iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava , Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt , Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird , Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka , Alberta

iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston , Alberta

iRun because I can’t dance Mario Javier , Ontario

iRun so I don’t say never ever again Linda Klaric , Manitoba

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur , Quebec

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde , Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard , Alberta

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy , Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur , British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson , British Columbia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop , Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter , Alberta

iRun because otherwise I’m grumpy Alexandre Charest , Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton , British Columbia

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang , Alberta

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey , New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx , Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis , Ontario

iRun because it’s like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson , Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan , Alberta

iRun because I’ve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly , Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour , Ontario

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick , New Brunswick

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie , Ontario

iRun because it’s a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney , British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin , Manitoba

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith , Manitoba

iRun because it’s fun when it’s done Sue Matte , Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer , Quebec

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua , Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston , Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan , Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung , British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

iRun because it’s better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby , Saskatchewan

iRun for me! Judi Wearing , Saskatchewan

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts , Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

Escape into the wild

May 26th, 2015

To begin our new trail running column, firefighter Devin Featherstone, winner of Alberta’s Lost Soul 100K, tells us about the appeal of his sport.


In North America, our world is focused on convenience. Roads, pathways, escalators, elevators – they’re all at our finger tips. We click a button and food arrives at our door. Convenience: it’s defined as the quality of being suitable to one’s comfort, purposes or needs.

Perhaps the need to escape the norm, step away from the paths and into the quiet of the wilderness is what draws people to trail running. Convenience is not an option when you escape into the wild. Imagine running through the forest, the sunlight streams through the leaves of the trees. Its reflection bounces off the morning dew that’s settled into the rocks.

Your feet aren’t touching pavement, instead they are stepping over rocks, branches, puddles and fallen flora. Your mind is tranquil – you can’t focus on your job, your kids, your finances. All you are focusing on is your next step. Knowing that if for one second, your thoughts wander away from the path you’ll fall.

This is meditation, this is an escape from reality. This is the place where you focus on no one except yourself. You run, and as you do so, your breath tries to keep up. When you exhale, clouds of steam escape in front of you. The morning is cool, but you welcome the chill. Every step you take burns, the terrain isn’t flat. You wind up and down hills that most people only dream of hiking. There’s no judgment on the trails. This is a sport that welcomes everyone. There’s no scoreboard, and little reflection to your overall time or pace. This is a journey that has a start and finish that you decide.

My personal journey with trail running started simply. When I transitioned back to Calgary, I decided that I was going to start running some of the more simple single track options that were available. Over the course of time, I began to challenge myself and tackle terrain that people struggled to hike. I was moving past them, conquering the distance in minimal times.

Trail running never gets boring. The scenery changes daily. I can run the same track 100 times and still see something that I hadn’t noticed before, be it an animal or a view. My home, and backyard have some of the most inspiring, picturesque views that a person could ask to see. People travel thousands of miles, and spend hundreds of dollars to visit what so many of us who reside here forget to see.

I find the people who trail run to be different. The person you’re competing against will stop to help you if you fall. Because of this sport, and passion of mine I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing runners. All of them bringing a unique story to the table: captivated by what’s around me, and content with conversation. I couldn’t ask for more. My best company would have to be my dog Stevie, who never turns down an opportunity to run.

Two of the most amazing trails I’ve conquered would be the North Over Ridge and the Rockwall Trail. The North Over Ridge is an intense and very extreme mountain run. You climb up some gnarly scree sections that you top off by walking along a tiny ridge that has no room for error. Although challenging, the rewards are priceless. This trail offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Generally, the Rockwall Trail is done as a three-day hike. The best time of year to do it is in the later month of September when the larch trees turn into a beautiful yellow shade. Combined with lakes and massive mountain walls that you can run along, you’ve got yourself a trail run that shouldn’t be missed. I still drop my jaw every time I get to see this area and can’t wait to visit it again.

Yummy Roasted Spaghetti Squash and Clean Kale Pesto

May 26th, 2015

As a professionally trained chef and author,  these recipes are made from only the cleanest and freshest, seasonal ingredients. You’ll love the  sweet  roasted spaghetti squash paired with a delish kale pesto!

Recipe by Candice Kumai

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course

For Squash:
1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise (approx. 1 ½ to 2 lbs)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil to oil the squash prior to roasting
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt, to taste

For Pesto:
1 ½ cups lacinato kale
3/4 cup whole, raw almonds
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preparing Squash:
ONE: Preheat oven to 350 ̊F.
TWO: With a spoon, scoop to remove the pulp and seeds from the inside of the cavity of the squash until smooth and clean. Drizzle both halves with olive oil and rub to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt.
THREE: Place the squash halves cut-side down on a large, lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet, tucking garlic underneath. Roast for about 45 minutes, carefully flip over and roast for another 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
FOUR: Remove the squash from the oven and allow the squash to cool for a few minutes, then, using a fork, scrape out the strands of “spaghetti.”
FIVE: Fold in ¼ cup of the kale pesto in to each half of the squash and add a sprinkle of Parmesan or fresh basil to top if desired.

Preparing Pesto:
Combine the kale, almonds, garlic, salt, and lemon juice into a food processor.
Pulse until coarsely chopped. Stream in the 1/4 cup olive oil and process until a
smooth paste forms.

TWO: Transfer the remaining pesto to an airtight container. Freeze up to 3 months.

Top Tips for The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

May 20th, 2015


It’s cheerful, has amazing spectators, and features world-class race organization. It’s the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and it’s the largest multi-distance race event in Canada.

This year I’m honoured to be an ambassador for the race weekend as a member of Team Awesome. I will also be racing the half-marathon distance in order to raise funds for Start2Finish that is an organization focused on breaking the cycle of child poverty in Canada.

In order to make an already awesome weekend even more so, I reflected back on the amazing experience I had last year and compiled my best tips for you to get the most out of the race weekend.

The early expo-goer gets the gear

With over 48,000 registered participants, it is best to head to the Health and Fitness Expo as early in the week as you can to pick up your race kit and avoid the weekend crowds. The expo is a running gear paradise with the latest colours, fabrics, and shoes that make you look faster often at discounted rates. If however, you enjoy crowds and don’t want to tempt yourself into spending money, go later.

Take the free bus tour

If you’re new to the Ottawa area or are unfamiliar with the running route, there are complimentary bus tours that will drive you along the course. There are three tours scheduled for Saturday, May 23, 2015, which is the day before the marathon. There are limited tickets that can be obtained at the expo (which is why it pays to go to the expo early!). View tour details.

Get an elevation-smart pace band

If you’re running for a goal time, then the third most important piece of equipment behind your running shoes and GPS watch is a pace band. The band is a printout that you can wrap around your wrist with target times for each kilometer that will magically get you to the finish on time (provided you’ve done the training). If you’re extra clever, you’ll head over to to create an elevation-adjusted pace band specific to the Ottawa courses.

Clear your ears for the cheers

One of my favourite highlights about the Ottawa running experience is hearing all of the cheering. Spectators in Ottawa know how to cheer. They don’t just show up and wait for their one and only friend out of 48,000 runners to cheer for – they cheer for the runners and many times they cheer for them by name. So consider ditching your earbuds and clearing your ears to enjoy the cheering sounds.

Get a high-five power boost

As I ran the full-marathon race last year, I really had the sense that the community embraced the whole weekend event. One of the biggest boosts all along the course came in the form of tiny little hands offering high-fives. Kids and families were all throughout the course and I would encourage you to take advantage of those high-five power boosts to keep you going.

It’s rewarding to cheer back

Unless you’re running all the races (2K, 5K, 10K, 21.1K, 42.2K), you will most certainly have the opportunity to be a cheering spectator at one of the other races. The 2K is a hoot where some very young participants are starting off their running careers while some older participants are staying young. The 5K often has many youths and inspiring newer runners while the 10K is a championship event worth watching for. The 21.1K and 42.2K are testaments of training, courage, and strength, and it would be incredible if you were “that cheerer” that helped someone to run better than they would otherwise.

Looking forward to more awesome in Ottawa,


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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewchak

Model performance of an elite master’s runner and mom

May 20th, 2015


iRun: Congratulations on your win and personal best at the Eugene Marathon! Not everyone gets to run a lap at Hayward Field. What was it like running it, knowing you were the first in the race to enter the stadium?

Catherine Watkins: It was definitely a surreal moment entering such an iconic stadium knowing I was in first. I tried to stay in the moment and soak it all in. Even a week later it still feels surreal. I am definitely grateful for the experience and it was so much fun to actually break the tape at a race. I’ve never done that before, plus the spectators were amazing. Hearing the cheers as I entered the stadium gave me renewed energy and my legs started to move a bit faster again.

iRun: We know that it is important to you to model fitness and an active lifestyle to your daughters. Do they understand that many moms run, but most of them aren’t running at the same level that you are?

CW: They really just know that I love to run and that I run a lot. I’m not sure they understand the level that I am running at but that is ok with me. I really hope that I pass on my love of sport and activity to them. They both really enjoy participating in track and field and it’s so much fun to watch them do that.


iRun: How do you juggle the responsibilities as both a mom and an elite runner?

CW: On weekdays I wake up, get the girls ready and we walk to school with our puppy (we just rescued one). Then I walk home and usually go for my run. If I have a workout at the track then I just do a shake out run in the morning, because my workout will be in the evening. After my run I get out the foam roller and roll out. Twice a week I will fit in a core/strength session. I also try to do a bit of core work every day. Once a week I have a massage but I’ll fit in a physic session when needed. The rest of my day typically involves grocery shopping and meal preparation. During my peak marathon training I also try to squeeze in a nap. Then it’s picking up the girls from school, taking them to their activities or hang out at home, depending on the day. Some days it is busier than others but I am very fortunate to have a supportive spouse who helps out when needed. It is a balancing act but it seems to work well.

iRun: Can you give us an idea of the nutrition that fuels your training?

CW: I try to eat healthy but I do tend to crave baked goods so I will bake my own healthier versions. I love recipes from Oh She Glows and Running on Veggies. I eat most things and try to keep my diet balanced with lots of vegetables. Usually people are amazed at how much I consume in a meal. When I’m in heavy marathon training I practice for my race which means that I take in a lot of gels during this period of training.

iRun:We know that you support the Street2Peak initiative. Are there any projects that you are involved with on behalf of the cause, right now?

CW: Street2Peak is one of my favorite initiatives out there. Last year I helped to organize and implement a community run which raised money to support the Street2Peak initiative. This money helped contribute to the goal of taking a group of inner city youth to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I am so happy to say that the group had a very successful trip in March and that many lives were changed in the process.

I’m also running the BC Children’s Hospital Child Run with my family and friends on TEAM MOLLY. This team came together when our good friend’s daughter was receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital for cancer. Molly spent much of her life in hospital and unfortunately lost her battle to cancer when she was two-and-a-half years old. We have run with Molly in the past, now we run in her honor to help raise funds that target research into treatment for children’s cancer. We hope no family will have to endure the loss of their child to cancer in the future. If anyone would like to make a donation please visit or come and run with us! It is a wonderful family friendly event.


iRun: What running goals and races are you preparing for next?

CW: Good question and I’m not totally sure of. I need to sit down and make a plan with my coach going forward. Right now I am hoping to participate in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon at the end of June, a Canada Running Series event. It will all depend on my recovery from the marathon. My goal for the fall will most likely include a fall marathon and a couple of half marathons. I would like to improve my times at both distances.

Looking for more motivation? Read additional #FindYourStrong stories here.

The top dos and don’t the night before your race

May 19th, 2015

By Jorie Janzen 


A ton of work goes into getting yourself ready for race day. For months you’ve been preparing your body physically, mentally and nutritionally. So you don’t want to risk it all the night before your race and that means making the right food choices, which can either help or hinder your performance. Here’s how to guarantee you’re fuelling right and ready to rock your race day.


• Stick to your nutrition plan – tried and true! Carb load, eat adequate protein and limit the fat. Aim to have a larger breakfast, lunch and include balanced snacks along with a typical supper the day before the race.

•Here are some meal and snack ideas: For supper opt for pasta with tomato and meat sauce, salad, and milk or grilled chicken, baked potato topped with salsa, and vegetables. As a bedtime snack, choose a mix of carbohydrate and protein foods think, yogurt parfait, power muesli and high protein pancakes. For breakfast prepare overnight oats or a fruit smoothie the night before can save you time and energy.


• Keep food simple. Typically, food should be full of solid nutrition and taste enjoyable.

• Plan your recovery snack. Something as simple as chocolate milk with a piece of fruit will provide electrolytes, fluid, carbohydrate and quality protein to help begin the healing or post-event recovery process.

• Prepare clothing and food and fluids (for before, during and after the race) the night before so you are ready to go the morning of the event.


Stay well hydrated by consuming adequate fluids. Your urine should be a pale yellow. The darker it is the more dehydrated you are. Include more than just water to boost both fluid and carbohydrate intake.

• Have a backup plan if you are too nervous to eat solid food. Liquid meal replacements such as smoothies or chocolate milk can help meet your energy and fluid needs.

• Make sure to rest. Tapering your training or not training at all the day before will help your muscles top up with fuel to maximize your performance.

• Think about performance and that it takes fuel to burn fuel. Quality and quantity of food and fluids matter before the race.

• Take time to meditate. Deep breathing exercises are great to focus and reset your racing mind and nervous gut which may save you precious energy.


• Think you can eat and drink whatever you want, skip meals and carbohydrates or eat spicy, fatty or highly caffeinated foods/beverages.

• Eat excessively large portions of anything.

• Excessive fibre content as it can leave you feeling bloated. Just before a race white rice/pasta etc. may be easier on your stomach.

• Eat or drink anything new.

• Miss out on hydrating with water, chocolate milk or other sport beverages.

• Pre-race party (aka, alcohol). While it is true that one can get loaded on beer, it is also true that you can’t carb load on it, so steer clear.

• Stay up late. Quantity AND quality of sleep are vital to obtain full recovery and keep your mindset in the right place.

• Over-exercise/train. You want to be fully recovered physically and mentally.

• Forget to plan and prepare food/fluids for before, during and after the race.

• Assume the venue will have what you need. Imagine you are feeling low in energy and there are no quick energy sources available! Plan and prepare in advance what you will eat and drink before, during and after the race. Don’t leave even the little things to chance.


Don’t forget to complete your sport nutrition plan at the finish line. Chocolate milk is not only convenient and tasty but is full of quality protein, quick carbohydrates, and is a fluid balanced with electrolytes for post race recovery.

Jorie Janzen is the founder and co-chiar for the Manitoba Sport Nutrition Network. She offers expert advice for the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba, Sport Manitoba, and an advising consultant with the Winnipeg Jets. She currently holds memberships with Dietitians of Canada (provincial sport nutrition representative), and the College of Dietitians of Manitoba.

Want more recovery advice? Find what you should be doing 36 hours post-race for a guaranteed speedy recovery.

Why it’s fun to run the Mobay City Run

May 15th, 2015


Waterfalls. Reggae. Jerk Chicken. Usain Bolt.

Jamaica is known for its beautiful sights, laid back culture, flavourful foods and world-class sprinters. And now, this Caribbean island country is emerging as a running destination with race events like the Kingston City Run, Reggae Marathon, and the more recent addition of the Mobay City Run.


When I was invited by the Jamaican Tourist Board to head down to Montego Bay to participate in the 5K/10K Mobay City Run, it took me about a minute to convince myself to go. I was fortunate enough be a guest of the luxurious Secrets St. James Montego Bay where chilled towels abounded on lounge chairs and the food was worth ordering over and over again.

No shirt. No medal. No problem.

The registration fee for the event equated to a very reasonable $21 CAD that included a chipped timing bib. A cotton race shirt could be purchased separately and medals were reserved for category winners.


I didn’t lament the lack of race schwag as it helped to keep the costs low for locals to participate while helping to maximize the amount of proceeds going towards the student scholarships that would be funded from this race. There were, however, generous event sponsor prizes for the top finishers that included return airfare tickets and all-inclusive stays at local resorts.

Party. Party. Run. Party.


The night before, there was the pre-race pasta party that featured drumming, dancing, and pasta infused with a Jamaican kick of spice. On race day, there was the 5:30am pre-race warm up party to dance your way into the start corral. Then we ran. And then there was the post-race party with more dancing, shaking, and Jamaican food all around. I started to get the feeling that the run really was a meetup for all of the before and after partying and I was quite OK with that.

A lot of newbies. A lot of heat. A lot of fun.

Despite a 6:00am race start time, the temperature was already a toasty 26°C. This was not going to be a personal best kind of day, but I was going to make it a personal fun one.

The start corral was one big combination of 5K runners, 5K walkers, and a few of us 10K runners. The corral wasn’t seeded so I anticipated that there would be an additional degree of weaving at the start, but I was wrong.


As the race started, runners bolted into the race. Many runners were going at a “meteoric-you’re-going-to-burn-up-on-re-entry” pace. As I reflect back during my time in the start corral, I noticed two things: 1. There was a wide range as to what people were wearing as “running shoes” which indicating more casual or less experienced runners and 2. Being in Jamaica, there just wasn’t the same prevalence of GPS watches to help pace runners. Given these factors, many runners were just running as hard as they could for as long as they could hold onto.

Despite the mix of running levels, the good thing is that runners are runners. No matter where we’re from, we share a common bond of training, dedication, and in this case, feeling the heat. There was a sense of camaraderie as we chatted through the race, cheered each other on, and honoured good sportsmanship in competition.

Colourful streets. Drink pouches.

The early part of the race was my favourite as we ran through the colourful streets of Montego Bay. Having roads closed off just for you is always a treat and I enjoyed savouring the sites of this Caribbean city. The race was well marshaled with volunteers stationed at every turn point and frequent aid stations with water and sport drink pouches that you bit into for consumption.

The course was primarily an out and back on city streets and rural roads and I didn’t notice any significant elevation changes. The primary factor from a performance standpoint was the heat as there wasn’t much in terms of shade, but if you treat this more as a fun run, you’ll have a more enjoyable time.


Should you run Montego Bay?

During my visit to Montego Bay, I had the opportunity to enjoy the white sand beaches, eat the best Jerk chicken ever at Scotchies, and ride the Martha Brae river raft. If you’re even thinking about going for a visit, you should go. And if you can time your visit towards the less-peak season beginning in May, you’ll enjoy less crowds and you should go running and partying with the Mobay City Run.

Ready to go back,


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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @andrewchak

BBQ Chicken Chop Salad with Smoky Paprika Vinaigrette

May 14th, 2015

Perfect with leftover BBQ chicken, try this combination paired with a fresh grilled flatbread pizza. And let the long weekend begin!


Recipe by Candice Kumai

Serves: 6

For vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For salad
4 cups Romaine lettuce, finely chopped
2 cups leftover BBQ chicken, skin removed, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 ear grilled corn, shaved
1 avocado, cubed
2 tablespoons feta cheese
2 tablespoons cilantro (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until smooth.
2. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, corn, avocado, and cilantro to bowl. Toss to combine with dressing.
3. Divide salad onto plates. Top each serving with feta and cilantro, if using.

About Candice Kumai A regular contributor to The Today Show, GMA, The Cooking Channel and Food Network, Candice Kumai is a professionally trained chef and has authored several cookbooks including Pretty Delicious and Clean Green Drinks. Her work has also appeared in Women’s Health, Shape and Men’s Fitness.

I don’t like to be told I can’t do something

May 14th, 2015

Krysten Siba Bishop of Toronto, Ontario is a great example of someone who refuses to be impacted by her health challenges; instead, she is motivated by them. She gathers strength from adversity and refuses to be idle. On May 3, she ran the Mississauga Half Marathon as her first race back after pacemaker surgery. Please join iRun and Saucony as we proudly congratulate Krysten as she is today’s #FindYourStrong hero. This is Krysten reporting on her race:

Sunday’s Race requires some context.

I had surgery five months ago. It was my seventh surgery and my fourth in the last 3 years (two for my double mastectomy and two for maintenance on my pacemaker/defibrillator). Medically it has been quite the adventure, and running has become an integral part of my mental and physical recovery plan.

I was diagnosed with an arrhythmia known as Long QT Syndrome when I was just 17 years old. I got my first pacemaker/defibrillator a few months later.

I don’t like to be told I can’t do something, and I especially don’t like to feel like I am losing. And there was a time where I felt like I was fighting a losing battle against my own body. Running was my way of fighting back.


Running gave me my health, and I felt empowered.

This is probably also how I ended up running my first half marathon the day before my preventative double mastectomy.

It was a slightly crazy scheme, but I was looking for a happy distraction. I crossed the finish line that day to remind myself that despite my flaws, despite the challenges that lay ahead, I had a body that was strong and capable. I was left with a newfound respect for my health and my body’s ability to preserve. And I knew I was hooked.

There have been many moments over the past few years where I have found myself questioning my strength, even questioning my sanity. There were moments where I felt beaten. There were moments where I felt broken. There were days when burying my head under the covers seemed like the only action I could muster.

But I kept training. Even your worst run is better than no run at all. And I made a promise to myself, that even though things were hard, I would keep going. Even your worst day (and I have had a few of those) is a blessing. And I would keep moving forward.

Sunday was another step forward.

I was nervous about the race. I had built this day up in my mind. I wanted to come back to running strong. But I knew I had a shortened training season — just 11 weeks of consistent training. And I wasn’t sure how my body would hold up.

I was hopeful and a little trepidatious as I got myself situated in the corral. I have trained and rebuilt so many times over the last few years, so I wasn’t sure what to expect as the gun went off. But I promised myself that I would run hard and be proud of whatever time the clock read when I crossed the finish line.

I started out strong. The net downhill course probably helped with this. The 10km clock read 58:19 as I ran past. This put me on track for a personal best, if I could maintain this pace. But as the course flattened out and the lactic acid built up in my quads I felt my pace slipping. My endurance is still a work in progress.

I did my best to dig deep and crossed the line at 2:06:58.


And while that was not a personal best, I still felt incredibly proud of the result.

This race was a testament to the hard work I had put in over the past few months. Despite my short training period, I was only 1 minute and 17 seconds slower than I was when I raced this time last year, after a full a year of rehab and training. I finished feeling happy, healthy, and strong. And after just a few months you can’t ask for too much more than that.

My body and health is always a work in progress, but Sunday was a celebration of the journey. Please know where ever you are, whatever kind of journey you are on, anything is possible when you #FindYourStrong.

Looking for more motivation? Read additional #FindYourStrong stories here.

Jean Paul Bedard Making a Marathon Statement

May 13th, 2015


It’s easy to toss around labels but Jean Paul Bedard is more than the things he has survived. While he is a recovering addict and childhood sexual abuse survivor, he is also a survivor, using his experiences as a platform to advocate on behalf of those who haven’t yet found their strength.  At the 2015 Toronto GoodLife Fitness Marathon, Jean Paul ran his 103rd marathon. Although he says that this wasn’t his finest race, Jean Paul still managed to run his 88th BQ (Boston Qualifier). Up next? The Buffalo Marathon in a few weeks. Here’s how he’s ramping up his training and advocacy work for his triple marathon in October.


iRun: What was your biggest realization in training?

Jean Paul: I’m getting too old to burn the candle at both ends anymore. My usual training load is close to 200km per week, but I’ve had to cut back on that by about 25% because the physical strain on my body is too much when combined with the emotional toll of the advocacy work I’m doing.  Over the coming months, I will be ramping up my media exposure for the #BeenRapedNeverReported campaign, which will be highlighted during my triple marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. 

iRun: What will be the most challenging running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon three times in a row? 

Jean Paul: Nutrition and getting my stomach used to running for 12 plus hours at a time. I’m hoping this tweaking of my training regimen will help me have a successful Triple Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) in October.

iRun: How will you be focusing your training as you ramp up to STWM?

Jean Paul: I’ve got 2 marathons coming up in the next few weeks, and then the summer ultra season begins. My main goal this summer will be to increase the time spent on my feet during my training runs, while at the same time, worrying less about tempo.

Looking for more motivation? Read additional #FindYourStrong stories here

Mizumo Wave Rider is a consistent runner

May 13th, 2015

Looking for more stability from your shoes?  With this shoe’s added structure, Mizumo Wave Rider, may be worth a test run.
By Carrie Snyder, Photo by Darren Calabrese


7.8oz; neutral shoe; hard carbon rubber outsole in heel; soft rubber in forefoot

This is a neutral shoe with a snug fit. I wore it doing running intervals on an indoor track, and took it outside in the snow and ice a few times. I found it a stable shoe that nevertheless had enough give from heel to toe
to allow my foot to move comfortably. On my runs, I appreciated the good arch support and firm lateral structure; however, the mesh front doesn’t provide much protection for the toes. My feet got cold. If you’re not running in the dead of winter, however, this is a problem easily avoided. Overall, I rate this as a safe, steady partner of a shoe.

Find more of Carrie Snyder’s shoe recommendations in the April issue of iRun. And remember always test out any pair before you make your final decision.

Next issue: June 11, 2015
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