Belarus Marathon Star Aliaksandra Duliba to Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

Aliaksandra on her way to her 2:21:29 PB in Boston this Spring

Aliaksandra on her way to her 2:21:29 PB in Boston this Spring. Photo: Victor Sailer, Photo Run.

TORONTO. August 12th. Over the past two years Aliaksandra Duliba has swiftly risen to prominence in international women’s marathon running becoming one of the most exciting prospects on the planet.

On October 19th the 26 year old Belarusian will line up in the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with an eye on the course record of 2:22:43. The event is, for the seventh consecutive year, an IAAF Silver Label race.

Her marathon experience might be short but she has accomplished much. She will arrive in Toronto as one of the race favourites. In March 2013 she debuted at the Los Angeles Marathon emerging with a victory in a decent time of 2:26:08. That was good enough to earn an invitation to the 2013 Chicago Marathon where she raced to a 4th place finish in a new personal best of 2:23:44.

“I came to the marathon distance by accident – and good luck,” she declares. “During the years of 2009-2011 I was basically making my living competing in small races in France and Poland. Twice a year I participated in the national championships of Belarus and hadn’t even thought about running a marathon. At that time that would be the most ambitious and surreal idea.”

Duliba credits her agent the New York based Russian, Andrey Baranov, with moving up to the classic distance.
“I realized I was barely making my living from those small races and I was not moving forward,” she remembers. “That was the right time and Andrey Baranov approached me saying right away ‘Duliba, it’s time to get serious, you’ve got the potential of a marathon runner, just stay focused on one distance.’ And, he had the right coach for me.”

The agent introduced her to Ukrainian coach, Igor Osmak, and they began working together in the winter of 2012. One of the first things the coach did was increase her training volume. The partnership continues to pay off. Most recently Duliba finished 6th in the 2014 Boston Marathon in a world class time of 2:21:29, a result which bolstered her confidence in considering an assault on the Toronto race record.

Boston 2014. Photo: Victor Sailer, Photo Run

Boston 2014. Photo: Victor Sailer, Photo Run

“I have to ask your opinion,” she says good naturedly. “If my ‘PR’ is 2:21:29 and the weather conditions are close to ideal, like they were in Boston, am I capable of that record? But, to be honest, time is not the goal, the aim is to make the podium.”

Duliba will be accompanied by her fiance, Ukrainian marathoner Vitaliy Shafar, to Toronto. He has a best time of 2:09:37, which he ran in Boston, last April. The pair are living together in Kiev, Ukraine.

“During warm months we train in Kiev, actually in the countryside near Kiev, surrounded by fresh air and beautiful forests,” Duliba explains. “For the winter months we move to southern Ukraine, to the seaside town of Yalta, or go to Cholpo-Ata, in the Kyrgyz Republic. Usually it’s our coach’s decision depending on the specifics of the marathon we train for.

“Eastern-European athletes usually train differently than athletes from Kenya or Ethiopia, who are used to training in a group. Yes, there are other athletes in our group, we all see each other before the training, while parking a car, having a little chit-chat warming up, but women and men train separately. And we don’t pace each other. I personally like to train by myself, but for the long runs (20 – 25 km) I don’t mind to have someone from the group next to me, just to keep me company.”

As a young girl Duliba showed athletic promise and was enrolled in the Sport School of Olympic Reserve in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, where she specialized in cross country skiing. A local athletics coach happened to spot her running on the track one day and approached her. Some regional track and field competitions followed and her interest grew.

“I came from a family who had little idea of what professional sport is. At first they didn’t ‘get’ my passion for running and couldn’t understand why I didn’t choose a ‘normal’ job, like an engineer, or a teacher,” she explains. “It’s not that they didn’t approve it, no, they simply felt sorry for me not having days off or holidays, spending all my time training, being on a running diet all the time, not eating fast food, or mayonnaise, or anything fried. They basically thought of it as a temporary hobby of mine.

“But as time went by my accomplishments changed a lot. Now they are my biggest fans and support every single thing I do, and they help me a lot. When I visit my parents, and my older sister, they do everything to make me feel comfortable. They adjust their schedules to my training and resting needs.”

Formerly a track runner she experimented with some road racing in 2011 finishing a half marathon race. The seeds of her marathon ambition might have been sown at that point. Despite her impressive resume she admits she is still learning the marathon.

“With each marathon I gain new experience and confidence,” she says. “From those three marathons I learned a lot of lessons, mistakes were made, but corrected and lots of knowledge derived. I learned how to stick to the pace and tactics, how to react to the other competitors moves, how to be patient at some point and where to be aggressive to achieve victory.

“I also learned many small things which could make your performance a success or totally ruin it such as: what to eat before the race, how to make the elite fluids, how to get them right at the fluid station, which shoe model to wear depending on the weather and many things like that which I will all use in Toronto.”

Duliba and her coach have decided there will be no competitions prior to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. They are looking for something special in Canada’s largest city. But she harbours very bold long term dreams.

“I think the biggest dream of each athlete is an Olympic medal,” she reveals. “It is also mine. But more realistically the goal is to make the national Olympic team and represent your country at your best.

“I am not chasing any time, or any record, I personally find it a bit self-distracting. My goal is to make podiums and enjoy the profession as a professional athlete and stay injury free.”

The Toronto record remains 2:22:43 and was set by Ethiopia’s Koren Yal in 2011. If weather conditions are right, and her competition takes the bait, we may well see it beaten by the Belarusian star. And that would be just the next step in this great athlete’s career.

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STWM Launches important 25th Anniversary Programme.

STWM 42k & 21k Start, 2001 at Flatiron Building, St.Lawrence Market

STWM 42k & 21k Start, 2001 at Flatiron Building, St.Lawrence Market

TORONTO. August 11th. Organizers of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon have launched an extensive programme for the 25th anniversary edition of the event, to be run on Sunday, October 19th, 2014. “From the very beginning, the race has been about inclusion, about inviting everyone, and building both sport and community together,” said Race Director Alan Brookes. “So we’re really pleased to be able to offer ‘something for everyone’ in this year’s 25th Anniversary celebrations!”

The centre-piece is a greatly expanded “History” section on the event website that now contains more than 100 images depicting key moments in the growth and development of the race, and of Canadian road racing scene. From changes in fashion, timing technology, courses and venues, plus unforgettable performances, the new section brings alive the lengthy road traveled to get to where we are today.

First edition! Coors Light Toronto Half-marathon & 5K, plus Charity Challenge for YMCA Community Fund. October 14, 1990. Artwork by late Kevin Hayes of Longboat Roadrunners

First edition! Coors Light Toronto Half-marathon & 2K Turkey Trot, plus Charity Challenge for YMCA Community Fund. October 14, 1990. Artwork by late Kevin Hayes of Longboat Roadrunners

The race was first run on Sunday, October 14th, 1990, as the Coors Light Toronto Half-marathon & 5K in support of the YMCA Community Fund. That year, the winners were American Olympic legend Joan Benoit Samuelson (72:37) – the first winner of an Olympic women’s marathon six years earlier in 1984 — and Virginia’s Steve Taylor (62:29). They took home Coors Light beer-can trophies as well as cash prizing. The event continued as a half-marathon and 5K until the 42.195 kilometre full-marathon distance was added in 2000. While the sponsors and charities have also changed over a quarter-century, the pillars of the events’ success have been remained the same: inclusiveness, and a measured balance between offering an international-class sporting event that puts the city on the athletics’ world stage, and a major, local, community fundraising festival. Scotiabank became title sponsor in 1997 and has remained so for 18 years. The innovative Scotiabank Charity Challenge was introduced at a pilot project in 2002, the Neighbourhood Challenge in 2004, and combined have raised a remarkable $20.97 million since that date – mostly for smaller, local charities.

To celebrate the quarter-century of the event and the 15th running of the marathon, organizers are also offering a range of souvenirs under the banner “25 Years Running”.

  • ALL participants are invited to download a free Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront “Digital Training Badge” to let everyone know that they are preparing for the special anniversary edition http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/en/training-badge.htmSTWM14-Digital.Badge-fnl
  • Begun last year, the “STWM Stars Programme” has been expanded to recognize those runners who have completed multiple Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Full Marathons.
    • this year, all those running their 5th STWM full marathon in 2014 will receive an “STWM Stars” beer mug sponsored by Mill St. Brewery.STWM-5StarMugs-TW
    • those running their 10th or more STWM full marathon in 2014 will be inducted into the new “Platinum Club”, will receive a special commemorative medal and a range of other benefits.STWM-PlatinumMedal-TW

(rewards can be picked up at the Awards Tent in the Post-Race Party Site on race day).

  • BROOKS, the official athletic footwear and apparel partner, will be offering an expanded range of souvenir merchandise at the race EXPO, at the Direct Energy Centre on Friday and Saturday, October 17th & 18th.
  • This year’s EXPO will also feature a “25 Years Running” photo display and Signing Wall. The display captures many of the memorable moments from a quarter century at the event, and will be drawn from the new, expanded “History” section of the website. The Signing Wall will then provide the opportunity for the 25,000 participants from 60+ countries to leave their mark on the special occasion.
  • The Guest Speakers’ Series on the main stage at the EXPO will also feature several high-performance and recreational runners who have already stamped their mark on the history of the event. Panel discussions will also compare racing Toronto Half Marathon/Toronto Waterfront Marathon over the last 3 decades, and how things have changed_mg_0880-web
    • These include Virginia Lee and Rick Rayman, the only runners to have completed all 14 editions of the STWM 42k — this year will be their 15th!

“So much has changed in Canadian road running in 25 years,” said Brookes. “This year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half & 5K will be a great time to reflect on how far we’ve come together, and celebrate with an outstanding race weekend!” Everyone is invited!” www.stwm.ca

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Behold the #Runfie. By Andrew Chak

TORONTO August 10th 2014. When Andrew ran his first 10K two and half years ago, he felt like a hero. The city streets were closed just for his run. People cheered him on like he was an Olympian. He got a sparkly medal that he could keep wearing for days. And he had all-you-can-eat bagels at the finish. He was hooked. That first 10K lead to another 10K, and then a 15K, and then a half-marathon, and then all the way to six marathons. You could say that Andrew was a little obsessed. In fact, he won a blogging contest with iRun.ca and is now their “Obsessive Running” blogger.  With STWM, Andrew has run the 5K, half-marathon, and full-marathon races and he can’t wait to connect with others to talk all things running as a Digital Champion for this event. Connect with Andrew on Twitter @AndrewChak and on his iRun.ca blog.

Behold the #Runfie. By Andrew Chak.

You know who you are. You like to run. You like to selfie. You like to run and selfie and henceforth, you like to runfie.

Not only do the STWM Digital Champions love to run, they also love to runfie. Not surprisingly, they are photographic connoisseurs when it comes to sharing their runner’s high, latest running fashion statement, or some other form of badassery. So go ahead, get inspired by the imagery below and go forth and hashtag your very own #runfie.

Amber Runfie

The Sparkling #Runfie

Amber knows that the hour around sunrise or sunset makes for a beautiful glow. Amber also knows that her sparkling smile makes the sun pale by comparison.

 

 

 

 

The Souvenir #RunfieCory Runfie

When out and about, what better way to remember where your travels took you than to take a runfie in front of a local sign? Cory elegantly matches his shirt and headband to complement the tones of the signage behind him.

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda RunfieThe Show-Your-Terrain #Runfie

Mandy knows trail. And you know Mandy knows trail because she shows you the terrain she is running on. And she cleverly reminds us to stay hydrated at the same time. Thanks Mandy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Smile-And-Run-It #Runfie Karyn Runfie

Karyn shows her love of the run by always smiling through it. Was it hot and humid? Did she just fartlek? It doesn’t matter because Karyn’s smile is all we need to know.

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa RunfieThe Hold-It-In #Runfie 

We’re thankful when Lisa shares with us how hard it is to nail a speed workout. We’re also thankful she holds it in just enough to take a runfie.

 

 

 

 

 

The Running-For-Dear-Life #Runfie Andrew Runfie

Sometimes a run is motivated by pure survival. Was Andrew running away from bears? Zombies? No, it’s much worse! Mosquitoes.

 

 

 

 

 

Kenny Runfie

The On-The-Run #Runfie

Kenny shows us how to runfie during the New York and Boston Marathons. Kenny stays safe by only doing runfies during fun runs. And yes, Kenny sometimes runs marathons “just” for fun.

 

 

 

 

 

The Twice-As-Fun #Runfie  Petja Runfie

A run is double the fun when you share it with another. If Petja’s reptilian tongue scores him a duck-faced kiss from his lovely wife Andrea, who are we not to try the same?

 

 

 

 

 

The Epic Cow #Runfie Bridget Runfie

Cows are just cows. But when they’re part of a runfie, cows become epic. Bridget either ran really far or just next door to catch this cow on her run.

 

 

 

 

 

The I’m-Coming-Back #Runfie Karen Runfie

After at 5-week layoff due to injury, Karen is run-walking her way back to recovery and shows us that every bit of progress is a victory.

 

 

 

 

 

Leanne RunfieThe Classic Group #Runfie

Leanne and her friends show us a classic group runfie shot. Everyone is looking at the camera, no heads are chopped off, and the person with the longest arms is the designated photographer.

 

 

 

 

The All-Inclusive #Runfie Linda Runfie

Linda brings it all together with an all-inclusive composite runfie. Who did she run with? What was her time? What was her route? How far did she go? Linda knows we all need to know, so now we do.

 

 

 

 

Now’s it your turn to take your own #runfie and post it to Instagram or Twitter and join in the fun!

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Joy: The Run Diary. By Ravi Singh

TORONTO August 7th 2014. Digital Champion Ravi Singh savours the constant affirmation provided by putting on foot in front of the other. When he started running near the end of graduate school three years ago, he noticed a gradual shedding of self-doubt (and pounds), a growth in confidence, and sense of achievement that he never quite knew previously. Ravi’s first race was the Toronto Island 10K in 2012, which he ran in a long-sleeved cotton shirt and basketball shorts on a hot September day. He has since completed two half-marathons (including STWM in 2013), some 10Ks, and the Around the Bay 30K. He is looking forward to crossing the finish line of his first marathon at STWM on Sunday October 19th! Connect with Ravi on Twitter @RaviMatSingh and on his blog.

Joy: The Run Diary. By Ravi Singh

Joy is the only sustaining force in life. If you cannot find it in something you undertake, you are bound to fail.

ravi singh 2I was coming down Avenue Road from St. Clair Avenue, about fifteen kilometres into the twenty planned for my Saturday group run. Though it was the downhill portion of the run, it was supposed to be the most gruelling and difficult, the final stretch of a long run after you’ve already climbed your hills, hit your peak for speed, and logged more miles than anyone should care to on a Saturday morning.

At this point, you’re just trying to get to the end, praying that your legs will hold up, that you’re not about to suffer the consequences of failing to hydrate or fuel properly. If it’s a group run, you’re praying that you won’t experience the dreaded bonk and have all those who were trailing you fly past while you fall to the back of the pack and waddle your way to the finish. When it comes to the long run, these last few kilometres are usually the least pleasant.

It was our custom to run at 9 am on Saturdays, but this week we moved our start time to an hour earlier. Doing so afforded crisp breezes throughout the route which ran across Lakeshore, up the Don Trail, and through Riverdale Park and its unforgiving Rocky-esque stairs that I climbed onto Sumach Street. From there it was through Wellesley Park and onto Rosedale Valley Road, which also presented a gradual climb onto Yonge Street. Then it was up the not so gradual climb on Yonge to St. Clair, the latter of which we crossed to Avenue Road, where we started this story, to come south.

With about five kilometres remaining, I was certainly more fatigued than when I had started and that ought to go without saying. Mentally, however, I was soaring, having drifted away from the other runners and settled into my very own pace group well behind the fastest of the group, but just slightly ahead of the middle of the pack.

The earlier start made even Avenue Road relatively quiet and I wandered into my own mind. I love these little stretches that present themselves on every run where, even for a few seconds, the world around you shuts down and you dig something from your mind that you swear is so new and profound that you are suddenly on par with Nietzsche or Homer. You’re not, but your discovery is still a treasure to you and it keeps you in motion.

What I found in my mind was unabashed Ravi Singhjoy. I was ecstatic at feeling my legs still moving with no intention of giving out after nearly two hours of non-stop running. I savoured the perfect rythm of every inhale and exhale that I never struggled for and kept me moving along toward the finish. I smiled slightly when I realized that my head and core remained upright. I loved that my body was this perfect machine operating like clockwork and in my mind I felt I could go forever.

I found that sensation that running gave me very early on, an affirmation of strength that couldn’t be denied. I found joy in having both a mind and body powerful enough to push me up hills and across psychotic distances in all extremes of weather. I loved that I love myself when I run and that I was outrunning all the lifestyle choices and bouts of depression that could’ve killed me.

There’s a great joy in survival and in feeling that you’ve defeated something, an opponent, a goal, or some fragment of yourself. Indeed, the idea that we learned to run long distances in order to survive has gained traction among scientists over the years. We learned to avoid predators and hunt our own prey over long distances. We ran to survive and to conquer, occasions worthy of celebration.

Though I run without a spear and through concrete, I’m still running to survive, and each run is a triumph bringing with it that sense of joy that fuels further journeys. I don’t see running as labour. I look for and feed upon that joy because that joy signals that my body is equipped for survival.

Coming down Avenue Road, that realization somehow became more vivid than it ever had before, crystallizing what I probably had always known. My mind was not on distance or pace or other runners. Thinking of how glorious it was just to be moving, I trotted along like a child utterly fascinated by a new toy.

The fact is that you have to see running as a joyful experience if you’re going to keep going. You have to stop and savour all that it’s done for you and all that you’ve conquered in doing it. It’s not a chore. It’s survival. It’s growth. It’s joy.

 

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Dylan Wykes Faces Fatherhood and Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

It gives us enormous pleasure to announce the addition of Canadian Olympian Dylan Wykes to this October’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Start List. “Anytime we can add an athlete of Dylan’s calibre, it greatly enhances the anticipation of a thrilling race, gets the juices and the buzz flowing for all of us,” said Race Director, Alan Brookes. “That Dylan will race the Vancouver Eastside 10K as his tune-up event is a super, added bonus!”

With Eric Gillis already confirmed for STWM, it means we will have 2 of our 3 Canadian Olympic marathoners from London 2012 in this year’s race — the third, Reid Coolsaet, not racing owing to injury.

How fast can Dylan and Eric go on a good day? Can they finally take out Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 record? We got the Women’s Record last year with Lanni Marchant; will we finally see the Men’s go down this year?

Will Dylan get his race in before the baby comes? So many great things to chatter about; so many things to look forward to this Fall!

Here’s Paul Gains’ latest feature for us to enjoy.

Canada's #1 ranked men's marathoner at London 2012 Olympics. Photo Credit: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun

Canada’s #1 ranked men’s marathoner at London 2012 Olympics. Photo Credit: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun

TORONTO. August 5th. Canada’s Dylan Wykes will make his third appearance at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with the fingers on both hands crossed, hoping that medical doctors are precise.

The IAAF Silver Label race is scheduled for Sunday October 19th. Wykes’ wife, Francine, is due to give birth to the couple’s first child five days later. The couple met while attending Providence College on track and field scholarships.

Two years ago Wykes rose to number two on the Canadian all time marathon rankings list with a 2:10:47 performance at the Rotterdam marathon. Only Jerome Drayton’s thirty-nine year old Canadian record (2:10:09) is superior.

But Wykes, a 31 year old Kingston, Ontario native, who now resides in Vancouver, would like nothing better than to claim that record. Given the circumstances his decision to commit to the Toronto race – where he will join fellow Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis on the start line – was not an easy one to make.

“I want to be present for the birth of the baby,” Wykes declares, “I was trying to decide whether it was worth risking not being there by going to Toronto and also where my head would be mentally if I was in Toronto and Francine went into labour in Vancouver while I was away. Francine and I discussed things; if we were both going to be comfortable with me not being there; just trying to see what might have been options. That was the main consideration.

“Her parents are in Cambridge. We talked about the possibility of (her having the baby there) but we are pretty set up here in Vancouver now and we decided it would be better to stay in Vancouver. And, Francine’s parents are going to come out while I am in Toronto.”

Two years ago he was Canada’s top finisher in the 2012 Olympic marathon finishing 20th in 2:15:26. That was his fourth marathon start in ten months. The Rotterdam race had been his third attempt at the Olympic qualifying standard. After achieving his Olympic dream even his coach, Richard Lee, wondered if he would ever sacrifice so much to run a fast marathon again.

“I think a lot of it for me was knowing the commitment that it takes and the sacrifices you have to make to make something like a Canadian record or an Olympic team,” Wykes reveals. “It’s huge. There have been times since then that I have questioned whether or not it would be worthwhile pushing through that again.

“Since April (of this year) I feel I am getting into a training groove with the group in Vancouver again and it feels like is something I am motivated to do again. I can sense that getting to that fitness is something I can achieve again. So, I am motivated.”

Dylan powers his way past "Gassy Jack" en route to victory at 2013 Vancouver Eastside 10K. Photo Credit: Chris Relke, Canada Running Series

Dylan powers his way past “Gassy Jack” en route to victory at 2013 Vancouver Eastside 10K. Photo Credit: Chris Relke, Canada Running Series

While he trained alone for most of his 2012 Olympic quest he has since been joined by Canadian internationals Rob Watson and Kelly Wiebe, all under the guidance of the head coach of the BC Endurance Project, Richard Lee. Already the results have been superb. A late entry to the Vancouver Sun Run 10k he finished a surprising second there in 29:11. Most significantly, on June 22nd he won the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in 1:03:51.

“I had no training partners at all (before London) I did almost all my training on my own leading up to London,” he admits. “It’s good (having partners), it’s definitely part of what has helped my motivation to have this training group. The way I did it before I was doing everything by myself. That was hard to stay motivated. So it’s good to have guys like Rob and Kelly out there.

“We have kind of done a pre-buildup to the buildup and increased the mileage a bit. I went through some ups and downs after the half (Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon) but I am coming through it now. We should be doing our hardest training over the next five or six weeks.”

Dylan's back... leading the pack on his way to victory in June's Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon!

Dylan’s back… leading the pack on his way to victory in June’s Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon!

Wykes admits he watched the recent Commonwealth Games with great interest. Australia’s Michael Shelley claimed gold in 2:11:15 ahead of five East African athletes. The result at once had Wykes asking himself, ‘what if?’

“It was funny because the guy that won was a guy I wanted to key off at the Olympics because he has got some good results at championships,” says the Canadian star. “I ended up being a little ambitious (in London) and was maybe 30 seconds ahead of him at halfway. Sure enough, he came past me and beat me by a minute. He came 16th. So I have followed his career. I was watching the Glasgow race thinking, I could be in there. but, it is what it is.”

Only one race is planned, prior to Toronto, the Vancouver Eastside 10km which is also part of the Canada Running Series. It’s a race he won last year. His and coach Lee’s reasoning is to limit the amount of travel that can disrupt the final preparations for the marathon.

“It will be good to get in a bunch of training,” he adds. “I am not sure of the value of racing while you are in marathon training, to see where your fitness is, because it doesn’t really tell you a lot. You can try and rest but you are still tired from the (marathon) training. But it’s good to go through the motions of racing and realizing you are going to do this for real five weeks later.”

Drawing inspiration from American Meb Keflezighi who won this year’s Boston Marathon aged 38, Wykes believes he has a few more years in him, at least to get through another Olympic cycle, possibly two. But again motivation will factor into the equation.

“I really just want to get the most out of myself as I can,” he declares. “Obviously the Canadian Record falls into that. It just so happens that 2:10 is a barrier I would like to break and the Canadian Record falls within that. That’s huge, I would love to improve on my finish at the London Olympics, make another Olympic team. I look at guys who have finished in the top 10 in past years and I’d like to get to that level. That would be something that would be a nice touch.”

But, for now, Wykes realizes running his first marathon in two years is the next challenge on the roads along with becoming a father for the first time. Combining the two is something he will be discussing with his rival, Eric Gillis, a father of two.

“A guy like Eric he has spent the best part of his career as a father,” says Wykes with a laugh, “I’m sure he will have a lot of words of wisdom for me, how to prioritize things. It will be change in my life and, definitely, a shock to the system.”

For further information and entry into this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon events see www.stwm.ca

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42 for 24. By Dan Way

TORONTO August 3rd 2014. Digital Champion Dan Way is a familiar face among the Toronto running community. He started running and training seriously in 2010 after moving to the city to attend graduate school. Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2014 will be Dan’s 7th marathon. It was also his debut/first marathon back in 2011. Dan considers STWM to be his “hometown” race and is working hard to run another PB in 2014. Connect with Dan on Twitter @DansWay07 and on his blog.

42 for 24. By Dan Way.

Alan_vs_DanWayI’m not sure how it started or who initiated the wager, but when I line up at the start of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 19th, there will be much more than just personal bests and pride at stake.

My goal, as always, will be to run as fast and as hard as I possibly can and to leave nothing out on the roads. But as I cross the finish after 42.2K, there will be one more reason and a bit of extra incentive to glance up at the clock and hope for a fast time. That being an ice-cold case of my favourite brand of brews.

Yes, that’s right: I’m running for beer! 42K for 24 beers. My prize if I’m fast enough. To do so I need to run faster than than Race Director, Alan Brookes did some 31 years before! 2:34:39 or better. Not my personal best time, but the time I nonetheless will aim to beat at STWM.

Few people truly appreciate the vast amount of time and energy that is spent planning and preparing in the days, weeks and months ahead of race day. Not just by those training to run the race, but perhaps more so by those working to organize it. This is especially true of a world-class event like STWM, which hosts some 25,000 participants as well as thousands more volunteers, spectators and race day officials.

In the past decade or so, there is one person who has done more to grow and develop the sport and activity of recreational running and racing in Canada. Working tirelessly and endlessly behind the scenes to ensure that each and every event detail has been taken care of. Catering to those at the front setting national records, those in the middle running for personal bests, as well as those further back raising hundreds and thousands of dollars to support worthy causes. STWM is but one of several exceptionally organized and implemented events hosted by the Canada Running Series, a small but committed organization responsible for many of the best running events in the country. Many could recognize their tireless and tenacious leader. Many more would not.

Fewer still know that on October 2nd, 1983 (some three years before I was even born), Alan Brookes ran his fastest 42.2K at the Toronto Marathon on some of the same very streets that I and 25,000 others will run on Oct. 19th, more than 31 years later.

2:34:40.

A personal best of some three minutes and a time he would never better in his five or so years of competitive club running. In fact, when asked about his subsequent races, Brookes seemed more proud of having run several 3:30 and even 4:00+ marathons with friends and fellow members of the running community. This included the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon in 1996, as well as running internationally in Berlin and London.

At the peak of his training Brookes was running 80+ miles per week in and around his native Guelph, Ont. as a member of the Waterloo County 3As (Amateur Athletics Association). Brookes says his number one motivation to train was simply “to beat the other guys [in the club]!” Brookes didn’t shy away from giving due credit to his club, his coach (Vic Matthews) and his many teammates who pushed and pulled him through the rigorous workouts and training. He’s convinced that being in a group, as part of a team, made much of the difference in how successful and how satisfying his running and training would be.

I couldn’t help but draw striking similarities Black Lungs Dan Wayto my own amateur running ‘career’ running and training here in Toronto with my own club, ‘the Black Lungs’ who offer endless support and motivation. Brookes is quick to credit part of the surge in running popularity to the growing number of run clubs and crews: especially among youngish, urban types, like myself, who seek the camaraderie that comes with belonging to a committed and at times competitive community. These crews can now be found filling the streets, tracks and trails of cities across the country at seemingly all times of the year. The loneliness of the long distance runner is no more, or at least it need not be!

Brookes is excited to see the running community continue to grow and flourish. He’s proud to be a part of it and his involvement and activism should be applauded. Brookes is an outspoken proponent of the sport of running at all levels as well as for the continued emphasis and importance of recreational running for physical health, emotional wellness and community spirit.

We all have our own reasons to run. We all embark on our own journeys to train, run and race. Brookes has been there before. He’s been an athlete, is now an organizer and has always been an activist. Before the races begin, we all owe a great amount of thanks and praise to those like Alan Brookes. Thanks to him, I will line up on Oct 19th with a greater appreciation and immense respect for the work of event organizers and directors.

And if I can beat Brookes’ time of 2:34:40, I’ll also get a cold case of beer to toast him with!

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That Inexplicable Feeling. By Alan Tou

TORONTO July 31st 2014. Digital Champion Alan Tou began running road races in 2013 and has never looked back. In September of last year, Alan ran the Oasis Zoo Run 10K. The hills and rain were very challenging and he ran it alone. He started the race just metres away from Reid Coolsaet and Lanni Marchant, then finished a few kilometres behind them. Nevertheless, it was an experience to remember. It marked the moment he knew he wanted to run further and faster. On the heels of running his first half-marathon in May and under the coaching of Rejean Chiasson, he is excited to make STWM his first full marathon. Connect with Alan on Twitter @alatus and on his blog.

That Inexplicable Feeling. By Alan Tou.

Waking up the morning after a light evening Alan Tou Tracktrack workout, I wasn’t feeling great but I definitely felt ready for an easy run. It was in the training plan and I was going to have company. “Company” was another Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Digital Champion, Andrew Chak, who I was joining in the middle of his Saturday morning long run. For both of us, the pace was meant to be easy and manageable. That’s why I was so surprised, at around the 5km mark, to find myself wondering whether or not I’d be able to finish the back of the out-and-back. The feeling was foreign and without a name (maybe Olivier). It wasn’t anything in particular except that I was feeling off, mixed with a strong urge to stop and walk; to quit.

As runners, we often think and talk about how fit we are; to those who care and do not care alike. We have an idea about what good shape means for ourselves, and so when we hit the pavement, it’s with the intention of getting to that place or reaching beyond it. That speaks more to the physical side of training. Without the volume banked, after all, the marathon is an all but impossible challenge for the body.

What I was reminded of this morning is another critical aspect of training that I had quite honestly forgotten amidst the focus on fitness building: self-discovery. In other words, no matter how well conditioning is going physically, there are going to be days when we are not “with it” mentally. There is no accurate diagnosis for what I felt this morning or what brought it about, but I am certainly grateful for two things:

1) That it hit me during a training run and not a race

2) That I had good company to help me push through it

Now, if this feeling ever creeps up on me again, it will be familiar, and I will know with confidence that I can shake it off. Now, there is one less wrench that can be thrown into the middle of what would otherwise be a successful race.

There is an enormous abundance of material about running in existence or yet to be written; a lot of tips and tricks. Some of them are useful, but I would suggest the time spent sifting can be better spent running.

Our sport should be kept simple. Training will be slow some of the time, fast at others, short or long. All the while though, what we are always learning to do is to listen to our bodies. Those lessons are more important than any that I or anyone else can impart upon you. They’re also separate from the fitness. As Andrew has wisely said, “Bad training runs can be as good for you as good training runs.” The next time you are betraying yourself, inexplicably wanting to quit, be grateful that it is a feeling common to us all and that it is one that can be overcome.

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Kate Bazeley To Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

Kate powering her way past La Ronde en route to victory at 2012 Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal, National Championships

Kate powering her way past La Ronde en route to victory at 2012 Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal, National Championships

TORONTO. July 29th. Canadian women’s distance running has ascended to new heights in recent years and the latest talent to emerge is the ‘Pride of the Rock’, Kate Bazeley.

Two years ago the 30 year old Corner Brook, Newfoundland resident won the Canadian Half Marathon title at the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal but then came the birth of her daughter, Amelia and a subsequent maternity leave. Now, back in the best shape of her life, she is intent on scoring a personal best time at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (October 19)

The comeback, thus far, has been incredibly successful. She won the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 4th in a new personal best time of 1:15:18 then finished 2nd to Canadian record holder Lanni Marchant at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on June 22nd. Last weekend she won the 2014 Tely 10 miler in St. John’s with a respectable time of 55:57 missing the Nicola Will’s 1986 course record by ten seconds.

These results have caused tongue wagging amongst the racing community: could she be the next great Canadian distance runner?

Bazeley is the first elite Canadian woman to confirm her place in Toronto which has been awarded IAAF Silver Label Race status since 2008 when the IAAF initiated elite race rankings. The race is also celebrating 25 years of running this year.

“I definitely want to ‘pb’ I want to go under 2:40 for sure,” she declares, “then, possibly get close to, or under, the 2:35 mark. That is like the ‘A’ goal.”

Until now, Bazeley’s one marathon encounter was a low key debut at the 2014 Houston Marathon where she ran a respectable 2:40:49. That was good enough for 7th place and the accompanying $2,000 US prize money – her biggest pay day to date.

Kate on course in her Marathon debut in Houston. Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun

Kate on course in her Marathon debut in Houston. Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun

“It actually felt pretty good,” she remembers of her debut. “The first ten miles felt great. And the last 7 or 8 km, that was when it was a bit of a struggle. But overall it was a really great experience. I don’t have any complaints about it, really. I did get that very tired feeling towards the end and I started to lose my stride. I felt pretty strong throughout – and positive. I thought it was a great experience.

“It was sort of in the back of my mind – 2:40. Being my first marathon you don’t know what to expect. I really wanted to get out there and run the whole race and finish. I knew that I was capable of running under 2:40 and maybe, on a great day, closer to 2:37 or 2:38. But, I was really happy.”

Since her return to training she has been coached by fellow Canadian marathoner Matt Loiselle ( 2:16:01 personal best) who raced the 2012 Tely 10 miler and was the Bazeley’s house guest on that occasion. They discussed working together at that time. Of course, that was before Kate was pregnant with Amelia. The pair communicate daily by texting, email and the occasional phone call, the latter usually before a race.

“Kate is definitely an athlete that follows directions easily,” says Loiselle. “She’s a very hard worker and is very tough. The only training partner she has out in Corner Brook is Peter (her husband) and, if he can’t run a workout with her, she has to do some pretty long and challenging workouts with no one else around. And she’ll do it, no questions asked.

“She’s got a great attitude and it’s easy to work with her because she doesn’t absolutely obsess about running. She takes it seriously for sure, but she knows there are other things in life and that makes things easy for me.”

A positive marathon debut for Kate! At the Houston Finish Line. Photo taken by STWM RD Alan Brookes

A positive marathon debut for Kate! At the Houston Finish Line. Photo taken by STWM RD Alan Brookes

One thing she learned from racing Houston was that she needs to increase her mileage. Prior to that race she was managing around 120 kilometres a week topping out at 130km. Loiselle has seen to it that the volume is slowly increasing for Toronto peaking at 150km a week.

Much of this training is done alone or with Peter, (a 2:36:36 marathoner himself), pushing Amelia’s stroller, along picturesque roads which seem to provide inspiration.

“We live near Gros Morne, about forty-five minutes away,” she reveals, touting the UNESCO World Heritage site.

“We have come across moose, many times, caribou, eagles, otters, mink catching fish, The road we run on pretty much every day runs along the Humber River, a really large river on the west coast. We run completely on that road and there’s always wildlife and people out on boats.”

Part of the fascination with their landscape is the fact they moved there only fifteen months ago when Peter took a job as an hospital emergency room physician. Prior to that they had lived in St John’s where Bazeley taught middle school. She is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland – with degrees in nutrition and education – but she has no plans to return to teaching in the immediate future.

Bazeley admits seeking advice from fellow Canadian marathoner, Krista DuChene (2:28:32) especially about running on a treadmill. She says the roads in Corner Brook aren’t cleared of snow in the winter and she found it necessary to run on the treadmill for a couple of the worst months. Other than that she searches for helpful information on the internet.

“I do read a lot,” she confirms. “ When things pop up on social media or in a magazine I definitely take note and have a look, see what people are talking about mileage, nutrition, fueling, recovery, all of that. I do know what I should be doing and now I just have to go out and do it.

“And I did look up what a 2:35 was equivalent to in a half marathon. I think it was close to a 1:14 low and I know that I have work to do because my best (Half marathon) is 1:15 low. But Matt thinks that, based on my workouts, I could be able to run 2:35 mark. I sort of go by what he thinks.”

That time would take her into pretty elite company and make her competitive. Most significantly it would illustrate the enormous potential she has at the marathon distance while continuing the trend of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon aiding Canadians in their pursuit of international class racing. It’s an exciting prospect for sure.

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The Adventure And Foolishness Of Running. By Noel Paine

TORONTO July 28th 2014. Digital Champion Noel Paine is a distance runner with over 26 years of running and racing experience. He has run everything from the 100m hurdles to 100km ultra marathons. In 2013 he ran solo across the Grand Canyon a month before running a 100km trail ultra in Tuscany Italy. Aside from a passion for running, Noel also likes to share the stories of other Canadian runners via his personal blog along with one he writes for Canadian Running magazine. Connect with Noel on Twitter @NoelPaine and on his blog.

Running is not all medals and GPS statistics, soak in the adventure and foolishness. By Noel Paine

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” - Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist

Running is often about so much more than 294987_10151503337550370_1617982554_njust the distance from start to finish line. Even if you are a crazy marathon runner, you will only be out wandering the course for a number of hours. This is nothing compared to the hours spent sweating, chafing and cursing during training runs, stretching and doing other often ridiculous looking things to try prepare for a 42.2 kilometre personal battle.

This short blog will allow you to peer into the cobwebbed and cluttered corners of my mind and see what it comes up with for advice on keeping the running adventure alive and enjoying the foolishness.

The adventure

After 27 years of running I find the whole business of training and running an adventure and try and soak in the experiences. Having run everything from the 100m to an 100km ultra-marathon I can say I have taken in a good chunk of what running has to other. This does not make me any better than any other runner. But like a runner with perhaps a few more miles on the ole feet so I am passing along what little running-wisdom I have.

Here are some things to keep in mind when running and training. These are things meant  to keep running fun and adventurous.

  • Choose fast courses once in a while but also go for character, spirit and scenery
  • Enjoy your running and training, choose new places to train and explore
  • Look for new challenges whether it be location, distance, elevation or racing in costume
  • Remember that if you like running, it ought to be fun
  • Go for a run with a friend and explore a new route
  • Remember that if running is not paying the bills, take it easy on yourself mentally and physically
  • Pull the earphones out of the ears, leave the GPS at home, unstrap the fuel belt and just run once in a while. Soak your surroundings, the sounds and be at one with your thoughts whether in a race or on a run.
  • On cold, dark winter evening runs pretend you are a tough ultra runner, plow through snow drifts and revel in your insanity.

The foolishness

10250327_10154055537220370_5410238622864461502_nAlthough you man not appreciate it at the time, try and relax and enjoy the craziness of running, racing and just being a runner. We are a special group. Expect the unexpected, it could make for a great running story later!

Think about some of the foolish things we do:

  • Peeing in the bushes or wherever we can find before a race.
  • Wearing bright colours and short shorts not acceptable anywhere else
  • Lubing up our nipples, armpits and crotches in public.
  • Doing warm-up exercises and stretches that could often be mistaken for strange dances.
  • Strapping enough gear to our hips, arms, backs and heads to sink a ship.

Revel in the weirdness, foolishness and unexpected that can come with running. Over the years I have lost a good hat and t-shirt to mid-run intestinal distress, hammered around the last corner of a 10k course only to find I have made a wrong turn and now face the back of the finish line, showed up the day after a race, left a bleeding nipple somewhere out on a marathon course and arrived at work with icicles hanging from me.

Run on my running friends. Seek adventure, soak in your experiences and revel in your foolishness. See you out on the roads, and if I’m diving for a bush, don’t follow.

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Remember To Run. By Bridget Roussy

TORONTO July 24th 2014. Almost 2 years ago, a friend of Bridget’s talked her into signing up for the Canada Army Run half-marathon. ‘Ah yes, that running thing. I’ve seen people do that…’ There was just one catch: she had never run before. Now: four half-marathons & an Around The Bay 30K later, she decided the next logical step with this new-found obsession would be to run a full marathon. Though she currently lives in Ottawa, she chose the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as her first marathon because Toronto was the first place she moved out on her own, away from her hometown of Cornwall, Ontario. STWM seemed like a fitting idea to attempt another big first! Connect with Bridget on Twitter @bridgetwaits on on her blog.

Remember to Run. By Bridget Roussy.

Bridget STWM Blog“The STWM Digital Champions are a group of diverse, dedicated and enthusiastic athletes; each with a unique story and running history…”

Athlete?

I still have a difficult time thinking of myself as an athlete. I grew up playing outside just like every other kid in my neighbourhood. We invented games, we came home only to eat and go out again in the evening. We swam at the outdoor pools, played hide-and-seek, built forest forts. Sisters, brothers, neighbours, cousins. We worked it out together.

In elementary school, I joined every sport team: why not? It allowed me to leave class for a day, go to schools around the city and play baseball, soccer, indoor hockey. The city I grew up in is fairly small and extracurricular activities were no doubt high in demand (as well as price) at that time, but my mom always ensured we had an outlet for our energy. I played soccer for 5 years before joining Sea Cadets, where I swam competitively and won provincial medals. Sport wasn’t something I thought much about, it was just something I did.

Despite growing up with a life of active and encouraged play, I can pinpoint the exact moment I started to hate it: in high school, in an all-girl gym class.

In high school it was clear that you didn’t just join a sports team. You didn’t just show up to class and play. You needed to dress a certain way, you needed to hang around the right crowd. You’d be judged by your family income and you’d be judged by your hair. After all, judging is what teenage girls do best. All of a sudden, the fun was taken away from the game and I was left with my ratty sneakers, resentment, and the entire semester that remained of this dreaded class. For years after, I did what I thought was everything opposite of the jock crowd: I dyed my hair every colour, I wore thrift store clothing, and I went to all-ages shows with my friends. I skipped out on mandatory ‘school spirit’ basketball team home games and spent time in the darkroom developing photos. I despised anything that took place in a gym.

It never occurred to me that I could have it both ways. That I could keep doing what came natural & explore new hobbies as well.

Fast-forward so many years later: I don’t hold any hard feelings toward my classmates. In high school and adult life, there will always be someone there to try to discourage you. It has taken me this long to realize and acknowledge. Sometimes that person will be a colleague, a family member, a neighbour. But for many of us: it’s ourselves. It upsets me to think I lost so many good years due to teenage and, eventually, adult insecurities. Because almost 20 years after gym class, it’s only now that I’m learning to play all over again.

I started running two years ago after I signed up to Bridget STWM Blog 3walk a half-marathon. It was difficult, it was exhausting, and it burned. I wasn’t sure why I was even trying it out in the first place. I had only made a commitment to walk the distance. But at that moment, the childhood exhilaration came back: running to the park, to the pool, from my brother, to the store for popsicles. When claims were made by whoever could make it there fastest.

I don’t have the same friends to run around with now but I have many other reasons to keep it up: to meet new friends in the rabbit-hole of an online community or out on the trails, to raise money for charities I believe in, to encourage anyone who may be hesitant, to keep striving for new goals and to gain overall confidence, and yes… for popsicles. Our ability to run is the ultimate equalizer. It can be a common bond with someone you’ve just met. It’s exploring new places and seeing old ones differently. Many of us grew up doing it, regardless of income, of what we could afford to wear. It’s just that most of us have forgotten *how* to do it over time.

After a few years of re-discovering, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be my ultimate gift to myself: my first marathon, to take back all of that lost time. To prove that we don’t ever have to stop playing.

And if you’ve never started? Just try for yourself and see what happens. I promise not to judge you.

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