Kimugul, DuChene win blustery Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K in High Park, Toronto

TORONTO. April 5th. Kenya’s Paul Kimugul [24:09] and Krista DuChene [27:45] took the men’s and women’s titles at the 36th Annual Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K to fight prostate cancer on a chilly, blustery morning in High Park, as Canada Running Series 2014 got rolling in Toronto. A sold out crowd of almost 2,700 toed the line for the 10am start, with the thermometer at 2c, and strong, gusty winds. Another 1,800 ran the accompanying 5K later in the morning, and almost 200 kids were undeterred by the cool morning to take on their 800m event. As befitting the tradition of the race, and “Opening Day” for the Series in Eastern Canada, a competitive line up Canadian distance runners were out to do battle.

tf_hsrot14_0175The men’s race saw a highly-competitive, see-saw tussle between Kimugul, last year’s winner Sami Jibril of Athletics Toronto, and Speed River’s Olympian Eric Gillis who was the 2012 race champion. These three broke away early, but the contest was not decided until the final gut-wrenching 600m charge up Spring Road Hill. On the legendary stiff incline, Jibril came back on Gillis to move into second, but was successfully fought off by Kimugul. They finished in 24:09 and 24:11, with Gillis jogging home from the top of the hill in 24:20. While the veteran Kimugul showed his class, especially coming back just 6

Paul Kimugul fights to hold off a charging Sami Jibril on Spring Road Hill

Paul Kimugul fights to hold off a charging Sami Jibril on Spring Road Hill

days after his win at the Around the Bay 30k, the performance of the day most-likely belonged to Sami Jibril. The 24-year old Somali-Canadian, who works nights for the TTC and trains in the day, is clearly moving up to a new level.

“I’m really pleased,” he said. “It was an excellent PB, and a good time, especially given the conditions. I felt a little bit of pressure after last year’s win, and Eric and Paul out there. I knew I was going to have to work hard. I hung in there, and we took shots at each other throughout the race.It all came together with 2k to go. Paul strung us out a bit, and it was just racing from there. I kinda surprised myself catching Eric. I was focussing on Paul, but I was a little bit scared. Scared running! I couldn’t quite catch him, but I’m happy with the way I ran.” A visibly disappointed Eric Gillis said he felt tired, especially near the end, and never felt comfortable. “I know I can race better than that,” he said. He’ll get an early chance to do that, anchoring the East Team in the East-West Challenge at Toronto Yonge Street 10K next Sunday. And he’ll get a re-match with Sami Jibril at the Banque Scoitia 21K de Montreal on April 27th, for the National Championship. It will be Jibril’s debut at the longer distance.

Another convincing victory for Krista DuChene

Another convincing victory for Krista DuChene

The contest between Krista DuChene, Harry’s 2013 champion, and Tarah Korir, 2012 champ, never materialized as DuChene demolished the field as well as the High Park hills, to win by over a minute, 27:44 to 28:47. Brantford’s “Marathon Mom” was also racing 6 days after Around the Bay, but seemed similarly unaffected. She went out hard, and was already 30m clear by 2k. It was a lead she steadily extended, as she cruised around the second half of the course for the convincing victory.

Behind the leaders there were lots of smiles, not the least of which belonged to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation who took home a large cheque from Harry Rosen CEO, Larry Rosen and the runners for $186,000, to support the fight against prostate cancer. This brought the total raised during Harry Rosen’s 9 year sponsorship to $2.6 million. Both Larry Rosen and CFO Conrad Frejlich ran the 8K. Councillor Sarah Doucette flipped pancakes for the High Park Nature Conservancy. High Park Members of

How much fun is this?!

How much fun is this?!

Parliament Peggy Nash and Cheri DiNovo were both out to cheer on the runners. And Councillor Mike Layton and Olivia Chow sounded the Start horns then jumped in and ran the 5K. Despite the chilly conditions, there was a fine sense of occasion as the Toronto community came out to launch a new season.

For complete Results see http://www.canadarunningseries.com/springrunoff/csroRESULT.htm

Next up, the dash down Yonge: Toronto Yonge Street 10k, Sunday, April 13th. www.Toronto10k.ca

 

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Awesome Race Signs To Cheer With

TORONTO. April 2nd 2014. When Andrew ran his first 10K two and half years ago, he felt like a hero. The city streets were closed just for his run. People cheered him on like he was an Olympian. He got a sparkly medal that he could keep wearing for days. And he had all-you-can-eat bagels at the finish. He was hooked.

The Toronto Yonge Street 10K was that very first race that he ran two and a half years ago. He’s thrilled to be a race ambassador and to be able to encourage others to run this race as either their first 10K or for those seeking a personal best time. In other words, he just wants others to feel like a hero too.You can read about Andrew’s running obsessions on his Obsessive Runner blog on iRun.ca or follow him on Twitter @AndrewChak.

Awesome Race Signs To Cheer With. By Andrew Chak.

With race season upon us, it’s time for us to get excited and get inspired to run our best. For those who are on the sidelines enthusiastically cheering us on as we run by we appreciate every effort you make to spur us on. We especially appreciate creative race signs that bring a smile to our face when we really need it.

In an effort to inspire other race sign ideas, I gathered together a group of the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions (and some friends) to share with you some awesome race signs that we hope to see at this and other races. If you like these signs, go to iRun to see 10 more awesome race signs!

Olympian marathoner @EricGillis42_2k cheers us on with a classic quote

AwesomeRaceSigns-EricGillis42_2k

@TorontoFitmom reminds us how to run faster

AwesomeRaceSigns-TorontoFitmom@JodiLewchuk knows just how good looking us runners are!

AwesomeRaceSigns-JodiLewchuk@TheAthletarian give us good motivation to finish fast!

AwesomeRaceSigns-TheAthletarian@Mark_Sawh calls ‘em like he sees ‘em

AwesomeRaceSigns-Mark_Sawh@christadavidson encourages us to run with a sense of urgency

AwesomeRaceSigns-christadavidson@lindamnguyen uses her arms to power our legs

AwesomeRaceSigns-lindamnguyen@RunSoulCycle cannot hide her disappointment

AwesomeRaceSigns-RunSoulCycle@The_Real_Alyssa gives us a boost when we need it

AwesomeRaceSigns-The_Real_Alyssa@andrewchak explains why he’d rather be running

AwesomeRaceSigns-andrewchakNeed a bit more inspiration or some more laughs? Check out the other 10 awesome race signs on iRun! Will you be cheering at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K on April 13th? What will your sign say?

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Toronto Yonge Street 10k To Host Epic ‘East Versus West’ Street Battle, by Paul Gains

A jubilant victory punch for Kip at #TYS10k 2013!

A jubilant victory punch for Kip at #TYS10k 2013!

TORONTO. March 28th.  Toronto’s premier 10km race will mark the occasion of the first ‘East versus West’ elite team contest in Canadian road racing history on April 13th.

The Toronto Yonge Street 10km, a foot race down one of the country’s most famous streets, is expected to attract more than seven thousand runners intent on chasing a fast time and enjoying the associated festivities. The race will finish near historic Fort York in front of a large crowd of spectators.

Among those who will toe the start line are some of the country’s best racers who will compete for a challenge trophy, and more importantly, for the accompanying bragging rights.

“I think the East-West challenge idea is an excellent one,” says Richard Lee, coach of the BC Athletics Endurance Project, who will oversee the West team. “The more friendly rivalries and strong club or group structures we can have in Canada the better for everyone.

TYS10K 2013 mass Start FG_TYS10K13_870“It harkens back to the 1980′s with the Toronto Olympic Club and the Etobicoke Husky Striders versus the Richmond Kajaks and the (University of Victoria) Vikes. That produced many of the strongest distance runners in Canadian history. The competition between clubs, groups or regions, adds a little more importance, excitement and flavour to events like the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. It’s great that the Canada Running Series is adding a little spice to the regular road race scene.”

Natasha Wodak gives her victory fist-pump after a battle with Rachel Cliff to win Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8k last Sunday

Natasha Wodak gives her victory fist-pump after a battle with Rachel Cliff to win Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8k last Sunday

Lee will bring several athletes from his extremely talented group including Canadian international marathoner Rob Watson and Natasha Wodak, who won the Canada Running Series kick off event, the Modo Spring Run Off 8km, last weekend in Vancouver.

The defending Toronto Yonge Street 10km champion Kip Kangogo of Kenya will also add his significant presence to the West all star team. The 35 year old is a resident of Lethbridge, Alberta and is awaiting his Canadian citizenship. In the meantime he has been making an enormous impact on the Canadian running scene. A year ago he was the Canada Running Series overall champion.

The East team is managed by Chris Moulton of the University of Guelph, who just returned from leading the Canadian national team to the FISU world university cross country championships in Entebbe, Uganda. He acknowledges his team will be in a fight but insists they will be extremely competitive.

Moulton points out that the East team includes two time Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis, Krista DuChene, who represented Canada in the 2013 IAAF World Championships marathon and Tarah Korir, the 2012 Toronto Yonge Street 10k champion. Korir is returning to Canada following six months of high altitude training in her husband Wesley’s native Kenya.

Tarah Korir breaks the tape to win #TYS10k 2012 -- just 6 days after husband Wesley won Boston Marathon!

Tarah Korir breaks the tape to win #TYS10k 2012 — just 6 days after husband Wesley won Boston Marathon!

The times of the top two males and top two females on each team will be added together and the team with the lowest total time will be declared the victor.

The contest resulted from a discussion involving Canada Running Series director, Alan Brookes and Lee. The pair were simply sharing ideas in an informal brainstorming session and this concept arose. Since then it has taken on a life of its own.

The appointment of Chris Moulton as the East team’s manager was a natural choice. Moulton is also manager of Speed River Track Club and the University of Guelph track and cross country teams.

“As our team sits right now we think we have an outstanding shot at having a highly competitive race with the West team,” Moulton adds. “We love this concept and are happy to take on our friends from the west and defend our turf.

“Richard has put together a terrific team and we look forward to a good battle. Our athletes have a lot of experience racing on this course and I feel that will benefit our team greatly.”

An in-form Rachel Hannah could be a serious surprise factor!

An in-form Rachel Hannah could be a serious surprise factor!

The course records are especially quick – not surprising since the race is downhill – with Kenyans Stephen Koskei (27:47) and Florence Jepkoskei (31:42) the holders. Over the years leading Canadians have also run fast. In 2011 for instance Olympians Reid Coolsaet (28:08) and Gillis (28:09) held off Kangogo by a step. [great VIDEO].

The men’s race will likely come down to a tussle between defending champion Kangogo and Eric Gillis but Watson could spring a surprise. Both Gillis, who is a member of Speed River Track Club and Watson are preparing for the Ottawa Marathon and see this race as an important test of their fitness.

Meanwhile, Tarah Korir, Natasha Wodak and Krista DuChene will provide the excitement at the front of the women’s race. But we shouldn’t forget Toronto’s own Rachel Hannah who was second last year.

A well organised fast course, accurate finishing times, 10 great charities to run for and excellent post-race entertainment will ensure the seven thousand runners have a great day in Toronto. Now, we’ll also see who reigns supreme, East or West?

PRELIMINARY TEAMS: EAST VERSUS WEST

EAST

Eric Gillis (Guelph ON)

Nick Sunseri (Toronto ON)

Peter Corrigan (Toronto ON)

Kyle O’Neill (Aylmer, ON)

Krista Duchene (Brantford ON)

Rachel Hannah (Toronto ON)

Tarah Korir (St Clements ON)

Kate Bazeley (Cornerbrook NL)

Lisa Avery (Orillia ON)

 WEST

Kip Kangogo (Lethbridge, AB – Kenya)

Rob Watson (Vancouver BC)

Adam Byles (Vancouver BC – Australia)

Richard Mosley (Burnaby BC)

Natasha Wodak (Vancouver BC)

Dayna Pidhoresky (Vancouver BC)

Erin Burrett (Nanaimo BC)

Sabrina Wilkie (Vancouver, BC)

Catherine Watkins (Vancouver, BC)

Note:  The times of the top two males and top two women on each team will be added. The team with the lowest aggregate will be declared the winners.

 Final teams will be declared on Friday April 11th.

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For race registration: www.canadarunningseries.com

 

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No Longer Unknown Sami Jibril Aims To Defend Harry’s Spring Run Off, by Paul Gains

IJ_HSRO13_1462

Sami beats Josephat Ongeri by a stride for dramatic, surprise 2013 Harry’s win!

TORONTO. March 25. A year ago Toronto’s Sami Jibril went into the Harry’s Spring Run Off 8km as a relative unknown and emerged as a surprise victor [2013 Race Report].

On April 5th he will be among the contenders in this race which, for thirty seven years, has provided Canadians and international stars with a professionally organized and challenging course.

The competition at the front has always been extremely tough too. Indeed, the course record of 22:35 was set by Kenya’s Daniel Komen in 1994. Komen went on to set world records at both 3,000m and 5,000m on the track not to mention the 1997 IAAF World Championship 5,000m gold medal.

Jibril opened his 2014 road race season with a strong performance at the Jacksonville River Run 15km March 15th. That race doubled as the US national 15km championship and was an excellent test of his winter training the likes of which he has not experienced in the past. He encompassed between 160 and 200km a week in very severe Arctic-like conditions.

Battling to hold off Ongeri

Battling to hold off Ongeri

His performance also confirmed his future lies in road racing rather than track.

“It went well,” Jibril says choosing his words deliberately. “The fields were loaded on both sides, men and women, very deep. It was a really fast run until the last hill. It was a battle the whole way. It was hard to not be engaged.

“Competitiveness? Every second of the race was competitive. It was good for me to be in a race like that. I ran 46:34 and was 30th place. I am pretty fit strength wise.”

Unlike many of those competitors and the majority of the Harry’s Spring Run Off field he doesn’t have the luxury of getting away to warm weather training camps. Indeed, the 24 year old has not a single sponsor and must totally rely on his income as a full time employee of the Toronto Transit Commission.

Jibril works the ‘graveyard shift’ from 11 pm until 7am five days a week sometimes as a repairman, sometimes as a janitor.

“Depending on if I have got a group workout I workout in the morning,” he explains. “I finish my shift, go home for a few minutes, collect myself, have a coffee, a bit of breakfast and then head out the door. That is truly my workout. Any other day I usually get home and sleep. The other option is get my workout in fuel up and then sleep.”

Chasing down Rejean Chiasson

Chasing down Rejean Chiasson

The adjustment to shift work was by no means immediate.

“I did have trouble sleeping for the first six months,” he reveals. “I didn’t know if it was possible for me to balance the lifestyle of what I was in. But I figured through time management skills that I had that I really did need to execute all areas. I had some health issues.

“I never had any of these problems before and my doctors could not figure it out and just classified it as a virus. So I was put on different medications and puffers and had many medical tests which did not help. During this time I was training with these problems and had horrible respiratory (asthma attacks) problems while racing the track season throughout the summer and fall of 2013.”

The conclusion was that his disrupted sleep patterns had led to an aversion to some foods including eggs, dairy, gluten and hazelnuts. With the help of a local naturopath he says he quickly changed his diet and his health improved.

Health problems now behind him, Jibril is exuding confidence as he prepares for Harry’s Spring Run Off and ultimately the Banque Scotia 21km de Montreal the Canadian Half Marathon Championship. Both races are part of the 2014 Canada Running Series.

“I am confident that I am the fittest I have ever been in my life and am ready to compete hard to defend my title,” Jibril declares. “The Jacksonville 15km told me I am a lot stronger than I think and it reinforces my confidence that I can compete in a strong field.”

Although his heritage is Somali-Ethiopian Jibril was born in Rome and emigrated to Canada with his parents when he was three. They had fled the strife in their region – Ethiopian troops were fighting with Somalian forces in Eastern Ethiopia – and landed in Italy. He moved to the High Park area of Toronto when he was 22 leaving his parents and two brothers and a sister in Brampton, Ontario. Training is done under the supervision of Hugh Cameron of Athletics Toronto.

As one would expect his upside down lifestyle can limit his social life.

“You know what? Training and work takes up mostly all of my time. I like to just sit at home and watch TV,” he allows. “I am a basketball fan so I keep up with the (Toronto) Raptors. I just generally kind of doing do much on the side because it takes so much energy balancing lifestyle. I do once in a while eat with friends. It’s not on a weekly basis I kind of keep it modest until the season is done.”

Should his foray into half marathon racing prove successful Jibril says a fall marathon is a definite possibility. Modest goals of around 65 minutes for the half distance would indicate he will tackle the full 42km.

In the meantime, though, it’s 8km through High Park that dominates his race planning at the moment. A victory there would be a massive step along the path he is taking to the top of Canadian distance running.

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For More Information and race registration see Harry’s Spring Run Off website.

 

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Wiebe and Wodak record impressive wins to launch Canada Running Series 2014 at Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8k.

Natasha Wodak & Rachel Cliff battle it out past Siwash Rock, just past 4km

Natasha Wodak & Rachel Cliff battle it out past Siwash Rock, between 4km and 5km

VANCOUVER. March 23rd. Kelly Wiebe and Natasha Wodak got Canada Running Series 2014 off to a flying start with impressive victories at the Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8K. It was a picture-perfect Spring morning on the Stanley Park Seawall, with almost 1,000 runners drawn from across the country and as far away as Hawaii and Brazil. Wiebe lead from Start to Finish, and crossed the line in a strong early-season time of 24:03. Wodak, also from the BC Endurance Project with Coach Richard Lee, had much more of a tussle as she fought a see-saw battle with UBCs Rachel Cliff, only breaking away over the last 1500m for the victory in a crisp 26:39. Conditions were ideal, with bright sunshine, a temperature of 5c for the 10am start, that rose to 9c during the morning, and only a light breeze. The energy of a new sponsor in Modo The Car Co-op, a new charity partner, the Take A Hike Foundation, and a new season, all added to the palpable energy in the Springtime air, amongst the big trees and mountains on the Pacific shores.

The 24-year-old Wiebe started CRS 2014 with a decided sense of purpose, in front of the Stanley Park Pavilion.

Kelly Wiebe on cruise control after an early destruction of the competition at Modo 8k

Kelly Wiebe on cruise control after an early destruction of the competition at Modo 8k

It came at the end of a pretty big training week, but I still wanted a hard effort, he said in a post-race interview. It was fun out there. A beautiful day. I wanted to make the race honest and make the other guys work. That was the main reason for the hard start. I was on my own after the first kilometre. I guess the pace was a little more honest than I thought!

Following today’s “road cameo” performance, Kelly will now move to the track in earnest in April, at Stanford and Payton Jordan meets, to hopefully make the 28:03 10,000m standard for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. BCEP teammate Kevin Friesen [25:00] came home 2nd, almost a minute back in the “no-contest” decision, with resident Aussie Adam Byles third, another 25 seconds back.

cr_srov14_116 copy (1)The women’s contest was decidedly more absorbing, with the tasty duel between Wodak and Cliff. It’s an ongoing friendly-feud, that has featured some memorable tussles, including the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in the snows of Poland where Natasha bested Rachel by 1 second, for them to take impressive 24th and 25th places overall. According to Natasha,

It was tough coming back after Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last October [following an encouraging 2:35:16 debut]. I took 6 days off, then continued to train right through to the National Cross Country Championships 5 weeks later [where she became Champion]. I really didn’t give my body the recovery it needed. So I really struggled with consistency in December. I would stop and start with my training. So in January I just basically ran. In February it started to come together. Then finally, just the last month, I’ve really started to get back to where I want to be. Today’s race was great! I just wanted a good race. Me and Rachel really battled it out. It was pretty much back and forth the whole race. It was a great challenge. Good to have someone out there really going for it. I’m happy!

ij_srov14_0127Though disappointed not to get the win, Cliff was philosophical. “Of course I would have liked to win. But I got a 1 minute PB out of it. When Natasha went a final time around 6.5km that was it. But I’m still really pleased. Now it’s onto the track with a 5000m at Stanford in 2 weeks.”

Wodak will head for a debut at Canada Running Series’ Toronto Yonge Street 10K on April 13th, then defend her SunRun 10K title in Vancouver on 27th, before heading to Ottawa for her second marathon on May 25th. Also making a rare road appearance, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory’s Lindsay Carson was an impressive 3rd, just 22 seconds back of Cliff.

How amazing is this?!

How amazing is this?!

The spectacularly scenic course, the Stanley Park venue, and a vibrant, new Modo Community Fair after the race underscored Canada Running Series’ commitment to providing quality races for runners of all levels, and to being an important part of building sustainable communities. The Fair included Modo the Car Co-op, committed to the vision that no-one should have to own a car; HUB, Vancouver’s Bicycle Network; Maker Mobile Workshop on Wheels; Vancouver Farmers’ Markets; Victory Gardens ]We Help You Grow Food]; and Vancouver Tool Library, as well as BC Athletics. “Working with Modo on the race, we’re able to showcase some great facets of the community,” said Race Director Clif Cunningham, “and also deliver a great run for the high-performance, recreational and charity runners alike. Everyone belongs in CRS!”

Complete Results available.

Canada Running Series 2014 Calendar.

 

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Take-a-Hike, Alternative High School Program Heals Teens and Communities

– Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k spotlights Take a Hike’s successful, unique approach combining experiential learning and a culture of service to one’s neighbour.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TakeAhike  828-200x180-girl-writingMarch 18, 2014; Vancouver, BC — When Rosie steps onto the stage to address the post-race runners at the Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8k this Sunday, March 23 and tells of the community who supported her to get there, she means it.

“My early high school experience was brutal. I couldn’t concentrate and never understood the work. I found school to be overwhelming,” writes the 17-year-old in a pre-release of her speech. “After awhile I stopped attending classes all together. I would just get stoned with my friends and waste the day. This got me suspended and later expelled from my school. I attended three schools after that, and screwed that up too. Then I stumbled upon Take a Hike…”

Take a Hike Foundation is an alternative high school program for students on the margins. Many of its students share similar stories: they hated school and often skipped classes, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and were expelled repeatedly – until they discovered Take a Hike.

TakeAHike expansion_bannerThe full-time education program engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy and community involvement. Serving as the backbone of the program is the network of community members and organizations supporting the students, contributing funding, programming and gear for student expeditions. Since 2000, the community of dedicated, passionate staff, therapists, mentors, volunteers and donors have been empowering teenagers who might otherwise never finish school to not only graduate but also heal and grow themselves and their communities. The result? More than 80% of students complete the program every year. In 2013, 100% of grade 12 students crossed the stage with a high school diploma.

TakeAhike Canoe_699-645x180-student-intakeFollowing the example set by the program’s chorus of supporters, students contribute a full day of community service every week. Last year, students contributed 1,400 hours in their communities – 400 hours more than what was required as part of the curriculum. “I learned how much others do for us and this motivates me to give back,” said one student.

“Volunteering through Take a Hike is often the first opportunity our students are given to contribute to their community in a meaningful way,” says Take a Hike Foundation executive director Jaydeen Williams. “We find that the leadership skills and confidence they build translate to social and academic success in the classroom.”

And it is this emphasis on both community involvement and engagement with the great outdoors that made Take a Hike an ideal match as charity partner in the Modo Spring Run-Off 8k race (or, “Modo 8k”) around Stanley Park, which organizers at Canada Running Series describe as a fun, community-oriented race, popular among new and experienced runners who favour group runs and volunteerism.

Modo marketing director Hilary Henegar is thrilled to bring on Take a Hike as Modo 8k charity partner: “Just as carsharing helps to build healthy, connected cities by reducing vehicles on the road to lower air pollution, preserve green space and encouraging more active modes of transportation, Take a Hike fosters healthy, connected communities.”

All funds donated through the Modo 8k go directly to Take a Hike, which is running a special contest on the day of the race to encourage additional donations above pre-race day pledges. Anyone who donates $8 at the Modo 8k will be entered to win two spots in Take a Hike’s May 24 paddling expedition, and Modo will kick in wheels and a free membership to get the lucky winner to the event.

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About Take a Hike Foundation

Take a Hike is a full-time alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement. This unique, alternative education program has been very successful in helping Vancouver’s at-risk youth work through their emotional issues and addictions, and to develop confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills, and graduate. Every student in the Take a Hike program perform community service hours each year. The purpose is to demonstrate to youth that, as members of a larger community, they have a responsibility to others and that their help is needed. Valuable work experience is also gained.

About Modo

Modo is Metro Vancouver’s only local carshare co-op, since 1997. Thousands of Modo members share access to hundreds of cars, trucks, vans and electrics across Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, UBC and even Horseshoe Bay. Last year, the mission-based, not-for-profit co-operative donated carsharing to more than 60 community organizations. Modo not only shares vehicles but also its booking software, which it donates to carshare startups all over the globe, giving Modo members access to vehicles in those cities, from Nanaimo to New York and São Paulo to Sydney.

 

About the Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k

The Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k (or, “Modo 8k”) takes place every spring in beautiful Stanley Park. This year, thanks to new title sponsor Modo, finishers’ medals will be introduced for the first time for everyone who crosses the line at the Stanley Park Pavilion, and an enhanced prize purse that has already attracted an outstanding field of elite runners. As well, a post-race community fair celebrating the healthy, connected city will feature fun all-ages activities for runners and families. The Modo 8k is part of the Canada Running Series, which since 1999, has gained international recognition for innovation and organization. It is strongly committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels from Canadian Olympians and International stars, to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners; and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.

 

For more information, please contact:

Take a Hike Foundation

Jaydeen Williams

Cell: 604.710.1677/ Office: 604.638.3385

jaydeen@takeahikefoundation.org

 

Modo

Hilary Henegar

Cell 778.896.0840 / Office: 604.685.1395

hilary@modo.coop

 

Modo 8k / Canada Running Series

Clifton Cunningham

Cell: 604-839-7889 / Office: 778-786-3116

clifton@canadarunningseries.com

 

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Tarah Korir Returns From Kenya to Chase Harry’s Spring Run Off Title, by Paul Gains

Tarah breaks the tape to win Harry's Spring Run Off 8K 2012

Tarah breaks the tape to win Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K 2012

TORONTO. March 18th. If history is the judge the 2014 Harry’s Spring Run Off on April 5th will generate as much excitement as any other footrace in its thirty-seven year history. Over the years this 8km race through Toronto’s picturesque High Park has attracted Olympians from the UK, Kenya, Ireland, USA as well as Canada’s best.

Indeed in 1994 an unknown Kenyan by the name of Daniel Komen set the course record of 22:35 before going on to win the 1997 IAAF World Championships 5,000m gold medal and set world records over 3,000m and 5,000m. As always the race has given runners of all abilities the chance to test themselves on a challenging but scenic course.

Krista DuChene, who powered away from the field over the final hill, is back to defend her 2013 title (26:58) but faces a quality field chief among them Tarah Korir.

Korir moved to Kenya last September following the birth of her son, Jayden. Her husband is Wesley Korir the 2012 Boston Marathon champion and now the sitting Member of Kenyan Parliament for Cherangany district – hence the move. Two years ago Tarah won Harry’s in 27:12 and then went on to win the Toronto Yonge St 10k. Both events are part of the renowned Canada Running Series.

Wesley hugs Tarah after her win at Toronto Yonge Street 10K, 2012, just 6 days after he won Boston.

Wesley hugs Tarah after her win at Toronto Yonge Street 10K, 2012, just 6 days after he won Boston.

Since January the couple’s three year old daughter, McKayla Chepchirchir, has been attending a primary school in Cherangany, which has freed up some time for her mother to get in more consistent training.

“I wasn’t that consistent for the first few months,” Korir admits. “I wasn’t really sure where we were staying with Wesley working in Nairobi – he has to be in parliament three days a week – and in Cherangany. We were back and forth a lot. I was sort of running when I could but slowly increasing the amount; a lot of easy miles.

“It was really in January that I started doing consistent training every day. I have mostly been training by myself. Some days I go running with Wesley when he goes on easy days. A guy, who is trying to get a US scholarship, has been staying with us. I run with him sometimes too. If you are staying in Nairobi the place to go, if you are a runner, is Ngong. If you get up at 6:30 in the morning you will see a lot of runners and I sometimes jump in with a group. Most of the running I do is on soft surface roads. My workouts have been some tempo runs and fartlek (speed play).”

Over the Christmas holidays Korir’s parents and sister visited her in Kenya and the time together was both social and work related. Wesley and Tarah, along with her parents, have formed the Kenyan Kids Foundation Canada a charitable organization which strives to improve education, health and wellbeing for Kenyan children. The organization is seeking charitable status (www.kenyankidsfoundation.ca). Now she has plans to race at her previous level.

“I feel that since January my fitness has been coming along,” she reports. “I am not sure it is where it was at two years ago. I don’t know I haven’t ever stayed this long in Kenya at altitude. I feel like I am getting fit again but I am not at my peak yet. I am excited to race again in a competitive environment. I always like to race close to home.”

Despite being in the midst of completing a training base with easy runs of one hour supplemented by longer tempo runs of 1.5 to two hours she has found herself in two races in Kenya already.

Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta, has been behind a series of half marathon races in each of the 47 counties across the country. They are in support of maternal and child health. Since Korir is a mother of two and Wesley is both a father and an MP, they decided it was a noble cause for them to run together in support of the initiative. Completing the distance has her now entertaining the notion of adding the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal to her racing schedule when she comes to Canada for April and May.

Korir has adapted to life in Kenya. The biggest challenge, she says, has been incorporating her husband’s political career into their home life.

“I think when Wesley became an MP our lives changed in many ways,” she reveals. “It became so busy. There’s not a lot of time for the two of us. He is an MP in an area with people who constantly want to talk with him.

“The nice thing about Kenya is that most families have mother’s helpers. A lot of girls finish high school and they might help with a family for a short period of time. Makayla leaves for school early in the morning and I go for a run. The girl that stays with us stays with Jaden when I run.”

The 2014 Harry’ Spring Run Off 8k is over 90% sold out at this point and Race Director Alan Brookes promises another professionally organized event.

For more information and race registration: www.canadarunningseries.com

 

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Running On Tweets

TORONTO. March 16th 2014. As a recovering alcoholic Digital Champion Christa Davidson uses running to stay sober. Christa celebrates 3 years sobriety on January 15 2014 and credits her success to lacing up and pounding the pavement. Inspiring others to set and achieve their running goals is something she is passionate about. The spirit of the running community is contagious and she is proud to be part of it. Connect with Christa on Twitter @christadavidson and on her blog.

Running On Tweets.  By Christa Davidson.

Meeting Twitter friends @runningchic and @laulaubird

Meeting Twitter friends @runningchic and @laulaubird

I don’t run with a group and for the most part, I like it that way. In the past I have incurred injuries trying to keep up with other runners while out on group runs. I have learned that if I am on my own or with my one and only running partner, @tamaraconroy3, then I behave and run to my capabilities. If I am in a group situation I am always trying to keep up to the other runners so I’ll have someone to commiserate with.  Group runs are a great resource for many people, I just haven’t found a group that works for me yet.

Even though I am not the kind of person that thrives in a group situation, I do love support. How do you get support, tips, and hints and grow as a runner when you can’t access the wisdom and experience of a running group? Through social media of course!

My journey as a runner and a recovering alcoholic has been publicly supported via social media. I am an active Twitter and Facebook junkie because they serve a need I have to be accepted. The people I engage with on twitter on a regular basis are people I would call friends, even though, most of them I have never met. These friends have filled a role in
my running life and I consider them my running family. Here are some tweets I received recently:

Words of encouragement: ‘Drove past a 42.2 sticker on Hwy 11. 1st thought: Hardcore. 2nd thought: Hey, is that @christadavidson? From @coopkaryn.

Words of wisdom: ‘You will do just fine, C. Patience, persistence…keep hitting the streets & it will come together guaranteed.’ From @ultramyron.

Advice: ‘You are pronating and your feet aren’t strong enough to support the
pronation. You are overusing that stabilizing tendon.’ From @runningchic.

Social media has played a big role in my development as a runner and a recovering alcoholic. If you don’t use twitter, I invite you to give it a try to enhance your running journey. It can never hurt to have more friends and acquaintances with common interests. If you are intimidated by twitter because you aren’t sure how to navigate it, check out this article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter” from Mashable.

TYS10K Christa Blog 2Once you have created your account, look me up here @christadavidson, I am always happy to interact regarding my favorite topics of running and sobriety  You can also search the hashtag (#): #TYS10k. Here you will find all the posts from people that are chatting about their training and preparation for race day.

Social media plays a big role in my life and as part of your preparation for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K and  I challenge you to give it a whirl.

P.S: By reading this blog post you have utilized social media! Let me know what you thought on twitter @christadavidson!

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DuChene Weathers the Winter for Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal Championship Defense, by Paul Gains

Krista winning last year's Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal & the Canadian Championship

Krista winning last year’s Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal & the Canadian Championship

MARCH 13. While many of Canada’s leading distance runners escaped the winter with warm weather training camps Krista DuChene has endured one of the coldest spells in history in her quest for greater success.

Fit and enthused, among other goals, the Brantford, Ontario resident now has her sights set on defending her Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal title on April 27.

The race, which is celebrating its twelfth year, doubles as the Canadian Half Marathon Championship but has also attracted international performers. Two-time World Marathon Champion Catherine Ndereba of Kenya won the race in 2008 a few months before claiming the Olympic silver medal in Beijing. The race has also attracted Canadian Olympians Reid Coolsaet (2011 champion) and Eric Gillis (2012 and 2013 champion) in past years. Gillis, in fact, is aiming for his third consecutive title.

This is the fourth year Athletics Canada has awarded the race national championship status and, at the time of writing, it is 80% sold out. The capacity of 5,700 is expected to be filled easily. Organizers are also proud that over $700,000 will be raised for 50 Montreal area charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

DuChene, a 36 year old mother of three young children, beat the long standing Canadian Women’s Marathon record at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a time of 2 hours 28:32, finishing 4th overall in the IAAF Silver Label race. In order to run faster still she has resorted to extraordinary measures to put in the miles these past few months.

“Twice a week I have been setting my alarm for 4:40am to be on the road by 5:00 am no matter what the weather, to get my run in, to be back to get the kids ready for school at 7am,” she reveals. “So I go to bed at a decent time. The nice thing is, I take the boys to school, and then I have a little cat nap. It has been challenging and it has got to make me stronger.

“It has been brutal but I have got no choice other than being on the treadmill five days a week. It’s so much colder, but that’s what you get when you are a mum with kids. I don’t feel sorry for myself. It’s the life I choose and I love it. But it has been rough.”

Like the majority of Canadians Spring can’t come soon enough and she is anxious to test herself against her peers. She won the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal a year ago in a very quick time of 1:12:28 – just 19 seconds off Tara Quinn-Smith’s 2009 course record of 1:12:09 – a time widely considered a Canadian best performance on a legal course.

Her margin of victory over Dayna Pidhoresky, the 2011 CRS overall title winner, was a whopping four minutes eleven seconds.

Krista leading Dayna Pidhoresky, on course at last year's Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal

Krista leading Dayna Pidhoresky at last year’s Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal

“I am pretty bad for remembering much about a course at all, to be honest. As many times as I have done Scotiabank and any other race I just get in the zone and look at the kilometre markings,” DuChene says laughing.

“It’s certainly fun to go there to Montreal. It’s a decent course and there are other guys to run with as well as the girls. I remember running with Terry Gehl the masters runner and a couple of other people and thinking I might be close to the Canadian Record.”

DuChene does remember running through beautiful Parc Jean Drapeau and around world renowned Gilles Villeneuve Formula One Circuit. She knows that the race will give her a very real indication of how she has fared through the bitter winter. Always, she says, she wants to ‘set the bar higher’ and improve her performances. And, over the past few years she has been one of the biggest proponents of the Canada Running Series winning the overall title in 2012.

“All of the CRS courses are so well laid out, we are taken care of, and every detail is always perfect. It’s great that you never have anything to worry about,” she explains. “Once you get there you go with the flow which makes focusing on the task great. Dayna was second last year coming back from an injury. But in past years there have been a group of people that ran together and, I mean, it would be great if we had that this year.”

Apart from her training on the roads and on the treadmill at the Brantford YMCA her days are filled with domestic activities.

“I spend some time with my daughter just reading books, drink coffee, maybe take her to a play group or the library,” she reveals. “Then I volunteer at the kids school once a week, help in the classroom, then come back and have a real nap, half an hour or so. I mean, laundry, housework dishes, laundry groceries it doesn’t end.”

Krista, jubilant, at the 2012 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Finish Line

Krista at the 2012 STWM Finish Line

During the winter Olympics she was often parked in front of the television watching the women’s hockey. During her days as a student at the University of Guelph she played on the women’s varsity hockey team.

“I watched the women’s Olympic final game. It was pretty phenomenal,” she says laughing. “I sacrificed a nap that afternoon. I think it was one of the days I got up early.”

DuChene reveals she and coach Rick Mannen have been working on improving her speed and strength which will likely cause nerves in her competitors. Last year, it will be remembered, she won the hilly Harry’s Spring Run Off 8k in Toronto’s High Park in a fast time beating Kate Van Buskirk, who was a semi finalist in the 2013 World Championships 1,500m in Moscow.

Among her other Springtime ambitions is to run a fast 10,000m on the track at one of the two major California track and field meets.

“The goal was to work on my speed and strength and we have been doing that,” she says. “We might back off a little bit; I don’t want to run a fast 10k on the track and get an injury that takes me all through the summer to recover. Definitely I think I can run faster still. I am not sure what marathon I will do. Ideally I would like to do the Commonwealth Games in July but I am not sure if I will be named to the team because they are taking a smaller team.”

Clearly, the results of the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal will reveal a lot about DuChene’s fitness. A successful defense of her Canadian Half Marathon title would be a fitting result given the harsh winter she has tolerated. At 36 she just keeps getting better.

For Race entries and fundraising see http://www.canadarunningseries.com/monthalf/index.htm

 

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Why I’ll Never Run Boston

TORONTO March 10th 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. Running keeps Emily fit, sane, healthy, happy and inspired on a daily basis. She is always looking to push her own limits, run her best, and learn from every race. 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. Connect with Emily on Twitter @EmilyMcGray.

Why I’ll Never Run Boston. By Emily Gray.

TYS10K Emily Blog 1

I’ve never been the first one across the finish line, even in training. Often I trudge, shuffle, complain and occasionally I full on cry. Since childhood, I’ve always been a supremely competitive person. Wanting to be the best, at the expense of being my best. Let’s face it, there are certain people who are built for the marathon…and I am not one of them. I am dense, muscular, strong and predisposed toward short powerful exercises followed by a sweet, sweet nap. When I started distance running in 2011, it pushed me so far outside my comfort zone that I found myself constantly frustrated and unable to make it through the longer distances without walking, while I could power up a hill with relative ease.

I completed my first half marathon in 2:18:36, and yes those are 36 very important seconds. At the time I didn’t really consider myself a “runner,” (because I didn’t feel I could brag about my time) more someone who had finished a half marathon. Even after my first full marathon I felt disappointment in being so far off my coworker’s projected finish time, that I missed the fact that merely finishing the race was the major accomplishment. Other runners would pass me on the course and I would get a
familiar sinking feeling in my heart and gut; “I have to keep up.” “You can’t let them pass you.” “You are weak if you walk.” “Everyone thinks you’re slow.”

Those extremely defeatist thoughts carried over into my training runs, I ignored aches and pains, and finally found myself running on a fractured foot. Somewhere along the lines I decided that I would be faster if only I could lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds…it would be easier. Somewhere I heard “To run faster, you have to run faster.” It stuck, despite my inability to apply it. Every training run I thought, “you have to run faster.” Talk about missing the point.

As I started to gain more experience and knowledge in the distance running world, I started to realize that I had to be a bigger friend to myself than I had been if I expected to continue with the sport. My body is able to do amazing things. Qualifying for Boston isn’t one of them…and that’s okay. In case you didn’t hear that: IT’S OKAY!! As I allowed that reality to sink in, I found that more and more people aren’t focusing on that elusive Boston Qualifier, but on getting across the line by whatever means possible. I found other training options that didn’t involve yelling at yourself and adopted 10 & 1′s (now 20 & 1′s), and the world continues to spin. I take a walk break every 20 minutes, training or race, and run for time rather than distance on long runs. At first I scoffed at these new techniques, but quickly found that I listen to my body, I move at my own pace, my brain is excited, happy and kind…and I run faster. And farther. Wait…what? Turns out that positivity and actively listening (and responding) to how I’m feeling makes me feel like I can accomplish the best I can. Every run.

TYS10K Emily Blog 2During my most recent marathon, I got an incredibly well timed walk break on a particularly nasty uphill section, and silently cheered. The girl next to me cried out “NO! Don’t walk!! You can do it!” I replied by slowing my strides, tipping my water bottle in the air and saying “Oh, honey, this is planned.” At the 17km mark I passed her, and never saw her again. As the half marathon runners started to overtake me on the course, I felt the familiar competitive drive kick in as I heard a pack of long, lean, towering gazelles thundered toward me. This time, however, I calmed myself. “Keep up” was replaced with “run your own race” “remember you have twice as far to go,” and (my favorite) “you are your own personal Kenyan.” I finished in 4:28:16.

My half marathon record stands at 2:05:11, and I’m chasing the 2 hour mark this season (Not to mention working toward a 52 minute 10k on April 13th!), and I couldn’t be more proud. I am a runner! Not because I run Boston, not because I run marathons, not because I can run without stopping…I am a runner because I run.

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