Running Relationships

TORONTO March 5th 2014. Digital Champion Jennifer Wilson started running in the summer of 2010, completing her first race ever at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. After crossing that accomplishment off her list, she resolved to never run again. Luckily, that one didn’t stick, and with the help of a good running buddy, she got off the treadmill and into the streets and never looked back, finishing a variety of races including her first marathon last year. Jennifer is thrilled to be a TYS10K Digital Champion this year as she also trains for what will hopefully be a sub-four 42.2K and her first triathlon. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter @jenwilsonTO and on her blog.

Running Relationships. By Jennifer Wilson

When I first laced up my trainers, it was to TYS10K Jennifer Wilson Blogrun away. I was going through a divorce and wanted something to get me out of the house and make me feel accomplished. What started as a few trips around the block led to my first half-marathon three-and-a-half months later at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Then, I swore I’d never run again. It took too much time, and was boring. I’d crossed it off my bucket list and that was that!

Months passed and my runners gathered dust until a friend asked me to join her for a run. I figured a quick 10K would do no harm, so I headed out. That fun run quickly turned into my second half-marathon, and one of my closest friendships. Those weekly runs became a chance to vent and brag about ups and downs in careers, romances and life in general. Three years later, we’ve both survived some major ups and downs, and we’re still putting work out dates in our calendars.

A little over a year and a half ago, I expanded my running buddy roster. After a stress fracture meant I was sidelined, just weeks before what was supposed to be my first marathon, I was inconsolable. My (fairly new at the time) boyfriend, grasping at ways to make me feel better, offered to train for my next race with me. After cautioning him that it was the 30K, notoriously hilly Around the Bay, my late-sleeping, non-running boyfriend started learning the joys of slippery sidewalks and long, slow runs. A year after our first run, we crossed the finish line of the Niagara Marathon together. Running as a couple provides a great way to de-stress together and discuss our days, plus an awesome way to explore our city and the places we travel.

Running keeps me healthy, for sure, and I love the thrill and camaraderie of race culture. But it’s also become an essential part of some of the most important relationships in my life. How’s that for motivation for getting out for a training run with a friend?

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Train. Race. Friendship.

TORONTO March 2nd 2014. After watching runners in 2012 run passed her house during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Digital Champion Alyssa Cheung told herself “I am going to run a marathon one day”. Little did she know that “one day” was going to be the following year. In 2013 Alyssa ran her first 10k at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K, her first half in May and finally a full marathon during STWM. It was one of the toughest yet most rewarding experiences in her life. With her first year as a “runner” in the books, Alyssa is training hard to break personal records and ultimately qualify for Boston in the coming year. Connect with Alyssa on Twitter @The_Real_Alyssa and on her blog.

Train. Race. Friendship. By Alyssa CheungTYS10K Alyssa Andrew

There is no doubt that the running community is special. We can all agree we are an odd breed of people, many of us choosing to run in negative 30 degree temperatures and call it FUN!

Through running I have made countless friendships with many inspiring and amazing athletes. Whenever I try explaining the running community to “non-running” friends (which there aren’t many of these days), they just don’t get it. So what do I do? I recruit those friends to become “running friends” as well!

One of my really close friends Andrew always told me, “one day I will run a race with you.” Well that “one day” is finally going to happen April 13th at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K!

Just 25 minutes into talking to my friend Andrew the other day, we had him signed up for his VERY FIRST RACE! The Toronto Yonge St. 10K is now the race I am most excited for this year.  Having the chance to share this race experience with a close friend means it is going to be very special.

Andrew is one of the nicest and most inspiring people I know and I am very grateful to call him my friend. When he sets out to do something, his determination and drive get him there, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will succeed on April 13th at TYS10K.

We have been keeping each other motivated thus far with training, updating each other on new milestones and setbacks. While this is Andrew’s first race, I know that it definitely won’t be his last. We all know what it’s like to be a new runner, so if you have any advice or encouragement for Andrew, please sent it his way via Twitter @cloudlocke. Tell him @The_Real_Alyssa sent you!

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Springtime Signals Launch of Canada Running Series, by Paul Gains

230_TF_HT12_0640TORONTO. February 26th.  It’s a sure sign Spring is on the way as the 2014 Canada Running Series launches with the Modo Spring Run Off 8km race in Vancouver’s picturesque Stanley Park, March 23rd.

The eight race national series offers a positive race experience for runners of all levels from beginners and recreational runners to the competitive and international class who race for prize money. And with Modo, the world’s first English speaking car share, aligning themselves with the Series the season is off to a tremendous start.

A year ago Alberta’s Kip Kangogo, a landed immigrant from Kenya, won the Vancouver Spring Run Off. It was an ominous beginning as he eventually collected enough points to win the overall CRS men’s title. Kangogo, who is a resident of Lethbridge, Alberta has declared his intention to defend his title this year.

“The CRS are the best races that we will ever have in this great nation. All the years I have been running they have always been supportive,” he declares, “Last year I wanted to be the CRS overall champion and that’s what I promised myself from the beginning of the season. When my daughter was born in June I said ‘I want to win Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon for my daughter Emma.’ Then after that race I said to myself ‘I have got to win the overall.’

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

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

“I was very close to (Olympian) Eric Gillis in points. I knew I was not going to run Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon because I was going to run the Victoria Marathon so I said the only way I could beat Eric is to go to the Oasis Zoo Run 10K in Toronto. After beating him at Toronto Yonge Street I wanted another race that would give me an advantage over him. So I went to the Zoo run going head to head against Eric Gillis.”

Lanni Marchant, who has been at a high altitude training camp in Kenya throughout the winter, won the overall female title in 2013. Both she and Kangogo earned $2,500 bonuses in addition to the prize money from the individual CRS races.

It was her third place finish at the Series’ flagship event, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon that provided the year’s biggest highlight.

The 29 year old from London, Ontario finally eclipsed the Canadian Women’s Marathon record. Finishing in a time of 2:28:00, she claimed a $28,000 bonus to go with her $8,000 third place prize. Silvia Ruegger’s record had stood since 1985. The Waterfront event attracts runners from all over the world and for the past seven years has earned an IAAF Silver Label. That’s quite a distinction, but as Race Director Alan Brookes emphasizes the Series is for everybody.

Krista DuChene and Lanni Marchant after both breaking Silvia ruegger's 28 year old National Record at STWM 2013.

Krista DuChene and Lanni Marchant after both breaking Silvia ruegger’s 28 year old National Record at STWM 2013.

“The primary purpose is to promote the sport and show that the sport is still there and relevant and inviting to a wide range of people,” he declares. “When we all get our kit on you can’t tell the president of a bank from the unemployed laborer. It’s very inclusive, which is one of the things I like about the sport of running.”

Several Canadian international runners including Olympians Dylan Wykes, Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis as well as 2013 World Championship team members Rob Watson, Kate Van Buskirk and Krista DuChene have raced alongside Marchant at CRS races. Moreover, they have helped promote the events. All have seen their careers flourish because of the availability of these races.

This year’s STWM is scheduled for October 19th. But the full Series includes [see 2014 Calendar] the Modo Spring Run Off Vancouver 8k (March 23), Harry’s Spring Run Off Toronto 8km (April 5), Toronto Yonge St 10km (April 13), Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal (April 27), Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and 5k (June 22), Vancouver Eastside 10k (September 13), Oasis Zoo Run 10k Toronto (September 20).

Brookes likes to point out that each of the races is run along accurately measured and unique courses. In addition to Stanley Park, Toronto’s High Park and Parc Jean Drapeau in Montreal are the settings for CRS races. The Oasis Zoo 10K also serves as the Canadian 10km Championship and traverses the grounds of the Toronto Zoo. Then there is the Toronto Yonge Street 10km where runners can take delight in running down one of Canada’s most famous streets.

Credit for the Series’ success must go to the professional team of event managers working alongside Brookes.

Harry's Spring Run Off 8K Start, 2012“I think we have a fantastic team with sixteen full time people,” Brookes reveals. “They are committed to a healthy lifestyle and they are event professionals. We have people who have worked at the Vancouver Olympics and at the Canada Games. Over the last decade our sport has become professionalized and we believe strongly, passionately that the organization has to be professional. Organization and innovation are our key principles.

FG_TYS10K13_1349“Everyone from the Olympian to the first-time person at the back of the pack, we want them to have a great racing experience so they will come to love the sport as much as we do. We want to see them coming back to all of our events.”

All CRS runs now have finishers’ medals for everyone in the event, to add to the positive, celebratory atmosphere. Brookes points out that there has been a huge growth in running and in the number of road races across the country. He is committed to raising the standards everywhere.

“There are some very good new events but the quality is very uneven and that is one of the biggest challenges with race directors.” he continues.

“We have the inaugural ‘Race Directors Summit’ hosted by Athletics Canada at STWM this fall to try and work together collaboratively to make sure race organization is consistent and top quality so everyone gets a great experience.”

Members of the team will be working at the 2014 Chicago, Pittsburgh and Houston marathons in an effort find other ways to deliver a better product.

TYS10K14 Medal.web.display-1The team will introduce the latest technology in tracking volunteers and suppliers at Toronto Yonge Street 10k and STWM 2014. “Bar codes and GPS will allow the race Unified Command Centre to track all people, products and vehicles in real time, so that we can literally deliver a better race to all participants,” says Brookes. “We will continue to invest in our people, training, and innovative systems.” Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront will also be launching a state-of-the-art hotel booking system in early March, which allows for easy online bookings at a wide range of more than 20 hotels, and at the best prices available. These are both technologies developed by the Chicago Marathon.

With less than a month to the Modo Spring Run Off 8k the excitement is building and places in all the CRS races starting to fill up. No doubt 2014 will be an even bigger success than in the past.

For information on Canada running Series 2014 events, and ENTRY see

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Rest and Running: A Fine Balance

TORONTO. February 24th 2014. Tina Benigno is delighted to be back as a Digital Champion with Canada Running Series! In October 2013, she ran her third full marathon as a Digital Champion for STWM. Tina started running in 2009 for cognitive and emotional well-being, as well as physical health. As her ability improved, she gained more confidence. Tina’s best race time is from the Toronto Yonge Street 10K last year. She’s aiming to get a personal best at this year’s TYS10K! Follow Tina as she reflects on her training and life events on Twitter and on her blog.

Rest and Running: A Fine Balance. By Tina Benigno.

Rest is easier for some of us!

Rest is easy for some of us!

Listen to your body. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I sure thought so, and still do, so it’s humbling to realize that maybe I’m not as good at listening to my body as I  thought. I have been a runner for a few years now and it was only when I would get injured and sick while training for events that I realized just how critical it is to pay attention to my own individual abilities and circumstances. Yes, I rested, but perhaps not as much as I needed to. With the incredible and supportive running community on social media, it is easy to get lost in the whirlwind of other people’s training updates and ‘personal best’ announcements.

It’s no secret that rest and recovery during race training are important. “Essential REST: How to Recover Right” is actually the feature headline on the current issue of the running magazine keeping me company on my desk. These things can make you a better athlete! It seems like everywhere I turn, there are articles about how sleep, active recovery and nutrition can improve athletic performance. Some of you might be thinking, “yes please, I NEED MORE REST,” while others might be pleading “No! I rest enough. Let’s move!”

Resting, especially when sick or injured is crucial, even though it can definitely be frustrating. If you are not sick or injured, then of course the duration and type of rest depends on many things including what you’re fitness goals are (i.e. what type of event you’re training for, if you’re training for one), health conditions, and physical ability. This is when a coach or trainer can come in handy!

It is crucial to take days off during your week to let your body recover, reaping the benefits of your hard work. Ever since taking a personal training course a few years ago, I have been preaching to those people closest to me that being in bed by 10:30pm is crucial to ensuring you are asleep during the two peak periods of growth hormone release ( 11P.M. and 1A.M.), even when I myself can’t always be asleep by that time.

These days, I take rest very seriously. In fact, I am writing this blog post in my pyjamas! I put in the training that I can, but I also sit back and let my body do the rest. I have learned that as tuned in as I am, truly listening to my body is something that I am still learning to do well. Sometimes I just don’t like what my body is saying, but ignoring it isn’t usually going to help and could even make it worse.

Rest is not waste. Without breaks, I break down. I have learned, much to my dismay, that I have a somewhat low threshold for stress (both emotional and physical), so am working within these means. No matter how high or low your threshold, you have one. Knowing this is liberating! Embrace the rest!

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you rested and ready to go at the start line of the Toronto Yonge Street 10K in April!

How do you make time for rest during your training schedule? Do you find it hard to slow down?

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Running: The Passion That Unites Us All

TORONTO. February 19th 2014. Digital Champion Linda Nguyen is an avid runner and obstacle course racer. Her 2013 fitness achievements include 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. She hopes to PB the Toronto Yonge Street 10k race, achieve two Trifecta medals and run her first full marathon in October at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon! Connect with Linda on Twitter @lindamnguyen and on her blog.

Running: The Passion That Unites Us All. By Linda Nguyen.TYS10K Linda Blog

If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, which I’m assuming you are, you would have heard the tagline “The Passion That Unites Us All” many times before. I think it is a wonderful slogan and it can be applied to many areas of our life.

There are many things in life which I am passionate about, but running is at the top of the list. When we have a passion for something, it becomes our hobby, our past-time, and an escape from our everyday routine. It can be something we enjoy doing by ourselves, a time to reflect on personal growth; or it can be something we share with others who have the same passion as us. If I am not running a race on the weekends, then I am training for one. If I am not participating in a race as a runner or volunteer, than I am there supporting my friends.

An important part of growing up is finding out what your passions are. Completing a half-marathon and a full marathon have always been on my bucket list. When I signed up with the North York Running Room half-marathon clinic in 2012, I was not registered for any races yet. I wanted to see how my long distance training would go before I committed myself to 21.1K. I was a short distance track runner during school so I knew the conversion would require a lot of training. It was at the training clinic that I began to like long distance running. I was blessed with amazing and dedicated coaches who shared their passion of teaching and running with us. I met all different levels of runners from newbies like myself to veterans to runners who were getting back into running.

I learned a lot throughout the clinic. I learned that I was unprepared and the only thing I had right was my running shoes. I was able to try different fuels and gels during our Sunday long runs and even got to test run some new kicks. Needless to say, towards the end of the clinic, I had given in to the sport of running and all the cool (and at times pricey) accessories that went along with it to ‘enhance’ my experience. I had discovered a new passion and created new friendships while bonding over GPS watches, waterbelts the latest races we had registered for.

TYS10K Linda Blog 2

It wasn’t until one year later when I was asked to be a Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k that I united virtually with other runners that I had never met before. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I was getting myself into. I’m thankful to Canada Running Series for the opportunity and for my increased passion for running. By race day, I had gained new friends; some who I still see often, some who I only see at races and some whom I have never gotten the opportunity to meet in person but still consider my ‘online friends’. I have learned so much within the past year and am fortunate and thankful to be a part of a wonderful, motivating and inspiring community of runners.

The passion and unity doesn’t stop within’ our immediate community. Through the power of social media, I have connected with a global community of runners and athletes . It has allowed me to learn from other athletes about training and nutrition; to learn about new and inaugural races both locally and internationally; to create bonds and friendships with people in different time zones and various parts of the world; and most importantantly, it has provided me with the inspiration, dedication and determination to be a better,
faster and stronger runner, athlete and person.

Whether you’re a passionate runner or you’re a new runner looking for some training tips or inspiration to start running, join a run group and join the conversation online. There are lots of runners, including the rest of our #TYS10K Digital Champions team that are more than willing to share our experiences and training with you. Just have a look around and you’ll see that the passion and inspiration is everywhere.

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Top 10 Reasons Twitter Makes You A Better Runner

TORONTO. February 13th 2014. Digital Champion Jean-Paul Bedard starting running a little over 16 years ago when he entered a treatment program for an addiction to drugs and alcohol. He trained for his first marathon, The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, with two other men from the treatment program. All three men qualified for Boston in their first marathon. Since that time, Jean-Paul has gone on to complete over 75 marathons and quite a few ultra marathons. Jean-Paul is dedicating his 2014 race schedule to raising funds for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and he can’t wait to race down Yonge St at the Toronto Yonge Street 10K in the spring and across Toronto in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in the fall. Connect with Jean-Paul on Twitter @runjprun and on his blog.

Top 10 Reasons Twitter Makes You A Better Runner. By Jean-Paul Bedard.TYS10K Jean Paul Bedard

I feel I need to disclose something to you from the outset—I have what some may call an “addiction”, but what I like to refer to as a love affair with social media.  Let’s face it, social media has a bad rap as a hotbed of vacant chatter and a vehicle of shameless self-promotion.  When it comes right down to it, what we’re all really looking for, whether you’re active on Twitter and Facebook or not, is a sense of connection.

Noted education specialist, Ted Robinson refers to a tribe as “a group of people who share the same interests and passions.  The tribe may be large or small.  It can exist virtually, through social media, or in person.  Tribes may be highly diverse.  They may cross generations and cultures.  They may cross time and include people who are no longer living but whose lives and legacy continue to inspire those who are.”  I would also point out that a tribe does not resemble the cliques that are so prevalent in schools around the globe.  Being a member of a clique is all about trying to fit in and gaining the admiration of the other clique members.  In contrast, your tribe love and support you for who you are, and there is an absence of a power dynamic in the group.

So, without further ado…. Here are my “Top 10 Reasons Twitter Makes You A Better Runner”

1.  No Man is an island.
Running can be such a lonely sport, and even the most seasoned runner will attest to how difficult it can be to hit the trail, track, road, or gym for a run.  Connecting with the huge online running community reminds us that even when we are out there alone pounding out the miles, we are part of a huge running family.

2.  Chafed nipples and black toenails
When it comes right down to it, we runners can be insufferable to live with—especially when we are tapering!  Staying in touch with your running mates on social media allows you to spend hours waxing on about chafed nipples, black toenails, and even the perennial question:  “Should I wear a singlet or short sleeve shirt in tomorrow’s race?”

3.  We all need a soccer mom or a hockey dad.
Training for a race is hard work, so it’s inevitable that our motivation might need a little boost.  Receiving a tweet from a runner friend or a Facebook message from another runner across the globe is just like having you’re mom or dad cheering you on.

4.  All you need to know is right here. 
Twitter can be an invaluable source of information for any runner.  I love checking in with my tribe to find out what the weather was like on someone’s run, what new products are out there, and when, or even if, I should sign up for a given race.

5.  We all need a little humble pie!
So…I’ve just got in the door from a great tempo run and I decide to post my run online for all my mates to stare in awe.  It doesn’t take long to read that other people have run farther, faster, and in worse conditions than I did.  Yep…Twitter keeps my “ego in check”.

6.  There’s a little inspiration in that perspiration.

There a days when I simply don’t want to get out there and run, but a quick scan of my Twitter feed always sorts that out.  Every day I’m amazed by the challenges we all face, and the resiliency that so many runners bring to our sport.  Whether you’re training for your first 5k, or your first 100-miler, you’re lacing up your shoes and proving to the rest of us that no matter what obstacle we face in life, things always seem better after a run.

7.  Travel is not so lonely with tweet-ups!

Over the past four years, I’ve amassed quite a large group of running friends from around the world thanks to social media.  I have a solid core group that I check in with most days while I’m eating my breakfast after my run.  Social media has enlarged my world and connected me with some of the most incredible people on the planet.  One of the joys of traveling to distant races throughout the year is the opportunity to “tweet-up” with some of my friends on Twitter when I visit their city for a race.  Nothing calms pre-race jitters better than sitting down for a coffee or a meal with a running friend I met on social media.  As an added bonus, having a local contact makes race logistics so much easier, as you gain an insider’s perspective to the best hotels, restaurants, and running routes in the new city.

8.  Dig your head out of the sand…. You’ll be fine!
Nothing feels worse than training months for a big race, only to see it all go “pear shaped” on the day of the race.  No matter how well we train, weather, stomach issues, and sometimes a nagging injury can derail your expectations—and maybe even result in the dreaded DNF.  I’ve been there on many occasions, and my running friends on social media are always there to hold my head up, and remind me that one bad race is not the end of the world.

9.  Lighten up—take a selfie!
We runners can have a tendency to take our running passion a little too seriously at times.  I need a daily reminder about what brought me into running in the first place—to challenge myself physically and to help bring balance to the rest of my life.  One of my favourite things to do is to look through my Facebook and Twitter feed for the “selfies” and awesome run pics that many of my friends post.  I’ve had the opportunity to run through some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, but I need to be reminded to slow down, look around, and take it all in!

10.  Our running tribe has a kick-ass vibe!  
You can’t choose your birth family, but you CAN build your running tribe!  Let’s work together to build a super, supportive running tribe that will make us not only better runners but better people.  You can start by retweeting this post and tagging me, @runjprun and three of your running mates.  It’s an awesome way to meet amazing people who share our love of the sport.

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Running with a Tribe

Official TYS10K Training Clinics begin at 25+ Running Room locations across Ontario THIS WEEK! To find your local clinic, visit our Training Clinics page.

TORONTO. February 9th 2014. Digital Champion Heather Gardner believes group running is a great way to promote healthy, active living and build community.  As the owner of Tribe Fitness, a Toronto fitness community with the goal of sweating for social good, Heather believes the true benefits of fitness go beyond doing a body good, to the enhanced state of mind which allows us to open our hearts, connect, and find the beauty in the everyday. Connect with Heather on Twitter @RunSoulCycle and on her blog.

Running with a Tribe 3Running with a Tribe. By Heather Gardner.

While running is often thought of as a solo sport, there are many perks to running with others. Whether you’re training for a race, or just wanting to move, here are 5 reasons why you need a tribe!

1. Motivation

Get energized and inspired! Running with a tribe means you have your own cheering squad to get rowdy on the highs and supportive on the lows. Whether it’s out during a long effort, sprints around a track, or on race day, having your own tribe gives you that extra cheer you need to run your best.

2. Safety

Clearly it is much safer to run in a group vs. on your own. If someone in the tribe gets injured or sick, there is someone to help or get help.  When running in a group you may be less likely to be the target of an attacker as there is  power and strength in numbers. Can’t run with others? Then be sure to have yourself a RoadID. Looking for other safety tips when running in the dark, check out my post for lululemon here!

Running With a Tribe

3. Improved Performance

When you run with others you can’t help but stick to their pace, meanwhile it turns out they were pushing to keep at yours. When you’re sticking with a tribe that pushes you to run better, improvement is the only option.

4.  Experience

As a new runner (or even someone who’s been around the block), running in a tribe is a great opportunity to learn from those who are more experienced or have different experiences. Most runners are more than happy to share tips on fueling, recovery, and gear, your challenge will be to take everything with a grain of salt and figure out what works for you.

5. Friends Who Will Enjoy Your Endless Running Rants

Running in a tribe is a great way to get to know people with similar hobbies and interests. Not only will you already have something in common, after you crush that personal best, or when you want to talk endlessly about your new favourite running shoes or gel, this tribe will actually want to hear it!

If you’re in the Toronto area and looking to run with a tribe. Join my tribe, Tribe Fitness. We host 2 free runs a week, Wednesday at 7pm (5km) and Saturday at 9am (long effort) and we are training for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. Details are here! #JoinTheTribe

What benefits have you found from running in a group? Share them in the comments below!

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Becoming A Mother Runner

TORONTO. February 5th 2014. Digital Champion Stephanie Xamin is an avid runner who started running to get back into shape after university. She has run what she calls the full circuit in the following distances: 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon, 30k, and a full marathon. Last year the Toronto Yonge Street 10K was her first race running pregnant and this year she looks forward to running post pregnancy to keep sane and to get back into shape. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @stephanieruns.

Becoming A Mother Runner. By Stephanie Xamin.  STEPH TYS10K

I remember last year at this time I was asked to be a Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. As I walked to the Canada Running Series office to pick up my official In-Training shirt, I was filled with excitement, but I also had butterflies in my stomach because I was pretty sure I was pregnant.

I was extremely excited to become a mom, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to impact my life. I have always been a very active person, running and going to fitness classes. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up my level of activity while being pregnant. When I crossed the 2013 Toronto Yonge Street 10K finish line I was beaming with pride I had completed my first race while pregnant.

Unfortunately I wasn’t one of those pregnant ladies that could blissfully keep running as my stomach expanded. I had to switch to walking, and yoga. After I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Sophie, I had to wait to get medical clearance to work out again. That was a long six weeks with minimal activity.

STEPH TYS10K 2I’m not sure why, but in my head I pictured that my first post pregnancy run would be a blissful, perfect, fast-paced 5k. In my mind I was still my old, pre-pregnancy, fit runner self. That first run was a real wake up call. It was like starting from the beginning. I am slowly building up my mileage so I don’t injure myself. My body is different now; my joints are looser. Running feels different.

My training for the Yonge Street 10k this year is different from my training last year. My body is different and I need to tune in and listen to it. As a breastfeeding mother I have to plan my runs around my husband’s and my daughter’s schedules. I am no longer a carefree get up and go runner. I have to make every run count. But I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. Waiting for me at the finish line this year will be my adorable daughter. I hope she’ll learn to clap by race day.

When I’m out on the road for a run I’ll be humming Drake’s lyrics ‘started from the bottom now we’re here’ because I’m starting fresh again with running, but I know I’ll be back to my marathon self soon, one run at a time.

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The Music That Keeps Me Moving

TORONTO February 2nd 2014. Lisa Davidson is thrilled to be a part of the Digital Champions team for the third time (TYS10K 2013 and STWM 2013). As the mother of a very active two-year-old boy, Lisa has turned a portion of playtime into training time by pushing her son in a jogging stroller. Lisa believes in the importance of both mental and physical well-being for leading a happy and healthy life, and strives to inspire others to be active. Connect with Lisa on Twitter @TorontoFitMom.

The Music That Keeps Me Moving. By Lisa Davidson.

lisa musicWhen I run, I have to listen to music. I will spend hours searching for the perfect songs to add to my playlist, and if after a run I feel like a song didn’t fit, I will delete it instantly and begin the search again. No one is safe – even Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” got the axe after a 10K race. I have a wide variety of music that I like to listen to, from Foo Fighters to Kanye West. Below are a few songs that carry me through both my training runs and races.

When I start off my runs, I like something upbeat and pop-y like Pitbull’s “Timber.” It features Ke$ha and gets me warmed up and feeling good! Next up is some Avicii. “I Could Be The One,” “Wake Me Up,” or “Hey Brother” all get me nice and limber and help me settle into a comfortable breathing pattern.

About halfway into my run I’m starting to pump my legs faster and harder and the song that keeps me going is MKTO’s “Thank You.” This song reminds me of a great trip I took last year and so it brings back many happy memories. At this point I am smiling and having fun and feel like Lanni Marchant racing to her Canadian Women’s Marathon record victory at STWM. In reality, this is what I look like – sweaty and red in the face with flared nostrils.

LISA TYS10KWhen I want to pick it up and start to fly, I turn to some old-fashioned musical theatre. My go-to song? “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. When this song comes on I am speeding and my legs are flying, “I’m through accepting limits ’cause someone says they’re so, some things I cannot change, but ’till I try, I’ll never know.”  This song reminds me that a lot of people look at me and don’t think I look like a “typical runner,” but I keep going, envision my success and become stronger.

As I near the end of my run, I need some angry music to get me through. This is where I put on some Kayne West. I need some serious inspiration to get my game face on.

Putting together the perfect playlist is something I do every week. My music inspires me to run faster, further and stronger.

Do you listen to music while training and racing? What songs keep you going?


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Dare Foods and Canada Running Series Team Up

DareLogo-offWebsiteKITCHENER, ON. January 28. With over 120 years of history as a Canadian, family-owned bakery and candy company, Dare knows family makes it better. Now Dare has joined the Canada  Running Series family, in an effort to put delicious, wholesome snacks in the hands and mouths of Canadian runners.

Over the course of the 2014 series, Dare will deliver more than 300,000 snacks in finishing chutes and race kits. All Dare snacks carry the ‘Made Better’ promise – a simple pledge to use more of what Canadians want, and less of what they don’t, in great-tasting bakery and confectionary treats like Boulangerie Grissol Sweet Thins, Breton Popped! Supergrains, Breton Cheese Bites and RealFruit Mango & Yogourt.

‘We are excited to be partnering with CRS to offer runners variety and great taste, as well as the quality ingredients they are looking for’ says Kelly McInenly, Senior Director of Marketing for Dare Foods. ‘We receive a great response anytime we post fitness information for our Facebook communities, so we know there is a great fit between our brands and CRS."

“We are delighted to welcome Dare, and their great products, to CRS 2014” said Race Director Alan Brookes “They bring outstanding Canadian quality to the races, quality that will enhance the running experience of our participants. And I know this means we will see more of Canadian Marathon Champion Rob Watson, who’s favorite post-race reward is cookies and beer!”

About Dare Foods Limited

Dare is a Canadian, family-owned company that has provided Canadians with the quality products that make every snacking, entertaining and lunchbox occasion better since 1892. The company was a pioneer in offering peanut-free food solutions, and continues to develop delicious new cookies, candies, fruit snacks, crackers and fine breads to satisfy the changing needs of Canadian families. Key brands include Breton, Bear Paws, RealFruit, Whippet, Simple Pleasures, Boulangerie Grissol and Wagon Wheels. With six plants and more than 1,100 employees in North America, Dare is headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario.

For more information about the company and its brands, please visit .

 About Canada Running Series

Canada Running Series [CRS] is the nation’s premier running circuit with 8 events: 4 in Toronto, 3 in Vancouver and 1 in Montreal. It annually attracts some 60,000 participants and raises more than $5 million for some 250 mostly-local charities. The Series includes the IAAF Silver Label Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and the Athletics Canada National 10K and Half Marathon Championships. Since 1999, CRS has gained international recognition for innovation and organization. It is strongly committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels from Canadian Olympians and International stars, to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners; and to making sport an integral part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.

For further information on the events, entries and fundraising, see


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