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

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

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

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

Toronto Waterfront Marathon to Feature Strongest Elite Field in Race’s History

September 24th, 2016

This year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) will feature the strongest field of Canadian elites in the race’s history. We had the opportunity to meet six of the talented and inspiring runners who will share the course with 26,000 other participants on October 16th.

This is the first of two stories we’ll have on the press conference introducing the Canadian elite field held at the Toronto Marriott Hotel.

The Prodigal Son

From left: Krista Duchene, Ed Whitlock, Eric Gillis, Rachel Hannah, Leslie Sexton, and Robert MacDonald.

From left: Krista Duchene, Ed Whitlock, Eric Gillis, Rachel Hannah, Leslie Sexton, and Robert MacDonald.

Rio still hasn’t quite sunk in for Eric Gillis, but it’s not because it was a shock. If you still haven’t heard,  Gillis finished 10th in the Men’s Marathon at the Rio Olympics. The Guelph runner said outright, “I had a goal to be in the top ten…to execute on the day still hasn’t quite sunk in.”

Instead of slowing down and basking in his achievement, Eric rode the positivity and immediately shifted his focus to STWM.

Gillis admits that he’s feeling different following Rio in a very positive way, evidenced by the fact that he chose to take on another marathon so soon after the Olympics. Typically, Eric says, “After a marathon, my feeling is that I never want to do a marathon again,” a sentiment that likely felt by elite and amateur alike. Rio, however, was different, and there is a sense of excitement in Eric’s voice when he reiterates that he is going for his best performance at what will be his sixth STWM.

While he’s still a tad mum on whether or not he’s gunning for Jerome Drayton’s Canadian men’s marathon record, Eric noted in the panel discussion that he plans to run a 2:10 pace for the first half of the course, which he managed to do in 2015, and hold on to it for as long as he can. Drayton’s record stands at 2:10:08. Once he hits the finish line, Eric says perhaps he’ll have some more time to reflect on Rio as he takes some downtime, dropping to about 50 kilometres per week as opposed to the 140 he’ll typically post during peak training.

The Maverick

“We’re gonna have a good race this year, Ravi! We’re guaranteed at least one world record,” Race Director Alan Brookes said, chuckling as he gestured to Ed Whitlock. The current men’s world record for the marathon in the 85-89 age group belongs to Australian Robert Horman, who ran a 4:34 in 2004. As recently as 2013, Ed ran a 3:41 at STWM. He remains the oldest man to run a sub-3:00 marathon, having turned in a spectacular 2:54 in 2004 at the age of 73.

Ed Whitlock at the 2016 Longboat Toronto Island Run.

Ed Whitlock at the 2016 Longboat Toronto Island Run.

Ed is the most charmingly zen runner you’re likely to ever meet. Every sentence he speaks is simple, direct, and followed up with a smile. He’s also not bogged down in the details of running. Rather than working from a structured training plan that includes intervals, tempo runs, and cross-training, Ed simply sticks to the long slow distances. “It’s not what’s best for everybody and it may not even be what’s best for me,” Ed says, “but it keeps me free from the aches and pains that I’ll get with intervals.”

He admits he’s not feeling as well as he did when he ran that sub-3:00 in 2004, battling a case of frozen shoulder that limits the motion of his right arm as he runs. The day before we spoke at the conference, Ed ran what he says was his first three hour run in nearly three years, a vast difference from the lead up to his 2004 performance when he ran three hours every day during the three months prior to race day. Considering that he’s already secured the half marathon record for his age group in Kitchener earlier this year, there’s probably not too much reason to worry about Ed, who says he’ll run as long as he can.

The Fighter

Robert MacDonald (@robmac1986) made his first appearance at STWM last year when he ran the half marathon. This year, he’s going for his first full. It’s a hell of a progression for anyone, let alone someone who only a few years ago was given a 5% chance of ever being able to walk again. Robert’s accident occurred in Mexico when he tried to climb into his room instead of walking 20 minutes to pick up the key. After a three storey fall, Robert was flown to St. Michael’s Hospital, where he was treated at the Lyndhurst Centre at Toronto Rehab.

 

Look for these words at the start line and on the course at STWM. Team I Will is running in support of Toronto Rehab.

Look for these words at the start line and on the course at STWM. Team I Will is running in support of Toronto Rehab.

Four years later and after 400 hours with a physiotherapist, Robert is now the leader of Team I Will, a group of runners racing in support of Toronto Rehab. Last year, they raised $73,000 through their efforts. This year, Robert is hoping to raise $150,000 with 150 members of Team I Will.

For many of us, running is where we turn off our brains and turn on our body’s cruise control. For Robert, every step has to be thought through so that he doesn’t aggravate or exacerbate past injuries or cause new ones. If, for, example, Robert extends his stride too far forward, he can actually topple over. It’s an incredible feat to exercise for the length of a marathon, but Robert’s urge to support the organization that gave him a second chance keeps him motivated. He hopes, he says, to be the first in a long line of stories similar to his own.

 

The Famous Canadian Beer Run in the Six

September 23rd, 2016

With summer weather in mid-September,  supped-up costumes, and well, the beer, Toronto’s inaugural Beer Run 5K hit the sweet spot at a time in racing season when a runner’s calendar is already packed with its share of half marathon and marathon events.

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By: Karen Kwan

A belt of red solo cups is right for a beer fun run — that’s what my friend and Run to Beer runner Shawna Graham wore as a pacer for last weekend’s Famous Canadian Beer Run, and it’s getting my #fashionfriday shout out. I also spotted a beer bottle costume or two, which was pretty amazing but I can’t imagine running in Sunday’s heat and humidity witha heavy costume! Kudos to those who wear fun costumes, it definitely added to the fun energy of the day.

Remember, after all, that this was not a serious race (by that I mean there were no timing chips). And the route ended up being only about 4.3k and not the 5k it was promoted as.

No biggie about the distance being off given it was a fun run, but race kit pickup was an issue. It was only held the day of the run and this proved to be a headache of much delays. I got into the long line at 10:15 (I’d registered for the 11 a.m. wave) and it took more than 50 minutes in line to get my kit. I rushed to drop it at bag check and got to the run start just a minute before my wave started (all of the waves started with a delay of about 10 minutes late given the race kit chaos).

Growing pains — it’s the first year of this race — so you have to cut them some slack, and an apology email sent right afterwards by the organizers went a long way with alleviating frustration from that morning’s lineups. The post-run beer and cider helped with that, too, of course. At the finish, instead of a medal, runners were handed a plastic beer stein, which we then got filled with beer using the tokens included with race registration. With the sunny weather and beers in hand, the vibe after the race was relaxed. This was a crowd not intent on PBs but out to have fun and enjoy a cold one. And that was a nice change.

As for the route itself, it wound its way around Ontario Place, and it was a nice change to view Toronto from that vantage point. The pretty Lake Ontario views and a great drumline, 416BEATS, along the route made for a fun race (we also got to see a few of the in/future art installations along the way), and music by 30 Odd 6 post-race, one we would happily run again next year. Cheers to everyone who ran it!

Karen Kwan is a regular iRun fashion and travel contributor, and you’ll find her running fashion posts every Friday on Instagram. She contributes to a number of publications and you can also follow her travel and running adventures at Health & Swellness.

Runners Get Creative at Blackmores Sydney Marathon

September 22nd, 2016

French maids, jesters, monarchs, and condiments. Four runners at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival were perfectly happy to look a bit ridiculous in the name of world records and great causes. This year’s race was the first in which Guinness officially partnered with race organizers, ensuring that official adjudicators were on hand to verify each attempt.

Dominic Sweeney Nash now owns the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon dressed as a French maid (male), running a 3:37:25 at the Blackmores Sydney Marathon. Image via Guinness World Records.

Dominic Sweeney-Nash now owns the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon dressed as a French maid (male), running a 3:37:25 at the Blackmores Sydney Marathon. Image via Guinness World Records.

According to Guinness, the following records were broken at the race:

  • Alexander Scherz – Fastest marathon dressed as a jester (male) – 2:59:52
  • Howard Dawson – Fastest marathon dressed as a food supplement (male) – 3:03:52
  • Dominic Sweeney-Nash – Fastest marathon dressed as a French maid (male) – 3:37:25
  • Joseph Peach – Fastest marathon dressed as a monarch (male) – 3:39:29

Closer to home, the record attempts at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon look to be a bit more stylish. Check out Amy Friel on two runners who’ll be suiting up in October in hopes of setting new records in the burgeoning discipline of “suit running.”

Does road running really trump the treadmill?

September 21st, 2016

Most runners have a strong opinion about whether running outdoors or on a treadmill is better. The treadmill typically isn’t given much respect, it’s thought of as a dirty word for a great deal of runners and isn’t, stereotypically, used by “real” runners. However, the treadmill certainly has its time and place.tread

By Pamela Mazzuca Prebeg BSc Kin, Athletic Therapist

There is no disputing the fact that running outdoors on the road is more challenging, and easier on the wallet, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to run.

Running outdoors is more natural and the fresh air is incredible. Aside from giving your body a chance to produce vitamin D, it also gives you greater feelings of revitalization, energy and enjoyment while decreasing tension, confusion, anger, and depression, more so when compared to running on a treadmill indoors.

The great outdoors also provide uneven and unpredictable surfaces, which could pose a risk of injury, but it also helps strengthen ligaments, activates more muscles and improves your sense of balance. While running on a treadmill decreases your risk of joint damage (treadmill belts tend to have more “give” than outdoor surfaces) or traumatic injury (i.e. rolling your ankle on a divot) it does increase your risk of overuse injury, especially if you do not alter your speed or incline, because your foot hits the belt the exact same way with every single stride.

However, the predictability of a treadmill can also be a benefit. There is never any wind, rain, ice, snow or visibility issues, unless you turn the treadmill’s fan up too high. And you never have to contend with sidewalk congestion or traffic. It’s also a great way to do speed work and interval training because it is actually easier to run faster on a treadmill because the belt helps propel your forward. But on the flip side, you have less hamstring activation on a treadmill compared to running on the road and the intensity (and caloric output) of your run will be lower unless you increase the speed and/or incline.

So what’s better? Well running outdoors certainly helps prepare you both physically and mentally for the elements on race day but the treadmill is definitely convenient and effective if you maintain an incline gradient of 1% for speed and interval training. The best choice is the one that will get you, and keep you, running on a regular basis.

 

The Berlin Marathon – Where You Kind of Expect a World Record

September 21st, 2016

Since 2003, the men’s world marathon record has fallen six times. In each instance, the record fell at the exact same place, the Berlin Marathon, which will hold its 43rd edition this Sunday. The streak started with Kenyan Paul Tergat’s 2:04.55 and continued through to Dennis Kimetto’s astonishing 2:02.50 in 2014, the current record. The women’s record has also been set in Berlin on three different occasions. Japan’s Naoko Takahashi was the first to take the women’s record under 2:20 with a 2:19.46 in 2001.

It makes sense. Berlin is a notoriously fast course, flat throughout. As the first World Marathon Major of the fall leading into Chicago and New York, Berlin not only invites the world’s best, but typically offers them cool conditions as well.

Alan Brookes, Race Director at Canada Running Series, says the excitement around Berlin is always palpable and that, “This year will be no exception, especially in the men’s race with eight guys with PBs under 2:06, and Kenenisa Bekele with something to prove after controversially being left off the Ethiopian squad for Rio. Will a tasty battle with Wilson Kipsang drive them to a new world record? Then we’re onto Chicago and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. You don’t want to miss any of them!” A complete elite start list is available here.

Wilson Kipsang set a world record with his win at the 2013 Berlin Marathon. Kipsang returns to Berlin this Sunday against a stacked elite field. Image via IAAF.

Wilson Kipsang set a world record with his win at the 2013 Berlin Marathon. Kipsang returns to Berlin this Sunday against a stacked elite field. Image via IAAF.

Bekele was left off the Ethiopian Olympic squad when the Ethiopian Athletics Federation ruled that he had not run enough big races over the previous year to meet the selection criteria for the marathon. Bekele subsequently attempted to qualify for the 10,000m but failed to finish the race at a qualifying event in the Netherlands. At 34, Bekele currently holds both the 5,000m and 10,000m world records and, despite a recent streak of disappointment, is coming off a third place finish at this year’s London Marathon, where he ran a 2:06.36.

Kipsang was among the streak of runners to break the world record in Berlin when he raced a 2:03.23 in 2013. Kipsang was just behind Bekele in London with a 2:07.52, placing fifth.

The elites will be joined by about 40,000 runners from more than 100 countries, so there’s sure to be plenty of PBs and triumphs among the field. Best of luck to all chasing goals in Berlin this Sunday!

Karl Meltzer Breaks Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail Record

September 20th, 2016

The third time was a charm for ultra runner Karl Meltzer, who now holds the record for the fastest completion of the 2,190 miles (that’s 3,524 kilometres) of the Appalachian Trail. Meltzer completed the feat in 45 days, 22 hours, and 38 minutes, surpassing the previous record set by ultra legend Scott Jurek by just about a day. There really aren’t a lot of records that can come down to an entire day, are there? Meltzer’s feat is certainly inspirational and is probably made even moreso considering his fuelling strategy along the way. According to the New York Times:

“…he capped each night with one or two beers and left from rest stops with rainbow-colored Spree candy, Three Musketeers chocolate bars and bacon in his pockets. To save time and keep his energy up, he typically slept less than seven hours a night and instead had an energy drink every 10 miles, downing about five a day. When on another day his support crew found him napping, they gave him a pint of ice cream for a boost.”

Karl Meltzer is greeted by Scott Jurek as he sets the new record for fastest supported thru-hike on the Appalachian. Image via the New York Times.

Karl Meltzer is greeted by Scott Jurek as he sets the new record for fastest supported thru-hike on the Appalachian. Image via the New York Times.

Meltzer’s record is recognized as the fastest supported thru-hike, meaning that the 48 year old was met along the way at designated checkpoints by a crew who would ensure he had the supplies needed to complete his task, supplies such as ice cream and beer in this case. Meltzer’s progress was tracked using GPS by sponsors Red Bull to verify his time on the trail.

Just a day after Meltzer hit the finish, greeted by Jurek, hiker Kaiha Bertollini claimed to have set the record for fastest unsupported thru-hike, meaning that she carried her gear on her own and was not met by any type of crew along the way. Bertollini claims a finishing time of 45 days, six hours, and 28 minutes. That would not only smash the previous record for an unsupported hike – 53 days, 7 hours, and 48 minutes – but would also slightly edge out Meltzer’s time.

Bertollini’s hike, however, was not officially recorded via GPS tracking. Instead, Canadian Running reports,  “Bertollini posted photos to Facebook along the way that are time-stamped indicating her location. Besides that, there is little information to verify her claims.”

There’s no denying that both Bertollini and Meltzer accomplished something incredible, but aspiring record breakers might want to take heed. When it comes to records, proper verification and data are essential. If a record is broken and no one is there to verify it, was it really broken?

 

The Canada Army Run and Feeling Myself

September 18th, 2016

I have had the kind of summer that makes someone question God. I don’t know how to say it except that maybe you’ve been through it, too, whatever it is. As a result of that, I’ve cut back on my running and even questioned my health. The result left me tired and I’d been feeling down.

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Enter the Army Run race cap. First of all, running in Ottawa is out of this world. I don’t know how you can be a Canadian runner and never lace up in the capital. They just appreciate it here more than anywhere else in the country where I’ve run. There’s more crowd support. The Army Run is a different animal, with proceeds going to wounded veterans. At the Expo, where I was posted up all weekend, you see the veterans come through with their limps and their patches and their dogs and their families, and it’s moving. I don’t think about our military very often. Thankfully, I don’t have to. But obviously I appreciate the job they do. I don’t want to go on peace-keeping missions in Syria or Afghanistan. But we can’t have the world descend into chaos. Anyway, it’s moving stuff. And I especially liked meeting Jim Lowther from Guitars for Vets and think I made a new friend.

I’m at the Westin Hotel in the lap of luxury on what’s called a “heaven” bed and I can’t sleep and I’m taking Advil and I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I go to dinner Thursday and halfway through, ask for my bill. I want to go back to the hotel and in the morning, I ask housekeeping to change the sheets. I was cold but I sweat through them? Who the hell knows.

Race day is a different story. I’m doing the Commander’s Challenge, so that’s a 5K before the half marathon and in the half marathon I’m pacing Marc Roy, who’s the Sportstats boss. I’m pacing with the 20-minute bunny and then I remember: I’m healthy. I’m fast. I’m strong. On the course, you see the wounded veterans making their way to the finish line and so many runners cheer them on. How can you not when you see them heading toward the goal post on an artificial leg? It’s not lost on me that it’s the same day as the Terry Fox run and I hope people who ran that and fundraised felt an equal thrill.

We’re runners but we’re part of the universe and with a commitment to running sometimes comes a certain selfishness. It felt good to see other people and it felt good to stop thinking about myself and it felt good to feel powerful in the sun, vital and optimistic. Because when I run I do feel optimistic, I feel like I can solve my problems, be more empathetic and have more energy in general.

The runner’s high is the opposite of feeling beaten down.

So I rest up for a bit and talk to some people, some veterans, some folks who did the 5K and used their strollers to push their kids. Then Marc and I meet up and the half marathon gets started and it’s sunny and fun and there’s so many people, so many high fives. How can you not love this sport? This race?

We do our thing and finish with smiles and say what’s up to Rachel Hannah, woman’s victor, and thank the race director, who is Gus Garant and does a great job. As does Jeff Moyle. The Canada Army Run is one of the country’s great treasures. I hope everyone running the RBC Race for the Kids, Vancouver Eastside 10K, the  Terry Fox events and whatever else was happening this weekend, enjoyed themselves.

The Army Run, for me, came at just the right time.

Weekend Recap: Eastside 10K and Canada Army Run

September 18th, 2016

Vancouver Eastside 10K 

Eric Gillis continued his hot streak yesterday at the Vancouver Eastisde 10K. Gillis took the top spot with a time of 30:16, besting Justin Kent (30:26) and defending champ Geoff Martinson (30:43). Coupled with his 1st place finish at the Toronto Waterfront 10K in June, this win puts Gillis at the top of the Canada Running Series standings.

London’s Leslie Sexton took the women’s crown with a time of 33:17. Sexton had an eighteen second advantage over her nearest competitor Dayna Pidhoresky, who finished in 33:35. Olympian Natasha Wodak, who was unsure if she would race given an injury, finished third among the women with a time of 33:42. Both Sexton and Pidhoresky will join Gillis at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October.

Canada Army Run

The Canada Army Run originated in 2008 as an opportunity to celebrate and honour the individuals serving Canada in uniform. Since then the event has grown from 7,000 participants in its inaugural year to over 25,000 in 2015. The event includes 5k and half marathon with a wheelchair race at each distance in addition to runners and walkers.

Pan-Am medalist Rachel Hannah took first place for the second weekend in a row. Hannah’s time of 1:16 gave her a nearly ten minute cushion over second place finisher Dana Buchanan. Last week, Hannah was the top female finisher at the Longboat 10K and will also join Gillis, Sexton, and Pidhoresky in the stacked field for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Thomas Des Brisay was the fastest male at 1:12.25. James Murphy and Nick Croker rounded out the top three with times of 1:14.54 and 1:15.40 respectively. Thomas was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and was non-verbal until age 7. His incredible journey through athletics and life is documented at his website, Autism Means Friendship.

Also among the starters was the inspiring Chris Koch, whose “If I Can” series of motivational speeches and videos encourages individuals of all abilities to live their lives to its greatest potential. Born without limbs, Koch used a longboard to complete the Calgary Marathon earlier this year. Koch raced both the 5K and the half marathon at the Army Run.

Full results, including the 5K and injured/disabled races, are available from Sportstats.

-Ravi Singh (@ravimatsingh)

What I Wore for My First Triathlon

September 16th, 2016

Marathons, half marathons, 10Ks, you name it Karen Kwan has gone the distance and then some. Taking the challenge of a triathlon, overwhelming? Not a chance, she braved the waves and stayed the course at the Brett Robinson Costa Triathlon. Here’s how she managed to be fit-fashion forward, while tackling her latest athletic challenge!

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BY: Karen Kwan

Last weekend, this runner attempted her first triathlon. I had been invited to discover the Gulf Coast of Alabama and part of the itinerary included taking part in the Brett Robinson Coastal Triathlon if you wanted to. Although I have very briefly considered tris in the past, it just seems too daunting to add swimming and biking to my routine so I’ve never truly seriously considered it, but looking at this particular tri’s sprint distance, which is called Tri It On, with the swim at 300 yards, bike 10 miles and run 2 miles, I thought I could maybe manage that, and the trip included a bike rental, so this made it much more appealing.

Although I was highly unprepared for swimming in the ocean and completely panicked (you can read my full report on my tri experience on my blog, www.healthandswellness.com), what did work out well for me was my outfit. A wetsuit wasn’t required given that the Gulf of Mexico is very warm right now, and so I realized I’d be running in my swimsuit with a pair of shorts pulled on after the swim. My swimsuit is from Arena, an Italian swimwear brand from Italy, which Bikini Village has just started carrying. This one is from their MaxLife collection, which is designed to withstand much wear and tear training in the water; in fact, it’s 100 percent chlorine-resistant. It also dries quickly and resists pilling and snags, and offers UV protection. I got it a few weeks prior to the tri and I liked how securely the straps fit (my other swimsuits have straps that would tend to fall off my shoulders when doing laps) and the graphic print makes the swimsuit stand out from the other sport suits I came across while shopping. Another plus: it made me easy to spot during the tri!

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Before the bike, I pulled on black Saucony shorts, and my New Balance Vazee runners (yes, I coordinated with colours from the Arena swimsuit), and I was ready for the cycling and running. Typically, I’d, of course, wear a sports bra to run, but there’s no time or place to change when in the transition area, and it was only two miles for the run, so I made do. The weather was warm (and it rained a bit) so my lightweight outfit was perfect.

I’d love to hear from other runners who’ve gotten into triathlons and if you have any tips for training. I haven’t decided if I will do another, so I’d love to hear your input!
Karen Kwan is a regular iRun fashion and travel contributor, and you’ll find her running fashion posts every Friday on Instagram. She contributes to a number of publications and you can also follow her travel and running adventures at Health & Swellness.

 

SportsStats Marc Roy Gives You the Rundown On Choosing Your Next Race

September 16th, 2016

You’ve run run alongside members of the Canadian armed forces, joined together in the spirit of community for the Canada Army Run and it’s a race like no other. Take some time to eat everything in your home and soak in an ice bath. And then…plan to get back out there and do it again! Marc Roy is the president of Sportstats and responsible for timing more races than anyone in the world, including the Army Run. And he’s been doing it for more than two decades. We recently asked him for some tips on how to choose the perfect event.

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iRun: How many races are you responsible for each year and how many years have you been at the races?

Marc: I use to time 40-50 events per year, now it’s 10 or less, I get to pick the events. I am mainly responsible for the growth of our company world wide. I have been to events since 1993 with Sportstats.

iRun: And how do races vary—what does a runner need to keep in mind when choosing an event?

Marc: Lots of decisions to make before choosing an event. The distance to travel, the entry cost, and the cost of a flight and hotel if you’re looking to run something abroad, and also the event reputation, especially if you’re interested in doing something like qualifying for Boston.

iRun: That’s a lot to consider. How far ahead in advance should you plan?

Marc: For the marathon event, between four and six months. Shorter distances can be a few weeks, or even on the fly.

iRun: What are some events in Canada and abroad that have a good reputation. Any races you could recommend?

Marc: All major marathons in Canada—Ottawa, Blue Nose, Niagara Falls, both Toronto Marathon events, Manitoba, Vancouver, Quebec City. Canadians are spoiled with excellent options!

iRun: And what if we’re looking to explore our horizons, and run abroad?

Marc: Abroad it depends on what runners are looking for, the perfect vacation marathon would be Phuket in Thailand, for example. Fast courses would be in places like London and Rotterdam.

iRun: Do you have any personal favourites?

Marc: I don’t know about that, I love them all. But the Honolulu Marathon is certainly a great event and when I personally ran the New York City Marathon in 2011, it was an amazing experience.

iRun: Let’s say I just ran a half marathon. Do you think it’s possible to graduate up to the marathon? What would you need to keep in minding when choosing a new distance?

Marc: Yes, if it’s done right. If you feel good after a half, I’d say it’s certainly possible, but if your body is totally bashed after the race, I’d say you need more training. It’s important to build the distance gradually so you feel good most of the race. Most participants that graduate to the marathon start hurting after 16-20 miles and it makes it for a difficult second half.

iRun: That sounds kind of grim. Is it OK if I want to just keep running halves?

Marc: The great thing about half marathons is that you can do many during the running season, and often back to back, and the recovery time is much faster. This is why you often see more runners in the half marathon distance than the marathon event.

iRun: Pretend I just won the lottery and money’s no object. What are some of the best races in the world?

Marc: New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon, London, Rotterdam, Honolulu and the Ironman World Championship (available on eBay for $40,000).

iRun: How long should you wait in between races?

Marc: You can race back to back for shorter distance events (5K, 10K…even half marathon). I’d suggest three weeks after a marathon, but some people with a lot of mileage can run them back to back.

iRun: Last thing. Let’s say I’m hooked. Is there a certain number of races that someone should do in a year?

Marc: 5-10 sounds like a perfect number, balance is key—enjoying them is as well. Mostly we just want to see people out at the races, getting healthy and having a great time. See you out there!

Get more post-race recovery tips including How to Get Faster, Your Ultimate Post-Race Binge Meal and Your Guide to a Speedy Post-Race Recovery.

 

Next issue: August 2016
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