Why Running Makes Me Feel Like A Superhero

TORONTO. January 18th, 2014. In the spring of 2011, months after a life-changing experience, JP Hernandez signed up for a Learn-to-Run clinic at a local Running Room store, promising his son he would make changes to his life. On October 20th 2013, JP ran his first full marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon dressed as Batman in support of the Sick Kids Foundation for the Hospital for Sick Children, an organization that saved his life 30 years ago. JP will be running 2014 as part of the “Justice League Runners’, a group of costumed ‘superheros’  to inspire others and help charities. Their first stop as a team will be the Toronto Yonge Street 10K in April.

Why Running Makes Me Feel Like A Superhero. By JP Hernandez. JP Batman 1

Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman – admit it, at one point in your life, you wanted to be one of those super heroes; I mean, who wouldn’t want to fly at limitless speeds, beat criminals to a pulp, spin a web from their wrist, or be the strongest woman in the world? When I was a kid I did, I imagined it, and with the right props, I became my favourite superhero!

As we get older, we are forced to put aside our “silly superman-stuff”, in favour of the real world. We have to finish school, get a job and support ourselves. We live in a world where real life superheroes like firefighters, police officers, and military personal do extraordinary things everyday. What weight could a character drawn on paper possibly hope to carry? More than you can ever imagine…

These heroes, with the crest on their chest, represent something because of their longevity. Batman represents what one man can do when standing against injustice. Superman’s iconic ‘S’ symbol is recognized by the entire world as a symbol of hope. To quote from the film ‘Man of Steel’: “Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief in the potential of every person to be a force for good.” If that doesn’t make you want to wrap a red beach towel around your neck and raise your fist up to fly, then I don’t know what will.

This is why I dress up when I embark on a marathon – to be the symbol of a hero. Bruce Wayne himself said in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’: “The idea was to be a symbol. Batman could be anybody, that was the point.” While the total in my bank account reminds me that I’m not Bruce Wayne, I try to do my best to inspire others around me as his alter-ego, Batman. I run as Batman because I don’t want my face to be what people see – I want it to be about the charity, the Sick Kids Foundation, and the children at Sick Kids Hospital who are real superheroes everyday.  Once I finished my marathon last October, the first thought to come to my head was “when can I do this for Sick Kids again?”

JP Batman 2We grow up, but the motivation to be something more must never leave us. It is the legacy we leave for future generations, the example we set for our children – the hope that we can rise in the face of challenges. It was an honor to do what I did, and I look forward to running again at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K race in April.  The good news it that this time I won’t be doing it alone! On Sunday April 13th you will see me and the Justice League Runners – a group of ordinary individuals setting out to inspire an entire city.

So, you can admit you wanted to be a super hero – it’s the in-thing now, all the cool kids are doing it. Check out the Justice League Runners Facebook page and tell them Batman sent you! The best part is we’re recruiting! Connect with us to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10K or the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this year! Follow @rundarkknight on Twitter or find me at my blog.

How do you channel your inner superhero when you run?

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Canada Running Series announce Modo The Car Co-op as title sponsor to Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8k.

– Sponsorship brings Finishers’ medals, Take A Hike Foundation to the race

005_ij_srov13_0261VANCOUVER. January 15, 2014. Canada Running Series is pleased to announce a three-year sponsorship partnership with Modo The Car Co-op. Modo will take title to the first event of the 2014 Series, the Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k on March 23, as well as automobile sponsor for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k (June 22) and the Vancouver Eastside 10k (September 13). Modo will also introduce a new charity partner to the Spring Run-Off, the Take A Hike Foundation.

Modo, Metro Vancouver’s only local, not-for-profit carshare, began 17 years ago with 16 members in the West End, becoming the first carshare in the English-speaking world. Since then, the car co-op has grown to more than 9,000 drivers and 300 vehicles. With its mission to reduce environmental impact by reducing the number of cars on the road, Modo’s sharing model empowers its members to live car-free, using Modo only for the rare trip or as a family’s “second car.” As such, it offers the most affordable rates on carsharing in the region.

011_ij_srov13_0303Take a Hike is a full-time alternative education program that engages at-risk youth in BC through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy and community involvement. Students spend one day every week out in nature, developing a relationship with the natural world as a means for learning and healing.

“We’re delighted to have this new partnership with Modo,” said Canada Running Series National Race Director Alan Brookes. “It will help us grow the Spring Run-Off – one of our signature events, in world-famous Stanley Park – and enhance the whole Series. Our 2013 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon became the first Canadian event to receive ‘Silver Certification’ from the Council For Responsible Sport with a 98% diversion rate, and our new Modo partnership reinforces a shared commitment to building sustainable communities as well as putting on top-class road races. The Take a Hike Programme also embodies the power of sport and the outdoors to change lives, so it’s all round a great fit.”

“Supporting our community to access sustainable, more economical transportation options increases the health and resilience of people and important green space,” says Hilary Henegar, Marketing Director of Modo. “In partnering with Canada Running Series and Take a Hike, we’re excited to connect the dots from carsharing to healthy lifestyles and stronger communities.”

2013 Spring Run off Vancouver 8k Champion, Kip Kanagogo powers past Siwash Rock

2013 Spring Run off Vancouver 8k Champion, Kip Kanagogo powers past Siwash Rock

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k,” says Executive Director of Take a Hike Foundation, Jaydeen Williams. “Donations from the involvement will help fund the adventure-based learning component of Take a Hike for at-risk youth in Vancouver.”

Thanks to Modo’s sponsorship, the Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k will introduce Finishers’ medals for the first time, a much-valued recognition of participants’ performances. There will also be an expanded inspirational, social media campaign, using the new hashtag #modo8k.

For further information on the event, entry and fundraising, see SpringRunOff.ca


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Why Running Is The Only Resolution You Need To Make For 2014

TORONTO. January 15th. Digital Champion, Jessica Kuepfer is an athlete racing out of Waterloo, ON. She favors the ultra-marathon distance, but is always up for a challenge and is thrilled to be racing the Toronto Yonge Street 10K this year. Connect with Jessica on Twitter @lacesandlattes and follow her training on her website: www.lacesandlattes.com.

Why Running Is The Only Resolution You Need To Make For 2014. By Jessica Kuepfer 

When I started running in high school, I Jessica Blog Post 2thought I was picking up an exercise to make sure I went outside during exam period, but I had no idea I was beginning something that would make me a better person.

As we head into 2014, it can be overwhelming to think through everything you want to accomplish over the next 365 days, so I have an idea for you – just run.

Why make it so simple?

For me, running captures the essence of most resolutions such as spending time with loved ones, weight control and time management.

1. Organization. At the end of every year, I sit down to plan my race schedule for the upcoming year. It can feel as if I am fitting a puzzle together, but it helps me to be mindful of my vacation times, my goals and what type of training I am planning on doing.

2. Creating measurable goals. Setting goals for yourself can be intimidating, especially if you feel as if there is no way to measure your progression. What I love about running is that training runs and race times are an unbiased way to measure your progression and feel proud of your accomplishments.

3. Meeting deadlines. The second that you click the sign up button on your race entry, you are committed to the race. Having the deadline will help you manage the time you have before the big day and will help you prepare. This exercise has helped me to be more accomplished in meeting deadlines in other areas of my life.

4. Learning self-control. Running epitomizes self-control for me. I find I am more mindful of how late I stay up, because I know I need my sleep to train and recover well. I am careful about my intake and what I eat because I know that running lighter means running faster. It also helps me to avoid wasting time doing mindless things, as I need to get my training in for races.

5. Helps you to see the big picture. As I have made running a larger part of my life, I have expanded my goal setting and I create a pictorial version of my goals at the beginning of the year, or as many call it, The Vision Board. I hang it above my race calendar so I see it every day and it motivates me to keep perspective as I strive for my goals.

Jessica Blog Post6. Making friends. Picking out a race is only the beginning. Depending on the race that you chose, there are training groups available to help you prepare for the race and you can meet a group of motivating and like-minded people to help you reach your goals.

7. Increase confidence. The thing is, the more you run, the more races you do and the more goals that you achieve in running, the more confident you become in your ability both as an athlete and person. Running has been one of the greatest boosts to my sense of purpose, well being and vision over the past number of years.

8. Diversify your workout plan. Here’s a fact for you – good runners do not just run. You need a host of other activities to make sure that you meet your training goals and avoid injury. Yoga is perfect for flexibility, weight training is vital for strengthening and swimming and cycling are fabulous for cross training. Running opens doors to other activities to make you a stronger athlete.

9. Give back to others. Over the years of racing, I have been privileged to team up with charities to raise money for important causes. The beautiful part of the situation is that you can do something you love by racing for someone in need. All the Canada Running Series races offer charity challenges that give participants as an opportunity to give back.

10.Spend more time outdoors. In a population that spends most of their time indoors, a bit of fresh air and vitamin D can do wonders for your health and sense of well being. Training runs for races are a great way to get you moving outside.

Whether you are racing or just training this year, rest assured that your efforts will help you to be the best person you can be in 2014.

What are your resolutions for 2014? Share them on twitter with @lacesandlattes using the hashtag #TYS10K.

Connect with the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions team here!

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Running: A Family Affair

TORONTO. January 11th 2014. Digital Champion Laurie Ann March works hard to balance her hectic life with her love of running. She will tell you that she treats being active as a priority and with good reason. Laurie changed her lifestyle drastically in order to successfully lose 180 lbs. Laurie’s family has joined her on her running journey and she believes that being active is a great way to spend quality time together. Connect with Laurie on Twitter @innerpossible. 

Running: A Family Affair. By Laurie Ann March.

When I made the decision Laurie Family 1that I was going to train and run my first 5K race I expected that I’d be doing this on my own. My husband Bryan and I bought a treadmill in late 2011 so I could work towards becoming a runner. What happened surprised me. Bryan, who for years insisted that runners never smile and running fun did not belong in the same conversation, announced that he would run the race as well. I almost fell off the treadmill in shock. What happened to “over my dead body” or “when hell freezes over”? Our eleven year old son, Tobias, voiced that he wanted to run the race too and the next thing I knew we were a family of runners. The whole family was outfitted with good quality footwear and training began. As the weather improved we purchased a running stroller for Kaia, our eighteen month old little girl, and started running outside.

You are probably wondering about the stroller—it has been a wonderful thing and Kaia loves to ride in it. The key, as we quickly learned, is to make sure she had a few toys, a snack, and something to drink. Making sure she is comfortably dressed for the conditions is important too. It is adorable to hear her cheering Bryan on. “Faster Daddy! Faster!” she often exclaims. After a run we take a detour to the park. This allows us some time to stretch while she has fun on the playground. One can’t put on running clothes in our house without her getting excited and she gets a little bit upset if one of us is merely going for a jaunt on the treadmill. Well, downright grumpy might be more accurate. If the weather is inclement we run at the indoor track and she loves that too. Bryan usually finishes a bit before I do so he releases Kaia from the stroller. She’s older now and runs just over one kilometer around the track. She loves it. She will be turning four in June so the stroller will be retired soon. When that time comes Bryan and I will have to take turns going on our runs or consider hiring a sitter. Of course, we’ll still take her out on her own little adventures.

There are many benefits to being a running family. It keeps us fit. It gets the kids outside and reduces their screen time. It creates an environment of support which spills over into other aspects of our lives. Running as a family is a wonderful way to combine training with spending time together. Bryan, Tobias, and I run at different paces so we usually do our warm-up together and then go off on our separate runs, then meeting at the end. Tobias will run with me from time-to-time but if there is a race coming up and he needs to push his limits he goes with his Dad. Bryan travels extensively with his career so it is a perfect time for them to have those guy to guy chats.

Last spring I trained for my first half marathon, Tobias wasn’t able to run as far as I was going so I set outon my own one Saturday morning. About 15K into my run I heard a familiar voice shout “Hi Mom” and there he was on his bicycle. He told me that he was amazed at how far I ran and that it took him awhile to catch up. Next thing I knew Bryan, who was recovering from a nasty chest cold, was there on his bike with Kaia in tow. This gave me just that little spark I needed to keep going. One summer day Bryan watched Kaia while Tobias and I hit the trails near our home. We decided to go without a preset plan and be spontaneously adventurous. There are some beautiful side trails that weave in and out along the Grand River so we would just turn at a whim and see where we end up. At one point we were forced to turn around because the brambles were so thick that it was becoming extremely difficult not to mention a little hard on the legs. We do this from time to time and those runs really bring out my inner child.

A favorite memory is from my first 10K event—a very hilly trail run that took place one night in October. I am diabetic and I had a serious blood sugar crash around the 5K mark. I almost walked off the course because I had taken too much time to deal with that and wasn’t feeling well at all. Emotionally this run was taking its toll. The water stations had been taken down and the paramedic was sweeping the course behind me but I was determined to finish even if I was dead last. Just then, Tobias ran up to me and said that we were going to cross the finish line together. He had received permission to get back on the course to run with me and had a medal around his neck. I knew there were no finishing medals for this race and he told me he won first place for his age group. I was so proud of him for doing his best and I would have been even if he hadn’t been given an award. He told me that he was proud of me too. I fought back the tears because I was extremely moved that he came out to run with me. It made my night and turned what was a rough experience for me into one I will always cherish. It was in that moment I realized how running has brought us closer as a family.

What we have discovered is that introducing the kids to running was much easier than I could have imagined. By making it a part of our lifestyle and keeping it fun, our children seem to have embraced running and it has truly become a family affair. So, whether you are a seasoned runner about to enter into parenthood or you are a new runner trying to figure out how to balance training with a busy family life, perhaps you can find some inspiration from our little running family.

Do you run as a family? How do you get your kids and partner to share in your love of running?

Connect with the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions team here!

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Giving Back as a Digital Champion

TORONTO. January 6th 2014. The 2014 Toronto Yonge Street 10K (TYS10K) Digital Champions are ready to rock, and we’re excited to have some new and familiar faces on the team. Today, we are featuring the first TYS10K blog by NEW Digital Champion Jodi Lewchuk. Jodi took up running after a long hiatus to exercise her energetic dog, Tilda. She ran her first marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last year and qualified for Boston! Running makes Jodi happy, keeps her sane, and allows her to believe that anything is possible. Connect with Jodi on Twitter @JodiLewchuk.

Giving Back as a Digital Champion. By Jodi Lewchuk.

Jodi Lewchuk Digital Champ 10K

In case you’re new to my running story, let me catch you up. In spring 2012 I became single after 12 years and was sad. As a newly solo dog mom, I endeavoured to tire out my high-energy Labrador retriever/border collie mix (cute, isn’t she?) by taking up running again after a very long hiatus. It changed my life. I ran my first half-marathon, began training for a full marathon (I did it! And BQ’d!), and realized the joy and confidence I feel on the running trail applies to everyday life. Running makes me happy, keeps me sane, and lets me believe anything is possible.

“There’s one thing I really want,” I said. I was sitting across from a friend, twirling a pint of beer between my thumb and index finger. “I want Future Jodi to appear, give me a hug, and tell me everything’s going to be fine. Because it is. I know it. But it’d be nice to hear it straight from her.”

It was a few months into my time being newly single. I was doing okay — quite well, even — but the edges of my heart were still feeling a bit bruised and tender. Was I absolutely certain that my future was a place where the pieces of my life I had been collecting were put back together into a coherent whole? Of course not. But believing they would was just as easy as believing they wouldn’t, and it was more productive.

The future version of myself I imagined that night had a pretty spectacular life: a challenging, stimulating job; a snug home near water and surrounded by wooded trails to run with my dog, Tilda; an engaged and supportive life partner (can he be really handsome, too?); opportunities to make a difference in the world. Who wouldn’t be reassured by that picture?

My life right now bears little resemblance to that idealized portrait. I’m still working on forging a new career path mid-life, laying down roots in a place that makes my soul happy, and finding someone to share it all with. But none of that matters. The person I am right now, today — she’s more than qualified to travel back in time to reassure the Jodi I used to be that everything is going to work out.

The truth is that those big goals — a dream job, home, and partner — are life-long commitments whose end points are never static: they evolve, shape-shift, and ask that we, over time, attend to their ever-changing needs. Life is a journey that requires endurance, tenacity, and an unwavering belief that we will get to the places we need to be.

Endurance, tenacity, and unwavering belief. Sounds an awful lot like the qualities that make for the best runners.

You’ve heard me muse on this theme before — running’s power to keep the mind positively focused and the spirit resilient. Some days those life goals I’m working towards seem to be receding rather than drawing ever near. Some days I feel discouraged and doubt creeps close. But I’m a runner, so I do the only thing I know how to keep negative thinking at bay: I lace up and hit the trail. I run until fear and uncertainty drop away and those life goals come back into focus.

Running also reminds us every so often that we’re making progress more quickly than we think. While we’re in the day-to-day it can be hard to see the distance between where we are and where we’ve come from, but then it happens: after what seems like a long plateau, we run a personal best — or get offered a dream job or fall in love. Do the work. Results will come.

Running gave me such tangible results recently. Just 13 months after racing my first 10K, I crossed the finish line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, my first 42.2K event, in Boston-qualifying time. While training over the course of the year, I discovered, and was embraced by, the running community. Through social media and in person on the trails, I met runners who, like me, were racing towards their goals, driven by their unique running stories. This community kept me motivated for tough training runs, positive as I coped with a muscle compartment injury late in the season, and has come to feel like my extended family.

So when the Canada Running Series asked me if I might like to participate in the Digital Champions race ambassador program for the 2014 Toronto Yonge Street 10K, of course I said yes.

In that cluster of life goals I mention above, finding opportunities to give back is on the list. One of those opportunities is now right here before me. Running restored my faith in myself and opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me, and the running community is there to cheer on my every step. And so it is with great pride that I join the 18 other outstanding athletes who make up the #TYS10K Digital Champions team to promote a sport, an organization, and a race that encourage people to set goals, push past their perceived limits, and build community while being the best they can be.

Each day that I train to run a new 10K personal-best time on April 13, 2014, I will look forward to connecting with you — hearing your running stories and learning what motivates you to lace up every day.

I didn’t imagine this day when I wished for Future Jodi to appear and reassure me that everything was going to be just fine. Life is funny that way. Sometimes it surprises us and gives us more than we ever could have hoped for.

I have running to thank for that.

Connect with the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions team here!

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Canada Running Series announces new prize money for 2014 Western events; increased commitment to Canadian and British Columbian athletes.

Dylan Wykes, of BC Endurance Project, in command at inaugural Vancvouver  Eastside 10K

Dylan Wykes, of BC Endurance Project, in command at inaugural Vancvouver Eastside 10K

December 17, 2014 – Vancouver, BC. Canada Running Series is pleased to announce an increase in prize monies for competitive runners at its three Western events in 2014, with a strong emphasis on encouraging the development of Canadian and British Columbian athletes. Prizing at the Vancouver Spring Run Off 8K [March 23], Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K [June 22], and Vancouver Eastside 10K [Sept 13] will total $25,000 plus event record bonuses – the largest in the 15 year history of CRS’ Vancouver races.

Each of the Western events will see an increase in the prize money being awarded, and an increase in the depth of awards. The top 5 Canadian runners will be rewarded at each race, plus the top 5 British Columbian runners. The distribution of the prize money for each event can be found on the canadarunningseries.com website.  [in "Training & Results" sections of individual races].

Krista DuChene and Lanni Marchant duel it out at Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on June 23rd, in 70:52. This was only 6 seconds off the Course Record set in 2003 by ... Lioudmila Korthaguina!

Krista DuChene and Lanni Marchant duel it out at Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on June 23rd.

Canada Running Series has already earned a strong reputation for bringing the very best in Canadian distance running to town, from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal, building excitement in the running community and giving top Canadians the chance to shine and earn vital funds to support their training. In 2012, Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis both used the Scotiabank Vancouver Half as their final tune up before the London Olympic Marathon. The 2013 races brought Lanni Marchant, Krista DuChene, Rob Watson and Kate Van Buskirk to Vancouver, all of whom represented Canada at the World Championships in Moscow in August. Then Olympian Dylan Wykes won the Eastside 10K in his first race back after London 2012.

“We really want to support an increase in depth and competitiveness among the local British Columbian runners,” said Clifton Cunningham, CRS Western Race Director “while continuing to support the top level national runners, which we attract to our events. East-West rivalries and exciting head-to-head competition are always great in Canada. And such competition and rewards will help to raise the bar, we hope, on the road to the Pan Am Games in Toronto 2015, and then Rio. ”

The BC pack at Eastside 10K. l to r: Bruce Deacon, Theo Hunt, Dylan Gant, David Jackson.

The BC pack at Eastside 10K. l to r: Bruce Deacon, Theo Hunt, Dylan Gant, David Jackson.

The Canada Running Series, kicks of 2014 with the Vancouver Spring Run-Off 8km run, taking place in Stanley Park on Sunday, March 23rd.

Registration is now open with event details at www.canadarunningseries.com for the 2014 running season.


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Lanni Marchant and Kip Kangogo are 2013 Canada Running Series Champions!


National 10K Road Champion, at OASIS ZooRun

TORONTO. December 10, 2013. London’s Lanni Marchant and Lethbridge’s Kip Kangogo were officially announced as 2013 Canada Running Series Champions today, capping off an outstanding year for both athletes, and for Canada’s top road race circuit. It was also a year when Canadian women surged forward to join their male counterparts on the national and international stage. Lioudmila Kortchaguina, of Thornhill, ON, had a great “comeback” year to claim the Women’s Masters’ title – as well as racing to 3rd place in the Open Women – while Toronto’s Predrag Mladenovic took the Masters’ Men’s crown. [see complete Final Standings: Open and Masters]. “What a year it’s been for Canadian distance running, and especially on the roads at CRS,” said Race Director Alan Brookes.

That National Record victory smile, 2:28:00

That National Record victory smile, 2:28:00

Lanni Marchant finished a marvelous year with her 2:28:00 performance at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20th. The mark smashed Silvia Ruegger’s 28-year old National Record by 36 seconds. [VIDEO: post-race interview] It also propelled Marchant to IAAF Gold Label athlete status, garnered major national media attention, and put Canadian marathoning as well as the athlete herself, on the world stage. Accolades have even included an opportunity to represent a major Canadian supermarket’s nutrition message in their campaign leading up to the Pan Am Games, Toronto 2015. Lanni also had impressive CRS victories at Toronto Yonge Street 10K [31:58] in April, and in the National 10K Championships at Oasis ZooRun in September. Her only defeat came at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in June, where Brantford’s Krista DuChene out-duelled her 70:52 to 71:38, as the two used the race as their final tune-up before representing Canada in the World

Lanni, Sylvia Ruegger and Krista - a special moment for Canadian Women's marathoning!

Lanni, Sylvia Ruegger and Krista – a special moment for Canadian Women’s marathoning!

Championships marathon in Moscow in August. “Lanni and Krista really showed us the very best in road racing in CRS 2013,” said Brookes. “They’re two really nice people, great, internationally-competitive athletes, who battled each other on our Canadian roads all year long. Undoubtedly, their sportsmanlike rivalry propelled both forward. It also gave us the very best of road racing, with thrilling, head-to-head competition on a regular basis, right here in Canada.” Lanni finished the season with 159 points to Krista’s 149, earning them an additional $2,500 and $1,500, respectively, on top of their individual race awards.

Victory at last! For Kip Kangogo at TYS10K, after 3rd place in 2011 and 2nd last year.

Victory at last! For Kip Kangogo at TYS10K, after 3rd place in 2011 and 2nd last year.

Another great ambassador for the sport, Kip Kangogo, also proved that persistence pays off in endurance sports. He began with a 4th place finish in CRS 2010. In 2011 he move up to 3rd. Last year he was runner-up to Olympian Reid Coolsaet, before finally claiming top spot on the podium – and by the narrowest of margins. Both Kip and Speed River’s Eric Gillis ended the year with 157 points, but the Albertan claimed the title in the tie-breaker, based on head-to-head competition. In a thrilling sprint to the line, Kip unleashed “a devastating kick” to get by Eric at Toronto Yonge Street 10K [28:57 to 29:01]; then again at Oasis ZooRun 10K, where they were 2nd and 3rd behind Reid Coolsaet.

124_ij_srov13_0479In addition to these thrilling moments by the champions, CRS 2013 also showed how the depth is building in Canadian road racing, and how more and more “Canadian stars” are emerging at CRS. Kate Van Buskirk had an outstanding, breakout year on the track at 1500m, highlighted by her performances at the World Championships in Moscow – her first major international experience. [VIDEO interview from Moscow].  Yet we also got the chance to race with her at Spring Run Off Vancouver 8K, on March 24th, where she was the convincing Women’s winner [Race Report] , and two weeks later at Harry’s Spring Run Off Toronto 8K, where Krista DuChene beat her into second place. In a surprising turn up for the books, the marathoner got away from the 1500m runner in the final 500m! “Kate was so close I could almost feel her breath! It wasn’t ’til the very end I thought I could win,” said Krista, post-race. [Race Report]. 

Dylan Wykes took command early on, in the inaugural Vancouver Eastside 10K

Dylan Wykes took command early on, in the inaugural Vancouver Eastside 10K

This depth was also evident from the strong showing of British Columbia athletes in the final CRS 2013 standings. What began as a seed when Kingston’s Dylan Wykes moved to Vancouver to train under coach Richard Lee in 2010, is now beginning to blossom. Rob Watson, who moved to Vancouver, in part to train with Dylan, had a super 2013: in April he led Boston for a large part of the prestigious race and finished 11th; he won the Canadian Marathon Championships at Ottawa in May; he finished 20th at the World Championships Marathon in Moscow in August; then ran a PB at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October [2:13:29]. He also placed second at the Scotia Vancouver Half and 5th at the Zoo. Following a lengthy lay-off with injuries after the London Olympic Marathon, Dylan returned to racing at the new Vancouver Eastside 10K in September, where he cruised to victory in his “rust-buster” [29:42].  He then mixed it up at the Zoo, to earn him 4th place in CRS 2013. Abbotsford’s David Jackson was 5th. On the women’s side, Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak spent the year chasing Lanni and Krista – something that gave her another SunRun 10K victory and a National Cross Country title as well as 4th place in this year’s Series. BC Timex Series women’s champ, 25 year old Sabrina Wilkie, claimed 5th. This August, things coalesced with the formation of the BC Endurance Project by BC Athletics, under coach Richard Lee [see also CR announcement]. The original 9 members of the new High-Performance” group include Dylan, Rob Watson, Natasha and Sabrina, plus Kelly Weibe and National Men’s Cross Country champ Luc Bruchet. They have just been joined by CRS 2011 champion, Dayna Pidhoresky, who has relocated from Tecumseh, ON to Vancouver. As Rob blogged, “It’s a beautiful thing” and will foster the competition necessary to raise Canadian standards to even higher levels.

As Dylan said in an interview with Chris Kelsall in 2010:

DW: Yeah, it’s pretty cool there are so many guys running so well. It’s a really great thing for running in Canada. I remember talking to Art Boileau a little while ago and we were chatting about how well Reid and Eric ran in Toronto. He was saying how back in his day, when a lot of guys were running fast, he used other Canadians good results to motivate him to train harder and race faster. I think we are seeing that happening now, sort of that. If he can do it, why can’t I? mentality.

And in 2013, Canadian women perhaps made the strongest statement, moving their competitive level to that of “the guys”.

“This year was a really great one for CRS and for Canadian road racing,” said Brookes.

“We had more than 56,000 participants; our 8 races consistently got ~90% approval ratings from our participants; collectively they raised almost $5.8 million for some 300 charities; and it was a thrilling year at the sharp end of the sport, where our Canadian distance runners gave us lots to cheer about, to share with them, and feel proud of. But watch out for 2014! It’s competition that spurs improvement and the momentum is clearly visible. Watch out for the renewal of some of that famous BC vs Ontario rivalry of the 1980s, with Valley Royals taking on Toronto Olympic, and Etobicoke Huskies; and for a bunch of new records to fall. Mouth-watering road race excitement on offer for 2014!” Brookes advises everyone to enter their favourite races for Canada Running Series 2014 early, as they will sell out. And both West and East Combo Packs are available until the end of January. www.RunCRS.ca


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• Greektown announced as winner of the Neighbourhood Challenge at the Scotiabank Charity Challenge Awards Night

TA_STWM13_0166TORONTO, Nov 27, 2013.Runners, spectators and neighbourhoods alike at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon raised over $3.8 million in support of 185 local charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. In celebration of their fundraising efforts, just over $61,400 in prizes was presented to charities at the Scotiabank Charity Challenge Awards Night in Toronto on November 27.

“Enormous congratulations to all our Charity Challenge and costume runners, our Neighbourhood Champions and spectators, plus our Marathon Jrs!” said Race Director Alan Brookes. “Your energy, dedication and determination exemplify the spirit of the marathon and enrich our city immeasurably.”

AC_STWM13_0768_1This year, the charities raised $3,858,072. Since its inception in 2002, the Scotiabank Charity Challenge has raised a grand total of more than 21 million dollars for local charities.

“The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is an incredible event for our city, where the dreams of runners, both elite and recreational are realized and runners, walkers, spectators and communities join together to raise much needed money for our community,” said Claude Norfolk, Scotiabank Senior Vice President of Toronto Region. “We would like to thank all of the participants and supporters who raised an outstanding amount of funds for 185 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.”

In addition to the total amount of dollars raised by participating charities, the Scotiabank Charity Challenge awarded first, second and third place cash prizes to participating charities in each of three categories totalling $33,000. Each category winner received $6,000 with the second place charity receiving $3,000 and $2,000 going to the third place charity.

AC_STWM13_0671_1The 2013 winners are:

Highest fundraising dollars raised:

1. Fountain of Love and Life – $205,291

2. SickKids Foundation – $145,685

3. Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto – $105,746

AC_STWM13_0605_1Most participating fundraisers:

1. A Run to Remember (supported by Armenian Community Centre) – 301 Runners

2. Engineers Without Borders – 157 Runners

3. Epilepsy Toronto – 144 Runners

AC_STWM13_0447_1Highest fundraising dollars per fundraiser:

1. Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation – $4,687 / participant

2. Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada – $3,945 / participant

3. Buddhist Education Foundation for Canada – $3069 / participant

The Neighbourhood Challenge was created in order for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to have a sustainable, year-round impact on our local neighbourhoods, groups, charities and families. The Neighbourhood Challenge gives back to those communities that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course runs through. It’s a friendly competition amongst neighbourhoods to see who puts on the best cheering stations along the race route. Thousands of supporters gather along the length of the course to celebrate our different neighbourhoods.

During the awards ceremony, Scotiabank awarded a total of $14,000 to the charities of Neighbourhood Challenge winners.

TA_STWM13_0143The winners of the 2013 Neighbourhood Challenge are:

1. Greektown

2. St. Lawrence Market (hosts St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association)

3. Liberty Village/King West (hosts St. Christopher House)

Honourable mentions went to South Riverdale, The Beach, and Cabbagetown.

For the fourth year in a row, Scotiabank also gave out five cash awards totalling $5,000 to the winner’s charity as part of the Best Dressed Costume Contest at the marathon.

TF_STWM13_3649The winners of the 2013 Best Dressed Costume Challenge are:

1. Marathon Winner – Brett Titus as a man in a cage

2. Marathon Runner Up – Kevin Bibby as a fireman

3. Half-Marathon – Rosena Joseph as a bride

4. 5K Winner – Ana Tomy as a skeleton

5. 5K Winners – Kevin Bourgeois and Johnathan Puddle, wearing tuxedos

About the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

AC_STWM13_0666_1The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is the signature event of the Canada Running Series and the country’s premier international running event, annually, attracting over 25,000 participants from over 60 countries and raising more than $3.8 million for over 180 local and national charities. Visit www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com.

About Scotiabank:

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad, through our global philanthropic program, Scotiabank Bright Future. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has provided on average approximately $47 million annually to community causes around the world over each of the last five years. Visit us at www.scotiabank.com.

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Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5k earns Silver Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for Social and Environmental Initiatives

Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5k earns Silver Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for its Social and Environmental Initiatives

Working with Green Chair Recycling, organizers achieve 97.8 percent waste diversion rate


362_js_svhm13_0687November 18, 2013 – Portland, OR: The 2013 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and 5k has earned Silver level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for efforts to reduce the event’s environmental footprint and increase its social impact. Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon is a Canada Running Series event.

“The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon’s list of accomplishments is long. A 98 percent waste diversion rate is truly outstanding, and this event’s commitment to supporting the missions of numerous charities while promoting health and fitness, stimulating the local economy and galvanizing the community is great to see” said Keith Peters, executive director of the Council for Responsible Sport.

Among the many initiatives implemented and tracked throughout the 2013 event, there were several that were especially notable:

• 97.8% of all waste was diverted from the landfill; through a partnership with Green Chair five times more material was recycled, compared to the 2012 event.

• Running events see lots of discarded clothing near the starting line where racers shed layers. Organizers collected four large bags of clothing this year from that area and donated it, along with extra event t-shirts, to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver.

• Renewable energy credits were purchased to offset the carbon impacts of the event expo lighting through Cow Power, which supports the development of anaerobic digestion as an alternative energy source for Canada.

• After working with youth groups to reduce barriers to participation, including at-risk and low-income populations, over 150 youth ran in either the half marathon or 5k.

• The total local economic impact of the event was conservatively estimated at just under $1 million.

009_cr_svhm13_0138 copy“At Canada Running Series, we’ve always been committed to producing world-class events that showcase the cities we run in and benefit our community. We are very proud of the green initiatives our Vancouver team has brought forward” said Alan Brookes, Canada Running Series’ National Race Director “and we are honored to be the first Silver Certified event in Canada!”

“When looking at the environmental footprint of our running races, we decided there was a lot more we could do to make our events more environmentally sustainable and help preserve the natural beauty of our city,” said Tom Skinner, Canada Running Series’ Western Operations Director. “Achieving Silver Certification was a team effort involving our entire crew, great partners like Green Chair Recycling, fantastic guidance from the Council, as well as a huge amount of support from all of our participants. The award is not only great recognition but an encouragement for us to move forward with, and build on our green-events initiatives”

The Council congratulates the Vancouver Half Marathon & 5k staff and the Canada Running Series for their accomplishments as well as their commitment to an ongoing process of planning, deliberate actions, measuring progress and continuous improvement.

About the Council for Responsible Sport:

Our vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm. Our mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing, and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities.

Our Certification program provides a comprehensive method for event directors to incorporate environmental and socially responsible initiatives into their events, while informing stakeholders about events that adhere to a rigorous set of standards. Certified events range in size from ParalympicsGB Training Camps held at the University of Bath in the UK, with some 150 athletes participating, to the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia, with 55,077 timed finishers. To date, 58 different events have achieved certification from the Council for Responsible Sport, serving over 786,000 athletes in the process.

The current version of the Council’s Certification standards was developed by an outside working group of 18 sustainability experts and reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders. Certification is modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System, which certifies buildings and materials according to resource conservation and energy efficiency criteria.


About Canada Running Series and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5k:

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 5K is part of the prestigious, 8-event Canada Running Series. The Series prides itself on organizing great races that benefit communities, and on being the industry leader in innovation for Canada. In 2013 the Series attracted almost 60,000 participants and raised more than $5.5 million for 280 mostly-local charities.

Registration is now open at www.CanadaRunningSeries.com for the 2014 running season, which kicks off on March 22nd in Vancouver, BC.


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Record Breaking Day at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon by Paul Gains

That National Record victory smile, 2:28:00

That National Record victory smile, 2:28:00

Performances at today’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon left organisers delighted as the Canadian women’s marathon record was finally beaten after twenty eight years. And, not by just one athlete.

Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene, who both represented Canada at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, climbed into the upper ranks of marathoning with their personal best performances under near ideal weather conditions.

Marchant recorded a time of 2:28:00 to take 36 seconds off Syliva Ruegger’s record claiming 3rd place overall while DuChene finished 33 seconds behind in 4th.

The former earned $8,000 prize money plus a $28,000 Canadian record bonus which was generously offered by title sponsor Scotiabank. The pair were greeted with hugs at the finish of this IAAF Silver Label Race by Ruegger herself.

“It is a great day for the marathon in Canada and a great day for Canadian marathoning” Race Director Alan Brookes declared. “And it was a great day for our city.”

Lanni, Sylvia Ruegger and Krista - a special moment for Canadian Women's marathoning!

Lanni, Sylvia Ruegger and Krista – a special moment for Canadian Women’s marathoning!

Marchant, a native of London, Ontario, finished behind Kenyan winner Flomena Cheyech (2:25:13) and Ethiopia’s Sechale Adugna (2:26:43) but the result scarcely mattered. Sharing the spotlight with Ruegger was a dream come true.

“It’s kind of special for me,” she declared. “When I first started marathoning my coach Dave Mills in London said ‘hey the record needs to go down some day.’ I don’t think either of us thought I would be the one to do it. I am in shock now. I didn’t expect it

“And having Sylvia here; she is such a legend to me and she is such a strong personality, I am in awe. I have never put myself on her level so I am kind of weirded out on the whole thing.”

Asked when she knew she had the record safely in her hands she laughed.

“Really not ever until even the last kilometre,” she laughed. “I asked the guy on the bike ‘how far back is Krista? and ‘what pace ‘am I on?’ My calfs didn’t cramp as bad as the world championships but they definitely started to hurt.

“Throughout the whole race our pacers were great and I just tucked in behind Krista and the pacer. I guess about 33k or 34k I kind of pulled away from Krista and I was thinking I have to keep going. The worlds was in the back of mind and with a flip of a switch things can go wrong. So I though just take control, stay patient. Then some of the Ethiopian and Kenyan women started coming back to me. I am still in shock.”

Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia sets a new Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:07:05

Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia sets a new Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:07:05

The men’s race yielded a new Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:07:05 as Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia ran away from the field in the last five kilometres. The victory earned him $20,000 plus a course record bonus of $35,000. Behind him Kenya’s Solomon Kiptoo ran 2:09:03 with Habtamu Assefa (Ethiopia) third in 2:10:38.

“I couldn’t make a 2:06 today but next time I can.” he said. “I am happy to finish in the time I did. I can run 2:06 but in the end I felt tired. I made a mistake in the end and (temporarily) went with the pace car when it turned off the course (with 400m remaining).

“The roads were smooth, I didn’t mind the course I had no problems. I feel happy today.”

Canadian men were also prominent. Eric Gillis, a two time Canadian Olympian from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, was on Canadian record pace for 30 kilometres but faded in the final stages to finish 5th in 2:11:49. It was the second fastest time of his career. Behind him in 6th was Rob Watson of London, Ontario in a new personal best of 2:13:29. Defending Toronto champion, Sahle Warga of Ethiopia, was 7th in 2:16:03.

“It was tough my body felt ok but once I started slowing down,” Gillis revealed, “I couldn’t pick it back up I tried not to look at splits the last 10km because I didn’t think i was going to be too happy with them. I thought I could run under 2:11.

“Somewhere in the last 5km I really slowed down. I had the best first half of a race I have ever had. I had amazing pacers that took me to 30k on Canadian Record pace and I think today just showed me that I am going to have to get stronger for that last 12km. That’s where you make or break the marathon in terms of good times.”

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