Coming Back From Defeat. By Lisa Davidson

June 26th 2014. TORONTO. Lisa Davidson is thrilled to be back as a STWM Digital Champion for the second time. Lisa has raced every distance from 5K to the marathon and is excited to lace up for another 42.2K run around Toronto on October 19th. Lisa believes in the importance of both mental and physical well-being and strives to inspire others to lead a healthy and active life-style. When she’s not training or teaching Yoga, she’s chasing after her very active 3-year old boy. Connect with Lisa on Twitter @TorontoFitMom and on her blog.

Coming Back From Defeat. By Lisa Davidson.

2014 DC STWM Lisa DavidsonBQ. Boston Qualifier. It doesn’t matter if it is abbreviated or not, when runners speak these words or initials, something happens. A longing, desire, drive, whatever you want to call it, we get hungry. People have it in their ‘about me’ sections on social media. You know: runner, #STWM digital champion, Boston Qualifier. To get that qualifying time puts in you in a different running class and to get in to the marathon and run it? Well don’t even get me started on the prestige! The jackets, the hype! And in Boston….a city that I LOVE!

When I ran my first marathon back in 2008, I knew of the hard to get BQ, but I just wanted to run a marathon and didn’t think anything of it. In the back of my mind I thought maybe one day, but focusing on finishing my first marathon was a priority. Fast forward to my second marathon (STWM) in 2013 and let’s just say my view changed slightly….ok a lot, I wanted it bad! I did my training, I did my yoga, and I was feeling good. October 20th I woke up and was anxious to get going. I felt amazing until about 32k when I felt pain so intense it slowed me down to a pace that I knew would not get me that BQ.

I didn’t get it that day. I crossed the finish line and I was in tears, and not the happy emotional kind, the I am devastated and absolutely crushed kind. Never mind that I had just crossed the finish line of a marathon, an amazing accomplishment on its own (and in 4:11, no less about an hour faster than my first), there was no amount of support to make me feel better. I swore I would never again run a full marathon.

I saw my chiropractor, I got massages. Even today, my piriformis on the left side is still painful and has limited my flexibility, which as a yoga teacher is a real pain in the butt (no pun intended). More than the physical pain, I spent a long time feeling completely defeated and broken emotionally. I wanted that BQ so bad I could taste it. I was being told from some people that maybe I just shouldn’t be running the full, that maybe my “body just can’t handle it”, which just upset me more. I didn’t want to hear the “You know you are closer to 40” excuse anymore either, I wanted everyone to just stop talking.

In November, I joined a gym where I started doing strength training 2- 3 days a week, and with the nasty winter we had I did a lot of running on the treadmill. I ran outside as much as I could despite the cold, slush, snow, ice.. The spring came andI was happy to be back as a digital champion ambassador for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. I ran that race in a minute  faster than the previous year and I started to feel like a runner again.

With talk of STWM 2014 buzzing on social media, I was Lisa sore today strong tomorrowbeing asked by many of my running friends if I was going to run it again. I honestly didn’t know, I would sigh and say “I think so”. The truth is I was constantly going back and forth in my mind. I knew I could finish a marathon, but finishing was no longer good enough. I started training with a coach (who is perfect for me!) in May, and I have started to really see what I am capable of as a runner.

Despite all these very positive changes, I still doubt myself. One day I made up my mind  that I was no longer running marathons, only half-marathons. Then I woke up the next morning and I saw that someone had posted the “There’s a Hero in All of Us” STWM video from last year, and I cried because I knew in my gut I was not finished with the marathon yet! After speaking about my fears with my coach, he told me that this year was going to be different and that he would help me every step of the way. Isn’t that what coaches are for? After CRS asked me back as a Digital Champion, I took it as a sign that I needed to run STWM this  year.

So here we are, four months from another full marathon. Am I anxious? Yes, of course. But here’s the thing – I love running, I really do and I am proud that I am now a full-fledged #runnerd. I am getting stronger every day and I am even cross training in the pool. I am taking it one day at a time, one workout at a time. Want to know what my goal is this year? I am keeping it under wraps for now, but I promise I will let you all know what happens at the race.

I am going to enjoy my training, enjoy the entire process and have fun. I will run STWM with thousands of other runners and when I cross the finish line this year, if there are tears they will be tears of happiness. No matter what. I’m back!

What’s your goal at STWM this year?

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Wykes and Marchant notch emphatic victories at Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon. $830,000 raised for charity.

Dylan's back... leading the pack!

Dylan’s back… leading the pack!

VANCOUVER. June 22nd. Dylan Wykes and Lanni Marchant showed why they are Canada’s #1 ranked Men’s and Women’s marathoners with emphatic victories at today’s Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon. Wykes ran 63:52 for his win; Marchant 73:41 for the Women’s crown. Conditions were perfect for the 4,000 half-marathoners who lined up at UBC at 7:30am. Skies were clear and bright, the temperature was 12c, and there was hardly a breath of wind throughout the majestic course along Pacific shores, down to world-famous Stanley Park. Another 2,100 participants ran and walked in the accompanying 5K in the park. Combined, the 6,100 entrants came from 29 countries, 8 Canadian provinces, and 30 American states. Together, they raised an impressive $830,000 for 79 mostly-local charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.
The story of the day was “Dylan’s back”! It’s been 2 years of injuries and fatigue as Wykes has battled back from his London Olympic marathon journey that saw him race 4 hard marathons in a year. Under the guidance of Coach Richard Lee at the BC Endurance Project he has worked his way back to 140km to 160km training

Dylan Wykes racing along scenic Spanish Banks

Dylan Wykes racing along scenic Spanish Banks

weeks, and 2 solid 10K performances this Spring – -a 29:11 in the Sun Run in April and a 29:40 in Ottawa on May 24th. Today was his first longer-distance race, and he meant business from the Start. He pulled a pack of 5 through the first kilometre in 2:50. By 3km [8:44] they were down to four: Wykes, defending champion Kip Kangogo who has owned this race, winning 4 of the last 5 editions, Rob Watson and Athletics Toronto’s Sami Jibril. After the group cruised through 5km in 14:49, Dylan began to turn the screws. First his training partner Watson slipped back, then Kangogo and Jibril together. He passed 10k in a brisk 29:31, and 15k in 44:53. Although he tired a little in the numerous turns around Kits Point [16k to 18k] and over the challenging Burrard Bridge [18k to 19k], he crossed the line almost a minute and a half clear of a beaten Kangogo [65:14]. Watson came back on Jibril on the hill to West 4th at 12k then held on for 3rd [67:16], with Jibril 4th in 67:38. Victoria, BC, Masters’ star, Jim Finlayson, who set a new provincial 10,000m on the track 2 weeks ago [31:04] came on to take 5th in 68:21. A visibly delighted Wykes said, “It felt great today. At least for about 15k! The second half was tough, with no one to push me, but I’m pleased with the win.” Kangogo, who won the Calgary Marathon just 3 weeks ago said he was “running on marathon legs. When Dylan made the move at 5km I couldn’t go with him. I tried to stay close, and closed the gap a bit in Jericho [11km to 12km]. I thought I could close it more on Burrard Bridge but the gap was just too big.” It was the only time in 6 years that Kip has failed to run 63 minutes on the course.

Lanni Marchant with an authoritative performance

Lanni Marchant with an authoritative performance

Lanni Marchant also had something to prove, as she toed the line in her final tune-up before running for Canada in the Commonwealth Games Marathon on July 27th in Glasgow, Scotland. Following her outstanding 2:28:00 performance at last October’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon that took out a 28-year-old national record, Marchant had a good winter training in Kenya with American Desi Linden. She then showed she could race competitively on the international scene with a strong 14th place finish at the Boston Marathon in April. “I’m very happy with today,” she said. “It was a real confidence booster. My training’s been a bit up and down since Boston, with the recovery, plus a bunch of 10k races I’ve done. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was fitness, and long-distance racing-wise. I planned to go through 10k in around 35 minutes today, and run around the time I did. I feel I’m in a good place for Glasgow.” Like Wykes, Marchant took charge early. She moved away from a women’s pack around 4km, passed 10km in 34:29, and never looked back. The race for the places was a good deal more absorbing, as Corner Brook, NLs Kate Bazeley proved her 2:40:49 marathon debut in Houston in January was no fluke. Through the first 15km, Bazeley battled Vancouver Marathon winner [2:37:00], Kim Doerksen of Gibson’s, BC, plus outstanding Masters’ athletes, Catherine Watkins [BC Endurance] and Marilyn Arsenault [Victoria, BC]. The 23-year-old Doerksen went out aggressively, but eventually faded to 4th in 77:01. Bazeley proved the best of the bunch, coming home 2nd in 76:40, with the indefatigable, 46-year-old Arsenault catching Doerksen coming down off Burrard Bridge [19km] to take 3rd [76:52]. Watkins, who has raced a lot recently in a banner season, was 5th in 77:44.

The battle of Spanish Banks for the Women's places: Bazeley (F9), Arsenault (51), Watkins (F5), with Doerksen giving them 'the look' (F4).

The battle of Spanish Banks for the Women’s places: Bazeley (F9), Arsenault (51), Watkins (F5), with Doerksen giving them ‘the look’ (F4).

All in all, it was a “day for the ages”, as young, developing athletes Jibril and Doerksen gained valuable experience; veterans Finlayson, Arsenault and Watkins were superb – with Arsenault claiming she might be old but is still “gnarly” — and the class of the field stamped their authority all over it, showing why they are Canada’s best and Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon 2014 champions.

Complete results available online.

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Wykes vs Kangogo battle, plus Lanni Marchant headline Sunday’s Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon

Canada's #1 ranked men's marathoner at London 2012 Olympics

Canada’s #1 ranked men’s marathoner at London 2012 Olympics

VANCOUVER. June 20th. The weather forecast looks excellent for this Sunday’s 16th edition of the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon and 5K, and there is the promise of some excellent racing for this year’s Men’s and Women’s titles.

The men’s race offers an intriguing match-up between Olympian Dylan Wykes and 4-time defending race-champion, Kip Kangogo of Lethbridge, who has recently become a Canadian citizen. The exciting news is that “Dylan’s back”! It’s been two years of recovery from injury and fatigue following the London Olympics for Canada’s #1 ranked marathon man [2:10:47 PB], but he heralded his return with a 2nd place finish at the Sun Run in April, in 29:11. He followed that up with a 29:40 at the Ottawa Lowertown Brewery 10K on May 25th, and feels that he’s ready for Sunday’s challenge. ““I know the (Vancouver) course,” he says. “Part of it goes through the neighbourhood where I am living and I know the streets it is run on,” said the Kingston, ON native who trains in Vancouver with the BC Endurance Project under coach Richard Lee.

Always competitive! Victory at last for Kip Kangogo at Toronto Yonge Street 10K, 2013, after 3rd place in 2011 and 2nd in 2012.

Always competitive! Victory at last for Kip Kangogo at Toronto Yonge Street 10K, 2013, after 3rd place in 2011 and 2nd in 2012.

For victory, however, he will have to reckon with 4-time race Champion, Kip Kangogo. In his recent interview with Paul Gains for Canada Running Series, Wykes noted,
“Kip knows how to get it done, eh? Kip is obviously a super competitor and knows how to win on that course. I hope that I am strong enough to keep up with the lead pack. Kip is a tough guy to beat. I think he has had my number more times than I have had his, in the times we have raced, so it will be tough.”

Indeed, Kangogo has owned the “Scotia Half” men’s race in recent times. He won in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. In 2012 he was 2nd to Reid Coolsaet. His times underscore his consistency and “ownership”: 63:35, 63:51, 63:22, 63:28, and 63:33, since 2009.

In addition, to Wykes and Kangogo, popular BC Endurance member Rob Watson [PB 63:22] expects to be in the mix, as does Athletics Toronto’s Sammy Jibril. The 24-year-old up-and-coming Jibril was 2nd to Olympian Eric Gillis at this year’s Canadian Half marathon National Championships in Montreal on April 27th, going out hard with Gillis and hanging on for almost 15km.

A very special day for Canadian marathoning! Lanni and Silvia at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Finish Line, October 20th, 2013.

A very special day for Canadian marathoning! Lanni and Silvia at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Finish Line, October 20th, 2013.

Canada’s new national marathon record holder, Lanni Marchant of London, ON is the strong favourite in the women’s race, but there should be a thrilling battle behind her between the pride of Gibson’s, BC, Kim Doerksen and Corner Brook, NL’s Kate Bazeley. On paper, Marchant is the class of the field. Canada’s #1 ranked women’s marathoner was beaten into 2nd place at last year’s Scotia Half by friend and rival Krista DuChene [71:38 to 70:52]. Lanni then reversed the order in October’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon where she ran a superb 2:28:00 to take out Silvia Ruegger’s 28-year-old Canadian record. Since then she has proven her competitiveness on the international stage, finishing 14th at the Boston Marathon in April, and 10th last weekend in a deep field at the Oakley Mini 10K in New York City. Sunday will be an important, final test of fitness before she heads to Glasgow next month to represent Canada in the Commonwealth Games marathon.
Many eyes, however, will be on the tussle that unfolds just behind Marchant, between Doerksen and Bazeley. Doerksen had a splendid, breakthrough performance to win the BMo Vancouver Marathon on May 4th, in 2:37:00. “Local 23 year old stuns field at Vancouver Marathon” wrote Canadian Running

Kate Bazeley en route to a Newfoundland provincial record in her marathon debut in Houston

Kate Bazeley en route to a Newfoundland provincial record in her marathon debut in Houston (Photo: Victor Sailer, PhotoRun)

magazine. On that same wet morning, Kate Bazeley took the women’s title in the accompanying BMo Vancouver Half, in 1:15:18. In January, the 29 year-old Newfoundlander had a low-key, largely unheralded marathon debut in Houston of 2:40:49 [first half in 1:17:37], to set a new provincial record for “The Rock”. On paper, the Doerksen-Bazeley contest should be one of the tastier highlights of this year’s Scotia Half, as the depth builds in Canadian women’s distance running.
Intriguing Masters’ battles are also on offer, between Vancouver’s Catherine Watkins [BC Endurance Project] and Victoria’s Marilyn Arsenault, and Victoria’s Jim Finlayson and Craig Odermatt.
Over 6,000 participants are expected for Sunday’s Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon and 5K, with over 4,000 in the half. The forecast is for sunny skies, perfect 12c to 15c temperatures, and great racing. More than $750,000 is also expected to be raised for 81 mostly-local charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Entry to the half marathon is still available, at the Expo in the Vancouver Convention Centre East, today [11am to 7pm] and tomorrow [10am to 5pm].  Everyone will have the chance to meet and chat with this year’s top athletes in a Q & A at the Expo tomorrow [Saturday] between 12 noon and 1pm. The panel also includes Reid Coolsaet and Sabrina Wilkie, as well as Wykes, Kangogo, Watson, Jibril, Marchant, Doeksen, Bazeley, Arsenault and Watkins.

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Lanni Marchant to Run Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon by Paul Gains

029_ij_svhm13_0165It could be said that Lanni Marchant epitomises the ‘loneliness of the long distance runner’ training alone on the roads near her home in Chattanooga, Tennessee using programs emailed from her coach in London, Ontario.

The 30 year old national marathon record holder is also the sole Canadian entry in the Commonwealth Games marathon set for next month.  But it’s a lifestyle that she relishes – for now.

Since claiming that record with her 2:28:00 in Toronto last October Marchant was able to relieve a little financial stress using the $28,000 record bonus to pay down the loan she had taken out to finish law school. And she also experienced racing in the Boston Marathon, a World Marathon Major event, where she finished a credible 14th.

Marchant says she is grateful that the law firm for whom she does work is flexible allowing her to travel to races and to what has become an annual high altitude training camp in Iten, Kenya each winter. Preparing case work from home or, when she feels particularly isolated, from a local coffee shop, she is committed to practicing law in addition to her athletics career.

As she pounds out the miles her next important test will come in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon June 22nd the fifth of eight races that make up the 2014 Canada Running Series.

“That course is really tricky,” she says. “Last year I think I ran just over 1:11 (1:11:38) so I am hoping for) something similar to that, maybe a bit quicker. I want to feel stronger the second half of the course because the first half is all downhill, so I wouldn’t even mind to be a bit slow if I really hammer it the last half of the race.

“(SVHM) will work well because most of the rest of the Commonwealth team have to go to Moncton, New Brunswick for the track nationals to prove fitness. It actually times pretty well being the week before track nationals so I can put in a solid effort and show that I am still fit and ready to go, and I can test the legs a little bit and see what I have in the tank without going too, too deep and using a race effort. It’s about a month before I will do the marathon.”

Last month she tested herself at the Ottawa 10km. She was the top Canadian finisher in the women’s race finishing 7th overall (33:15). Most encouraging for her was that she ran the second half much faster than the first passing 5km in 16:26.

“Ottawa was just a rust buster,” she says laughing. “I knew I wasn’t ready to go with the lead Kenyan runners so I wanted to run and finish strong. I am really trying to focus on the second half of my race I tend to be a runner that pushes hard the first half and sometimes gets into trouble the second half.

“I am doing a lot of work in the gym and I am trying to use these races to get some finishing speed and keep my speed and hip strength and everything going over the second half of every race.”

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon will be of much higher importance since the distance is more attuned to the high mileage training she has been doing to prepare for the Commonwealth Games. Twice she has run here with mixed results. In 2012 she broke her foot during the race. A year ago her friend and Canadian rival Krista DuChene got the better of her and she wound up second.

Marchant says she plans to arrive in Vancouver a couple of days earlier and stay a few days after the race in order to visit her elder sister as well as other family members. Though the occasion will be relaxing there is no doubt she will be all business when she lines up for the race.

Yes, it’s a lonely existence but a victory in Vancouver followed by a strong performance wearing the Canadian vest in Glasgow will make it all worthwhile. Indeed, Marchant has lofty goals.

“The Commonwealth Games is something I always wanted,” she explains. “I remember the last time around I was looking to do the 10,000m but the standard was way too fast for me. I didn’t think I would ever actually make a team and I always thought it would be a fun team to make and it’s a good chance for Canadians to do well at an international event.

“And if Rio (Olympic Games) is the end goal I want as much experience putting on that Team Canada singlet and lining up against some big names before I hope to do it in Rio.”


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Introducing our 2014 STWM Digital Champions!

On Sunday October 19th, 25,000 runners will come together in Toronto for the 25th Anniversary of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon! Today we are excited to announce our 2014 Digital Champions ambassador team. The STWM Digital Champions are a group of diverse, dedicated, and enthusiastic athletes, each with a unique story and running history to share.

This year we are introducing some new faces as well as bringing back the best of our Digital Champion alumni! Over the next 130 days, you can follow the journeys of these 50 runners on Twitter, Instagram, and this blog as they share their training challenges and triumphs on the road to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Whether you’re a busy parent, a new runner, or a Boston hopeful, we know you will find a story that inspires you to lace up your shoes and log the kilometres on the road to the finish line.   As you embark on your own training journey, we hope you’ll join our online community and connect with our Digital Champions for motivation and support!

STWM Tune-Up Run Larger

Connect with the 2014 Digital Champions on Twitter using the hashtag #STWM:

Wally Azarcon
Twitter: @callousedrunner

Catherine Azoulay
Twitter: @marathoner514

Jean-Paul Bedard
Twitter: @RunJPRun

Tina Benigno
Twitter: @TinaBelinda

Alyssa Bird
Twitter: @alyfly8910

Amanda Bond
Twitter: @amandalea_b

Andrew Chak
Twitter: @AndrewChak

William Chaupiz
Twitter: @wchaupiz

Alyssa Cheung
Twitter: @the_real_alyssa

Michelle Clarke
Twitter: @runningchic

Karyn Cooper
Twitter: @coopkaryn

Karen Dancy
Twitter: @kdancey

Christa Davidson
Twitter: @christadavidson

Lisa Davidson
Twitter: @TorontoFitMom

Christopher Doyle
Twitter: @ChrisDoyle

Heather Gardner
Twitter: @RunSoulCycle

Emily Gray
Twitter: @EmilyMcGray

Patrick Girard
Twitter: @PatRuns

Prasheel Gopal
Twitter: @PralexGorier

Jean-Paul Hernandez

Hideki Kinoshita
Twitter: @kinosfault

Jessica Kuepfer
Twitter: @lacesandlattes

Josh Labove
Twitter: @jlabove

Steve Layton
Twitter: @stevewlayton

Jodi Lewchuk
Twitter: @jodilewchuk

Carol Levesque
Twitter: @carollevesque

Michael Lobsinger
Twitter: @mLob_creative

Laurie-Ann March
Twitter: @innerpossible

Linda Nguyen
Twitter: @lindamnguyen

Cory Pagett

Twitter: @CMDPcomm

Noel Paine
Twitter: @NoelPaine

Amber Renton
Twitter: @gingersontherun

Leanne Richardson
Twitter: @RLeanne

Bridget Roussy
Twitter: @bridgetwaits

Mark Sawh
Twitter: @Mark_Sawh

Sally Seabrook
Twitter: @sallyseabrook13

Janine Sedgwick
Twitter: @wanna_b_runner

Krysten Siba-Bishop
Twitter: @darwinianfail

Ravi Singh
Twitter: @ravimatsingh

Janice Smith
Twitter: @fitcheerldr

Petja Taivassalo
Twitter: @MrTDoesPE

Michael Thornton
Twitter: @MikeThorntonCA

Alan Tou
Twitter: @alatus

Jennifer Wilson
Twitter: @JenWilsonTO

Lara Winnemore
Twitter: @viva_lara

Stephanie Xamin
Twitter: @stephanieruns

Kenny Yumke
Twitter: @yumke 

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Dylan Wykes Returns to Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon by Paul Gains

Dylan Wykes East SideAfter racing to a 20th place finish at the 2012 London Olympics Dylan Wykes had reached a peak in his running career and wondered if he would ever find the motivation and determination to continue.

Thankfully for Canadian running fans that mindset was only temporary.

On April 27th Wykes took second in the Vancouver Sun Run with a time of 29:11. The performance has served notice he is fit and mentally preparing to run a fall marathon. As the second fastest Canadian in history – he recorded 2:10:47 in Rotterdam 2012 to earn his spot on the Olympic team – he has hopes of improving upon that time.

Next up for the Vancouver resident, who celebrates his 31st birthday on June 6th, is the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on June 22nd, a true test of his current training program.

“Training is going pretty well,” he said on a recent visit to his hometown of Kingston, Ontario. “I ran the 10k last week in Ottawa. It wasn’t as good a performance as I wanted but I bounced back. I have been getting in some good training for sure.”

Wykes finished 9th in the Lowertown Brewery 10km in Ottawa on a warm and muggy night with a time of 29:40. Asked about the difficulty in bouncing back mentally following the Olympics he chooses his words deliberately.

“I think it was tough to reach a big goal like that,” he says quietly. “It’s kind of like ‘oh, what now?” That feeling combined with some injuries shortly after the Olympics, for about a year and half, it’s definitely been up and down emotionally.

“There have been times when I definitely thought about packing it in. But I always gravitated back to wanting to get back to where I had been and to be better. The goal is to just keep improving; that has kept me getting out there training.”

Since the fall of 2010 Wykes has trained under the guidance of Richard Lee, who also heads up the BC Endurance Project. He has eked out an existence thanks to the help of his sponsors Mizuno as well as a part time job at Forerunners a Vancouver store owned and operated by Peter Butler (4th fastest Canadian marathoner of all time at 2:10:56).  On occasion, he also does some contract work related to epidemiology, a field in which he has a Master’s degree.

“I am cautiously optimistic that I will stay healthy,” he admits. “It’s probably been three months now that I have been training and healthy. I can definitely get back to the level I was at leading up to the Olympics and during the Olympics. Hopefully I can get more out of myself. There are definitely some big goals and stuff I want to accomplish still.”

Optimism is abundant these days especially since he was a last minute entrant in the Vancouver Sun Run and preparations couldn’t have been more challenging. A week before the race he and his longtime girlfriend, Francine Darroch, were married. The couple is also expecting a child.

“I only decided to race Sun Run two weeks before,” he explains. “I had my wedding the week before that. I had a lot of other things going on and I didn’t feel any pressure to perform.

“The race wasn’t hyping me up as one of the main contenders because I decided to run so late. So I was able to get in there and I didn’t really know where I was at fitness wise. I didn’t put on any pressure on myself and just tried to compete. That was my first race in five months. I was happy with how that went for sure.”

Wykes is looking forward to the Scotiabank Half Marathon, a race he is more than familiar with. He raced it in 2011 finishing 4th in 1:04:35. In his buildup to the Olympics he recorded his personal best of 1:02:38 in Tempe, Arizona.

“I know the (Vancouver) course,” he reveals. “Part of it goes through the neighbourhood where I am living and I know the streets it is run on.”

“When you look at it on paper it looks like it should be a really fast course there’s some significant downhill but there’s also some tough uphill. I just want to try and compete well. Obviously I think it will take 63-64 minutes to be competitive. I think I am ready to do that again. If I can just get in there and be in the mix that will be great.”

The event record is 63:10 set by Kenya’s Patrick Nthiwa in 2007. Although Reid Coolsaet has withdrawn due to an injury the field remains very, very strong. Among those Wykes will face on June 22nd are training partner Rob Watson (1:03:22 best) and four time Vancouver champion, Kip Kangogo, the Kenyan born resident of Lethbridge, Alberta.

Kangogo received his Canadian citizenship on April 4th of this year but has been a force on the Canadian scene for years.

“Kip knows how to get it done, eh?” Wykes says laughing when reminded Kangogo has won the race four times. “Kip is obviously a super competitor and knows how to win on that course. I hope that I am strong enough to keep up with the lead pack. Kip is a tough guy to beat. I think he has had my number more times than I have had his, in the times we have raced, so it will be tough.”

With renewed optimism and his life moving along nicely Wykes admits he is in a good place emotionally.

“I got to a point where I am pretty content with things and things seem to be going in a good direction. Basically there will be lots of new things on the horizon, the baby coming on the horizon,” he says breaking into a laugh. “So I will have to pick (two time Olympian) Eric Gillis’ brain for how to be a good dad and still be able to perform at a high level.”

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Olympian Coolsaet Heading to Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon by Paul Gains

ZAKM0579Canadian Olympian Reid Coolsaet heads up a fine men’s field at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon June 22nd.

The 34 year old member of Speed River Track Club in Guelph, Ontario recently finished 13th at the Virgin Money London Marathon (2:13:40) but still has designs on Jerome Drayton’s now 39 year old Canadian marathon record. Determined as ever, the Vancouver race is another stepping stone to achieving his goal.

“Training is going well,” Coolsaet said this week. “After London I took a week off then another week to ease back into it. Now I am trying to push a little bit more in workouts with Eric (Gillis) Nick (Sunseri) and John (Mason). They are getting ready to do the Ottawa Marathon.”

Two years ago Coolsaet raced on this same Vancouver point to point course as his final test before the 2012 London Olympics. He won the race in a very quick time of 63:16 just six seconds off the event record of 63:10 set by Kenya’s Patrick Nthiwa in 2007. He went on to finish 27th at the Olympics.

Organisers of the Canada Running Series have put up a $1,000 course record bonus but, as is his custom, Coolsaet won’t say whether he will chase the record.

“It’s still pretty early in my stages,” he reveals. “But, of course, I am going to go there looking to be competitive with the guys who typically come out to the race, maybe Kip Kangogo, (Kangogo), who is always strong there, and the top BC guys. Those guys I want to be competitive with them and get going again with competition.”

You’re invited to race with Reid and Lanni Marchant! Entry and further information available at

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Running With Benefits

TORONTO. May 15th 2014. When Digital Champion Andrew Chak ran his first 10K three 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. Fast forward to present day and Andrew has completed over 45 races and just finished his 6th marathon and he’s looking forward to being a part of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this fall. You can read about Andrew’s running obsessions on his Obsessive Runner blog on or follow him on Twitter @AndrewChak.

Running With Benefits. By Andrew Chak.

Andrew Chak Digital Champions

One of the unique experiences that I’ve had as a blogger and socially-connected runner, is being a Canada Running Series “Digital Champion” for #TYS10K, and this year for #STWM. In this role, CRS features myself and other Digital Champions in their social media postings as we engage in conversations and share our training tribulations with other runners.In other words, we overshare our tweets, photos, postings and hashtag everything!

Canada Running Series is currently recruiting Digital Champions for the upcoming Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, taking place on Sunday October 19th. Here are 10  great reasons why I think you should apply to be part of the team:

1. Connect with runners from another mother
A big part of being a Digital Champion is to share your training progress and linking it to the #STWM race hashtag so that other participants can discover your posts. This introduces you to other runners who are sharing the same race and it’ll feel like you’re discovering long lost family members.

2. Never train alone again
When you get up at dark o’clock and hop onto social media, chances are someone else is already up and at it. Waking up and knowing that someone else is up too reminds me that misery does indeed love company and that I should just get after it.

3. It’s schwagarific
Becoming a race ambassador often comes with the commensurate duty of being a human billboard for the race via gratuitous free training schwag that you can wear over and over again for those training selfies (see next point).

4. Taking selfies with a purpose
Those shockingly exciting pictures of yourself going on exotic running paths are no longer just for your own viewing pleasure – they’re actually sources of “run envy” where deep- seeded run yearnings drag others out for a dash.

5. Find your twinsie
As you get connected to more runners, you’re more than likely to find your running twinsie – you know, that runner who runs all the same races as you do and is at your exact pace. Finding your twinsie means finding an awesome partner to run with on race day.

Andrew Chak Digital Champions 2

6. Run more than you ever thought you would
The more runners you connect with, the more likely you’ll run more. You’ll hear others heading out for a run and you’ll want to head out too. You’ll hear about new trails and routes that you’ll just have to run through. You’ll sign up for more races because you
know others will be there. Just make sure you let your loved ones know where you are or better yet, have them join you.

7. Stretch your inspiration
As a Digital Champion, I’ve had the privilege of learning about stories about how runners have comeback from addiction, dealt with sustained injuries or are just struggling with doing the next workout. Connecting with a wider gamut of runners has stretched the spectrum of life experiences that I am exposed to and I am awestruck at how inspired the human spirit can be when it faces adversity.

8. Live a more cheer-filled life
One of the best parts of being a Digital Champion is how much more cheering there is in your life. My tweet-cheers often turn into real life cheers and it has definitely come full circle back to me. Best. Feeling. Ever.

9. A guaranteed PB on race day
When race day comes, your social media feeds will light up with pre-race rituals, last- minute wardrobe changes, medal-wearing selfies to race recaps. And because you’re connected with so many more runners, you will definitely be celebrating someone’s personal best that day whether it is their first race, a triumph over injury or a faster finish time. So even if it doesn’t turnout to be your best race day, you’re more than likely to still be able to celebrate someone else’s.

10. Build a healthier community around you
When you start sharing your running journey, others around you will inevitably notice and consider joining in. I’ve seen many friends and family members start to take up running and I’ve often been told that I helped to encourage them just by seeing me doing it. By becoming a Digital Champion, you’re given a larger platform to share your running journey with others and to truly be a part of building a healthier community around you.

If these benefits are of interest to you, you should consider applying to be a Digital Champion for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this fall! Canada Running Series is accepting applications here until May 30th! In the meantime, connect with myself and other runners training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon using hashtag #STWM on Twitter.

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Lanni Marchant Returns to Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, by Paul Gains

That National Record victory smile, 2:28:00 at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2013!

That National Record victory smile, 2:28:00 at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2013!

Lanni Marchant returns to the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon June 22nd with the heavy mantle of being the new Canadian marathon record holder.

Last October at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Marchant beat the 28 year old standard with a time of 2 hours 28 minutes to raise her already growing profile. She has resumed training following her recent 14th place finish at the Boston Marathon, a result of which she was immensely proud.

Now her attention is focused on the Vancouver race and defending her stature as the country’s preeminent female distance runner. The course record of 1:10:46 (Lioudmila Kortchaguina 2003) is secondary to her thirst for victory.

“I ran Vancouver last year and I was second to Krista (DuChene) and the year before I ran it and I broke my ankle,” she recalls. “It’s a good tricky, technical course. I mean you can run really fast. Krista ran 1:10:52 and I ran 1:11:38 on it so you can run fast.

“I think it’s like Boston or Toronto with a downhill at the start and you put some wear and tear into your quads and then you have rollers and some turns. And then you have to go over Burrard Bridge back to the finish. It’s definitely a technical course. It was fun – well the first time I did it it wasn’t fun. But I had a lot of fun last year.”

Marchant, 30, faces a field of younger contenders bent on providing an upset.

For information & entry to Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K see website.

Facebook: Canada Running Series and Vancouver Half

Twitter: @scotiahalf #scotiahalf @RunCRS

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Canada Running Series adds New Balance to Vancouver Eastside 10k

The Start at Dunsmuir & Beatty!

The Start at Dunsmuir & Beatty!

VANCOUVER, May 8, 2014. Canada Running Series is pleased to announce global athletic leader New Balance is joining the Vancouver Eastside 10K as athletic partner to the award winning event, set for Saturday, September 13th, 2014. The inaugural race took place in 2013 and is quickly staking its claim as one of the best events on the Fall calendar. It was voted “Reader’s Choice, Best Road Running Event in Western Canada for 2013” by Get Out There magazine. The first edition had a sold-out crowd of 1,500 runners, some fine performances capped by Olympian Dylan Wykes’ victory, a great course through a different part of Vancouver, and some wonderful neighbourhood charity partnerships.
“We got off to such a great start last year,” said Race Director Clif Cunningham. “There was a real buzz. This new partnership with New Balance and retailers Forerunners and Runners’ Den is so important in moving us forward. We’re really excited about the next 3 years, and where we can go.”

Dyaln Wykes breaks the tape in 29:42 to become the inaugural Men's Champion!

Dyaln Wykes breaks the tape in 29:42 to become the inaugural Men’s Champion!

New Balance’s support will grow and improve the “running experience” for participants of all levels and abilities at the Vancouver Eastside 10K. Everyone who enters will receive a $20 New Balance Gift Card to Forerunners or Runner’s Den. New in-store and online Training Programmes will be offered to help get people to the Finish Line with a smile and a personal best, and all participants will be given a premium-quality New Balance, “Vancouver Eastside 10K” technical t-shirt. The sponsorship will also allow the race to build its community outreach and charity programme. According to Cunningham, “we are also planning some new initiatives with our charity partners to expand our reach in the community — reducing barriers for the youth of the community to enter, and with New Balance, launching a new programme to outfit select groups in need of proper footwear.”

“New Balance is delighted to join forces with Canada Running Series on the Eastside 10k to support runners and the vibrant Eastside Community” said Stewart Weepers, New Balance Canada. “We look forward to showcasing New Balance’s

Gassy Jack looks down approvingly over the 5.5km water station!

Gassy Jack looks down approvingly over the 5.5km water station!

innovative footwear and helping runners achieve their goals in this exciting race.”
The race Starts & Finishes Downtown at Dunsmuir & Beatty, next to the Armoury and SkyTrain station [MAP]. It heads East over the Dunsmuir viaduct into the Eastside, past Strathcona Park, along Raymer and Powell, before circling the historic Gastown district, past the Steam Clock and Gassy Jack, then heading back to Dunsmuir and Beatty . This year’s event has set a cap of 2500 runners and expects to raise even more money for the community it runs through. For 2014, the Official Community Charities will be the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, Watari Counselling & Support Services, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre empowers women and children living in extreme poverty; Watari Counseling and Support Services, assists people working with poverty, housing, systematic abuse, alcohol and drug issues, mental illness and more; and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank provides food and related assistance to those in need, helping nearly 27,000 people weekly.
For more information and online registration please visit us at

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