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 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.

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Hannah and Gillis take National 10k titles in convincing style at Oasis ZooRun.

Eric Gillis takes the trifecta of 2014 National Road titles!

Eric Gillis takes the trifecta of 2014 National Road titles!

TORONTO. September 20th. Rachel Hannah of University of Toronto TC and Olympian Eric Gillis of Guelph’s Speed River TFC claimed the 2014 Athletics Canada National 10k road crowns in convincing style at this morning’s Oasis ZooRun 10k, at the Toronto Zoo. Hannah crossed the line in 33:10, smashing Carman Douma-Hussar’s previous Course Record (33:24) that had stood since 2010. Her fine performance capped a strong year on the country, the track and the roads, and saw her make it home 21 seconds ahead of National Marathon Record Holder, Lanni Marchant of London, ON. Gillis’ 29:54 put him almost half a minute clear of Lethbridge’s Kip Kanagogo, but left him short of club-mate Reid Coolsaet’s ZooRun record of 29:35. The event was race #7 in the Canada Running Series, and also served as the Timex Series National Finale, and the Toronto 10k Club Championship.

A sold out crowd of almost 3,500 lined up for the 10k start at 8:25am, in front of the main gates to the Zoo, under ideal conditions: 14c, overcast skies, and hardly a breath of wind. Another 2,000 ran the accompanying 5k at 10am, and a mass of over 500 children under 10 years showed their stuff over 500m in the CubRun at 11:15am. Combined, they sent their hosts at the Toronto Zoo home happy, with a cheque for $28,500 to go towards their efforts to save certain species from extinction. Animal costumes abounded amongst the runners, and a general festive air befitting the championship atmosphere gave an extra excitement to the day’s proceedings.

Eric Gillis. Flag. ZooRun14. tf_zr14_9814newsFrom the Start, Toronto Olympic Club’s Berhanu Degefa took off, passing the first kilometre in 3:01, well clear of the gathering pack led by Gillis. Although his Ethiopian citizenship made him ineligible for the Athletics Canada Championship awards, Degefa made for a compelling and honest race. It was fully 5km before Gillis reeled him in, and 8km before the Speed River man was able to strike decisively and move clear. Kangogo (30:20) also managed to get by the Ethiopian in the closing stages, but Degefa (30:23) was able to hold off Athletics Toronto’s Sami Jibril (30:34). Jibril claimed the bronze medal in the Championships, with Milton’s Kyle Jones next in 30:58, on the challenging, hilly and winding course. The victory gave Gillis an impressive trifecta. He took the National Half-marathon title at Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal in April, then added the Marathon crown at Ottawa in May. The 10k Road title was the only national road honour that had previously eluded him.

“I felt like I finished strong”, said Gillis. “I’m happy with the effort, just what I need four weeks out from Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I got out there and just settled in for the first couple of kilometres, then around 3k I decided to push the pace. I ran that steady for the next 5k or so. It was tough to catch Berhanu. He was like a rabbit out there. It was good to have someone to chase for that long.”

Rachel Hannah caps a fine year with her second National Road title.

Rachel Hannah caps a fine year with her second National Road title.

The women’s race for the National Championships featured one of the strongest 10k road fields in a while, and pitted the best of Canada’s shorter-distance speedsters against the country’s best marathoners, drawn from coast to coast. Before the race, the chatter focused on whether the two Rachels – Rachel Hannah and Vancouver’s Rachel Cliff –could take out marathon star Lanni Marchant, who won the race last year, broke Silvia Ruegger’s 28-year old marathon record the following month, placed 14th at Boston this Spring, and was fourth in the Commonwealth Games marathon in July. In a re-run of April’s Toronto Yonge Street 10k, Rachel Hannah ran a smart tactical race. In April, she sat in behind marathoner Krista DuChene until 800m to go before switching into an extra gear to sprint away. After a very quick start to today’s proceedings from Cliff and Whitehorse’s Lindsay Carson, Marchant moved to the front, with Hannah in tow. Hannah, who was second in the National 5k Road Championships at the B&O Yorkville race two weeks ago, was content to track Marchant until just past the 8k mark, where she rounded a corner and went hard on a downhill section to put things beyond doubt. According to Marchant:

“I moved to the front around 2km, but I always felt there was someone right there behind me. That was Rachel Hannah! But for the mileage I’m putting in, in preparation for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and everything I’ve done this year, I’m ecstatic about my time here (33:31). I was well over 30 seconds faster than last year. It means I’m right on pace for Toronto Waterfront in 4 weeks.”

Natasha Lebeaud, who won last Saturday’s Canada Running Series event at the Vancouver Eastside 10k, continued to make her mark taking the bronze medal (34:28), holding off Laura Batterink (34:30) and Rachel Cliff (34:31) for the podium place. Lebeaud will also be racing Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 19th.

#crewlove! a dozen of Toronto's best running clubs reppin' their colours

#crewlove! a dozen of Toronto’s best running clubs reppin’ their colours

Beyond the 10k National Championships, there was lots more spirited competition and #crewlove as Beaches Running Club claimed the Overall title in the inaugural edition of the Toronto 10k Club Championships, presented by Black Toe Running. Black Toe’s own teams took 2nd place, with Parkdale Roadrunners third, Stevenson Performance Running Angels fourth, and C + C Running Factory fifth. A total of 12 Toronto clubs participated.

Rachel Hannah’s fine performance assured her of the 2014 Timex Series Women’s individual title, while Calgary, Alberta’s Keenan Viney claimed the Men’s gold. Hannah also helped the Ontario team take the Timex Women’s Team Championship, while British Columbia took both the Men’s and the Mixed Team titles for the year.

The 8th and final Canada Running Series event is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-marathon & 5k, October 19th. A small number of entries are still available for all three distances.

Complete results from today’s Oasis ZooRun, 10k & 5k, including all Championship competitions are available here.  Photo galleries to be posted over next few days.

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How I Balance Family And Training For A Marathon. By Patrick Girard

TORONTO September 18th 2014. Digital Champion Patrick Girard is a father of two young daughters who he hopes will grow up to love running as much as he does. His love for running began when his wife convinced him to register for a 5 km clinic at the Running Room in 2006. From there his obsession with running took off. He ran his first marathon in Ottawa in 2009 and has run a total of 10 marathons, including the 2012 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — only four weeks after a serious ankle sprain on the soccer pitch. Patrick is currently focused on qualifying for the Boston Marathon and hopes to do so this fall. On weekends you will often find him pushing a Chariot stroller as he as he takes one of his two girls on an adventure around Ottawa in order to fit in his longer runs. Connect with Patrick on Twitter @PatRuns and on his blog.

How I Balance Family And Training For A Marathon. By Patrick Girard.

Pat Girard Blog STWMWhen our first child was born, my wife and I invested in a high quality running stroller. Four years and many kilometers later it has become one of the most important investments I have made since I started running. It has helped me meet my running goals and allowed me to spend quality time with my daughters.

Since purchasing our chariot running stroller, I have run eight marathons. Without it, completing my weekend runs would have been a delicate scheduling operation. But knowing I could take one of my daughters, give my wife a break, and still get my run in made training a lot easier.

Training for a marathon is a big time commitment and there is no question that having the ability to take one of my daughters for at least a portion of my weekend runs has contributed to me being able to meet my running goals. Without the option to take one of them with me there is no question I would have had to postpone or cancel training runs more frequently.

The other benefit is that the stroller has made my running more fun. When I plan my running routes to run with my daughters I plan them around important sites or landmarks to make it fun. The Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill, the cows at the Central Experimental Farm and the ducks and swans along the Rideau River are just a few of the sites we’ve taken in during our runs. Most recently we rushed out of the house before 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning to go watched the implosion of one of my old office buildings.

Thanks to our running adventures around Ottawa my oldest daughter also knows where the Prime Minister and Governor General live and who Terry Fox and Oscar Peterson are, because we make a point of visiting points of interest and statues around the city.  Not only have our runs been fun they have also been an educational experience. Now as I start to run more with my youngest daughter I get to start having the same adventures with her.

In additional to being fun and educational I hope that these adventures will teach my daughters to lead active and healthy lifestyles even after they are too big for me to push in the stroller. Maybe one day they will even want to train for and run a marathon with me.

I know that when things start to get tough in the late stages of STWM on October 19th thoughts of my training runs with my little training partners will help push me through those final kilometers.

Posted in Digital Champions, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | 2 Comments

Lanni Marchant Returns to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

Lanni all smiles after breaking the 28-year-old Canadian National Women's Marathon Record at STWM 2013!

Lanni all smiles after breaking the 28-year-old Canadian National Women’s Marathon Record at STWM 2013!

TORONTO. September 16th. A year ago Lanni Marchant made history by shaving half a minute off the Canadian women’s marathon record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a time that, incredibly, had stood for twenty-eight years.

Marchant’s time of 2:28:00 shocked many. And, now the London, Ontario native returns to the scene of her greatest accomplishment to tackle another world class field but with the benefit of some enormous experience.

Almost forgotten in the record breaking hysteria which followed last year’s race was the fact that Marchant, and fellow Canadian Krista DuChene, had finished 3rd and 4th in this IAAF Silver Label race against a very tough international field. An invitation to this year’s Boston Marathon followed and she finished 14th. More recently she represented Canada in the Commonwealth Games and recorded a solid 4th place.

Marchant, 30, looks forward to the challenge in Toronto but is cautious knowing that people will expect a record.

“I am really excited to come back,” she declares. “Obviously last year went really, really well for me so I wouldn’t mind to see if lightning can strike twice. But also I wanted to come back and do a fall marathon because I know I am still really fit after the Commonwealth Games.

“I kind of let my workouts the next four weeks or so kind of dictate what pace I will shoot for (in Toronto). But I am still feeling really strong after the Commonwealth Games and it kind of made sense to keep the ball rolling.”

The 2:28:00 says it all!

The 2:28:00 says it all!

Her eagerness to race in Toronto had been apparent even as she prepared for the Commonwealth Games. Conversations with Race Director Alan Brookes indicated she wanted a place on the starting line but would wait to see how well she recovered from the Glasgow race.

“The Commonwealth Games was the quickest I have ever recovered from a marathon,” she emphasises. “I wasn’t all that sore right after. It shows I am that much more prepared when I come into these races.

“I took a week off running, did a few little jogs here and there, mainly because I was getting a little bit of cabin fever in the Commonwealth athlete’s village. My first week my mileage was pretty low but I have been progressively upping my mileage each week I have been back.”

Marchant’s time in Glasgow was 2:31:14. Though she was ecstatic with achieving her target of a top five finish, afterwards, she thought about how she might have whittled down another minute or so and taken the bronze medal. Indeed, she was one minute and two seconds behind bronze medalist Jess Trengove of Australia.

“Obviously I wanted a medal. When you finish 4th you are the bridesmaid never the bride,” she says laughing. “I didn’t run a poor race. I actually stuck to the race plan that my coach and I planned. There was no regret after that race. The medal would have been sweet; there was nothing I, as an athlete, could have done differently in my preparation; nothing I can regret.”

“Each run I am still learning. That’s kind of the fun part of it. Boston was such a different race to what (2013 IAAF World Championships) World’s and Toronto had been and then the Commonwealth Games was very different from all of them.”

Clearly she and coach Dave Mills believe she can run faster than her Canadian record but only when all the necessary factors line up: the buildup, the competition and the environmental conditions. Pressed to offer a target she might go after in Toronto October 19th she is once again cautious.

“I will kind of trust my training and make the game time decision like I did last year as to what kind of shape I am in when I toe that line,” she says. “Obviously every track and field athlete wants to throw further and run faster. My coach and I were talking the other day and we definitely think there is another couple of minutes there but knowing when that can be, well?

“Hopefully I can keep it up going to Toronto this year and down the road for the Olympics etc. I am not going to put that pressure on myself always having to ‘PB’ or set a record or run to other people’s expectations. I want to make sure it’s still fun. If the next four weeks of training go well and I line up and I want to go sub 2:28 I will try to do it and let the race play out like it does. If the training goes well but I don’t feel great then I will line up and try to go for a solid 2:30 or whatever my body will be prepared for that day.”

If her response appears as if she’s keeping her cards close to her chest, much like one would expect from a lawyer, it’s because she has returned to her criminal law practice in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Though she is Canada’s top marathoner at the moment, that doesn’t pay all the bills. Besides she is comfortable with the hours she puts into her law and, when that day comes and she laces up her shoes purely as a recreational runner she will no doubt focus completely on her chosen vocation.

Meanwhile she has a few more years of international class running in her before that day comes. And there are minutes to shave off that Canadian record. Here’s hoping everything lines up well for her at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 19th.


Posted in General, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | 1 Comment

When Running A Marathon Feels Like An Obstacle Course. By Cory Pagett

TORONTO September 15th 2014. Cory Pagett  is excited to be invited back as Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (#STWM) Digital Champion for the 2014 season. He first laced up in 2008 for the annual Pride and Remembrance Run  and immediately was caught up in the spirit of running community  through Frontrunners, an international LGBT organization. He enjoyed both the encouragement to push himself physically, as well as the ability to forge friendships on and off the trail.

As he continued to increase the distances he ran, he also upped his fundraising efforts for a variety of causes that helped him add meaning to his miles. This year, he is dedicating his run to one of STWM’s Official Charities: Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a program of Sherbourne Health Centre. The aim of this program is to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto.

One other aspect of running that Cory seeks to promote is the benefits for mental health. Having battled with several depressive episodes over the last six years, including one that led to him dropping out of last year’s STWM, he tries to be grateful for each day that his feet feel the earth beneath him — even if there are inches of snow in between the two.

If you want to join him on his journey to the finish line, connect via Twitter @CMDPcomm, and stay tuned for the launch of his upcoming personal blog this fall.

When Running A Marathon Feels Like An Obstacle Course. By Cory Pagett.

“Obstacles are necessary for success because victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats.” – Og Mandino

If you’re reading this, chances are that Cory STWMyou’ve signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Congrats! Perhaps the minute you clicked to register, you started to picture that finish line, the medal around your neck, the celebratory drink (of Gatorade or other liquid of your choice), or the vision of a runner’s body (whatever your image of that may entail).

Now that we have entered the last 40 days before the race, chances are you’ve also experienced setbacks. Injury, self-doubt, exhaustion. I hope that your journey hasn’t involved all of these, but the reality is it may have.

I speak of what I know. Two years ago, I registered for what was to be my first marathon – in New York City! The choice of New York had personal significance for me as an opportunity to reclaim a city where I had experienced a mental health crisis three years prior. If you’ve connected the dots already, two years ago was also when Hurricane Sandy – ultimately – led to the cancellation of the race. After going through the whole range of emotions associated with this tragic event, I returned to Toronto, plotted out a marathon course and ran it on my own. For me, it was a way of honouring those who had supported me, both financially and all of the other various ways, to get to the starting line.

Consider my eagerness then when I was approached to be a digital champion for last year’s STWM. It was an opportunity to “officially” go the distance and to continue connecting with the community that I had formed during the lead-up to New York. I was able to once again look forward to the victory of completing the 42.2 kilometres, this time on home turf.

What I couldn’t foresee is the unwelcome training partner that came in the form of a severe depressive episode. Not leaving my bed, let alone the house to log the necessary steps, I continued to hold out hope of having my feet carry me to the end, regardless of what was happening in my mind. But as the months went by and I changed my entry from the full marathon to the half marathon, visions of a “successful” finish vanished, until I withdrew.

So, for those of you who have faced challenges or are currently struggling in one way or another, know that I am aware that the road to race day does not run in a straight line and that it can be littered with hurdles.

Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that deciding to run a marathon (or any race) requires a leap of faith, to trust that the road will be there for you, after all of the hardships. It also means a shift in mindset – to see each potential obstacle as a way of becoming even stronger, of celebrating the “small” victories, in addition to the original end goal. To my fellow digital champions and readers who have adjusted their distance or withdrawn, I hope that this shift is not an uphill battle in itself.

There’s a classic line of thinking that “third time is the charm”. If this is true, the 2014 STWM is my sure bet, the year when I will cross the finish line, get the medal, enjoy the drink and celebrate my runner’s body. Only one way for you to find out – see you at Nathan Phillips Square on October 19th!

Posted in Digital Champions, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | 1 Comment

Marchant and Gillis Gunning for Oasis ZooRun 10k Victory, by Paul Gains

For the 6th consecutive year, the Oasis Zoo Run 10k on Saturday, October 20th at the Toronto Zoo, doubles as the Athletics Canada National 10km championships. Fresh off her Commonwealth Games 4th place finish in the marathon, Lanni Marchant, and two time Olympian, Eric Gillis, will be chasing the national titles but will have some legitimate competition. Here is a preview of the race.

Marchant and Gillis Gunning for Oasis ZooRun 10k Victory, by Paul Gains

Lanni Marchant at the Finish Line of the 2013 OASIS ZooRun 10k

Lanni Marchant at the Finish Line of the 2013 OASIS ZooRun 10k

TORONTO. September 11th. Only one result will satisfy Lanni Marchant when she races the Oasis ZooRun 10k September 20th and that’s a decisive victory. For the sixth straight year the race doubles as the Canadian 10km championship and Marchant is the reigning champion.

“I want to defend my title from last year,” the 30 year old London, Ontario native declares. “I don’t think we have had anybody win back to back titles on that course yet. I would like to be that person.

“I know Rachel Hannah is having a fantastic year this year, I am not certain who else will be there. That’s not a course where you can go for time, with its twists and turns but I will definitely run to try and keep my title from last year.”

Indeed the women’s course record remains Carmen Douma-Hussar’s 33:24 from 2010.

A breakthrough performance from Rachel Hannah!

A breakthrough performance from Rachel Hannah!

Marchant, who practices criminal law in Chattanooga, Tennessee between training, racing and traveling, finished an impressive 4th at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this summer. A year ago she broke Silvia Ruegger’s 28 year old Canadian marathon record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon stopping the clock at 2:28:00. Since then she has continued her upward trajectory. She also ran a very 32:29.61 at the Stanford Invitational a year ago.

Nevertheless, she is right to be wary of Rachel Hannah. The 27 year old dietician has had a stellar year winning the Toronto Yonge Street 10k and the Banque Scotia 21km de Montreal, the national half marathon title. To top it off she earned a bronze medal over 5,000m at the national track and field championships demonstrating her natural speed.

Hannah will have a lot riding on this race too. She currently sits in 2nd place in the Canada Running Series points race trailing only Krista DuChene 105 points to 115 points. DuChene is on the road to recovery from a stress fracture in her femur but will not race again this season. The overall CRS winner will receive $2,500.

Also fighting for medals will be Rachel Cliff and Lindsay Carson, who finished 1st and 2nd respectively at the Vancouver Sun Run this past spring while marathon newcomers Kim Doerksen and Kate Bazeley will keep the favourites honest.

A hungry Eric Gillis was absolutely determined to be 2014 Toronto Yonge Street 10K  champion!

A hungry Eric Gillis was absolutely determined to be 2014 Toronto Yonge Street 10K champion!

The men’s race will be no less competitive with two time Olympian Eric Gillis eyeing another national championship. Earlier this year he won his third consecutive national half marathon gold followed by the Canadian marathon title. Gillis will run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 19th.

“Things are good I am feeling fit and healthy and enjoying running,” he says of his training. “It’s a nice way to break up the marathon training and it’s four weeks out. It’s good to have the whole routine of waking up early on race morning, and, nothing simulates racing like getting out there and racing. I will train through it and race hard and get a good stimulus out of it.

“The ZooRun is one I always wanted to win. I have never won it. It would be nice, and it would be nice to get another Canadian title. It’s missing from my list of things I have done.”

Gillis won’t have an easy time at the Toronto race. Kip Kangogo, the 2010 Oasis Zoo Run champion and second last year, will also use the race to test himself prior to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Motivated by the birth of his daughter a year ago and his newly acquired Canadian citizenship more recently the Kenyan born Kangogo is always competitive.

Sami Jibril & Eric Gillis battle it out at the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal, National Half=marathon Championships in April.

Sami Jibril & Eric Gillis battle it out at the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal, National Half=marathon Championships in April.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to come back to Toronto and run the Oasis ZooRun 10k again this year,” Kangogo says. “It will serve as my last tune up towards Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I’m coming to run my race and test my fitness and see where I stand at this point in my training cycle. The Canada Running Series have not only been supportive and welcoming, but they provide us runners with well-organized races.”

Another man Gillis will have to contend with is Sami Jibril of Athletics Toronto. No doubt the veteran will remember Jibril latching on to him for the better part of the national half marathon championship in Montreal before succumbing to Gillis’s superior strength. But Jibril ran 29:43.90 on the track this summer indicating he is making great progress. A week ago he finished third in the Canadian 5km road race championship.

The men’s course record (29:35) was set by Reid Coolsaet in 2011. But it is unlikely that is the target for most of these athletes. A national title is everything.

A complete Start List will be posted later today on the race website.

Posted in General | Comments Off on Marchant and Gillis Gunning for Oasis ZooRun 10k Victory, by Paul Gains

Vancouver Eastside 10K Supports Local Charities

VE10K Food BankWednesday, September 10, 2014; Vancouver, BC – The Canada Running Series is pleased to support three key charities that will benefit from fundraising efforts at Vancouver’s newest 10K run, the Vancouver Eastside 10K, taking place on September 13th, 2014.

The event is a premiere Canadian 10 km road race, bringing some of the best runners from within the province and across the nation to Vancouver to compete. Boasting a unique route and top class event management, the Vancouver Eastside 10k offers a great running experience for fitness enthusiasts of all levels and abilities.

“We are very pleased to welcome back our charity partners for the Vancouver Eastside 10k,” said Race Director Clif Cunningham, “The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Watari Counseling & Support Services and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society will all benefit from our event. Participants in Canada Running Series events have raised more than $6 million for local charities across Canada in 2013, and we are thrilled to partner with these important charities once again.”

VE10K Downtown Eastside WomenThe Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) exists to support and empower women and children living in extreme poverty in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Established in 1986 in a response to a lack of services and programs for street involved peoples, Watari Counseling & Support Services aims to facilitate positive change in at-risk children, youth, families and communities through the design and delivery of innovative services.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society (GVFBS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food and related assistance to those in need. The GVFBS collects and distributes food for nearly 27,000 people weekly through 15 food depots and over 100 community agencies located in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and North Vancouver.

The Vancouver Eastside 10k, taking place on Saturday, September 13th , will start on the Dunsmuir Viaduct near Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, head east on Prior to Raymur, then back for a loop of Gastown before returning to the finish line. The event is expected to attract close to 2,000 runners.

More information can be found at on Facebook at and on Twitter at @eastside10K, or by using the hashtag #eastside10K


Randy Clegg
Press Inquiries                                                    

Canada Running Series
Cell: 604-209-0611

Clifton Cunningham
Western Series Director
Canada Running Series
Office: 778-786-3116

Posted in Vancouver Eastside 10K | Comments Off on Vancouver Eastside 10K Supports Local Charities

Is Kelly Wiebe Next in Long Line of Elite Canadian Marathoners? By Paul Gains

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has historically presented an opportunity for young Canadian athletes to test themselves against the world’s best. Some have gone on to represent this country at the Olympics or World Championships.

The latest in this line of potential world beaters is Kelly Wiebe. Six months ago he was seriously ill and hospitalized. Now he is looking for a fast marathon debut at this IAAF Silver Label Race on Sunday October 19th.

Is Kelly Wiebe Next in Long Line of Elite Canadian Marathoners? By Paul Gains

Kelly breaks the tape at this year's Modo Spring Run Off 8k in Stanley Park, Vancouver, almost a minute ahead of the competition. March 23. Photo. Steve Tomlinson,

Kelly breaks the tape at this year’s Modo Spring Run Off 8k in Stanley Park, Vancouver, almost a minute ahead of the competition. March 23. Photo. Steve Tomlinson,

TORONTO. September 10th. Over its twenty five year history the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has provided a launching pad for the careers of many Canadian athletes. The latest prodigy appears to be Kelly Wiebe.

The 25 year old from Swift Current, Saskatchewan moved to Vancouver sixteen months ago to train with the head coach of the BC Endurance Project, Richard Lee, and his talented group of elites. The group includes Dylan Wykes and Rob Watson both of whom having represented Canada at the IAAF World Championships. Wykes also raced in the 2012 London Olympics.

Wiebe, who was a member of the Canadian team at both the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, will make his marathon debut in Toronto, October 19th. The event has earned an IAAF Silver Label every year since the inception of the program in 2008. In common parlance he is jumping in with both feet.

“Originally we were going to focus on the 10,000m and we did a little bit,” says Wiebe, a graduate of the University of Regina’s Environmental Engineering program. “But I started doing longer workouts with Dylan and Rob and I took it really well. Things were really moving along.

“Richard said ‘it wouldn’t hurt to get a marathon under your belt at a young age.’ I consider 25 a younger age for marathon running. He said it would be a good experience moving forward. I still want to run the 10,000m at the Pan Am Games hopefully next summer. I think the main focus will be the marathon at the 2015 World Championships and the Olympics.”

Watson will be lining up at the race but Wykes is a recent scratch having succumbed to a stress fracture in his ankle. Both have been sharing invaluable information with their younger training partner.

Kelly cruising to victory, past Siwash Rock, at this Spring's Modo SRO 8k. Photo: Inge Johnson, Canada Running Series

Kelly cruising to victory, past Siwash Rock, at this Spring’s Modo SRO 8k. Photo: Inge Johnson, Canada Running Series

“I can’t thank those guys enough,” Wiebe declares. “They have helped me out hugely in the marathon. I talk to Dylan a lot about what he does in preparation, what he does day of, everything. I talk to him about everything to do with the marathon. He has helped me out a ton and I really used this experience in this buildup along with the stuff Richard has been telling me.

“I think Richard is a great coach, the best marathon coach we have in Canada. They have taught me a lot.”

Lee has always taken a pretty conservative approach when it comes to predicting what his athletes might be capable of running on a given day. And, it seems he has wisely put the reins on Wiebe despite some pretty amazing workouts in the past couple of months. Consequently, Wiebe has more modest goals for Toronto.

“I don’t want to say I am going to run 2:10, 2:11 or 2:12, there’s no sense in putting that kind of pressure on myself in my first marathon,” he reasons. “But, realistically, I think I am in really good shape, and I think I can pull off something pretty spectacular given the right conditions. But I think I am going to be gunning for a 2:16 somewhere around there for my first marathon.”

By way of comparison Wykes, who is Canada’s second fastest man in history at 2:10:47, debuted with a time of 2:15:16 in 2008.

While coach and athlete take a sensible approach to Wiebe’s Toronto preparation there are others who practically salivate at the prospects of this talented young man lining up in a world class field. Remarkably, there was a time, not so long away, when he wondered if he was ever going to lace up his shoes again.

While training in Santa Cruz, California last April he experienced an unusual pain in his groin. Within days he developed a fever and became deathly ill. Having flown to the training camp without purchasing medical insurance he was in a bind.

“I ended up flying back to Vancouver for treatment,” he remembers. “They found out I had a blood infection and also a blood clot in the adductor muscle which was the source of the infection. It was causing extreme pain. I was on antibiotics in the hospital for three weeks and then another week and a half on “IV’ at home and then pills after that. So I was out for a long time from beginning of April to the end of May.”

Under the circumstances Wiebe’s present fitness is extraordinary. He believes he was in the best shape of his life prior to the illness and that just maybe his body needed a rest.

“It was almost unexpected how fast I came back but I think it’s one of those things where my body needed rest,” he reasons. “Looking back I had been training really, really hard through university without a break. This gave me a chance for total complete break.

“I didn’t do any exercise for four weeks. When I did get back I did pool running. My body did take a good break and also obviously the infection was out of my body and who knows how long that had been in my body. So we are extremely pleased with how fast I had come around. All the residual mileage over the years, it’s not that hard to understand. It comes back quick. I have run so many miles over the last six years.”

The move to Vancouver was a complete adjustment from his experience living in Saskatchewan. But he has been fortunate to receive a stipend from the Reed Athletics Fund, a program initiated by the 2007 IAAF World Championship 800m silver medalist, Gary Reed.

“Rent alone is probably twice as expensive as it is back home in Saskatchewan,” he says, “but I am supported by a few groups one of them being the Reed Athletics Fund. They try to sponsor up and coming athletes who are in need of financial support who are looking to compete at Olympics or world championship.

“I was lucky when I moved out here to be accepted as one of their sponsored athletes. They give me a monthly allowance to help pay for rent and my training. I am also sponsored by Saucony. That helps and I earn a little at road races. I also work at Forerunners part time. It’s still not easy.”

With four more weeks of training Wiebe is on the right path to be the next in a line of Canadians enjoying marathon running success. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon could very well be the scene of something special.


Posted in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Comments Off on Is Kelly Wiebe Next in Long Line of Elite Canadian Marathoners? By Paul Gains