Scotiabank Charity Challenge » Digital Champions

2016 Digital Champions

For the past three years, the Digital Champions Program has brought together dedicated, connected, and inspiring runners to act as ambassadors of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

This year, we are adding an exciting new component to this program with the STWM Scotiabank Charity Challenge! Our 2016 Digital Champions team represents runners who are making every step count as they run and fundraise for one of our 186 official charities! Get to know our team and connect with them throughout your training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon!


Amanda Bond

Amanda Bond

I'm Mandy and I'm a new mom. My son was born in November of 2015. After some significant time off of running due to a miscarriage, my subsequent pregnancy, and the birth of my son, I'm spending this year building back strength and endurance so that I can complete my fourth marathon. I'm also navigating my shifting priorities and how that has affected my relationship with running. As someone with a history of anxiety, depression, and anorexia, as well as active postpartum depression, I run mostly for mental health reasons. Though these days you can generally find me pushing a jogging stroller around the city, trail running is one of my true loves and I hope to run my second ultramarathon next spring.

Charity: Sheena's Place
Connect with Amanda on Twitter and Instagram

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Jaime Brown

Jaime Brown

Hi! I fell in love with running after sweeping the competition in the 100m and 200m sprints at my first track and field day. I was 5 years old and up to that point my favourite thing to do was dress-up as a superhero and pretend I had super powers. Not much has changed, but as I’ve grown up, I’ve climbed up from the sprints to marathons. As a lifetime asthmatic, running a marathon was a feat I never thought I could accomplish, but, with a little persistence and a LOT of perspiration, I completed my very first marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2008! That accomplishment changed my life. I thought “Hey, if I can run a marathon, I can do anything.” So with evermore persistence and perspiration, I completed my PhD in Psychology a couple of years later! Now, I live, work, and run in the vibrant community of Guelph, ON. When I’m not training with the Guelph Victors (my local run club), I’m singing lead and playing sax in funk and blues bands. At STWM 2016, I’ll be running the marathon as Ms. Marvel alongside Toronto’s Justice League Runners in support of Oolagen Youth Mental Health. Combining my passions for running, mental health, and playing dress-up is a dream come true! Watch for me and my lightning bolt on October 16! Looking forward to training and racing with you at STWM 2016!

Charity: Oolagen Youth Mental Health
Connect with Jaime on Twitter and Instagram

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David Charchalis

David Charchalis

Hi everyone. I'm David and you may recognize me as Captain Epilepsy from STWM 2015. I decided to create an outrageous costume to bring epilepsy awareness to the streets of Toronto, and the media frenzy that took place on the walk did exactly what I hoped it would do. I love to be creative and supportive. I don’t run as my knees wouldn’t last 500 feet, but being involved in the 5k walk since 2013 has been challenging, exciting and fulfilling. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge is a huge boost for Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton and allows me to make a bold statement on how important this challenge is to all charities. This year’s costume will be…bigger, bolder, brighter!

Charity: Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton
Connect with David on Twitter and Instagram

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Jamie Cuthbertson

Jamie Cuthbertson

After spending years avoiding gym class and wondering just what exactly it was about running that people liked, I started running as a way to blend personal exercise while tiring out my rambunctious boxer, Moe. Now that I've been training with BlackToe Run Club for almost 2 years, I'm far more rambunctious than my dog and he prefers to meet me at home for some post-run stretching. This will be my second half marathon and I'm looking forward to sharing my own personal road to STWM with you!

Charity: Alzheimer Society of Toronto
Connect with Jamie on Twitter and Instagram

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Amber Daugherty

Amber Daugherty

In 2014 my mom convinced me to run a half marathon with her. It was such an amazing experience that I've been hooked on running ever since, completing two more half marathons and numerous shorter runs. I'm thrilled to be a digital champion for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and to join the incredible group of people who are running it this year — can't wait to see you there!

Charity: Canadian Diabetes Association / Team Diabetes
Connect with Amber on Twitter and Instagram

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Rachel Dewan

Rachel Dewan

After running my first half-marathon at last year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I knew that it would not be my last. Three half-marathons later, I’m excited to mark another first at this year’s STWM: my first full marathon. It is an experience made all the more special by the Scotiabank Charity Challenge and the chance to support the amazing work of Matthew House, a refugee shelter right here in Toronto. Although my training plan is uniquely divided between the intense summer heat of Greece where I conduct archaeological field work, and a Canadian fall, I am continually motivated by the incredible spirit of the residents of Matthew House, my fellow Nike+ Run Club runners, and everyone training to run their best on October 16th. I can’t wait to share in this experience with you!

Charity: Matthew House
Connect with Rachel on Twitter and Instagram

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Ashley Dier

Ashley Dier

I'm a run leader with Parkdale Roadrunners and Academy Of Lions Run Crew. Running has become a way of life for me. I spend my days writing about running, health and fitness as a freelance writer. Through my writing I give back to the communities that have helped me, sharing the stories of others. This will be my first full marathon, and I'm equal parts nervous and excited. I didn't originally plan on running a marathon this year, but after losing my grandfather to cancer and seeing how hard he fought I was inspired to push myself. In the spring of 2017 I will run 80k as a fundraising memorial in memory of my grandfather. Running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be a stepping stone for me, helping me on my way to 80k. For this race, I've chosen to represent and bring awareness to Lupus Ontario, an official charity of the STWM because of my mom. Diagnosed with Lupus many years ago I have seen firsthand how the disease affects your body, its ability to function and your quality of life. I'm incredibly excited to be a 2016 Digital Champion and look forward to the next few months of running.

Charity: Lupus Ontario
Connect with Ashley on Twitter and Instagram

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Dan Grant

Dan Grant

If you're running with me, chances are we're finishing with a beer. The crew I co-founded in 2014, RunTOBeer, takes 100 or more sets of legs to breweries and craft beer bars a few times each month. Earlier this year I also brought City Running Tours to Canada and completed a 50k “beer run” to raise money for Northern Alberta wildfire relief. Check out my blog, From Pint A to Pint B, at RunningMagazine.ca.

Charity: Sick Kids Foundation
Connect with Dan on Twitter and Instagram

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James Koole

James Koole

I started running in the spring of 2008 and quickly fell in love with the sport. While I’m happy to run solo, I really enjoy running in a group. This year I’m instructing the marathon clinic at the Canary District Running Room and looking forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with a group of first-timers. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon will be my tenth marathon and I’ll be fundraising for the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada. It’s a cause near and dear to my heart as our family is directly touched by this genetic condition that is the most common inherited cause of mental impairment in the world.

Charity: Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada
Connect with James on Twitter, Instagram and his blog

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Robert MacDonald

Robert MacDonald

I was an avid runner until December 8th, 2012 when, at age 26, an accident changed my life forever. Falling 31 feet, I dislocated my spine, broke several vertebra, had many other injuries, and was diagnosed with ASIA B paraplegic which gave me a 5% chance to ever walk again. I have been fighting for the last three years to gain my independence, ability, and now running back into my life. Last year I attempted the half marathon at STWM and completed it in 2:21 minutes. Along with my team named “I Will”, we raised $75,000 for Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Team “I Will” will be back this year and we have increased our goal! This year we will run the full marathon, raise $150,000, and most importantly motivate others! I believe that everything is possible if you have the right motivation behind it. Join my team and follow my story to stay motivated.

Charity: Toronto Rehab Foundation
Connect with Rob and Team “I Will” on Twitter and Instagram with their official hashtag #teamiwill2016

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Charles Minor

Charles Minor

Hi everyone! Like a lot of people, I started running in public school on cross country and track and field teams. As a kid I always dreamed of one day running a marathon but it always seemed so daunting to me. Completing my first marathon was one of the best accomplishments of my life, something I always look back on with pride and happiness. Now as a busy parent, running has been an outlet for me to unwind and to stay physically fit. Running has taught me how to set and achieve goals, to act as a role model for my students at school but most importantly it has allowed me to strengthen the bonds that exist with my family members and to create new friendships with other runners. I look forward to sharing my Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon journey with all of you!

Charity: Team in Training, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada
Connect with Charles on Twitter and Instagram

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Lauren Simmons

Lauren Simmons

I'm Lauren Simmons and I'm thrilled to be returning for my third time running the STWM Half-Marathon, raising funds for Nellie's Shelter for Women and Children. I've been running recreationally for about 15 years, having conquered the sub-25 5k and the sub-55 10k, and this will be my fourth half-marathon in pursuit of the elusive sub-2. As a new mum (my baby turns one year old the day before STWM), raising funds for Nellies is incredibly meaningful to me, and I'm looking forward to sharing thr challenges and realities of training with a baby. When I can, I also cycle and swim, I'm a pacer with the RunTOBeer crew.

Charity: Nellie’s Shelter for Women and Children
Connect with Lauren on Twitter and Instagram

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Karen Simpson

Karen Simpson

Anyone up for wearing a tutu? You may have seen me as the purple fairy at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last year. I'm Karen and I'll be running to raise awareness and funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada. I have watched an impressive young man deal with the challenges of this disease and it really put things into perspective. We are blessed to be able to run, so let's never forget that! There are tons of great charities to represent through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge this year. I want you to pick a charity, get a tutu and join me for some fun on October 16th. I started running in January 2013 after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. I fell in love with climbing and wanted to train like a mountaineer — turns out most of them have distance running as part of their training. Since then, I have done a lot of running and climbing, including 5 mountains around the world and I just returned from Mt. Elbrus in Russia. Races are my motivation and I’ve completed over 60 so far! STWM was my first full marathon in 2014 and I recently ran my first ultra-marathon (53km) to celebrate turning 53. Let's get this party started!

Charity: Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Connect with Karen on Twitter and Instagram.

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Cathy Vandergeest

Cathy Vandergeest

Even though it's been over three years since I started running I still get giddy when friends describe me as a runner. I've raced every distance up to 30K and train outside year-round. While I strive to live a healthy lifestyle, I also understand the need to add ice cream into the equation! Initially running started out as something just for me, but I've found the running community to be one of my biggest sources of inspiration, motivation and information. I love to be able to pay-it-forward and assist or motivate runners just starting or struggling. When not running I keep busy as a graphic designer in a large format print shop, enjoy cooking, gardening and spending time with my family, dogs and friends.

Charity: JP’s Team — Little Warriors and The Gatehouse
Connect with Cathy on Twitter and Instagram

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