Thomas Broatch Makes Marathon Debut at TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon 

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by Paul Gains  

TORONTO, ON (September 12, 2023) – Runners across the globe are lured by the spectacle of the marathon and it’s no different for Vancouver’s Thomas Broatch who will mark his debut at the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 15. 

The former University of British Columbia runner works full time as a software engineer while managing to implement a training program to get the best out of him. 

This commitment to training rewarded him with a personal best of 1:04:09 at the Monterey Half Marathon in California last year and, more recently, a third-place finish at the 2023 First Half Vancouver Half Marathon (1:04:23). He has also raced on the track frequently at distances from 1,500m to 10,000m.  

“As a runner I want to do all the distances,” the 24-year-old explains. “In training I like the long runs – especially as I have gotten older. I have enjoyed that type of training and injury-wise I have been in a really good spot. I was already running a lot to train for the 10k and half marathon so I didn’t feel like moving up to the marathon would be too risky or too big of a jump.” 

Whether this is the start of a marathon career or not depends largely on how Toronto Waterfront goes.  

“If the race goes well – and I enjoy the experience – definitely doing more marathons down the line would be an option,” he continues. “At the same time, I really do like the 10k and half marathon and the good thing about those is you can do more of them in a year. I will still have the option of dropping down in distance after this race. 

“For the 10k I was already doing 170km a week or so. We bumped that up to 180km – a bit of an increase.  I have just added the long runs. I would do more 30km to 35km long runs and now I am doing more 35k to 40k. Overall it hasn’t been too big a change.” 

These days Broatch trains with the Vancouver Thunderbirds Club under the tutelage of Chris Johnson. The pair have known each other since Broatch ran track at Point Grey High School, a school which counts comedian Seth Rogen as an alumnus. Occasionally he would jump in workouts with the club and then both, by some good fortune, wound up at UBC and then the ‘Thunderbirds’. This consistency of coaching can’t be understated. 

The training group however is not marathon oriented which doesn’t seem to bother Broatch. 

Among his occasional training partners are Evan Elder, a New Zealander who moved to British Columbia for studies, and John Gay, who represented Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games where he was 4th in the 3,000m steeplechase. Their devotion to athletics has left a mark on Broatch. But he seems particularly inspired by Cam Levins who first set a Canadian record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon back in 2018 and went on to run 2:05:36 – a North American record in 2022. 

“For inspiration definitely Cam Levins; he’s a Canadian and from the same province,” Broatch declares. “I don’t think 2:05 is in my talent range but he is definitely an inspiration, seeing how competitive he is on the international stage.” 

The pair met for the first time at the Canadian10k championships in Ottawa this past May.  

Although he works from home he says he likes to train at the same time each day managing his time appropriately. Clearly he is pleased to call Vancouver home. 

“For leisure, these past couple of years I have been getting into golf during the summer,” he responds when asked how he spends down time. “I played some full course golf which is maybe too long for me but the shorter courses I find are a really great way to spend an afternoon. That’s pretty fun. 

“Vancouver is also a great place to go for casual bike rides. Great weather, and I am mostly hanging out with friends on the beach. I was born in Vancouver and spent pretty much all my life here.” 

As the field comes together he is aware that Canadian championship medals are on the line – in addition to $8,000 to the first Canadian – and this is another attractive feature of the race. 

“Oh yeah for sure. I like to race the national championships as much as possible especially since I know most of the Canadian runners,” he admits. “I actually do not know who is racing.  I would definitely like to be on the podium.” 

With the unfortunate and recent withdrawal of Tristan Woodbine due to injury the men’s race appears wide open, but that can certainly change in coming weeks. Regardless, the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon is a pivotal point in Thomas Broatch’s career. 

“This race will decide what the rest of my running career will look like,” he says. “I think either trying to run some more marathons or also I’d like to bring my 10k and half marathon times down. It’s mostly whether I still enjoy the sport.” 


Afera Godfay Confident of Success At TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon   

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by Paul Gains 

TORONTO, ON (September 26, 2023) – Afera Godfay won the 2019 Dongying Marathon in China with a superb personal best 2:22:41 then almost completely vanished from the world scene for a few years.  

There was a third-place finish in the Xiamen Marathon, also in China, a year later but that performance largely went under the radar. 

On October 15th the 31-year-old Ethiopian will target the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon with high expectations. Indeed, in April this year she ran 1:10:25 at the Rabat International Half Marathon in Morocco which encouraged her to chase a new marathon personal best in Toronto. This will mark her first ever visit to Canada. 

“Training is going great,” she reports. “I do my training six days a week – every day except Sunday. I cover a long distance with speed. Three days a week I run with (coach Gemedu Dedefo’s) group. 

“My goal is to win (Toronto Waterfront) with a good time. I hope to run 2:24.” 

The group is currently celebrating the great success of one of their members, Tigist Assefa, who smashed the world marathon record with her astonishing 2:11:53 in Berlin on Sunday.  No doubt the result will provide inspiration to Afera. 

The buildup is creating excitement as she is eager to return to her past level. Five times she has run under 1:10 for the half marathon distance over the years and she can now sense she is coming into form. Afera has a good reason for her absence those few years. 

“It was because I gave birth to my child,” she explains. “And it was a bit hard to get back to my previous condition. I have one child and her name is Maranata.” 

Afera comes from a small town in the war torn northern Ethiopian province of Tigray called Alaje. Although she moved to Addis in 2010 her parents still live in Tigray. She is thankful that they were not affected by the two-year-old war that lasted until November 2022 and which led to widespread famine.  

Once a year, when her training program allows, she will visit her parents and friends in Alaje. She comes from a long line of farmers. Growing up under hardship likely fuelled her desire for success in road racing. But she also had mentors. 

“My inspiration is Meseret Defar,” she declares. Defar is a two time Olympic 5,000m champion and a national hero in Ethiopia. 

As a young athlete Afera had success at shorter distances and represented Ethiopia at the 2010 World Cross Country Championships. She finished a solid 8th in the Under 20 race in Bydgoszcz, Poland helping the Ethiopian team to a silver medal finish behind Kenya. 

Two years later she again represented her country at the African Championships over 10,000m. She placed 7th in that meet which was held in Porto Novo, the capital of Benin. Asked why she turned to marathon racing her answer is simple: ““It’s because I have a good endurance and, money-wise, I find it better.” 

Although she has not been to Toronto before coach Gemedu Dedefo made the journey a few years ago and will undoubtedly have some excellent insight into how best to race the course. And, travelling with her from Addis will be previously announced Ethiopian stars Derara Hurisa, Adugna Takele, and Yohans Mekasha who will feature strongly in the men’s race while  Waganesh Mekasha will battle with Afera for the $20,000 first place prize money.   

Once again, the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon promises a memorable contest and the Ethiopian flag will surely be waved in celebration at the finish. 


Running Newcomer Samantha Jory to Race TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon   

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by Paul Gains  

TORONTO, ON (September 28, 2023) – Meteoric is one way to describe the rise of Samantha Jory’s running career which has already resulted in a bronze medal at the 2023 Canadian Half Marathon Championship. 

The 28-year-old from Duncan, British Columbia has raced competitively for a little over a year and announced herself locally with a shock victory at the 2022 Vancouver Half Marathon. More than a few bewildered onlookers asked ‘Who was that?”  

Her story makes a compelling read as she prepares herself for the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 15.  

“I think, based on my training, if I have a really good day I could probably run a 2:36. I hope,” Jory offers. “Anywhere around 2:37 I would be happy with.  I don’t think about placement as I am going to be more focused on executing the race properly.” 

Remarkably her first ever race was the 2022 Vancouver Marathon where she finished 6th in 2:50:22. Nothing spectacular but not bad for someone with little proper training. Indeed, her running only began during the pandemic when she was unable to access her membership at a Vancouver Gold’s gym. 

“I needed some outlet for my stress and my energy levels and I just thought I will do what everybody else is doing and that was running,” she explains. “I didn’t have the money at the time for a bike.  

“I’d run recreationally, maybe 20 kilometres a week, a handful of times so I thought I would start with a few 5km races. After a few months I ran my first 10k and thought that was the biggest accomplishment ever. It felt like such a long way. Certainly, it is an accomplishment.” 

Jory laughs at the memory. Some friends introduced her to Strava and then she began comparing her times and pace to others. 

One day while out on a tempo run in Vancouver’s Stanley Park she crossed paths with Canadian marathon record holder, Natasha Wodak, who called out to her.  A short while later Wodak contacted Jory on Instagram and the two became friends.  Wodak calls her ‘super talented’ and has been writing a marathon training program for her the past few months. 

“Natasha agreed to help me for this (Toronto Waterfront) marathon which is really special for me,” Jory admits. “She has been really supportive. I probably do a little bit more than what she prescribes in terms of distance in a week – I am not really diligent with my rest days. But she doesn’t have to know this.” 

Again Jory laughs. In order to get in her roughly 130 kilometres a week she must sometimes rise at 4:00 a.m. in order to get in a morning run.  With a Master’s degree in Health Leadership and Policy she is often ‘on call’ in her capacity as an organ donation specialist with BC Transplant. It’s a stressful job. 

“It involves meeting with families and going over consent,” she reveals, “helping the Intensive Care Unit work with the patient up to becoming a donor in terms of diagnosis and blood work, then doing all the recipient matching and organizing the operating room with the recipients, with the surgeons, with the family involved. So it’s a lot of organizational work. 

“I am part-time with this team right now. When I am on call I am on call for the whole province so it can be really long days and really long nights when we have multiple cases on the go.” 

Jory studied nursing at the University of Alberta where she also played rugby for the varsity team. Having played high school rugby and earning a spot on the BC provincial team she received a small scholarship to play for the ‘Pandas’ club.  In her first year she was a member of the team that beat the University of Guelph to win the 2013 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (now U-Sports) championship. 

“Yes we did win CIS my first year,” she says showing her excitement. “I actually got to start because one of our senior players was injured. So I played the whole game which was special for me as a rookie.” 

After graduating in 2017 she remained in Edmonton for almost three years working in the Cardiovascular Surgery Intensive Care Unit at the Mazankowski Heart Institute. She admits the circumstances she encountered were sometimes intolerable. How did she cope? 

“A lot of debriefing with colleagues,” she remembers, “and their camaraderie helps a lot. And some therapy here and there but mostly it’s something you just become accustomed to, unfortunately.” 

Backed by the Canadian record holder and with a consistent training program these past few months Jory’s build has been going well.  

Last weekend in the midst of her marathon training she finished 3rd in the Under Armour Eastside 10km (34:42) twenty-seven seconds behind two-time Canadian Olympian Andrea Seccafien.  Will a new Canadian marathon star show herself on the streets of Toronto? Her story just gets better. 


Olympian Anne-Marie Comeau Pursuing a Fast Time at TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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by Paul Gains 

TORONTO, ON (October 3, 2023) – Five years have passed since Anne Marie Comeau represented Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics and now she has returned to her first passion, running.  

On October 15th the 27-year-old from St. Ferréol les Neiges in Quebec will race the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, her first competitive marathon since her inauspicious debut in Philadelphia in 2019.   

This time around the former cross-country skier will come prepared having followed the program set by her new coach, two-time Canadian Olympic marathoner, Reid Coolsaet. The two paired up in November 2022. Coolsaet has developed both her physical and mental preparation and Comeau has a specific goal in mind. 

“I talked to Reid last week,” she reveals. “My first goal is to go under 2:32. But he told me if I want to take risks in my race I should try to do 2:29:30 or just under 2:30. He told me it’s a big risk to start at this pace but I like to take risks.” 

Once again, the race will serve as the Athletics Canada Canadian Marathon Championships with medals and a lucrative prize purse including $8,000 to the national champion. Comeau is more cautious. 

“For sure I will be happy if I am finishing on the podium,” she says. “But I don’t think about it. I don’t have a lot of experience in marathon races. I would just like to do another marathon because the last one was in 2019. 

“It’s a ‘couple’ of years so I want to start back doing one and see how I can fuel correctly in the race. Because my first one – it was very bad nutrition. I will give all that I have. I have done a lot of work. I am excited to see what it can give.” 

Comeau laughs at her recall of that Philadelphia race, a 2:41:10. But in March of this year she showed that her training is going well as she finished second at the Project 13.1 (Half Marathon) in New York’s Rockland State Park. Her time of 1:11:30 indicates that with the right volume of training she is certainly capable of dipping under the 2:30 marathon barrier.  

More recently she won the half marathon at the Marathon Beneva de Montreal in 1:13:56. That result came during her buildup for Toronto Waterfront. She did not back off her training one bit. 

“I am not a person that does a lot of high mileage,” she reveals. “My biggest week with the training in the marathon buildup was 155km. It was mostly about 130km a week. I also use other sports in preparation. 

“I am not competing anymore in cross-country skiing. But I am doing a lot of cross- country skiing in the winter and a lot of skiing up mountains but I don’t do competition anymore.” 

Cycling with her boyfriend Jean-Philippe also has a place in her overall fitness. And she is also an accomplished mountain and trail runner. Last March she represented Canada at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships finishing 15th in the women’s vertical race and 17th in the ‘up and down’ race. 

“I always loved running,” Comeau admits with a laugh. “I was running for training (for cross-country skiing). The two sports work very well together and since the age of 8 years I was running races in the woods. When I was a skier I was always running in the summer and even in the winter.  

“I wanted to try and see what my potential was in running. When I was skiing it was not perfect for running. So when I stopped I was able to concentrate my energy and see what I can do. 

For income Comeau works as an accountant for a medium size firm while studying to become a tax specialist. Recently she left a major accounting firm so she could cut back on her hours to devote more time to training and recovery. 

In her down time she says she enjoys going for bike rides and also pursuing a more relaxing pastime. 

“My boyfriend (national team trail runner) Jean-Philippe Thibobeau and I like to explore breweries,” she says with a laugh. “We love this activity and when we travel we try to choose different breweries and match our trip with that.” 

Comeau is eager to line up at Toronto Waterfront and for the first time really see what she is capable at the marathon distance. A surprise could be in store.  



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TORONTO, ON (September 29, 2023) – Today, Canada Running Series partnered with sustainability advocates at Trees for Life and Trans Canada Trail to bring the community together at Tommy Thompson Park for a day of environmental stewardship in preparation for the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The tree planting and ‘plogging’ (picking up trash and jogging) event brought together 60 runners, supporters and community members to plant 350 trees and collect trash along 5 km of the Trans Canada Trail. Held at Tommy Thompson Park, a reclaimed and rewilded part of the Trans Canada Trail, the event was part of a larger initiative to enhance Toronto’s outdoor recreational and public spaces, and to encourage the public to get outside and get active.

“We at Trees for Life are extremely grateful for the support that has been generated as a result of our partnership with Canada Running Series and the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon,” said Mark Cullen, President & Co-Founder of Trees for Life. “The funds raised help us to support planting partnerships like the one we have with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, where we were able to contribute to the planting of over 33,000 trees and shrubs across many sites in the GTA in one year alone. Few people enjoy public green spaces and shaded trailways more than those in the running community, so from our perspective, our partnership with CRS has a multitude of highly valuable benefits.”

The TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon is one of Canada’s premier running events taking place on October 15, 2023, and was awarded an Evergreen Certification earlier this year by the Council for Responsible Sport. The marathon, half marathon and 5K bring together participants from across the globe, and is a unifying landmark event for Toronto having raised over $50 million for Canadian charities since 2003.

“We hope to lead by example with our commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Alan Brookes, President of Canada Running Series. “The Council for Responsible Sport honoured the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon as one of the few marathons with an Evergreen certification distinction, and we plan to continue our efforts through all facets of the marathon. We are so pleased to continue to work with our charity partners once again this year to have the kinds of events that make lasting impacts in our community far beyond the race weekend.”

Trees for Life hosted the tree planting and plogging event with the Trans Canada Trail as the feature charity partners of the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon Charity Challenge. Joining participants were City Councillor Paula Fletcher; Mark Cullen, President & Co-Founder of Trees for Life; Alan Brookes, President at Canada Running Series; Soumen Roy, Executive Director and Country head at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS); Cheryl Hanson, Vice-President and Chief Development Officer at Trans Canada Trail; and Vince D’Elia with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).

“The Trans Canada Trail is built on partnerships like this one, that support environmental stewardship and improved trail accessibility,” says Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO of Trans Canada Trail. “We’re thrilled to be part of this collective endeavour to maintain beautiful and accessible trails for the thousands of people who walk, run and roll on the Trail every day across Canada.”

The TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon is renowned for its scenic route, cheerful atmosphere, and commitment to sustainability and charitable causes, attracting participants from across the world, including elite athletes, amateur runners, and avid enthusiasts. All are encouraged to join the tens of thousands who celebrate Toronto and over 150 impactful causes every year for the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon as runners, spectators and donors alike. To support Trees for Life and Trans Canada Trail in their efforts to continue improving our outdoor spaces, you can donate to their race teams through the TCS Charity Challenge.


About the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier running event and the grand finale of the Canada Running Series (CRS). Since 2017, the race has served as the Athletics Canada national marathon championship race and has doubled as the Olympic trials. Using innovation and organization as guiding principles, Canada Running Series stages great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians to recreational and charity runners. With a mission of “building community through the sport of running,” CRS is committed to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.

To learn more about the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, visit

About Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that has been partnering with many of the world’s largest businesses in their transformation journeys for over 50 years. TCS offers a consulting-led, cognitive powered, integrated portfolio of business, technology and engineering services and solutions. This is delivered through its unique Location Independent AgileTM delivery model, recognized as a benchmark of excellence in software development.

A part of the Tata group, India’s largest multinational business group, TCS has over 614,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 55 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $27.9 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2023, and is listed on the BSE (formerly Bombay Stock Exchange) and the NSE (National Stock Exchange) in India. TCS’ proactive stance on climate change and award-winning work with communities across the world have earned it a place in leading sustainability indices such as the MSCI Global Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.

For more information, visit

About Canada Running Series (CRS)

Canada Running Series is the nation’s premier running circuit with 7 events, 4 in Toronto, 2 in Vancouver, and 1 in Montreal. It annually attracts over 50,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 mostly-local charities. The Series includes the World Athletics Gold Label TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships. Since 1999, CRS has gained international recognition for innovation and organization. To learn more about CRS, visit

About Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail (the Trail) is the longest recreational trail in the world, spanning over 28,000 kilometres on land and water. Linking three oceans – the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic – the Trail connects 15,000 rural, urban and Indigenous communities across every province and territory. It is a ribbon that connects Canada’s diverse landscapes, seasons, people and experiences, and fosters unity, collaboration and connectedness. Trans Canada Trail is a registered charity and stewards this national trail in collaboration with local Trail partners. With funding from the Government of Canada through Parks Canada, and investments from all levels of government and generous donors, Trans Canada Trail is the largest investor in trail infrastructure projects in Canada, supporting improvements, growth and enhancements for generations to come.

About Trees for Life

Trees for Life is a national charity that is helping green communities and honour local heroes by planting trees. Through organized planting and providing tree planting organizations with tools, resources and networks to enable them to grow, Trees for Life is proud to do their part to ensure the Canadian government’s commitment to planting two billion trees is realized. The organization is one of the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon’s sustainability partners, alongside Trans-Canada Trail. Trees for Life’s mission is to create a happier, healthier Canada by planting native trees and shrubs where communities live, work and play.


Laurel Bury
Sutherland Corporation

Adugna Takele Joins Strong Ethiopian Team for TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon  

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by Paul Gains  

TORONTO, ON (August 31, 2023) – Ten years after his first appearance on Canadian soil Adugna Takele will chase victory at the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 15th.  

The Ethiopian won the 2013 Ottawa 10k and has since transformed into a world-class marathon runner with enormous experience across four continents. Now 34, he recorded a best time of 2:05:52 at the 2022 Seville Marathon and believes he can run even faster. 

“I am preparing myself very well for Toronto,” he says from his home in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa. “I’m trying to cover 170 kilometres per week as I am feeling better from my (Spring-time) hamstring injury. 

“I do have some information about Toronto from my friends and fellow athletes like Lemi Berhanu, and Gebretsadik Abraha who have been to race there and from my Coach Gemedu Dedefo. They say the course is good and challenging. If I feel healthy I will run faster (than 2:05:52)” 

Lemi Berrhanu was the 2016 Boston Marathon champion and finished 2nd in the 2019 Toronto Waterfront Marathon (2:05:09) while Gebretsadik Abraha has raced in Toronto twice finishing 6th in 2014 and 5th in 2017. The trio are part of a large and talented group coached by Gemedu Dedefo and managed by the Italian Demadonna Athletics Productions.  

On previous visits to Canada Adugna has run the Ottawa Marathon twice finishing 3rd in 2018. After running 2:10:12 in Barcelona this past March he was expecting to run again in Ottawa but didn’t receive his passport and Canadian visa in time. The disappointment was tangible. 

“Yes, I had been preparing for the race but didn’t go because of the visa problem,” he explains.  “You can imagine how it affects the mind because, as an athlete, I had been working the whole time in aiming to win that race. When I heard that the visa was not ready I was speechless.” 

Like his training partners he is dependent upon earning money from competitions to support his family – he and his wife have a young son Gadisa Adugna – so the financial impact was immense. 

“I was very much expecting to win the prize money as well, but it didn’t happen,” he says. The disappointment led him to a break in training. “Yes, {the break} was not actually the whole summer but just a few weeks and then I started to prepare myself for the next race.” 

Toronto Waterfront Marathon has $160,000 total prize money with $20,000 to the winner which is obviously of great interest to him. 

Adugna comes from the town of Huruta in central Ethiopia and like many Ethiopian runners was inspired by the achievements of the country’s Olympic runners especially Haile Gebrselassie. But it is his father’s brother whom he credits with being the biggest influence upon him. 

“When I was a student our school use to make us run during our sport period but of my uncle is the one to help me involve in running,” he adds. ”I began running in school then by the time I joined an athletic club I assured myself that I will become a world-class athlete.” 

That uncle, Worku Bikila, was a world-class 5,000m athlete who finished 6th at the 1992 Olympic 5,000m final and was 4th in the World Championships the following year.   Asked if he had seen videos of Worku in action when he was child he says not. 

“No, I was a kid at that time and there wasn’t television to watch or radios to listen to.  But after I became an athlete I have got a chance to see him on social media,” he reveals. 

“When I was a kid I grew up watching him having a good life and I just wanted to be just like him in every way. Then I realized that he was an athlete. So I wanted to become an athlete like him; to live just like him.” 

In 2008 Adugna moved to Addis Ababa and lived with Worku for a couple of months until he got established. When he received his first salary from his running club – Oromio Police Club – he went to live in a rented house with some of his friends. The influence and support he received from his uncle has continued and Adugna adds with pride: “In 2015 he watched me run the Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa.” 

On that occasion Adugna finished 3rd in what is Africa’s biggest 10km race with more than 40,000 competitors. Founded by Haile Gebrselassie, it can be the pathway to greater things as many foreign managers as well as Ethiopian national and club coaches attend each year to spot the talent.  

These days his family is his main priority. 

“Every morning I do my exercise, and then I spend my time with my family and with my friends sometimes watching movies,” he reveals. “I visit my family in Huruta.  I go there very often to  visit my family and to share all the happy and sad moments.” 

Addis is a modern city with its own light rail system to serve its more than 3 million residents. Although he has lived there for many years he knows that when he retires he will not stay in the capital.  

“No, not at all. I want to live outside of Addis, I enjoy silence and an area full of nature,” he states. Again, his uncle’s success in business has proven inspiration. Worku Bikila has a hotel and water well-drilling business in Dukem, a town outside Addis. 

“He is a hard-working person and a successful person in the business he is involved in. We hope to be like him in the future.” 

Victory at the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon would be helpful in his athletic development as well as financially beneficial. But when he lines up his focus will be on winning and recording a fast time. He knows he is due for another sublime performance.  


Molly Bookmyer Overcame Cancer and Now Challenges TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon  

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by Paul Gains  

TORONTO, ON (September 7, 2023) – Marathoners endure much suffering in order to excel in their sport but few have struggled with brain cancer. 

American Molly Bookmyer underwent two surgeries eight years ago following diagnosis of a brain tumour while finishing up her degree at Ohio State University.  

With that awful period behind her now, as an elite marathoner, her path has led her to the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon where she, and a growing number of American elites, will attempt to qualify for the 2024 US Olympic Trials, to be run in Orlando, Florida on February 3.   

Her current best is 2:31:39 and she sees Toronto Waterfront – her first international race – as an opportunity to knock off a significant chunk of time. 

“I want to run 2:27,” she reveals. “I feel I haven’t had a breakthrough in my marathon I have had some good races at shorter distances. I ran a 1:10:51 half marathon last fall. So I have had some success at the shorter distances and I haven’t quite figured out the full marathon distance yet.  

“My first goal is to get the world championship standard and the second goal is to get the Olympic standard.” 

Bookmyer graduated from Ohio State in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Management and Operations. While she was a member of the Buckeyes’ cross country and track teams she was not a scholarship athlete. Now she has a better understanding as to why she was limited. 

“I was a walk-on at OSU. I got better but I wasn’t a star in college,“ she explains. “When I look back at it, it was probably because I was sick at the time. I didn’t know I had a brain tumour. I competed on the team but my times weren’t spectacular. I lettered in cross country and track but I wasn’t All American and I didn’t make it to the NCAA’s.” 

A series of stress fractures also held her back and it was by a stroke of luck that the tumour was discovered. 

“In different blood tests to try to find why I got stress fractures they found one of my hormones prolactin was high,” Bookmyer says.  “This (hormone) is associated with tumours near your pituitary gland. They did a scan and they found the tumour in my ventricle. It was kind of luck. I probably had symptoms but thought it was normal.” 

Following the diagnosis she underwent a spinal tap to determine if the cancer cells were in her spinal column. Fortunately, it came back negative. But the surgery to remove the growing tumour was vital. 

Originally from Cleveland she moved to Columbus to study at OSU and remained there ever since. That’s also where she met her husband, Eric.   

Immediately after graduation she worked for the Abercrombie & Fitch company. Then, having dealt with her own serious illness, Eric was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Running was helpful in both relieving the stress of being a full-time caregiver to him as well as helping in her own recovery.  

“I am healthy now,” she says through a smile. “I get a brain scan every year. It used to be every six months. After the first surgery I had complications from the surgery. The tumour has not come back. 

“Eric just had his 5-year checkup, He had a couple of surgeries and ‘chemo’ so now he is healthy as well, I guess we are lucky we went through a lot and came out the other side healthy.” 

Two years ago she was recruited by one of her former contacts at Abercrombie & Fitch to work for Hawthorne Gardening Company which is involved in the hydroponics industry selling lights, pots, containers, benches and other gardening equipment in both the cannabis and general botany industry.  Most importantly, the job allows her to work remotely, something that helps while training full time. 

Down time is limited but she says she enjoys spending time with Eric and her dog Cooper. Listening to music is another relaxing pastime with Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty remaining a favourite. With the Toronto Waterfront Marathon rapidly approaching she is confident she will perform at her best on the big occasion. 

“Training is going really well,” Bookmyer declares. “I had a little setback in the spring. I tore my plantar fasciitis but that’s fully healed. My mileage has gone to 115 to 120 miles (185km – 193km) a week which is higher than I have been before; paces are good, I am feeling strong. I am excited for what that means.”  


American Emily Durgin To Run TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon 

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by Paul Gains 

TORONTO, ON (September 5, 2023) – Despite some impressive podium finishes at the American national championships on roads and cross country, Emily Durgin has yet to record a marathon time. It’s a situation she intends to rectify at the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 15th. 

“I definitely think I am capable of running closer to 2:20 than 2:29,” she says of her target in Toronto. “But with that being said the biggest thing about the marathon is learning how to race it and get through the whole thing.” 

The 29-year-old from Portland, Maine has earned bronze medals at the 2023 USATF cross country championships, the 2023 USATF 20km championships, the 2022 USATF 10 mile championships and a silver at the USATF 15km championships. Most impressive though is her half marathon personal best of 67:54 which got her 6th place at the 2022 Houston Half Marathon.  

It is this credential which she believes is indication that her ambitious aim to run in the low 2:20’s is possible. It is a performance that has also qualified her for the 2024 USATF Olympic marathon trials. However, a solid race at Toronto Waterfront, a World Athletics Elite Label Race, would give her more confidence in those trials. 

Last November she made her marathon debut in New York but was gutted when she had to drop out at 30km. 

“Unfortunately, it was a super-hot day and that probably didn’t play in my favour,” she explains. “But there were a lot of other factors that went into it. Honestly, the entire buildup, it was in my head. I put way more pressure on it for what reason I don’t know. You learn a lot when you do your first buildup.” 

Although she is from the East coast of the US and attended the University of Connecticut – graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Journalism – she moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2018. 

“I love Arizona as a whole,” she admits. “Obviously Flagstaff is higher elevation (2,130m) which is why I like to live up here but in the winter months it’s easy to drop down to Phoenix or Sedona. Last winter we had a ton of snow so for us it is really easy to get out of the weather if we have to. 

“There is such a big running community here so we have that aspect of it. I will say that sometimes it is tough because, when you are up here, there is that mentality of training (mode) for me that’s why I tend to try to get out of Flagstaff when I am not in a big cycle. Sometimes when I am here it’s hard to break up like ‘oh this is fun time’ versus training time. That’s why it’s nice to have Phoenix close by.” 

While she and her boyfriend live in Flagstaff she is coached by San Diego based Terrence Mahon and has a contract with Adidas that allows her to train full time. It wasn’t always the case.  

Fresh out of college she moved to Boston to train under coach Mark Coogan but without a shoe contract she had to make ends meet in one of the most expensive American cities. For a year and half she worked as a nanny while training. 

Clearly, she loves being in Arizona and while Flagstaff is quickly becoming a desirable and therefore an expensive place to live, she enjoys the amenities close by such as the restaurants and movie theatres. The Sunday farmer’s market is also a frequent destination. 

“When ‘Barbie’ came out we went and saw ‘Barbie’. That was great,” she says laughing. “You have everything you need here. It has really grown but ‘Flag’ is turning into what Boulder (Colorado) is”.  

“After our long runs on Sunday we try to end up at the market and if we are not getting produce there they always have great breakfast stuff. So we will go and get avocado toast and those kind of goodies. It starts early spring and goes through the fall. It’s a lot of fun.” 

Durgin trains alone most of the time although she is able to meet up with any number of professional runners who also make Flagstaff their home. All this is helpful as she plots a successful marathon performance at Toronto Waterfront. Training is ramping up. 

“It’s going well. I am doing a different approach to this marathon. I have been travelling so I was doing a lot of work outside of altitude which was nice for the beginning of my build,” she reports. 

“My goal in Toronto is to see what the lead runners are doing. As long as they are not going out at 2:17 pace I should be able to stick my nose in it and compete. Hopefully that will help me to a fast time.” 

Along with Molly Bookmyer and Molly Grabill, the American women will be well represented at the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  And, since the event is again a World Athletics Elite Label race it is again attracting a contingent from East Africa who will surely make the race especially competitive. That’s something that thrills Durgin. 



Ethiopia’s Waganesh Mekasha To Run TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon  

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by Paul Gains  

TORONTO, ON (August 15, 2023) – Ethiopian women have featured prominently at the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon winning eight of the past fifteen editions of this World Athletics Elite Label race. If Waganesh Mekasha has her way this dominance will continue. 

The 31-year-old mother of two brings extraordinary credentials to this year’s event on October 15th as well as some useful ‘intel’.

“I watched the Toronto [Waterfront] marathon many times on television and Yihunilign Adane, who won the 2022 TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, told me more about it,” she reveals. The two not only share a manager – Britain’s Malcolm Anderson of Moyo Sports – but each won their respective divisions in the 2023 Ottawa Marathon.  

On that day Waganesh ran alone for most of the second half save for the assistance of celebrity pacemaker, Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins, who graciously led her to a winning time of 2:24:48 under hot and muggy conditions.  

“I didn’t know (Levins) but my sub agent had told me after the race that he even ran the 10k race on Saturday,” she explains. “What a nice guy he is!” 

Asked if Levins, who used the pacesetting task as a long training run following his second place finish in the Canadian 10km championship, did a good job she responds with grace. 

“He did an amazing job until he dropped out. He was not only pacing me but motivating us all the way to 35km,” she remembers. 

Ironically, Waganesh nearly didn’t make it to the start line in the nation’s capital. Despite getting her visa well in advance of the race she was prevented from boarding her flight to Canada by airline officials.  

“Oh, yes that was frustrating,” she recalls. “I was shocked when the boarding person told me that I cannot fly to Canada. But many thanks to the race organizers and to my management I made it at last. But I stayed eight hours in Frankfurt airport. I hope that will not happen again.” 

Fifteen hours in the air followed by eight stuck in an airport terminal would unsettle most athletes but Waganesh has proven resilient time and time again. Although she ran extremely well at Ottawa, also a World Athletics Elite Label race, she can point to a credible 5th place finish at the 2022 Chicago Marathon in 2:23:41 as another career highlight.  

Chicago is one of only six World Athletics Major marathons and a place in the elite section is highly coveted.  A top five finish is, therefore, an extraordinary achievement.  

Waganesh has run faster than both of her aforementioned appearances in Ottawa and Chicago.  Her personal best is 2:22:45 which she recorded at the 2019 Dubai Marathon. She would like to go faster on Toronto’s course where the course record is 2:22:16 held by Kenya’s Magdalyne Masai from 2019. 

“My training is going very well. I am so excited to be back to Canada,” she says knowing she has a couple of months of intense work to complete before her journey to Canada. “If the conditions are good, and we have a good pacemaker, I will break the course record and win the race.” 

That’s a bold prediction. The record is a very good one. But her confidence comes from training under the guidance of famed coach Getamesay Molla alongside other great Ethiopian marathoners such as Yeshi Kalayu who has a personal best of 2:21:17, Azmera Gebru (2:20:48 PB) and Tigist Ambaychew (2:18:03 in Berlin 2022).  Their training is done outside Addis in the dusty hills of Sendafa and Sululta at 2750m altitude. 

Although she is a devoted mother and her children are still quite young at 7 and 4 years of age she has ambitions left to fulfill in the sport over the next few years.  

Several times she wore the Ethiopian vest as a junior winning a bronze medal in the 2011 African Under-20 Championships over 3,000m and finishing 4th at the World Cross Country Championships in Punta Arena, Spain the same year.  

The Ethiopian junior team earned the team gold medal that day.  Notably, she finished just six seconds behind the champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya who has since gone on to become a twice crowned Olympic 1,500m champion.  

“Of course, I want to represent my country in the Olympics in the marathon,” Waganesh reveals. “But it is very, very competitive in Ethiopia.” 

Confident, ambitious and extremely talented, Waganesh might well contend for a place on Ethiopia’s Olympic team. A victory in Toronto would impress selectors. And the $20,000 first place prize money it must be said would be welcome in her household.  


Dayna Pidhoresky Seeking Second Canadian Marathon Championship in Toronto  

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by Paul Gains  

TORONTO, ON (August 10, 2023) – Elite marathoners have many options to chase fast times each fall. Dayna Pidhoresky has chosen the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 15th where she will seek her second Canadian Championship gold medal in four years. 

The 36-year-old Vancouver resident was the first Canadian finisher at this event in 2019, crossing the line in a personal best 2:29:03 and was rewarded with an automatic position on Canada’s Tokyo Olympics bound team.  

Although this year’s edition of Toronto Waterfront Marathon is not an Olympic Trials it is, for the fifth consecutive year, the National Championships – and it has a World Athletics Elite Label. A stellar cast is therefore guaranteed.  

“I think for me it’s helpful that it’s familiar. The travel is familiar, the course is familiar, so it sort of takes the guess work out of that part,” she explains. “If you are doing an overseas fall marathon that can be part of that stress which is from just not knowing what to expect.  

“In this case Toronto is a race I have lined up for many times in the past. And also, it’s not a slow course; I know I can run fast there. I have run fast before. I do hope to run faster than I have before.” 

Originally from Tecumseh, a town near Windsor, Ontario she and her husband Josh Seifarth have been living in Vancouver for ten years now. Although she has raced many times in the U.S. and represented Canada at the 2017 World Championships as well as at the Tokyo Olympics, domestic races have been a large part of her curriculum vitae. Indeed, she won both the 2022 and 2023 Vancouver Marathons, the latter in 2:34:27.  

Pidhoresky realises that winning a Canadian title earns an additional 45 World Athletics Ranking points on top of points awarded for a finishing time. Those extra points could be worth more than four minutes to her. In other words, if she equals her personal best in Toronto and wins the Canadian title she would earn 1187 WA points – the same as if she had run 2:24:35 at another race. 

That would put her in contention for a spot on Canada’s team for next year’s Paris Olympics. It would mean everything if she were successful. 

“Yeah, absolutely. I feel that is one of the reasons I am working so hard,” she says. “It’s really to try and get on another Olympic team. I feel I have unfinished business at the Olympics. It’s not about placing it’s about leaving there feeling I was able to do my best on the day.” 

On her flight to Tokyo for the Olympic Games two years ago she and Josh were seated near someone who tested positive for Covid. That resulted in an enforced confinement inside their Gifu hotel room for several days during which they were not allowed to leave the room. She endured a further isolation in Sapporo – not ideal preparation for the biggest race of her life. 

Team officials brought her a stationary bicycle intended to replace her running. Already nursing a tendon injury she was a shadow of herself when it came time to run the Olympic marathon in Sapporo. She struggled home in 73rd place. The memories are bitter. A good race in Toronto would go a long way to reducing the disappointment of two years ago. 

Recently, she began her buildup towards Toronto and in contrast to previous years she is in good health.  

“So far it is going well. We are doing a twelve week build so we have just begun,” Pidhoresky reveals.  “The first week of the build I ran 161km. For us it’s about week after week of solid mileage so if we can have several weeks in a row at 180km and, I can keep grinding through that kind of training, it really works well for me.” 

Most of her training is done alone with Seifarth accompanying her on the long 38-40km runs on a bicycle. He carries drinks for her so that they don’t need to put out tables during training. A mid-week interval or fartlek session is done with some of the other athletes he coaches.

Surprisingly the subject of Toronto’s prize money doesn’t come up in conversation. There is $130,000 prize money available with the winners each receiving $20,000. Included in this purse is $8,000 for the male and female Canadian champions as well as a share of the overall purse should they finish in the top 8 overall.  It’s only when the subject is raised that she comments. 

“I did go into this year thinking I didn’t want to be chasing prize money because I am really focused on running as fast as I can,” she allows, “and sometimes that means not worrying about making money.  

“Last year I was focused on trying to win money and this year I just need to run as fast as I can. Maybe that means going to races where there is no way I can make money and instead I am losing money to run a fast time. I think that it would be nice to come home with a little cheque though.” 

A year and a half ago the couple bought a condominium in Vancouver close to ideal training terrain at the University of British Columbia and Pacific Spirit Park. Seifarth started an automotive software company called Visifii working out of a home office. Pidhoresky contributes a few hours a week between training, physiotherapy, massage therapy and strength training sessions. And she has other interests which she finds soothing. 

“Sometimes I bake. I do enjoy baking these days,” she says laughing. “I have a friend who lives in the building right besides ours and we will bake.  Then our husbands will eat 95% of what we bake. So it’s sort of perfect.” 

Life is good for Pidhoresky and she hopes that a stellar performance in Toronto will seal a place on Canada’s team for next year’s Olympics in Paris. Then it will be redemption time.