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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At 2014 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon in June

At 2014 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon in June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No doubt that day is rapidly approaching.


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25 Reasons Why You Should Run STWM. By Jessica Kuepfer

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

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

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

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

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

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What The Marathon Has Taught Me. By Christa Davidson

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

What The Marathon Has Taught Me. By Christa Davidson

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Twitter: @christadavidson

Instagram: @christadavidson


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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.”

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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