I think I do a lot of desserts more,” she explains. “When I lived up at SFU I would get asked to make pies but I think that was because nobody else could make them.

“My mom made them all the time. I grew up in a household where there was fresh baking all the time, all the treats that go along with that, it’s a comfort. So when I am stressed out, or missing home, I bake just because it reminds me of home. I think that’s probably a big reason as well.”

Topping her list of favourites is mum’s peach pie, which is on her ‘to do’ list, once the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is completed. Abstinence meanwhile is the best practice. Sacrificing unwanted calories is an element of her marathon preparation.

Doerksen certainly has a bright marathon future yet she maintains her youthful innocence. Google images of her and up pops her racing in a tutu at a local Sunshine Coast race. And she has also run in the Vancouver ‘underwear’ run.

“It’s a 10k race in Vancouver it was actually one of the first races I did last year after finding out I was anaemic,” she explains. “It’s a 10k around the seawall, everybody runs in their underwear. It’s to help fundraise for cancers below the waist I was recruited to my cousin’s team. We all did fundraising and everything like that.”

Doerksen will line up against a stellar women’s field in Toronto which includes Aliaksandra Duliba of the Ukraine, Ethiopia’s Mestawet Tufa and Mulu Seboka as well as Canadian record holder Lanni Marchant. With no pressure on her amongst such stalwarts she can afford to run her own race and chase that personal best performance she covets. In the back of her mind will be the Athletics Canada standards for the Pan Am Games (2:40:00) and the World Championships (2:35:00).

“My biggest goal personally is I want to run with Canada across my chest one day,” she announces. “I don’t know what event that will be in whether it’s the Commonwealth Games, or Pan Ams or worlds, or the ‘O’ word (Olympics) always goes into every athlete’s mind. I want to wear that Canadian jersey so badly that I don’t care what event it is in.”

No doubt that day is rapidly approaching.

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25 Reasons Why You Should Run STWM. By Jessica Kuepfer

TORONTO September 29th 2014. Digital Champion Jessica Kuepfer is a runner, blogger and latte drinker from Waterloo, ON. She is thrilled to be a Digital Champion for her favourite marathon in Canada! Connect with Jessica on Twitter @lacesandlattes and on her blog.

25 Reasons Why You Should Run STWM. By Jessica Kuepfer.

This is a big year for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront STWM Jessica Blog PostMarathon and I. We both turn a quarter century and that truly is something to celebrate. As thousands of runners get prepped for the big day, I can’t help but think about all the reasons that this race is one of the best marathons in Canada. And so, to celebrate an amazing 25 years of quality running, I thought I would lay out the top 25 reasons why you should run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and why it is so much more than just a race.

  1. It’s fastWhen I ran it for the first time last year, I was struck by how speedy and flat the course is. This is one that is made for personal records and Boston Qualifiers.
  2. The expo is awesome – Seriously, this race hosts the best expo I have been to yet. You get a ton of free swag and deep discounts as well as meeting some of your favourite companies. Check out what’s coming up and who is speaking at the STWM Race Expo.
  3. It’s well organized – I had no question of where my corral was or what the race route was. It is well marked and well prepared for.
  4. There are great places in Toronto to carb load – I was a little overwhelmed with options the night before the race, but there is no shortage of places to increase those glycogen stores before the race. Check out the STWM Pasta Dinner options.
  5. You can raise money for charity – There are a number of charities that work with Canada Running Series to provide a complimentary race entry in exchange for fundraising. Running AND helping? Sign me up. Run and fundraise for one of our great charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.
  6. You get a weekly pacebook to connect you to other runners. A weekly email is sent to everyone who signed up for the race to inform and educate you on what is coming.
  7. There is a strong online community of runners to support you in your training. Starting with the Digital Champions, who are able to be found everywhere online, to the runners who are following along on Twitter, there is always someone to ask for advice or chat training. Check out the STWM Social Hub to connect with other runners.
  8. There are tune up runs where you can meet other people who are running the course. There is nothing cooler than getting to make friends BEFORE the race. Register for the free STWM Running Room Friendship Run on Saturday October 18th.
  9. They have interactive contests leading up to the race. They teamed up with Canadian Running this year and allowed runners to share their stories. It is fun to participate with the race before running it.
  10. They provide lots of resources to help you in your training. From a website full of advice, to weekly emails to experts sharing advice, they have your back in training.
  11. The course is fun to run. The course offers a unique tour of the city and is full of interesting and fun things to look at as you run by. Check out the STWM Course Map. STWM Jessica Blog Post 3
  12. The crowds are incredible. The supporters cheer loudly, have the best signs and high fives and make you feel like a pro.
  13. The volunteers are the nicest people you will ever meet. Whether they are handing you water, handing you a medal or giving you your post race snacks, they are one capable and awesome crew.
  14. They have rocking sponsors. Powerbar, Brooks, Oasis and more, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is full of quality sponsors and incredible product for the runners.
  15. They always have a strong showing of elites. For instance, this year, Lanni Marchant will be returning to tackle the course where she set a Canadian record last year.
  16. It’s spectator friendly. They have plenty of places to watch along the course as well as having grand stands at the finish line. Check out the best viewing spots for STWM.
  17. They have sweet medals. You know, if you run a marathon, you want a heavy medal with a sweet design. This one checks all the boxes. View the 2014 STWM Medals!
  18. It’s easy to find lodging right by the start line. And if you aren’t able to find one close by, there is tons of transportation leading to the start line. Check out the official STWM hotels.
  19. It’s at a perfect time of year for running weather. The air is crisp and cool, the leaves have turned colour and it is perfect temperatures for your best race of the season.
  20. The Brooks race t-shirt is awesome. And you can give a knowing nod to a fellow runner on a training run when you see them out training because you share a Scotia bond.
  21. They have amazing entertainment along the race course. No iPod? No problem. This course offers rocking music and performers to keep you at a winning cadence. Check out the 12 Neighbourhood Cheering and Entertainment Centres.
  22. The runners are amazing. Sometimes if you are running with a pacer, you have conversations with the running crew around you. Whether they help you navigate to the start line or share a gel, the participants of the STWM are first rate.
  23. Free tips every week from the Running Room Founder, John Stanton. There is nothing better than getting advice from the best. It is so cool that the race provides information from an expert.
  24. The pacers are the friendliest people. I ran with a pacer at last year’s STWM and he was so positive and confident. He did all the work of deciding the speed and all I had to do was run. Meet the Brooks Pacer Team for STWM.
  25. There is plenty of space to meet friends and family after the run. They have easily marked spaces to meet up with everyone afterwards for a happy celebration of a race well run at the Nathan Phillips Sqaure Party Site.

What is your favourite thing about the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon?

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What The Marathon Has Taught Me. By Christa Davidson

TORONTO September 25th 2014. Digital Champion Christa Davidson says, “Running is not simply something I do, it is what makes me who I am.” As a mother to her two children Tucker and Tilley, and a wife to her husband Mike, Christa knows that being the best for her family, the best version of herself, is sustained by the kilometres she runs. Christa is a recovering alcoholic of three and a half years and she has used running as a way to stay sober; instead of drinking she runs. On her particularly challenging days, she just runs farther. STWM 2014 will be Christa’s third marathon in a year and she is excited to share her training progress with the #STWM community and is passionate about inspiring others to achieve their running goals. Connect with Christa on Twitter @christadavidson and on her blog.

What The Marathon Has Taught Me. By Christa Davidson

Hurry slowly.
Be dedicated and disciplined and
Work hard, but take your time.
Move ahead but be patient.
~Grete Waitz

On October 19, I will run my third marathon. I will Christ Davidson Blog Post STWMcrowd into a new and faster paced corral and stand amongst other antsy, yet prepared marathon runners. This will be my second Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and I am different this time. I have changed as a runner. The lessons of the marathon are undeniable. Like many others, I have learned some of my lessons through trial and error and others through stubborn failure.

When I embraced and accepted what the training was trying to tell me, things started to fall into place. Marathon training is a ‘thing’ like any other. I became a confident long distance runner when I buried my fear of ‘far’. It is not something to be feared. It is something to respect, but not to fear. It is simply a span of ground measured in kilometers, meters, footfalls and breaths; nothing more. If you make more than this out of it you are missing out on a lot of enjoyment. Narrow your scope and focus on the moment you are in; the ground you are covering, not what lies ahead. Thinking too far down the road can be overwhelming.

Patience

Target one run at a time. Don’t get caught up in thinking too far ahead. I don’t look past today. Don’t push it. Let it happen and be patient while it does. Do your best work each time you lace up but forget about what’s to come and be present to what is happening. Pay attention to your form, your footfalls and your breathing. No daydreaming!

Run one kilometer at a time or one lap at a time. Put your blinders on and focus. To help with this, I have stopped listening to music on most of my runs. I don’t want to be distracted. I don’t want my thoughts to wander. I want to be present and hear only the feedback my body is giving me. It has taken me awhile to get here but the moment I arrived I stopped fretting about reaching my goals and have been able to let my development happen naturally run by run.

Acceptance

Set your goals and be prepared to be flexible with your plans. Even road trips that have well thought out and precisely mapped routes will have bumps. This past week I was stricken down by a cold that was sufferable enough that I diagnosed it as ‘the man cold’. I missed almost a week of training. Last year at this time I would have been upset by this because of the fear of the marathon and of not being ready. This year I accepted the down time knowing that I have worked hard to this point and I am fit.

Working hard and achieving goals is something that I like to do, but not at the expense of being unkind to myself. I can accept bumps in the road this time around. I will admit I spend a short amount of time going over what I could do differently next time and then let it roll. If I sense I am spending too much time and energy on a workout that’s done and over with I redirect my focus, accept my performance for what it was and move on. Accept that there will be times when things don’t go as planned. So what!

Consistency

Christa Davidson Blog Post Photo 2I have learned that it doesn’t matter if you run fast or slow or if you run 5k or 50k, the most direct route to improving and reaching your goals is through consistency. I have wasted valuable training time prior to this season being inconsistent. Some of my reasons for inconsistency were unavoidable such as injury but there were other reasons that I missed runs with excuses with no merit. At the time I was not fully committed to my goals and maybe that was because of fear. What I have seen in the absence of fear is improvement in my strength, endurance and pace times and not because I have worked like a maniac; simply because I have been consistent. This training cycle I have run lower kilometers than I did last year while training for this race, and I have still improved because I have done the regular work needed. I haven’t run myself into the ground, I have just simply run. Do the work; get results.

Look for these lessons when you run. There is still plenty of time to hurry up and be patient, accepting and consistent. In my experience, these are the lessons that will free you from fear and let you move toward the success in running that you have targeted for yourself.

I wish each and every one of you a great run on October 19th. As always if you see me, please say hello and please reach out on social media if you want to connect.

Twitter: @christadavidson

Instagram: @christadavidson

Blog: runninonempties.blogspot.com

Posted in Digital Champions, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Comments Off on What The Marathon Has Taught Me. By Christa Davidson

Innovative YouTube Broadcast Brings Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to World, by Paul Gains

  • MaRS Discovery District, EPMG and YouTube work together to live-stream race to larger audience
#STWM can be in the palm of your hand, wherever you are in the world on October 19th!

#STWM can be in the palm of your hand, wherever you are in the world on October 19th!

September 25, 2014 – Toronto, Canada – Race fans all over the world will have access to the live broadcast of this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon thanks to an innovative partnership between this IAAF Silver Label event and Google. For the first time ever, access to the race will be available on the Canada Running Series YouTube channel. While MaRS was the intermediary between marathon organizers and YouTube, it is Toronto based Endless Potential Media Group (EPMG) that is responsible for the broadcast content and assembling a first class commentary team.

“YouTube is a global platform and it provides more people an opportunity to access that content, around the world,” says Nathan Monk, Sr. Strategist of the ICT Venture Services Group of Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, who helped facilitate the arrangement. “If the race was just being broadcast on a national channel it could only reach so many people. Through this partnership, family and friends of those runners can now stream the race from anywhere in the world.”

Tim Hutchings, a two time IAAF World Cross Country Silver medalist, has been contracted to provide colour. With two decades of experience Hutchings’ voice has been heard on NBC, CBC, BBC, Eurosport and dozens of other international television networks around the world. The Englishman will be joined by Michael Doyle, editor-in-chief of Canadian Running magazine and Krista DuChene, who ran her personal best marathon time of 2:28:32 at last year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

The 'live' broadcast will also be shown on the Finish Line jumbo-screen as well as around the world via YouTube

The ‘live’ broadcast will also be shown on the Finish Line jumbo-screen as well as around the world via YouTube

“This particular broadcast will be especially significant because it will be in HD,” says Race Director Alan Brookes. “Marathons can now be in control of our own destiny, and work to build our audiences through our own channels [YouTube in this case], and social media. No longer do we hope that a broadcast TV network will cover the race, but then show it at 2am on a Wednesday. Or that we’ll have to watch some illegal internet feed with commentary in a foreign language. We feel this could open up a whole new world of world class marathons to a large and very interested audience.”

In a break with tradition, the commentators will be in a full studio in Mississauga, Ontario rather than at the finish line. This eliminates the need for laying massive amounts of fibre optic cables from Toronto’s City Hall to a truck parked near the finish line.

“We have upped the coverage with more cameras on the course than last year. There will be nine broadcast cameras, six of them mounted on motorcycles (along with eight DEJERO transmitters),” Matt Hortobagyi, Executive Producer at EPMG reveals. “What that is going to do is give us compete coverage of the elite Canadian men and women, as well as the elite internationals. It’s going to be better and more accommodating for the commentators.”

To watch the Race Day broadcast fans can simply go to the www.stwm.ca homepage where the YouTube live stream will be embedded. The homepage will also have important links to the event’s Social Hub which brings all social media posts together from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (using the hashtag #STWM). There is also “live” runner tracking to check split times for family and friends, and a Leaderboard to follow the race up front.

Posted in General, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | 1 Comment

What’s Your Blerch? #BeatTheBlerch Contest

Blerch Contest FINAL 880x440 Twitter

In celebration of the release of The Oatmeal’s new book “The Terrible And Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances” we want to talk about THE BLERCH!

Netflix, cake, sleeping in, beer, negative thinking. What are the things in your life that tempt you to stay in as you’re heading out the door for your run?

What is YOUR Blerch?

Tell us or show us using the #BeatTheBlerch hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for your chance to win 1 of 2 Oatmeal Prize packs. Please tag @RunCRS in your posts!

Prize packs includes one copy each of The Terrible And Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants, My Dog the Paradox: A Lovable Discourse about Man’s Best Friend; one medium “I Believe in the Blerch” Running Shirt; one pair of “I Believe in the Blerch” Running Socks; one “The Blerch” water bottle; and one $25 Indigo gift card.

Contest will run from September 24th – 30th on Twitter and Instagram. Winners will be chosen and announced on Monday October 1st. Good luck!

Read the original comic “The Terrible And Wonderful Reasons Why I run Long Distances.”

Posted in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Comments Off on What’s Your Blerch? #BeatTheBlerch Contest

Musings On My First Marathon. By Emily Gray

TORONTO. September 22nd 2014. In 2010, Digital Champion Emily Gray cheered on runners at mile 22 of the New York City Marathon, and cried. Inspiration had hit, and she knew she had to get involved somehow. When early 2011 rolled around, on a whim, she signed up for her first half marathon and in August 2011 bit the bullet and signed up to run the 2011 NYC Marathon as a guide for a disabled athlete with Achilles International. Halfway through the marathon, Emily thought, “Oh no… I’ll never do this again… why do my feet hurt so much? I wonder if it’s OK to lie down?” Fast forward to 2014 and her third marathon is on the race agenda, along with her first triathlon. Fully addicted to training and racing, Emily has raced 5k, 10k and 30k events, half and full marathons, as well as numerous obstacle races. Now, she is learning to swim to complete a half Ironman in 2016.  You can often find Emily running all over Toronto (join her! Or at least wave to her), or hitting up every gym out there to try every workout in the city. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, indoor cycling and group fitness instructor, and run coach. Connect with Emily on Twitter @EmilyMcGray.

Musings On My First Marathon. By Emily Gray. 

It’s 3 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2011. My alarm Emily Gray Determinedblares, and I stumble through my morning routine, throw on my running shoes and throwaway clothing and walk downstairs. My roommate, Michael, still awake from the previous night’s escapades offers me a hot dog and says, “Hey, aren’t you running some marathon sometime soon?” “Uh….yeah,” I replied, “That’s actually where I’m going now…” “OH MAN!” he yelled, “Are you sure you don’t want a hot dog?”

Clearly, I did not want a hot dog. However, I also can’t remember eating breakfast (mistake #1… bear with me, these will come fast and furious). I ran out the door into the cold New York air to meet my running partner on the subway to head to Staten Island. On my way, I started thinking about how I ended up deciding to run a full marathon as a guide for a disabled athlete with Achilles International, only 3 months prior to race day (mistake #2). I, like many of you, was kind of dragged into it. Twist my rubber arm, I suppose. One day Katia, my running mate, said, “I’m running the NY Marathon. You should run with me.”

I’d run a few 5k and 10k races before, plus my first half marathon 6 months prior to marathon day, and boy did I struggle through training. I skipped runs, and not just a few… I skipped many. I skipped my 20 miler (mistake #3) because I figured the 18 miler was enough. My shoes were brand spanking new and I’d never run in them before (mistake #4). Despite all of this, I swore I was prepared. Katia arrived on the subway platform, and we boarded the next train, “ready” to tackle the race.

The Achilles athletes were provided a heated tent near the start line with breakfast, where I had a bagel and congratulated myself on my ability to carb load, after all I did have half a loaf of bread from Eataly while walking around the day before (mistake #5). As we stepped into the brisk November morning, Katia handed me some Shot Bloks. “Hmm,” I thought. “Delicious.” (mistake #6). Everything was unremarkable until mile 10. We were in Brooklyn and all agreed to stop to use the port-a-potty and then it hit me. You know what I mean… there’s no polite way to say why I had to run repeatedly to the port-a-potty, but I’m 99% sure it was the Shot Bloks.

When I emerged, Katia was there waiting for me… and our Achilles athlete was not. We lost our athlete (mistake #7). Panicked, we spent about 5 miles sprinting back and forth running and re-running parts of the course searching and searching for our team (mistake #8). We ran up the Pulaski Bridge, which separates Brooklyn from Queens, and completely ran out of steam just in time for the Queensboro Bridge and mile 17. We had long since given up hope of finding our original athlete, so when we spotted a teammate of hers, we limped up to him and joined his group.

It’s hard not to be inspired by athletes with disabilities, so when I heard something snap in my hamstring (man, I should have done more training!) around mile 18 there was no way I was stopping (mistake #9). I limped, I cried, I cursed, I almost jogged until mile 21 when we hit the Bronx. Notoriously empty compared to the crazy cheering that happens all up First Avenue, there wasn’t a soul around, and I wanted to die. Five more miles, I told myself. That’s 50 minutes (as I was running a 10 minute mile pace at that point). I’m going to die. That’s when I saw someone cheering on the side of the road. Much like the Grinch, my heart grew in size and I was so excited to pass them… until I did and they promptly yelled: “RUN FASTER!” I wish I had thought of that! Somehow, we all made it to the finish line, crossing as one big team.

I got my foil blanket, my medal, and had to walk uphill to get out of the park.  I found my friends and boyfriend, and stumbled up to them lifting my feet like a horse. “Get. These. Shoes. OFF OF ME!” I never wanted to wear shoes again. I also never wanted to run another marathon… or walk another step, really. I went home, wrapped in my foil blanket on my couch and sobbed. For hours. Okay… it was for the entire next week. That’s right, I spent 7 days eating Ben & Jerry’s (Mint Chocolate Cookie), and watching one of Kim Kardashian’s weddings on E!, sobbing.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be my third marathon, and definitely not my last. So what have I learned from my first marathon debacle? A lot.

1. You can’t skip most of your training runs and have a successful race.

2. You can’t eat weird things your body doesn’t know how to metabolize near, around, or during the race.

3. You can’t eat a loaf of bread the day before and call it “carb loading.” Darn!

4. You can’t ignore pain. Learn to live with discomfort, though.

5. You won’t die.

6. You are amazing.

Posted in Digital Champions, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Comments Off on Musings On My First Marathon. By Emily Gray