The Ultimate #STWM Running Playlist

Liz_headphones_quoteTORONTO October 17th. Digital Champion Liz Trenton decided that 2013 would be the year that she checks “running a marathon” off her bucket list. Liz knows that good music can make or break your run so she’s put together some songs to get through 42.2k, while keeping your spirits high. Connect with Liz on Twitter @LizTrenton and let her know what songs you’re adding to your running playlist!

The Ultimate #STWM Running Playlist. By Liz Trenton.

The 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be my first full marathon. I am a music lover and almost never leave for a long run without my iPod. I love how music can get you excited, motivated, and pumped up to go that extra mile. Although my favourite music genres to run to are upbeat indie rock and fast paced punk, my marathon playlist is extremely diverse and includes country, pop, hip hop and classic rock songs. As a slow and steady runner, my full marathon finishing time will likely be around 5 hours, so variety is key for keeping my playlist interesting. Below I’ve highlighted the top 10 songs that characterize my ultimate #STWM playlist.

1) The Classic: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones.
This is one of my favourite Stones’ songs to run to. When I ran my last half-marathon, it came on right at the bottom of a steep hill and was the juice that helped me push through to the top! Here’s an impressive piece of info: the approximate distance Mick Jagger struts or sprints in a typical stadium show is 12 miles (19k) – and he’s 70 years old! Just think of that fact when you’re at 35K and you feel like you can’t run any further.

2) The Synth-Pop Indie Rocker: “Punching in a Dream” by The Naked and Famous
Even if you don’t like indie rock, you will love running to this song. This one from New Zealand’s best-kept secret makes you want to dance and keeps your running at a steady pace. This is a good one to have early on in your playlist to make sure you don’t pace too quickly in the first half of the race.

3) Oh Canadianan: “Ooo Ohh” by Daniel Wesley
If you get to know me, you will quickly learn that I LOVE my Canadian rock. My absolutely favourite Canadian artist to run to is Daniel Wesley. Hailing from British Columbia, this reggae rock crooner has 6 albums that I often run to on repeat. “Ooo Ohh” is a classic Daniel track and one of his best, but there are so many more that get your feet moving! Check him out!

4) The Speedy Punk Rock Song: “Supersonic” by Bad Religionliz
Punk rock is what got me hooked on music in the first place. I grew up listening to Green Day, Rancid, The Vandals, and The Ramones. The best thing about running to punk rock is that it’s FAST. As a slower paced runner, it’s these quick tracks that give me a bit of gusto and help improve my time. At 169 bmp with lyrics like “I gotta go faster, keep up the pace” this Bad Religion goody is destined to be on your running playlist.

5) The Boy Band Pop Song: “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
I’m 29 years old and a 1D fan. No shame here. I actually loved this song so much I added it to my list of tunes I’m learning to play on the drums. For a bubbly pop song, there is a great message to help us ladies run along: we don’t know how beautiful we are for running a marathon, but that’s what makes us beautiful!

6) The Sentimental Ballad: “All Mine” by Rebel Emergency
I’m lucky enough to have a significant other who is a professional musician – he helps keep music a constant in my life, introducing me to new artists, genres and songs on a daily basis. Though he plays for many groups and artists, Rebel Emergency is one of my favourites. “All Mine” makes it so easy for me to picture us at a resort in Jamaica, sipping on tropical beverages; a relaxing image to remind me of how I can celebrate when I cross that finish line.

7) Happy Clap-a-long Indie Rocker: “The Underdog” by Spoon
With horns, tambourines, and percussion galore, it’s hard not to feel happy vibes when this song is playing. If you see me clapping my hands during the race, this is probably the song that’s playing.

8) The Essential Pop Country Song: “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line
I was first introduced to country music in University. Since then I’ve embraced pop country acts like Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Kira Isabella. I’m convinced that “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line is so summery and catchy that even the biggest country hater wouldn’t be able to resist adding it to their running playlist.

9) The Hip Hopper: “Moment 4 Life” by Nikki Minaj
This was one of the songs on my first playlist when I started running 2 years ago. I use running to manage stress and to remind me that every moment is precious. So when you’re running the marathon, remember that this is YOUR moment for life.

10) The Trendy Track: “Pompeii” by Bastille
I said I love my upbeat indie rock and this is definitely one of the trendy songs of summer that I had on repeat. The catchy “Eh-eh-o eh-o” and infectious drumbeats make it hard not to get excited to keep running. This would be a fantastic song to finish the race to: “but if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like”… you’ve conquered this marathon!

If you love Liz’s picks, you can check out her entire running playlist. What songs do you have on your #STWM running playlist? Let us know in the comments below!


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Marchant Late Addition to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon by Paul Gains

360_tf_zr13_0266Canada’s leading female marathoner Lanni Marchant has confirmed she will run in this week’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

A year ago she finished a credible fifth in the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon not only setting a personal best of 2:31:51 but helping to launch a new era in Canadian women’s marathoning. Indeed, that performance makes her the 9th fastest Canadian woman of all time.

Marchant, a native of London, Ontario, represented Canada at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August but succumbed to the oppressive heat and humidity and ended up walking most of the last seven kilometres.

“While I was walking the course I was thinking ‘dammit this isn’t the way I want to end the season. I am going to do a marathon in the fall,’” she recalls. “It was mentally such a letdown. I am a girl and I needed that minute to cry. I didn’t completely make up my mind to keep training even for the Canadian 10k national championships until I got back home. I wanted to have my little ‘boo hoo’ first.

Lanni and Krista DuChene in the lead pack, early on at the Moscow World Championships Marathon in August

Lanni and Krista DuChene in the lead pack, early on at the Moscow World Championships Marathon in August

“I talked to my mom, I talked to my coach Dave Mills, and we put together my training program for the 10k championship with my coach’s disclaimer, ‘don’t be surprised if the mileage is a little higher than your typical 10k program.’ At the end of the day, if I wanted to run Chicago or Toronto, we didn’t want to lose six weeks of training. It was up in the air and in the back of my mind.”

She won the national 10km championship September 20th by thirty seconds (34:07.2) beating Krista DuChene, her teammate in Moscow, Lioudmila Kortchaguina, who is now a master’s competitor and is ranked 3rd all time Canadian with 2:29:42, as well as Natasha Wodak. All have confirmed they will race Toronto Waterfront.

“I was surprised,” Marchant says of her victory over the shorter distance. “I wanted to go for it. I knew the field was going to be strong. I feel like each year we are getting stronger and stronger ladies. We are all getting closer in our seed times. I think, between Natasha, Krista and myself, there’s only a six or seven second spread. So I knew that if I was going to get it I was going to have to work for it.”

Defeating her rivals was the final impetus to convince her to run Toronto Waterfront. The race was especially positive since she had tweaked a thigh muscle while attempting to lift boxes during her move to Chattanooga, Tennessee. She practices criminal law there. Marchant graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2007 before obtaining law degrees at the University of Ottawa and Michigan State University.

The 10k race was a brilliant test as she increased her training volume.

“It tells me the engine is still there,” she admits. “But I can definitely feel that the pep I had in my legs in July and August is a little bit harder to find, right now. I did a marathon tempo pace workout last Saturday and I felt great doing it. I definitely feel I have strength and can keep 5:40 pace for 26.2 miles I think that puts me a good bit under 2:30.”

The Canadian women’s marathon record of 2:28:36 has stood since 1985 and Scotiabank has generously put up a bonus of $28,000 should it be broken in this year’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Although she hadn’t calculated what a 5:40 pace translates to over the full marathon distance others have. That would lead to a time of 2:28:28.

The question many have had for the 29 year old Marchant is why did she not join the 23 other women in the field of 70, who abandoned the Moscow race, to save herself for another day.

“I dropped out of Toronto last year and I just didn’t think I could handle it mentally; I couldn’t handle dropping out of two marathons,” she reveals. “Both Krista and I had wanted to be at the London Olympics so bad just to get that experience that one of us had to cross that finish line in Moscow. Good, bad, or ugly… I wanted to wear that maple leaf and cross that finish.

“I had modified my legal career so that I can do this. I had made all those adjustments to my lifestyle, I had put in all that training and spent all that money to go to Kenya and everything. I hadn’t done that to not cross that line. I wanted that experience. I put myself up on that world stage. Unfortunately it wasn’t the experience I wanted but I wanted the experience of crossing the finish line.”

Now the experience she covets is a fast time on the streets of Toronto a mark that will erase the memories of Toronto a year ago and put her in the position of which she believes she is capable.

“I always have my A, B and C goals,” she explains, revealing the pragmatic legal mind. “‘A’ would be to get under 2:28, ‘B’ would be to ‘PR’ and get under 2:30 and the ‘C’ would be to get a Commonwealth Games standard. Rotterdam was a great experience, I want to have that confidence boosting marathon experience again in Toronto.”

Although it is perhaps lurking way in the back of her mind a good performance Sunday will also earn her the overall victory in the Canada Running Series. With her victory at the national 10km championships and the Toronto Yonge Street 10km in April she has a lead over DuChene. How sweet it would be, however, to finally remove the Canadian Record?

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Into the Unknown: A Reflection on Marathon Training

TORONTO October 11th. Jodi Lewchuk recently took up running after a long hiatus and it’s changed her life.  Exactly one year ago, as she watched runners finish the 2012 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Jodi decided she wanted to be one of them. On October 20th, she will lace up for her first marathon. Jodi says, “Running makes me happy, keeps me sane, and lets me believe that anything is possible.” Connect with Jodi on Twitter @JodiLewchuk and on her blog.

Into the Unknown: A Reflection on Marathon Training. By Jodi Lewchuk

Training for a marathon changes you.

I remember the day I committed to running 42.2 kilometres. It was Sunday October 14, Jodi and Dog2012. I had finished my first 10K race almost a month earlier and was contemplating trying a half-marathon in 2013. I was on Front Street, heading into the grocery store to pick up a few items I needed for the week. On my way in, I passed the 41K marker for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which was in its final afternoon stretch.

After collecting my few supplies, I followed the race route through its homestretch to the finish line at Nathan Phillips Square. The people crossing at that point had been at it for five and six hours. The massive, roaring crowds had already dispersed, but that didn’t diminish the emotion at the finish line. Race volunteers ran beside these last runners, shouting encouragement in the final meters, while the announcer welcomed them home, each by name, with booming enthusiasm. Some cried as they crossed the mats; some raised their arms aloft and shouted with joy. It was impossible not to be moved by the display of courage, determination, and accomplishment. With a lump in my throat, I decided I wanted to know what that brand of accomplishment felt like.

It’s almost a year to that day, and here I am, entering the infamous taper portion of marathon training.  I’ve logged just under 1,500 training kilometres in 365 days. I’ve run 5K, 10K, and 30K races, improving my average pace each time, and breaking the top 10 standings in my age category twice. I’ve been injured, and lucky enough to heal and come back strong. I’ve completed the important 35K “dress rehearsal marathon” (see the current issue of Canadian Running “The Execution Run” by Nicole Stevenson). I’ve finished my last long run. And now I cut back on distance, focusing instead on running quality and intensity over shorter distances, as I let my body rest and recover for race day on October 20th.

It’s been a long, rewarding year. Nearly every Saturday this summer, I laced up my running shoes and went out on the trails and achieved a personal best. It’s the most wonderful thing about being a marathon first-timer: it’s impossible to not feel like the strongest, most capable, and remarkable runner around when every week you get to shatter yet another record. The first time I ran 21.1K, the half-marathon distance, I rode the high for days. Then my distance inched up to 24K, then 25K, then 28K and beyond. On cut-back weeks, where I focused on pace rather than distance, I missed getting the email notification from the app I used to track my training stats telling me that I had achieved a new personal record.

Midsummer_webAs I head into the relatively quiet period for the last two weeks before Marathon Morning, it’s hard not to get rather contemplative about how special this time has been. I have never – and I doubt I will ever again – lived through a time when I can say every single week that I was better than the week before. That kind of consistent accomplishment reprograms your brain. It changes your conception of what is possible. It alters the expectations you have of yourself. It transforms your notions of commitment, responsibility, and truth. I believe that training for a marathon makes us into the people we’ve always wanted to be – or hadn’t even dreamed we could be.

I had no idea all of this was lying in wait for me that day I decided to run the marathon. I also had no idea how hard it would be. There have been stretches on training runs – and in races – where I can barely convince myself to keep running. In those moments, running 42.2K seems wildly absurd. And quite impossible. But I pushed through. There have been times where I was so tired after work, I couldn’t imagine walking the dog, let alone walking her and then heading back out to run 12K. But I pushed forward. There have been times when I wanted nothing more than not to run. Sleeping in, or staying out late with friends for one more beer, or even cleaning the house seemed infinitely more appealing. But I pushed on. And every time I managed to run when I felt I couldn’t or didn’t want to, I clicked off my watch timer as I returned home, face flushed and sweat trickling down my back, and relished that feeling of accomplishment, knowing I was one run closer to the jubilation of the marathon finish line.

Now that finish line is almost here. It is almost time to race off into the Unknown: What will it be like to flow out of the start corrals and take to the streets with 25,000 other runners? What will it feel like to run down Lakeshore Boulevard, passing landmarks I have run past countless times this summer, but knowing it is race day instead of just another training day? What will happen in my mind and in my body when I run those last 7K, the only part of the marathon distance I haven’t yet run (this is a strategic choice, not lazy training!)? What will it be like to make that final right turn onto Bay Street, to run the final 800 metres to finish? What will I do when I cross the finish line? Will I meet my (ambitious) time goal? Will I qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon?

See, worrying about the Unknown can get you into trouble. You start with one question and the mind starts reeling off in all directions. And so over the next two weeks I plan to cope with the Unknown by remembering the road I’ve traveled. At some point every part of this journey was Unknown. There was a whole year’s worth of training to do that looked pretty daunting and made me wonder in my quietest, most private moments what I’d signed up for. But I checked off kilometrers and runs and races, one by one. I met and overcame challenges on the trail, one by one.

Race day will be the same, won’t it? New experiences will come, one by one. Kilometres will fly by, one by one. Obstacles will appear, one by one. And I will take them all on, one by one.

It’s time to trust the training. It’s time to let go of expectations. It’s time to run, right into the Unknown. And I’m pretty sure I will not be the same person at the end of the race as I was at the beginning of it.

That will be the beauty of running a marathon.

Come see Jodi speak at the STWM Expo on Friday October 19th, from 4:00-4:20pm on the “Leading the Pack: Women and Marathon Training” panel.

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Olympian and Paralympian to Run Half-Marathon Tethered Together in Support of “Every Kids Camp”

Former Olympic rower Sarah (Bonikowsky) Chaudhery will team up with Paralympic Rower Victoria Nolan to run in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon on Sunday October 20, 2013. The event begins at 8:45am.

The two women will run the 21-kilometre sudistance, tethered together. Victoria (2012 and 2008 Paralympic Games), who is blind, will wrap a lanyard around her wrist. Sarah (Bejing 2008 Olympic Games and bronze medal winner in the 2011 Pan American Games) will loop the other end of the lanyard over her elbow.

The two athletes are running to raise funds for Scripture Union’s “Every Kids Camp” initiative. Every Kid Camps have been specially planned by a registered occupational therapist to include children with different needs and abilities.

The cause is one both women passionately support. “As someone who has a disability it’s really hard for me to get out and be physically active,” says Victoria. “I often have to reply on other people to support me. So the chance to do this run- and give back to the children who also need support- is a great opportunity. I think if I had had that kind of support as a child, I’d be better off today.”

Sarah – who is an Occupational Therapist – oversees major sporting events and outreach for Scripture Union. “I got involved in occupational therapy because I was really interested in ways that I could help people get involved in sports”, she says. “It’s really interesting that God called me to Scripture Union, because I’m using both my physical gifts and my training as an O.T. to help kids get involved in sports through Every Kid Camps.”

Scripture Union Canada’s entire staff of 8, along with board members and friends, will join the two women to form a team of 17 runners and walkers. The event, which is part of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge, will be an attempt to raise $40,000 towards implementing Every Kids Camps.

“Our goal is that no child should be turned away from camp,” says Lawson Murray, President of Scripture Union Canada “due to a lack of supportive facilities or programming.” This summer, Scripture Union Canada facilitated 29 camps across Ontario, three of which were designated Every Kid Camps. Lawson says, “Our long-term goal is to incorporate Every Kids Camp programming into as many of our camps as possible.”

Scripture Union – which dates from 1879 in this country, making it one of the earliest Christian ministries in Canada -  is active in 140 countries around the world, introducing children and young people to Jesus.

For interviews or information:


Contact: Sarah (Bonikowsky) Chaudhery
Phone: (905)-427-4947

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Kenya’s Henry Sugut Bound for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon by Paul Gains

Henry Sugut enjoying his third consecutive victory in Vienna this Spring

Henry Sugut enjoying his third consecutive victory in Vienna this Spring

Confidence is a mandatory trait for a marathon runner and Kenya’s Henry Sugut approaches the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon with an abundance of it.

“As always, when I am going for a race, I target my personal best,” Sugut declares. “In this case, if I happen to break my personal best, then I will have broken the course record.”

The 28 year old Kenyan has his sights on winning the IAAF Silver Label race and challenging the course record set by his countryman, Kenneth Mungara, in 2010 (2:07:58). These are not the idle thoughts of a dreamer; Sugut is a truly world class performer.

A year ago he took forty seconds off the Vienna Marathon course record with a personal best of 2:06:58. What bears noting is that the record he smashed had belonged to his countryman Abel Kirui, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist and two-time IAAF World marathon champion. It’s no wonder, then, that his performance in the Austrian capital caught people’s attention.

He further endeared himself to the event earlier this year when he won there for the third consecutive time. Now he turns his attention to what will be his first trip to North America.

“I have not heard so much about Toronto,” Sugut admits, “that’s why I want to come and participate.”

“The training is going well. I am so happy how the body is responding. I have been doing long runs and, on the routes we have been going, I see a lot of improvement as far as time is concerned. My fitness level, I can compare as almost the same as when I was running last year. For sure, it is good shape.”

Sugut is managed by the Netherlands based Global Sports Communication who also oversee the careers of Ethiopian superstars Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele, and he trains in Kaptagat with the Global training group. His training partners for the past decade have included the reigning Olympic and World Marathon Champion, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, and Eliud Kipchoge, the 4th fastest marathoner of all time.

A newcomer to the training group is Sugut’s younger brother Dominic of whom he predicts great things. According to Global Sports, Henry has told the coaches his brother just needs another year of training before he is ready to compete with the best runners in the world.

Powering to victory in Vienna in April

Powering to victory in Vienna in April

Sugut took up running in school and eventually had a lot of success on the track recording personal bests in the 5,000m and 10,000m of 13:08.90 and 27:51.34 respectively. But, in an era where Kipchoge and others were running well under 13 minutes for the shorter distance, he knew he would have to try his luck on the roads.

And so he and his peculiar running style – he is the one with his head cocked to the side – was easily convinced to try the marathon.

Married with two young children, Sugut, runs to earn money for his family and to build a better life than he had as a child.

“I grew up in Nakuru district, Rongai division, in a village called Visoi,” he says. “For now I have not decided what I will do after I finish running but farming is the one thing in my mind.

“Normally I take some rest after a competition. During this time, I will concentrate on construction, like building rental houses. Because I have some plots of land that I have bought and they need to be developed. For now I don’t have any other business. I am only concentrating on my running.”

As for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, he is anxiously awaiting the start and a shot at the winner’s prize of $20,000 and the course record bonus of $35,000. In a country where an acre of land sells for about $5,000 the money would certainly come in useful.

The Kenyan contingent will journey from their training base near Eldoret to Nairobi then fly to Amsterdam before boarding a plane to Toronto. Like most of his peers he is encouraged by the fact that Toronto Race Director, Alan Brookes, is supplying pacemakers who will take aim at the course record.

“I would like to have pacemakers, they do a lot of good work by pushing us and attaining good times,” he declares. “Like (last weekend) in Berlin they contributed a lot for the breaking of the world record.”

Sugut knows he will have his hands full with the Toronto field which includes defending Toronto champion Sahle Warga of Ethiopia, his countryman Deressa Chimsa and Morocco’s Abderrhamine Bouramdane. But he has proven himself time and time again as a serious contender wherever he races. Toronto running fans are, indeed, in for a treat

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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to be broadcast ‘Live’ to the World, by Paul Gains

Running fans across the globe will be able to watch the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in its entirety live October 20th thanks to a unique partnership moulded by race director Alan Brookes.

The affable Brookes proudly espouses the virtues of this IAAF Silver Label Race and appears delighted to share it with the world via a live stream broadcast on CBC television’s website.

“It’s going to be a top-quality broadcast in terms of production and content,” Brookes reveals. “Having Tim Hutchings work with (Canadian Running Magazine editor) Michael Doyle on commentary is just top drawer. I think we’ll have some great races, some great stories on the 20th, and the broadcast will carry our event across Canada and around the world – no geo-blocking.

“We’re trying to promote our sport, promote our city, as well as our event. And so the more people see it, the better. It’s great to think folks will be watching it from Nunavut to Nairobi, from Ecuador to Ethiopia.”

The 'live' broadcast will also be shown on the Finish Line jumbo-screen as well as around the world via internet

The ‘live’ broadcast will also be shown on the Finish Line jumbo-screen as well as around the world via internet

Brookes credits title sponsors Scotiabank, a production team from the southern Ontario based EPMG company and CBC television’s for making this happen. Six HD Cameras including the acclaimed ‘RED Epic’ will be used during the broadcast ensuring the highest quality video possible.

Hutchings is a well known voice in athletics broadcasting having worked for Eurosport, Sky Sports, NBC, BBC and ESPN over the years. Few know that he was a world class distance runner in the 80’s having twice won silver medals at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships (1984 and 1989) as well as finishing 4th in the 1984 Olympics 5,000m final.

He arrives in Toronto direct from commentating on the Chicago Marathon for NBC television. Asked to name highlights of his twenty two years as a commentator he hesitates for a moment.

“Gosh, I guess, superlative performances,” he declares. “It’s the world records the Olympic races, like (Haile) Gebrselassie versus (Paul) Tergat at the 2000 Sydney Olympics which I think is probably the greatest race ever; it’s Paula Radcliffe’s world record at 2:15; Sammy Wanjiru winning the Beijing Olympics in sweltering heat going out at what we thought was suicidal pace and he just kept going. There are dozens of amazing races you feel privileged to call.”

Hutchings was in Toronto two years ago as the colour commentator for CBC’s coverage of the 2011 edition of the race and has an appreciation for the city and for the event. He is also well equipped to compare the quality of broadcasting that many of today’s marathons enjoy.

“It would be silly to pretend that live stream, as yet, has the same reach as TV,” he explains. “But it is obviously the way things are going because it so prohibitively expensive to have live coverage on TV. You are talking a six figure sum. It’s absolutely out of the reach of the majority of races and live streaming is a very good substitute.

“It’s not the same as TV yet, but, it is gradually clawing its way up toward being a substantial player. So it is important that races like Toronto and others keep ticking the box and people view their race and the numbers will continue to grow.”

Brookes has assembled a quality field and points out that several great international athletes will tackle the top Canadians in both the men’s and women’s races. He calls it ‘great drama.’

“The broadcast certainly gives all Canadians, and the marathon-viewing public around the world the chance to see some great racing in Toronto,” Brookes adds. “It puts us on the world stage. Last weekend it was Berlin, next week it’s Chicago, then Toronto, then Frankfurt and New York. It’s the next best thing to being here.”

While Hutchings enjoys watching and commentating on fast results he is a fan of head to head competitions and has his fingers crossed that viewers witness an epic duel between the leaders. Looking over the names of runners announced thus far he believes the course record of 2:07:58 held by Kenneth Mungara could fall.

“Deressa Chimsa, a 2:05 guy is running, and that is very exciting because a bad day for a 2:05 guy should be 2 08,” Hutchings points out. “It always comes back to conditions which are always critical. If the weather is good there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see a course record. That’s got to be vulnerable. And with all due respect Kenneth Mungara is not a 2:05 guy. There are lads out there who can run a minute off it.

“Again, I would come back to we should always be reigning ourselves in from being infatuated with quick times. If it’s a 2:09,2:10 race it doesn’t matter if there are three lads knocking chunks out of each other the last 10 km, you want something that is really gripping for the viewer.”

Brookes invites fans to go to the marathon website at and click the link to CBC sports on race day beginning at 8:15 a.m. Eastern time. The race starts at 8:45 a.m. The live stream will continue for six hours.

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Running to Honour the Heroes at SickKids Hosptial

BATMANOne night when I was seven, my appendix ruptured as I slept. I vividly remember the excruciating pain in my stomach, the kind of pain a child simply can’t understand. I remember thinking, “Why is this happening to me? Am I dying?”

My parents, too desperate to wait for the ambulance, drove me straight to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). I remember crying and screaming in the back seat of the car; my mother holding me in her lap, desperately trying to console me; my younger brother, sitting to her left crying and afraid; my father, holding my arm, trying to focus on driving his sick son and frightened family to the hospital.

The doctors told my parents that my appendix ruptured, that I was bleeding internally, and that waiting for the ambulance might have resulted in tragedy. When I awoke from surgery, my parents simply explained it to me like this: “You had something happen inside you, but that’s all over now – the doctors saved your life.”

I spent the next two weeks recovering. I was taken care of by the doctors and nurses, I enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs (that was only available for children, which was really cool), and I was even a little hesitant to leave when they said I could go home!

Throughout the 90s I would see SickKids telethons, and although I would donate, my contribution felt impersonal; I wanted to do something that had my stamp on it.

As 2013 arrived, I was in the process of making plans to begin training for a marathon. At this point in my life, I’d been running for a couple years out of the High Park Running Room and I knew I would begin training soon. In February inspiration struck as I came across a picture on Facebook of window washers dressed as superheros as they cleaned the windows of a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh. They were dressed as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Captain America.

It all made sense, I would run as a superhero for my first marathon! It was no challenge deciding on what costume to don; this run couldn’t be about me, it had to be about the hero. That’s why I chose to run as the Dark Knight himself, Batman.

Batman is simply a human being. He wasn’t bit by a radioactive spider, he didn’t come from Planet Krypton, and he isn’t a mild-mannered scientist who turns into the Hulk. Though Bruce Wayne is just a man, Batman is a symbol for justice and hope. Choosing Batman to emulate means I must be more than just a man.

My message is simple: the children helped by the SickKids Foundation are the real heroes. The devotion required to run 42.2K pales in comparison to the endurance required of a child facing a terminal illness. On October 20th, I want to show them that their courage inspires their families, their determination inspires superheroes, and their endurance inspires me.

Please feel free to connect and send your encouragement as I train for the race on Twitter @rundarkknight or give your support on my fundraising page.

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Deressa Chimsa To Run Toronto Waterfront by Paul Gains

According to Race Director, Alan Brookes, “We’re really excited to announce the late addition of Deressa Chimsa to our 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront field. Anytime we get an athlete of this calibre, and with such consistency, it’s very special. To the best of our knowledge, he will be the fastest marathoner ever to have competed on Canadian soil, and adds a real ZING to this year’s race!” Here’s Paul Gains’ latest feature. Enjoy the read. Enjoy the race!

Deressa Chimsa at 2011 Boston Marathon, where he ran 2:07:39

Deressa Chimsa at 2011 Boston Marathon, where he ran 2:07:39

TORONTO. October 1st. The $35,000 course record bonus has proven to be a popular discussion point amongst Ethiopian runners these days as Deressa Chimsa Edae is the latest of his countrymen to enter the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

The IAAF Silver Label race is set for Sunday October 20th and features no less than three athletes who have run faster than Kenneth Mungara’s 2010 course record of 2:07:58 with another handful within a minute of that standard. The depth is something that has race organisers delighted as the race quickly approaches.

Chimsa ran a spectacular 2:05:42 at the 2012 Dubai Marathon and has run under 2:08 five times in the past three years.

Two weeks ago his training partner, Seboka Tola, was forced to withdraw from the Toronto race due to an injury and Chimsa was only too pleased to step into the spot. The pair train with the Demadonna Athletics group under coaches Gebeyehu Berihun and Gemedu Dedefo.

“I was looking for a marathon in late October or the beginning of November but my manager and coaches are always working to do the best for me,” says the 26 year old Chimsa. And, just in case people were wondering about his preparation he reports he is ready to chase the Toronto course record.

Deressa en route to a second-place finish in Frnkfurt last Fall in 2:06:55

Deressa en route to a second-place finish in Frankfurt last Fall in 2:06:55

“My training is going very well. I can’t compare it with other races because they are different seasons but I prepared well for this season. I dropped out of the 2013 London Marathon because of sickness.”

“Of course I know the Toronto course record. I’ll follow the pacemakers.”

Like many of his country’s finest runners his upbringing under rather difficult conditions sowed the seeds for an impressive running career. Moving to Addis, to join the Demadonna Athletics training group, has provided the practical impetus for success.

“I grew up in the village of Kore Edo near the city of Holeta Genet,” he says. “My parents they are farmers and I have two sisters and three brothers.”

Chimsa has performed well on the world scene since taking up marathon running in 2008. His debut race was in Dubai that year and he finished in 2:10:06. A year later he ran two minutes faster on that same course with a new personal best of 2:07:54. A study of his extensive curriculum vitae reveals consistency like very few have achieved.

Deressa on the podium to receive his silver medal at the IAAF  World Half Marathon Championships, 2012

Deressa on the podium to receive his silver medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, 2012

In addition to running fast marathons Chimsa represented his country well at the 2012 IAAF Half Marathon Championships in Karvana, Bulgaria claiming the silver medal in a time of 60:51. Then in October of last year he finished 2nd in the Frankfurt Marathon in 2:06:55.

Records tend to fall when all the conditions are right. The Toronto course is fast, the field is strong, and several pacemakers have been employed to help attack Mungara’s record. As so often is the case it will come down to weather conditions. Chimsa can be expected at the front of the pack chasing that record.



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Georgies Best – Running For My Dad

I am the son of George McGrath, a soon to be 57 year old seemingly healthy individual, up until 7 weeks ago. George was screened for colon cancer and when it came back positive, our family was stunned. He went through all of the necessary post-screening tests to find out that he had Stage 3A colon cancer (as a family and support group, we choose not to capitalize the ‘c’ so as not to give it power).

I live in Vancouver and have now for almost 2 years. Being away from my dad, mom and immediate family is almost impossible during a time like this. I wanted to positively impact my dad’s now turned upside down daily routine by showing him that even when he may be fatigued, upset, or fed up of his treatment, people are thinking of him.

McGrath Family

The McGrath Family

I decided to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (half-marathon) and raise funds for the Colorectal cancer Association of Canada. At first, it was only me and I had modest goals until I recruited 4 greats friends to make a team of 5. All of my friends have strong personal ties to my father so it was natural for them to want to join and help out. We have set the lofty goal of raising $10,000 before October 20th.

We created a facebook page to document our progress and keep people informed of our journey. We launched ‘Georgies Best’ on Saturday July 20th at 10:00pm PST and by Wednesday July 24th, we had raised $2355. Our facebook page has close to 200 likes and the donations continue to pour in. Please visit our page here.

Since July we have recruited 5 new runners to our team and the support continues to grow. We now have runners from Whitby, Toronto, and St. Catharines who all share a strong bond to my father and want to run because of who he is as a person.

We as a team want to keep George’s spirit up but I, as his son, want to run and help the CCAC because if it wasn’t for the advocacy and awareness surrounding Colon cancer, my dad would have continued to live life not knowing what was inside him. I know the type of man he is and although he wouldn’t let something like this knock him down, if it weren’t for the screening and awareness campaigns, there’s no telling how far along the cancer could have gone. My dad is currently on day three of chemo and radiation and has 22 days left until health.

None of us on this team are runners so we do not have running time goals. In a perfect world we would all wait for each other and cross the finish line together because I know my dad would love to see that.

To follow our fundraising progress, visit our Charity Challenge page .

-Christopher McGrath






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Netsanet Abeyo Returning to Toronto Waterfront Fit and Fast by Paul Gains

ZAKM0248An injury forced Netsanet Achero Abeyo to withdraw from last year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a race where she had set her sights on beating the course record of 2:22:43. One year on, and she is more determined than ever to make her mark on this IAAF Silver Label Race.

The 25 year old Ethiopian knows the Toronto course well, since she was partly responsible for Koren Yal’s record breaking performance in 2011. Indeed, she ran with Yal and Mare Dibaba through ridiculously quick splits at 10 kilometres (32:41) and 21km (68:39) during that race but faded in the latter stages to finish a disappointing 5th in 2:32:51.

The experience was disappointing but she reckons she has learned from the mistake of being too aggressive early on and now has a better understanding of pacing. Abeyo went on win the 2012 Mumbai Marathon in a course record of 2:26:12. In that race, held in steamy hot and humid conditions, she led from 10 kilometres on, beating the second place finisher by more than four minutes.

That performance was an indication of her considerable ability and three months later she would lower her personal best to a world class 2:24:12 at the 2012 Hamburg marathon.

An ankle injury earlier this year slowed her progress, somewhat, but in May she finished 4th in the Ottawa Marathon in 2:27:44. Perhaps unwilling to jeopardise her luck she is rather coy about her current fitness.

“I don’t want to compare but I’m always in training to become better than before,” she allows. “I hope I can win the Toronto race.”

Represented by the Italian sports agency, Demadonna Athletics, she trains with Koren Yal among others, under the watchful eyes of coaches Gemedu Dedefo and Gebeyehu Berihun. The group has been running upwards of 200 kilometres a week, most of it at elevations of 2,400 metres above sea level.

Abeyo grew up in a village called Woba, which is in the southern part of Ethiopia, and moved to Addis in 2003 to become a runner.

CY_STWM11_000244_1_1At first she tried her hand at the 3,000m steeplechase and enjoyed international success. She ran a personal best of 9:28.03 and represented Ethiopia at the 2006 All African championships missing the medal podium by one place. A year later she ran in the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan though she failed to make the final. But wisely her coaches saw her potential to run marathons and she dropped the track for good.

He marathon debut came at the 2011 Rome Marathon where she ran 2:28:28. By way of comparison, this is a little quicker than Sylvia Ruegger’s long standing Canadian record of 2:28:36. Not a bad debut.

Victory in Toronto would be worth $20,000 with a bonus of $35,000 is on offer for a new course record. That’s the immediate goal but Abeyo has tremendous ambition.

“My ultimate goal is to get an Olympic gold medal for my country,” she says. “I would then like to give my all time to God and the church after I finish my running career.”

Among others, Abeyo will face her Ethiopian compatriot, Dinknesh Mekash (2:25:09 this year in Paris), Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech (winner of the 2013 Vienna Marathon in 2:24:34) as well as Canadian internationals Krista DuChene and Natasha Wodak during this year’s Toronto race.





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