Why I’m Still The Dark Knight Runner. By JP Hernandez

TORONTO September 7th 2014. Digital Champion JP Hernandez has been an avid runner for over three years and while he trains out of the High Park area in Toronto, he calls the entire city “one giant road to run.” Last year, he ran his first marathon at STWM dressed as ‘Batman’ and raised money for the Sick Kids Foundation. Since then, he’s run a half dozen times as the Dark Knight Runner in other races — from small flash runs to 5k races, half marathons and recently at April’s Toronto Yonge Street 10K, which saw him tackle the course alongside members of the ‘Justice League Runners’, a group of runners who run as dressed as famous heroes such as Superman, Spider-Man, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, among others. He draws inspiration from not only the causes he runs for, but from the everyday runners he has met and come across ever since he became a runner, calling them the true heroes because “it takes such inner power to overcome a distance that you once thought you could not do.”

Why I’m Still The Dark Knight Runner. By JP Hernandez.

It was only going to be the one time. I didn’t JP Hernandezlook beyond last October 20th, the day I completed my first full marathon but with a superhero twist – dressed as Batman for the entire 42.2k distance. I mean yes, I knew I was going to run another marathon – the exhilaration I felt was truly amazing (aside from the pain, which made it an even better experience for me – I like making things hard on myself). To do so again in a costume which consisted of light running compression gear, a cape and a rubber cowl (yup, it was kind of warm under there) was just going to feel like a gimmick to me.

I don’t run to seek attention; I run because it transformed me, it gave me something to strive towards, to aspire to. It gave me an example to set for my kids, whether they knew it then or not—the example that even though life is always going to throw things your way, it’s how you handle it that defines who you are. I ran the 2013 STWM as Batman because I was inspired by the heroes who fight every day for their lives at the Hospital for Sick Children, and to also say thank you to the hospital for saving my life in an emergency one night over 30 years ago.

But why Batman? For those who are unfamiliar with the character (I forgive you) – Batman a.k.a. Bruce Wayne has no powers, and by powers I mean he didn’t come from a planet that exploded, he wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, nor was he exposed to gamma radiation. Batman’s ONLY super power…is his will, the will to act, the will to fight for injustice. The character witnessed his own parents murdered right before his eyes, so he made a vow to fight for his city, but in order to do so he would have to train both his mind and body, forging each into a weapon. And so, he went off to train…

To train is something every runner knows is crucial and vital to the outcome of their race. Much like Batman, I prepared for the grueling road ahead, to expect the unexpected and to be prepared for it both mentally and physically. I wasn’t going to just be a guy who went out and bought a costume – I was going to forge my entire body into a vessel that would carry me over a distance of 42.2k. Since nothing has ever come easy for me in life, I was going to earn the mantle of the Bat. And in the end, after a grueling 18-week marathon clinic, where I also grew mentally stronger with each training run (speed work, hills, tempos, etc.), I knew I could answer the question “Why run as Batman?” Because I knew that I could, that I believed in myself, and because I earned it. I then ran the full, and enjoyed one of the best days of my life enduring the marathon. It was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever felt while crossing something off my bucket list.

JP Hernandez 2But to do it again? That wasn’t in the cards, ever. I just wanted to enjoy the experience and not top it. Then, a funny thing happened – I received a Facebook message from someone named Marina who said she was also running her first marathon that day, who (like many people who run marathons) began to doubt herself, in addition to being in physical pain. She said that at around the 23 or 24k mark, she saw me pass her, and that in passing her a smile came to her face. And suddenly, without any warning, I was pacing this amazing woman; when I ran, she ran. When I walked, she walked. If I took a break at a water station, she would, too. It was at the turn around in the Beaches area that we got separated, but it was the sight of Batman, struggling along yet not willing to give in, that got her back on track.

I’m the last person who wants to take credit for something like this, and while I am grateful for Marina’s kind words (we became Facebook friends after all), I want to say this: it could be anyone in a Bat suit running and inspiring others. That is the purpose of Batman – he’s a symbol; Batman could be anyone. Soon after, I received some Twitter messages about putting together a team for a future race. My reaction was more “yeah, right!” than “yes, sign me up!” I mean – really? Before I could even say “Holy Facebook page, Batman!”, there it was – the official page of the ‘Justice League Runners’ was up and running. Suddenly it occurred to me that the world needed the symbols of these heroes, and I’m not referring to myself in general; it was the symbol of what our logos represented – Superman (hope), Batman (justice), Wonder Woman (empowerment) – these are what people in today’s age needed to believe in again, men and woman, boys and girls – all of humanity.

I believe it is very, very important that we, as a society, have a hero we believe in, a symbol to shine a light for us in our darkest hour. Be it spiritually or through another medium, we need something to believe in, to draw strength from, and to have hope in. That’s why I choose to continue to run and raise funds for charity as Batman – so that people don’t see my face, but rather the symbol of the hero, doing what he can to help world be just a little better than it is now. There’s a hero in all of us – we just have to tap into our hearts and discover it.

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Maintaining Sanity Before The Marathon. By Noel Paine

TORONTO September 4th 2014.  Digital Champion Noel Paine is a distance runner with over 26 years of running and racing experience. He has run everything from the 100m hurdles to 100km ultra marathons. In 2013 he ran solo across the Grand Canyon a month before running a 100km trail ultra in Tuscany Italy. Aside from his passion for running, Noel also likes to share the stories of other Canadian runners via his personal blog along with one he writes for Canadian Running magazine. Connect with Noel on Twitter @NoelPaine and on his blog.

Maintaining Sanity Before The Marathon. By Noel Paine

“Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.”– W. C. Doane

Noel STWM BlogMy marathon plans for 2014 have changed but I made a quick, smart decision in May that avoided complete injury and I am working back to real running form and fitness again. But –marathons are on the brain and I have many friends and followers on social media who are still running and training for the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon so I wanted to pass along some mental preparation advice.

 1) Prepare each day for positive

After the Toronto Yonge Street 10k in April I got to cool down with elite Canadian marathoner Eric Gillis. We chatted about training and racing. Later, when the worries and doubt set in as I was preparing for my spring marathon, he told me that he focuses on being positive as he heads out for his runs. What you practice in training will become habit and help you on race day.

2) Prepare A, B and C plans

Aim high but be realistic and realize that during 42.2 kilometres – anything can happen. Set out three potential outcomes you would be okay with, A- your dream goal that corresponds with your training if all goes to plan, B- a time that is slower than you hope for, but allows unforeseen events/things to happen and that you’d be okay with and C- the worst case scenario where you won’t be really happy but can deal with (ie: just finishing, under a certain time).

3) Be flexible and take it easy on yourself

Most training plans are not made specifically for you – adjust, be flexible, listen to your body and realize you are human. Push hard but realize your brain also needs rest. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Look for the joy and enjoyment in daily training.

 4) Stay positive with friends

If you’re feeling tired, stressed out or alone in your training – look for friends and other runners to regain a positive outlook. Friends on a run can make it go by faster and make it more fun. If you want some immediate inspiration, connect with me and my fellow Digital Champions on Twitter!

5) Enjoy the journey

Many things can happen during marathon training and injuries and other events can pop up. Most of us are not running to put food on the table or trying to make an Olympic team. Breathe, laugh, smile, adjust and run on.

6) Taper-tantrums

No easy solution. Trust your plan, trust your months of training and rest your mind and body before the big day. Almost nothing can be gained from big workouts 10-12 days out from your race. Focus on relaxing and staying positive and have confidence in your preparation and training.

7) Race day thinking

Focus on the task at hand – you have trained hard. Relax and stay calm. Run through your A, B and C plans and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Focus on doing the best you can, getting the most out of yourself on that day. Remember the positive thoughts you have put into place during your training runs.

8) Be smart

If an injury occurs or if you are experiencing pain – remember why you run. You run because you like to run. Better to miss a race than to be injured for 6-months with no running because you pushed through. Think positive, think smart.

Whatever you do and whatever happens – life and running is an adventure. Stay strong and positive and see you out there!



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Mestawet Tufa To Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, by Paul Gains

Despite the rather brief and dry title to Paul Gains’ latest athlete-feature blog, I think this is owe of his best so far. For the last decade, Ethiopian runners have been such an important part of Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and of advancing the marathon movement in Canada. Paul’s story today not only introduces us to one of the important female athletes on our Start Line this year, but gives us some lovely insight into their Ethiopian context — of training, family and community, of a distance running society that we are so enriched by. Her younger sister Tigist has already won the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in a Course Record this Spring. Can Mestawet make it a family double in Canada on Toronto Waterfront?

— Alan Brookes, Race Director.

Mestawet at the Delhi Half in 2010. Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

Mestawet at the Delhi Half in 2010. Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

TORONTO. September 4th. Extraordinary things are expected of Ethiopia’s Mestawet Tufa as she prepares for the 2014 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 19th – an IAAF Silver Label race. Then again, that’s nothing new for this talented athlete. Since she was very young she has delivered continually on the track and on the roads.

As a relative novice she won the 2007 All Africa Championships over 10,000m an achievement that counts for a lot in her native country and which certainly caught the attention of the world’s media. A year later she earned the silver medal at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh. Now, weeks away from her 31st birthday, she seeks to fulfill her enormous marathon potential.

“I am so motivated (by my family),” she reveals. “I have seven brothers and two sisters and six of them are athletes in different events. I was inspired by seeing (Olympic champions) Derartu Tulu and Haile Gebrselassie running.

“I met them before because Derartu is my neighbor. I didn’t see them on television but I heard about them on the radio. I wanted to be like them.”

Among her running siblings is 27 year old Tigist Tufa winner of the 2014 Ottawa Marathon in a course record time of 2:24:31. Having a younger sister who has run so fast must also be a motivator.

“There is no rivalry between us,” she says of her younger sister. “I have a good relationship with her. But she lives in her own house in Addis Ababa.”

Although Mestawet has a personal best of ‘only’ 2:26:20 from last year’s Nagoya Marathon she knows it’s just a matter of time before she knocks a chunk off that, hopefully, she says, in Toronto.

Mestawet at the IAAF World Half-marathon in Birmingham in 2009, where she placed 5th. Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

Mestawet at the IAAF World Half-marathon in Birmingham in 2009, where she placed 5th. Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

“I hope I can run my personal best and get a good result there,” she declares. “Yes all I can do is try my best. I don’t have any information about Toronto.”

LIke the majority of athletes represented by the Dutch based Global Sports Communications company Tufa is coached by famed Ethiopian coach Getaneh Tessema.

On any given morning, just after sunrise, the group of nearly one hundred athletes will meet in the village of Sendafa. It’s a twenty minute drive from the capital of Addis. The region lies at close to 9,000 feet elevation and is ideal for marathon training.

After a short warmup of three kilometres jogging led by the veteran coach the group gathers to receive instructions for the workout. And then they hammer out hard efforts of ten minutes repeatedly with a short recovery, kicking up dust along the rural roads. Children, walking miles to reach the only school in the region, stop to admire them as they pass by, no doubt dreaming of one day following in their footsteps like Tufa did as a young girl.

The women and men are separated during the training sessions although the women have a male pacemaker to ensure they complete Tessema’s objectives. Mestawet runs with a group that includes 2012 Olympic champion, Tiki Gelana, and also Dinknesh Mekash, who came to Toronto a year ago but failed to finish the race. Before she flies to Canada she will likely press Mekash for details on the city.

Mestawet has also excelled on the track. Pictured here at the London Grand Prix, 2006. Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

Mestawet has also excelled on the track. Pictured here at the London Grand Prix, 2006. Victor Sailer, PhotoRun.net

Like many of her contemporaries Tufa comes from the Arsi region of Ethiopia where her parents have a small shop. At least once a year she goes back to visit them.

Earlier this year, despite dreadfully hot and humid conditions, Tufa won the Yellow River Marathon in China setting a course record of 2:28:27. To travel all that way from Ethiopia and come up against an unsavoury climate was very disappointing, she admits.

“I didn’t expect these conditions but I can run in hot conditions,” she says summarising her efforts during the event.

Despite her impressive curriculum vitae Tufa is a newcomer to the full marathon distance. As far back as 2009, she was racing competitively at the half marathon distance finishing 5th at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham that year. Asked why she waited so long to move up to the marathon she provides a very reasonable explanation.

“It’s because of my baby boy,” she explains. “My baby boy was born on Jan 17th, 2011. His name is Olyad Worku, so now he is two years and seven months old.”

Being a mother and a full time athlete means she is grateful for the relaxation time she finds herself daily. That is filled with pastimes very quickly.

“I enjoy time with my family,” she reveals. “I like watching Ethiopian movies especially drama movies and I like swimming at Bole Rock in Addis Ababa. They have a swimming pool, gym and sauna there.”

Tufa knows she will face a very strong women’s field in Toronto including Aliaksandra Duliba of Belarus (personal best of 2:21:29). Duliba has targeted the Toronto course record of 2:22:43 so the early pace will be quick. The weather conditions are unlikely to mimic what she faced in the Yellow River Marathon and she can be expected to go with the leaders. All this translates in a great opportunity for Tufa to lower her best time.

Expectations follow Mestawet Tufa but she has a history of delivering. And, that’s good news for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

For further information and entry to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, see www.stwm.ca

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Confessions Of A Soon-To-Be First Time Marathoner. By Linda Nguyen

TORONTO August 31st 2014. Linda is an avid runner and obstacle course racer. After fracturing her right ankle pretty badly during an obstacle race in October 2012, and missing out on her first half-marathon opportunity at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Linda started running again in February 2013. She crushed her 2013 fitness goals completing 12 road races and 5 obstacle races with some notable achievements including having completed her first half marathon, running 25k (her longest race), completing Tough Mudder in a snow and hail storm and becoming a member of the Spartan Race Trifecta Tribe. 2014 will be a big year for Linda as she will be running her first marathon at STWM on October 19th. Connect with Linda on Twitter @lindamnguyen and on her blog.

Confessions of a Soon-To-Be First Time Marathoner. By Linda Nguyen

Hi, my name is Linda and I am soon-to-be a Linda Warrior Dashfirst time marathoner. Is it too soon to call myself that? Maybe I am jinxing myself. What if all this training isn’t worth it and I don’t officially become a “first time marathoner”? What if I cramp up and have a repeat of my sad performance at last year’s STWM? Maybe I shouldn’t tell all my friends (and all of social media) that I am running the full marathon so that I don’t have to tell anyone how I did. All these thoughts are running through my head as I continue my training and quest for the title of “marathoner”.

There’s something about the word “marathoner” that makes you feel special and stand out from the crowd. It might not sound as elite as “Olympian” or “Professional Athlete” but I’m sure it does feel extraordinary nonetheless. Training to be a marathoner is not an easy task. It is a title that is earned and not given. Gone are those days of sleeping in and weekends of staying out late. I’ve had to decline invitations from friends if it conflicted with my training or race schedule. Yes, I know it sounds like an easy way out, but it’s true! I need to hold myself accountable and ensure I get my mileage in every week.

STWM is where I ran my first half marathon last year. So I am excited to return this year and try to complete the full marathon distance. That’s twice the distance and twice the training effort. I get nervous and nauseous just thinking about it. Now that we have approximately 8 weeks left before the big day, I find myself feeling panicking and pondering these important questions.

Pre-race panic:

What if I don’t get my mileage up enough?
What if I get injured?
How many days a week should I be training?
How much nutrition should I pack?
What will the weather be on race day?
What should I wear on race day?

During-race panic:

What if I get cramps?
Should I try to run it continuous or run 20 and 1’s?
Do I stop at all the water stations?
What if I don’t want to run the marathon anymore at the split mark?
What will happen if I just try to stick with the half marathoners at the split?

Post-race panic: 

Will my family and friends be there to watch me finish?
Where do I meet everyone?
What if I start bawling at the finish line?
How far is the medic area from the finish?
Should I get a massage?

So friends; if you are reading this, know that it’s not because I am avoiding you or that I don’t want to be with you, but because I am in training mode and I have a ton of questions I need answered on my path to STWM. Hopefully you won’t be upset, but will be able to support me as I cross that finish line and crush 42.2km on October 19th and can proudly change my title to MARATHONER!

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Flying And Running. By Mike Thornton

TORONTO August 28th 2014. Digital Champion Mike Thornton started running a little more than three years ago. Like many others, he started to run to better himself physically and mentally. After getting into the best shape of his life, Mike decided to take on his first 10k. Pleased with a top 10 finish in a local race, he continued on to take on several half-marathons and even a 30k course. The 2013 edition of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon was Mike’s first full 42.2k race. When he is not running, Mike works as a commercial pilot. Fitting marathon training around a busy work schedule while travelling can be tough, but it keeps him sane. Mike also enjoys running as a member of the Brant Death Racers Running Club. Connect with Mike on Twitter @MikeThorntonCA and on his blog.

Flying And Running. By Mike Thornton

What does it take to run a marathon? A lot Mike Thornton Blogof guts, a plan, and the time and commitment to that plan. Any marathoner will tell you that the hardest part of the marathon in fact is NOT the race itself. The hardest part of the marathon is the training! Training consists of months of long workouts, sweat, tears, recovery meals, icing all the sore bits… you know the drill. All of this happens while you try to carry on with your daily life. For me, this is where marathon training gets a bit challenging.

I work as a professional pilot for a cargo company in Southern Ontario. We operate daily flights across the province and into the United States. For the most part, a pilot’s schedule is usually to operate for days at a time away from home on what is known as a “pairing” where they fly to other places usually for overnight stays. Luckily, with my job I have the luxury of being home every night. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be as successful in planning marathon training around a flying schedule. Having said that, there are some challenges that do come up when balancing flying and running. Here is what a day looks like for me along with some challenges and advantages to marathon training on-the-go.

Daily schedule: So, what does a standard day look like for me? When I’m working I wake up at 5:00am to be at the airport by 6:00. By 7:30am we are flying and on the ground within 1-3 hours. After unloading the freight, we have downtime until the evening. This is so the client can do their pick-ups for the day, and we can bring the cargo back to base to be sorted for the next day’s delivery. In the 6-11 hours or so of down time, I can get my runs in. Usually after we leave the airplane for the day I eat breakfast, go for a run and depending on the workout will also hit the gym for weights. After working out, I legally need to rest to reset my duty time to be able to operate the evening flight so a nap is mandatory (Yes, my job includes naps *thumbs up*). Depending on the flight, between 4:00 and 7:00pm it’s time to head back to the airport, load the returning freight and fly home. This gets us back to base around 9:00pm. Sounds like a long day, right? It can be, but if properly balanced with rest, exercise, and eating properly it’s manageable.

Mike Thornton Blog 2Challenges: The hard part about being so mobile with marathon training isn’t so much the running itself, but complementing that much running properly. It’s easy enough to find a decent spot for a run but how about recovering? Each day, because the time away from home is so long, I have to strategically plan out each meal. I plan not just what I’m going to eat but how I am going to transport it. Will what I want to eat keep fresh? How much food do I need? What if I need more? I’ve been working the cargo gig for almost a year and a half now and I’ve got the food problem well thought out. I know what works for each meal and depending on mileage, how much food I will need. I find taking fresh fruit and veggies easy but they need to keep fresh too. Usually I can accommodate that with a hotel fridge or find a nearby grocery store at destination for other things that I need. I also bring my foam roller with me everywhere. It usually makes my co-worker for the day ask “What the heck is that?”

Furthermore, I need to stay completely organized all of the time. Every night I pack the gear I need for both indoor and outdoor runs just in case the weather is bad or we have mechanical issues and get stuck for an extra day. There is a little bit of unpredictability in the job. Sometimes you’re needed at another base or on another flight because of a maintenance issue or to fill in for someone. When that does happen and I am caught without my running gear, I take it as a rest day and never stress about it. I try not to let running ruin flying for me and vice-versa. Balance is key to success.

Lastly, sleep can also be an issue. Since I work multiple days in a row, it’s sometimes hard to come home and automatically wind down and go to sleep right away. This leads to less than the recommended 8 hours per night. Usually I end up with around 6 hours of sleep per night and take a nap from 1-3 hours, sometimes even 4 during the day following my workouts.

Advantages: My job takes me to several Mike Thornton Blog 3different places since we have bases from coast to coast, and there are lots of cool things to see. I’ve discovered amazing new trails in several different locations all across the country. This keeps marathon training interesting when things can get tough like right now at peak build. I can be in a different spot almost every day of the week running on a country trail near Kingston, a conservation area in Sault Ste. Marie, or running alongside the Detroit River. If you find yourself lacking some motivation, I suggest you take a new route or explore a trail maybe in another town. The change of scenery will keep you motivated.

The biggest advantage in my situation is that I have both a sport and a job that I absolutely love. Every day I get to enjoy my two most favorite activities, running and flying. I consider myself very fortunate to have this balance and fully embrace the challenge of managing the two. The early wake up calls during the week for work also make it a little bit easier to haul myself out of bed early on Saturdays for the long run. I should add that I get all weekends and holidays off since mail isn’t delivered on the weekends. This is a very uncommon thing for a pilot!

The balance of running and flying is about give and take. There are sacrifices made on both fronts so that I can do them harmoniously together. The match may not be perfect, but both are a work in progress that I enjoy. I have plenty to learn in aviation and marathon running and feel lucky enough that I can see lots of new things both in the air and on the trails every day. The days are long, the miles are longer but I love it. Hopefully you’ve found your balance too. See you all soon at STWM!

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Injury Ends Dylan Wykes’ Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Plan, by Paul Gains

With regret Alan Brookes, director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon today announced the withdrawal of Dylan Wykes from this year’s race.

Wykes informed the event this week that he is unable to compete due to a suspected stress fracture in his ankle.

“I don’t actually know the specifics of the injury yet,” Wykes said. “I had originally thought it was a stress fracture. We are getting some imaging done just to clarify things. I am in a boot and on crutches at the moment. It certainly means that Toronto is out of the question at this point.

“I was dealing with a bit of a hamstring strain for a little while and ended up taking a little bit of time off for that. Then when I tried to start back up I had pain in my ankle which iswhere the ‘stress fracture’ is. It just came on over two or three days. I was dealing with the hamstring pain at the same time. I wasn’t able to put any weight on it.”

The runner who is the second fastest Canadian marathoner of all time (2:10:47) is scheduled to have a bone scan Friday in Vancouver.

“Clearly we’re disappointed to receive the news of Dylan’s stress fracture,” said Brookes, “for Dylan’s sake, as much as for the race. Anytime you have an athlete of Dylan’s calibre withdraw, it’s a disappointment.

Kelly STWM

Kelly Wiebe, Vancouver Sun Run 2012 Champion and Modo Spring Run Off 8K 2014 Champion

“But we believe we still have our best-ever men’s race on offer, with Shami Abdulahi  (Ethiopia) battling Peter Some (Kenya), and top Canadians Eric Gillis, Rob Watson and Kip Kangogo all gunning for fast times and new records. Also we are excited about Kelly Wiebe’s debut. He has been training with Dylan and Rob. But above all we wish Dylan all the best for a speedy recovery.”

Wykes whose wife, Francine, is expecting the couple’s first child in October, has spent the past week in an emotional roller coaster.

“Definitely I have been up and down I had been getting in really good shape and was looking forward to running in Toronto,” he said. “Just looking forward to reestablishing my identity – as much for myself – as a marathoner.

“At this point I get to focus my energies on Francine and the baby coming. So that is something that will distract me otherwise It would be pretty easy to get pretty down about where this puts me now.”


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Shami Abdulahi Returns to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Chasing Records, by Paul Gains

Kenneth Mungara & Shami Abdulahai Dawud race to the line at STWM 2011

Kenneth Mungara & Shami Abdulahai Dawud race to the line at STWM 2011

TORONTO. August 26th. Three years ago Shami Abdulahi Dawud came within a step of winning the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It would have been his first international victory at the distance.

The 30 year old Ethiopian returns to the IAAF Silver Label race this coming October 19th a much more experienced and determined athlete.

Like several of his rivals he has been informed about the course record. But Abdulahi has one distinct advantage: the man who has shared detailed information on running fast in Toronto is none other than Derissa Chimsa the record holder himself. The pair are training partners.

“I remembered I lost the victory in the last meter of the 2011 race and I don’t forget the people of Toronto who support us in the race,” Abdulahi recalls. “(this time) I’ll come to win with the course record. Yes, I’m thinking to do that and I’ll try to do my best.”

Following the 2011 visit to Canada’s largest city he received an invitation to race the 2012 Dubai Marathon and took full advantage of the glorious opportunity. He recorded a new personal best of 2:05:42. Ironically the man who finished a step behind him on that occasion was Chimsa.

When Chimsa ran that impressive 2:07:05 a year ago it was, at the time, also the fastest time ever recorded on Canadian soil. It has since been beaten by another Ethiopian Yemane Tsegay who ran 2:06:54 in Ottawa this spring. Abdulahi has no doubt done the math. A new Canadian all comers record would earn him an additional $40,000 on top of the $20,000 first place prize. Significant time bonuses provide even more incentive to run fast.

Shami battles Canada's Reid Coolsaet and Kenneth Mungara through The Beach in 2011

Shami battles Canada’s Reid Coolsaet and Kenneth Mungara through The Beach in 2011

Abdulahi certainly has the credentials to chase this record. His magnificent Dubai result was not a one off situation either. Three months afterwards Abdulahi won the 2012 Hamburg Marathon in 2:05:58, his second time beating 2 hours 6 minutes.

Coming from the famed walled city of Harar about 500 kilometres directly east of Addis, Abdulahi is the second sub 2:06 man to be confirmed for the 2014 Toronto race, the other being Kenya’s Peter Some. When told that there are seven men in this year’s race who have personal bests that are faster than 2:09 he nods his approval.

“That’s good because the race will be competitive,” he declares. “No, I haven’t raced Some before but I know him. He is a strong athlete.”

Abdulahi says he was inspired by the exploits of his famous countrymen Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele, who have won five Olympic gold medals between them. Winning his first 5km race in Harar gave him the incentive to follow in their footsteps and in July 2008 the Addis based Defence Force Sports Club brought him to the capital.

2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront MarathonSince June of 2009 he has trained with a very strong contingent of runners all of whom are represented by the Italian sports agent Gianni Demadonna. Although they push each other in training they are largely supportive of one another and, should he beat Chimsa’s Toronto course record, he doesn’t expect that to cause any rift with his friend.

“It is difficult to describe my training but I’m in a good shape and I train well and I hope
it will continue until Toronto,” he explains. “I like to train in Entoto (the mountainous region on the outskirts of Addis), mostly I do long runs there. Gemedu Deddefo and Gebeyehu Berihun are my coaches. No, there isn’t rivalry with the other athletes but we help each other always.”

Although training and the recovery takes up most of his days he admits to enjoying watching action movies on television as well as English Premier League football. The latter pastime is something he apparently shares with his rival Peter Some. The Kenyan is a committed Manchester United supporter while Abdulahi loves Chelsea. The pair, no doubt, will be aware that the two teams play one another the week following the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Abdulahi comes from a family of farmers who grow corn and sorghum in Harar. Twice a year he returns to the region to visit his parents, his three sisters and four brothers. In a country where the per capita income is $470, his running brings opportunities to provide for family as well as ensure some economic security for himself. In the future, he says, he will invest in a business but for now he is concentrating solely on his running.

With the addition of Abdulahi this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is clearly the strongest field assembled for the event. Whether the records will fall is to be seen. But both Some and Abdulahi have designs on victory as well as the record prize purse and that bodes well for the race.

For further information and entry to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon visit www.stwm.ca


Posted in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Comments Off on Shami Abdulahi Returns to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Chasing Records, by Paul Gains

How YOU can become a World Record Holder at STWM! Calling all runners to take on a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ challenge!

GUINNESS GWR_NewLogo-FullColour-R-RGBBelieve it or not, on October 19th, YOU could become a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ record-holder at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, if you take on the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Challenge! How about “Fastest Marathon as a Vegetable (male or female)”, in a wedding dress, in a gas mask, wearing armour, dressed as a shoe, a logo, a telephone box or a nut? [see complete list of current GWRs below]. It’s an opportunity that’s open to everyone who toes the start line.

“The wonderful thing about Guinness World Records is that they  give everyone a chance to be a World Record Holder,” says Race Director Alan Brookes. “I think we’ve built a reputation for record-setting at Toronto Waterfront, and quite a fondness for the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS along the way.”

Michal Kapral with Annika in the "pram"

Michal Kapral with Annika in the “pram”

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon’s Guinness World Record setting run began in 2004 when Beaches resident, Michal Kapral set a new GWR mark of 2:49:44 for the “Fastest Marathon While Pushing a Pram” with daughter Annika on board. Michal returned in 2005 to set a GWR for “joggling” – running 3:07:49 while juggling 3 balls the whole way! Instantly, a new sport was born and some great contests against Boston’s Zach Warren followed. Zach captured the record in Philadelphia in late 2005 and bettered it in 2006, before Michal reclaimed it on Toronto’s Waterfront in 2007 with a fabulous 2:50:12, which still stands today.

Since then, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has seen a wonderful assortment of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS titles. Jefferson the Dog set a mark for the “Fastest Marathon as a Mascot” [4:16] in 2010. Stephane Hetherington ran a very impressive 2:33:58 to set a new GWR for “Fastest Marathon in a Superhero Costume” in 2012. The past two years, Maple Leafs fan Paul Statchuk has set truly Canadian GWRs, first with the “Fastest Marathon in a full Hockey Kit (including stick)” in 2012 [4:08:43]; then with “Fastest Marathon in a Lacrosse Uniform” [3:46:58].

"Maple Leafs Man" Paul Statchuk receives his GWR at the STWM 2012 Finish Line

“Maple Leafs Man” Paul Statchuk receives his GWR at the STWM 2012 Finish Line

In addition to the chance of getting your name in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS books, those attempting a new record will also be in the running for one of Scotiabank’s “Best Costume” Awards. Winners will take home cash prizes for their charities, as well as glory and lots of great media exposure! Stephane Hetherington “double-dipped” this way, setting his GWR and winning a best costume award for Start2Finish in 2012.

“The marathon is just a wonderful city festival,” says Brookes. “It’s about joy, achievement, and celebration. There is so much energy and excitement; and the record-setting runners, the costume and charity runners are a vital part of this. Fellow-runners and spectators alike love the atmosphere they bring. We hope to see lots of runners chasing a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title this year, and going the distance for their charities in fun costumes”.

If you’d like to be part of record-breaking history this year, check out the list of existing records below, then email press@guinnessworldrecords.com no later than October 1, 2014.

Please note that GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS participants must be entered in the STWM event (REGISTER TODAY) before registering online at www.guinnessworldrecords.com

APPENDIX. Complete List of Current Guinness World Records for the Marathon [August 24, 2014].

Fastest marathon by a mascot – Male – 3 hr 51 min 50 sec; Female – 4 hr 02 min 56 sec
Fastest marathon in military desert uniform – Male – 3 hr 50 min 31 sec
Fastest marathon as an insect – Male — 3 hr 32 min 41 sec; Female – 3 hr 24 min 10 sec
Fastest marathon backwards on inline skates – Male — 1 hr 39 min 59 sec
Fastest marathon barefoot – Male – 2 hr 15 min 16.2 sec; Female – 2 hr 29 min 45 sec
Fastest marathon by a linked team – Male — 2 hr 55 min 24 sec
Fastest marathon by a marching band – 6 hr 56 min 48 sec
Fastest marathon carrying a 20-lb pack – Male – 3 hr 12 min 29 sec; Female — 5 hr 07 min 56 sec
Fastest marathon carrying a 40-lb pack – Male — 3 hr 25 min 21 sec
Fastest marathon carrying a 60-lb pack – Male — 4 hr 39 min 9 sec
Fastest marathon carrying an 80-lb pack – Male — 5 hr 58 min 58 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a baby – Male — 2 hr 51 min 18 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a book character – Male — 2 hr 42 min 17 sec; Female – 3 hr 39 min 49 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a bottle – Male – 3 hr 31 min 57 sec; Female – 4 hr 54 min 36 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a boxer – Male — 3 hr 35 min 34 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a cartoon character – Male — 2 hr 46 min 40 sec; Female — 3 hr 28 min 26 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a clown – Male — 2 hr 50 min 44 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a commercial brand character
Fastest marathon dressed as a cowboy – Male — 3 hr 09 min 09 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a crustacean – Male – 3 hr 55 min 13 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a dairy product – Male — 3 hr 09 min 58 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a doctor — Male – 2 hr 53 min 11 sec; Female – 3 hr 54 min 06 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a fairy – Male — 2 hr 49 min 44 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a fruit – Male – 2 hr 58 min 20 sec; Female – 4 hr 32 min 28 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a gingerbread man — Male — 3 hr 42 min 20 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a golfer – Male – 3 hr 10 min 4 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a jester – Male – 3 hr 1 min 56 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a jockey – Male – 3 hr 08 min 30 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a leprechaun – Male – 3 hr 09 min 40 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a lifeguard – Male — 3 hr 00 min 01 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a logo – Male — 3 hr 37 min 14 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a love heart – Male — 3 hr 28 min 21 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a monk – Male — 3 hr 29 min 32 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a Mr. Potato Head – Male – 3 hr 38 min 20 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a nun – Male — 3 hr 17 min 58 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a nut – Male – 4 hr 29 min 36 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a playing card — Female — 4 hr 23 min 57 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a postman – Male — 3 hr 47 min 35 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a Roman soldier – Male — 2 hr 57 min
Fastest marathon dressed as a sailor – Male — 2 hr 52 min 32 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a shoe – Female — 4 hr 40 min 56 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a star – Male — 4 hr 46 min 45 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a sumo wrestler – Male — 3 hr 51 min 54 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a tap/faucet – Male — 3 hr 52 min 09 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a telephone box – Male — 5 hr 54 min 52 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a television character — Male — 2 hr 49 min 51 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a toilet – Male — 2 hr 57 min 28 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a vegetable – Male — 2 hr 59 min 33 sec; Female — 3 hr 47 min 15 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a videogame character – Male — 3 hr 29 min 41 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a Viking – Male — 3 hr 12 min 11 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as a waiter – Male — 2 hr 47 min
Fastest marathon dressed as a zombie – Male — 3 hr 18 min 38 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as an astronaut – Male — 3 hr 08 min 45 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as an organ — Male — 3 hr 36 min 42 sec; Female — 3 hr 52 min 02 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as Elvis – Male — 2 hr 42 min 52 sec
Fastest marathon dressed as Santa Claus – Male — 2 hr 55 min 50 sec; Female — 3 hr 43 min 20 sec
Fastest marathon dressed in an ice hockey – Male — 4 hr 8 min 43 sec
Fastest marathon dribbling a basketball – Male — 3 hr 23 min 42 sec; Female — 4 hr 28 min 11 sec
Fastest marathon dribbling a football – Male — 3 hr 29 min 55 sec
Fastest marathon dribbling two basketballs – Male — 4 hr 39 min 12 sec
Fastest marathon flipping a pancake – Male — 3 hr 2 min 27 sec
Fastest marathon in a bomb disposal suit Male — 6 hr 55 min 59 sec
Fastest marathon in a fireman’s uniform – Male — 4 hr 39 min 13 sec
Fastest marathon in a four-person costume — 6 hr 29 min 44 sec
Fastest marathon in a full-body animal costume – Male — 3 hr 31 min 36 sec
Fastest marathon in a lacrosse kit – Male — 3 hr 46 min 58 sec
Fastest marathon in a martial arts suit – Male — 3 hr 21 min 31 sec; Female – 3 hr 30 min 14 sec
Fastest marathon in a military dress uniform – Male — 3 hr 47 min 14 sec
Fastest marathon in a nurse’s uniform — Male — 2 hr 48 min 24 sec; Female — 3 hr 13 min 58 sec
Fastest marathon in a police uniform – Male — 3 hr 09 min 52 sec
Fastest marathon in a straitjacket – Male — 3 hr 49 min 48 sec
Fastest marathon in a suit – Male — 2 hr 58 min 03 sec
Fastest marathon in a two-person pantomime costume – Male — 4 hr 49 min 18 sec
Fastest marathon in a wedding dress – Male — 3 hr 00 min 54 sec; Female — 3 hr 16 min 44 sec
Fastest marathon in an American football kit – Male — 3hr 45 min 30 sec
Fastest marathon in an animal – Male — 2 hr 48 min 29 sec; Female – 3 hr 18 min 09 sec
Fastest marathon in cricket uniform – Male — 4 hr 16 min 21 sec
Fastest marathon in film character costume – Male — 2 hr 42 min 52 sec; Female — 3 hr 53 min 40 sec
Fastest marathon in full military uniform – Male — 3 hr 49 min 21 sec; Female — 4 hr 54 min 15 sec
Fastest marathon in school uniform – Male — 2 hr 50 min 17 sec; Female — 3 hr 14 min 34 sec
Fastest marathon in scout uniform – Male — 3 hr 44 min 33 sec
Fastest marathon in superhero costume – Male — 2 hr 33 min 58 sec; Female — 2 hr 48 min 51 sec
Fastest marathon on crutches – Male — 6 hr 24 min 48 sec
Fastest marathon on stilts — Male — 6 hr 50 min 02 sec
Fastest marathon pushing a pram – Male — 2 hr 42 min 21 sec; Female — 3 hr 31 min 45 sec
Fastest marathon run dressed as a snowman – Male — 3 hr 47 min 39 sec
Fastest marathon running backwards – Male — 3 hr 43 min 39 sec
Fastest marathon running with an egg and spoon – Male — 3 hr 47 min
Fastest marathon skipping – Male — 4 hr 28 min 48 sec
Fastest marathon skipping without a rope – Male –5 hr 55 min 13 sec
Fastest marathon wearing a gas mask – Male — 3 hr 28 min 38 sec
Fastest marathon wearing a wetsuit – Male — 3 hr 25 min 00 sec
Fastest marathon wearing armour – Male — 6 hr 46 min 59 sec
Fastest marathon wearing chainmail (upper body) – Male — 5 hr 49 min 07 sec.
Fastest marathon wearing flip flops – Male — 3 hr 47 min 33 sec

Posted in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | Comments Off on How YOU can become a World Record Holder at STWM! Calling all runners to take on a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ challenge!

Everything I Need, I Already Have. By Lara Winnemore

TORONTO August 24th 2014. Lara Winnemore loves running and is excited to share her love of running with others as a 2014 STWM Digital Champion training for her first full marathon. Lara competed in track and cross country in school but stopped doing sports and dance in her teenage years. Fast forward 20 years and running helped Lara get back in shape after starting her family. Running was instrumental to maintaining her sanity as a working mom but in 2010 it took on a more meaningful role in assisting with her recovery after sustaining various injuries in a car accident including a traumatic brain injury. While her life looks different now, running has helped her realize that while loss shapes us it does not have to define us. We can still strive to have an amazing life! Connect with Lara on Twitter @viva_lara.

Everything I Need, I Already Have. By Lara Winnemore.

LARA Winnemore BlogMy kids always ask me after a race, “Did you win mom?” and I laugh. It’s hard to explain to a child that for even the serious recreational runner, winning isn’t necessarily a realistic expectation. But it’s a good question. What does winning actually mean? I once came in 8th in my age group (on my 40th birthday weekend no less) in a Canada Running Series 5K which was shockingly awesome, and I’ve never run that distance that fast again. For most of us, the concept of what makes a winning run is not going to be coming in first place. And so we focus on continuous improvement. Your first race in any distance is often entered with the goal to complete, and subsequent attempts for most of us are to set a new personal record or PR. At the same time, we are all aging, and at a certain point in time the experts say that means we are slowing down. I know, I know “But I never reached my full potential as a runner! I could still get faster!” And some of us will.

But we can’t ALL be outliers. I am slowly coming to accept at the age of 42, that despite my firm belief in myself, lots of running knowledge, a coach, and proper training protocols, I’m probably NOT one of those outliers. I saw huge improvements in finishing times as a beginner runner, but then I plateaued. And on top of that, I still suffer from some chronic health issues as a result of a car accident 4 years ago, so there really IS a limit to how much running I can do and as such how much faster I can get. I know I am not the only runner out there guilty of maybe putting too much pressure on herself to be AMAZING, to be BETTER, to keep STRIVING every day for more and more, despite maybe some real practical reasons why that might be a stressful and not so realistic goal long term.

So how do you balance desires, beliefs and reality? How DO we keep “winning”? Where running has taught me so much about myself and my ability to reach beyond my limitations, and has given me hope in the last 4 years since my accident that I CAN be strong again, yoga grounds me and gives me that balance. The concept of Ahimsa in yoga is really important – do no harm. Not just to others, but to ourselves. The frustration of not being able to run as well or train as hard as I used to can lead to disappointment, negative energy and harmful thoughts. And the dark side of yearning to constantly be better is always that we risk never quite being satisfied with where we are now – the idea that we aren’t YET good enough, that we need “fixing”. And then we miss out on now. Ahimsa teaches me to shift my focus away from all that – it’s the difference between goals and intentions, between winning and losing.

So instead of chasing PRs I’m now trying to experience “personal bests”. That, for me, is how I can keep “winning”. Same thing you say? In my opinion what makes a personal best run can have very little if anything to do with your finishing time. I think one of the greatest things about running is that it allows us to push beyond limits and go further physically and mentally than we can imagine. But in the same way that yoga is not just about the asanas or poses, running is not just about how fast you can go or where you place in a race.

One of the best races I ever had was also one of my slowest half marathons. But it was undeniably a personal best run for me. In May 2014 I ran the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon as a member of Team in Training and raised $1500 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Canada. Unfortunately I had sprained my knee and ankle cross country skiing for the first time in the winter which kept me out of training for 6 weeks. I did have a time goal when I started my training that was PR focused – to go sub 2 hours. But after my injury all my energy went to fundraising and fulfilling my commitment to run for those who couldn’t…my goal truly became bigger than me.

I decided to run “naked” that day – without a watch or a I am Already AmazingGPS device. (Gasp!) And something amazing happened. I ran by feel. I actually noticed the CN Tower and the cheering crowds, and even the other runners all around me. I noticed my breathing. I took time to walk through aid stations and thank volunteers. I smiled at spectators. I reveled in the sun on my face, felt alive when that blustering wind hit in those last few kilometers, and actually smelled spring in the air. I was grateful to be able to run even though it was hard! I truly FELT the words of our Team in Training honoured hero Lydia as I thought about her personal story of cancer survival she had shared at our inspiration dinner the night before. “Be who you already are”. For me that meant, already strong, already good enough, already a winner. Why hadn’t I noticed these things before?

Going in to the race I set an intention to simply have a positive experience. At the race expo I stopped by a booth where you could predict your finishing time and if you guessed right, win a prize. I thought, why not! It wasn’t a primary goal for me. I made a light-hearted, nonchalant prediction that I would finish in 2:06:30. Not a PR. In fact it was 5 minutes slower than my previous 2 half marathons. Amazingly, I crossed the finish line in 2:06:39, only 9 seconds off my predicted finish time, and without running with a pace bunny or ever looking at a watch. The best part was I had actually enjoyed the race, I was there, in that moment and AWARE. I had been mindfully present. And in doing that, I met my performance goal, which had been completely secondary to my reasons for running that day. When I got home and my kids asked me, “Mommy, did you win your race?” I said for the first time, YES, and absolutely meant it as my truth.

I woke up to the world during that race, and what happened was just the beginning of what continues to be a transformative experience as I now train for my first full marathon. I’m still pushing physical limits by the mere fact of setting an intention and acting on it. I’m training to run a freaking marathon for goodness sakes. Some days I just pinch myself with giddy excitement to see if it’s really real. Other days I moan like so many of my running friends as I contemplate new distance milestones. And on the days I am fearful, when my chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia flares up, when I must put running on hold to deal with the stresses of my personal life or to care for my family, I tell myself, “I am already strong and amazing. I don’t need fixing. I will be okay”.

In running as in life, there are things we can control and things we cannot. Fundraising for a charity that is close to my heart (my dad is a blood cancer survivor), drawing inspiration from my yoga practice and the amazing people I am meeting along the way, and lacing up each day from a place of positive energy, not fear, is helping me to make every run a personal best.

On October 19, 2014 I will run my first full marathon. As I look towards the start line, my running intentions are to:

1) Run for the reasons that are best FOR ME and not to prove anything to anyone else,

2) Drop expectations and instead run with acceptance and gratitude,

3) Remain fully present in my body and aware of the world around me,

4) Celebrate every step of the way.

Pema Chodron reminds us that we already have everything we need. And it’s true. So think about the journey you have taken just to arrive at the start line, BE who you already are, and know that YOU HAVE GOT THIS.

Posted in Digital Champions, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | 4 Comments

How To Win A Marathon. By Steve Layton

TORONTO August 21st 2014. Digital Champion Steve Layton used to eat too much, eat the wrong things, and work long hours until his unhealthy lifestyle caught up with him. Obese and tired of it, Steve changed jobs, sleep habits and his diet for the better. Four years later Steve is fitter, healthier and happier and a proud member of the running community! Steve is thrilled to be running his 4th marathon at STWM and is honoured to do it again as a Digital Champion, enabling him to encourage others to test their boundaries and try running a marathon or other outdoor activities as way to get active and improve their life. Connect with Steve on Twitter @SteveWLayton and on his blog.

How To Win A Marathon. By Steve Layton.

Based on this blog’s title alone you might be Steve Finish line STWMthinking that this post will be a detailed report of how elite runners make there way on to a podium after 42.2 KM.

Nope, I’m writing this to explain how you, yes YOU, CAN WIN A MARATHON.

You win a marathon from the second you sign up for one by setting a challenge that is so big for yourself that it brings to the top the determination, self confidence and perseverance you know you have deep inside, but may not have a way to express.

You win a marathon when you realize that the challenge itself is a tangible manifestation of an obstacle you want to overcome. It can be representative of, and way to heal a deeper physical, mental or other personal obstacle you cope with everyday.

You win a marathon when you realize that running one is not just about your completing the distance, but taking the first step to start it.  This monumental single step grows your confidence with each step that follows as you run in to the unknown pushing your mental and physical abilities beyond what you thought was ever possible and beyond.

You win a marathon when unbeknown to you, your training, dedication and achievements leading up to, during and after the race inspires those around you to make positive and healthy changes in their lives as they watch you change for the better in ways that you often do not even realize yourself.

You win a marathon from the moment you announce you’re going to tackle one, to the moment you put on your finishers medal.  This is regardless of your pace / time or who finished before or after you.  None of these things matter in winning a marathon as the only person you are racing is your present self, your physical being, your fears, your uncertainties and you overcome them all the second you cross the finish line.

You win the marathon because you chose to challenge yourself when you did not have to.

You win the marathon because you chose to set an obstacle that seems to many impossible and found a way that worked for you to overcome it.

You win the marathon because once you have the experience, skills and determination that enable you to win a marathon, you realize, you have the inner strength to overcome anything.

See you all in the winners circle after #STWM.

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