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Trio of Guinness World Records Title Seekers to Run Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By Paul Gains

In addition to the formidable cache of elite runners from around the world, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, each year, attracts thousands running for charities and many more simply committed to the challenge of completing the distance faster than ever.

Then there are those hearty souls seeking a Guinness World Records title.

Michal Kapral set a world ‘joggling’ – juggling balls while running – marathon record ten years ago in Toronto when he completed the distance in 2 hours 50 minutes and 12 seconds. That was with three balls.

Owner of three Guinness World Records currently, Fastest 10km joggling with three objects (male) 36:27, Fastest half marathon joggling with three objects (male) 1:20:40, and Fastest marathon joggling with three objects (male) 2:50:12, on October 22nd, 2017 he will attempt to set the record for Fastest marathon joggling with five objects (male).

“I have upped the ante big time with this attempt to do five ball,” Kapral says laughing. “There is no current Guinness World Records title.

“As far as I know there is only one other person who has done a marathon while joggling five. That was back in 1993 a guy named Billy Dillon who was a kind of a five ball juggling pioneer He ran the New York Marathon in 7 hours 7 minutes. And he was a very fast runner. So you can see just how much harder it is to joggle with five.”

It has taken Kapral, who points to a personal best marathon of 2:30:40, almost six months to learn the pattern of juggling with five balls. He practices each lunch hour at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, much to the amusement of the university football team, which also trains around that time. Learning how far ahead he must toss each ball to catch and transfer between hands has proven much more challenging.

“With the five balls I have discovered there is no such thing as an easy pace,” he explains. “Immediately my heart rate shoots up. It is really, really tiring. It is also addictive. It’s super fun when you have three balls in the air. It is a ton of fun but definitely this is going to be by far the hardest record I have tried.”

Kapral will be accompanied by his joggling rival Zach Warren during the Toronto race who will act as spotter so that he doesn’t interfere with other runners. As a precaution Kapral usually runs on the opposite side of the road to others. He has chosen to fundraise for Sick Kids Foundation, an official charity of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

A year ago Daniel Janetos ran Toronto wearing a chef’s costume the entire distance. He recorded a time of 3:56:21 to earn the Guinness World Records title of Fastest marathon dressed as a chef. This year Janetos, who owns the annual Mac and Cheese Festival at Ontario Place, intends to chase the record for the Fastest half marathon achieved in a chef’s costume.

“It’s a little bit goofy, I get it,” he declares. “Really the number one thing is to raise money for charity. It’s the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation.

“These guys have been a grassroots agency for 25 years and with my help were able to formalize into a foundation. We were able to get some funding for them. My running helps them to take care of animals.”

Janetos is aiming to run 1 hour 45 minutes for the 21km race to claim the record title. That’s a tall order when his personal best for the distance is roughly that. Add such ingredients as a 9 pound pot and chef’s clothes and it’s certainly not as easy as someone might think. He trains as part of a group called Food Runners which aims to improve the health and fitness levels of people in the food industry.

“I try to make sure I am out at least three hours a week in the early stages. Then I follow a more rigorous program that our coach puts together for us,” he explains.

“I do train with my girlfriend Kate Boyle, She usually stops running with me when I put on my chef uniform. She is a little more low key. As soon as I put the chef’s hat on she is out.”

Running in a chef’s uniform is mind boggling. How about running 42.2km wearing a lumberjack costume complete with heavy boots? That’s what Dan Grant will attempt to do. The Torontonian has applied to attempt the Guinness World Records title of Fastest marathon dressed as a lumberjack (male) and has agreed to the costume they have assigned: a plaid/flannel short sleeved shirt, suspenders, denim pants, a stocking cap or beanie, lace up outdoor boots and an inflatable axe.

“I’ve run three marathons in the past couple years,” Grant reveals, “as well as a 60k run to Hamilton last month, so the distance doesn’t scare me. I am little worried about how much it’s going to slow and weigh me down if it rains during the STWM.”

At the Toronto Waterfront 10k on June 17th Grant finished in 44:53, claiming to be below his best. He had run another 10k race thirty six hours before.

Another concern for Grant is that he is a vegan and wants to find non leather boots in which to run.

Grant is growing a beard to further ‘grow into the part.’ He reports that Great Lakes Brewery has agreed to supply his post training fueling with a generous supply of Canuck Pale Ale. A year ago the owner of the brewery shaved Grant’s head in a fundraising event for Sick Kids Foundation. He will run Toronto Waterfront Marathon to raise funds for Good Foot Delivery one of the official charities of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

City marathons embrace runners of all descriptions and Toronto is no different. The inclusion of this trio of record seekers certainly enhances the enjoyment of this annual IAAF Gold Label event.

Interested in attempting a Guinness World Record at this year’s race? Please contact Jenna Pettinato, Canada Running Series’ Manager of Communications at or visit our website:



Newcomer Thomas Toth To Face Strong Field at Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon

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By Paul Gains

Hailstones and a strong wind plagued runners in the Hamburg Marathon this past April 23rd, yet a little known Canadian, making his debut at the distance no less, prevailed to finish under the 2017 IAAF World Championship qualifying standard by two seconds.

With his 2:18:58 Thomas Toth earned a place on the Canadian team bound for London this coming August.

The 25 year old from Lakefield, Ontario seemed destined to be just another Canadian runner lost in the US collegiate system after running for Cameron University in Oklahoma for four years. But he emerged last year to run an eye catching 64:26 at the Houston Half Marathon before going on to win the 2016 Canadian Half Marathon championship in Calgary.

Being named last week to the Canadian team ensures he will be someone to follow in coming years.

“Of course I feel very honoured,” he declared. “Coming into this year (the World Championships) was a goal of mine, especially in the fall. I didn’t expect to have the race that I did in Hamburg where a couple of things weren’t quite in my favour:  the weather and nutrition mainly.

“To get 2:18:58 and only be under the standard by two seconds was extremely stressful. But to be named is just such a great honour. But the last five weeks I was very stressed-out waiting to see if anyone else would squeak under the standard because, if they made the standard, they would essentially knock me out. I am excited and I am honoured.”

Besides the impediment of poor weather conditions, Toth had to deal with a mix-up of bottles at some of the feeding stations. Early in the race he tried to go with some of the elites but wound up running alone for much of the race. No wonder he believes he can run much faster.

Toth has confirmed he will be running the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon this Sunday, June 25th. The race is the fourth in the 2017 Canada Running Series.

“It will be more or less a fitness test,” says Toth. “I have been in a hard training block and to get out there in Vancouver with some other great athletes to push me to sort of test the waters. It’s where I can get the wheels going and see where I am at because, at that point, I will have only a month left of training left for London. So it will be more of a test than anything.

“I have definitely improved a lot. There have been workouts where I think ‘I know I have run 64 and I can now get close to 63’ that is more or less where my mindset is. I do believe 64:26 is a very strong time but I would like to get under 64 in the right conditions.”

Two years ago, after graduating from Cameron University, he and his wife moved to Plaistow, New Hampshire where he trains alone. Without a shoe sponsor – he says he contacted most of the major companies but without success – he earns money through a personal training/coaching business.

His training programs are still written by Coach Zach Johnson of Cameron University. The pair communicate daily by email and by texting.

“I am still coached by Zach Johnson who recruited me out of high school and who has done just an incredible job keeping me healthy and progressing,” Toth reveals. “I don’t need much guidance in terms of having someone giving me splits or being down my throat. I have always been very motivated. I just put in the work and ask him for guidance.”

The event record of 63:10 for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon was set in 2007 by Patrick Nthwia of Kenya, and although there have been minor tweaks on the course it remains basically from the University of British Columbia to Stanley Park.

Toth will come up against defending champion Kip Kangogo a five-time winner (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016), who recently won the Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Calgary as well as 2014 champion Dylan Wykes. The latter has backed off somewhat on the training that saw him run the marathon in 2:10:47 and represent Canada at the 2012 Olympics. Nevertheless, he still finished 3rd in Calgary just thirty-two seconds behind Kangogo.

One surprise could very well be former 1,500m runner Geoff Martinson who recently ran a whopping 10000m personal best on the track –  28:48.33 in Portland. He was a surprising second at the Canadian Half Marathon Championships.

The women’s race features Dayna Pidhoresky who will join Toth in London for the World Championships following her stellar performance in Ottawa last month. Last year’s runner up Lyndsay Tessier is also entered.

For a complete Start List see:

For more information about the race:


Running Room renews partnership with Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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Canada Running Series is delighted to announce one of the world’s leading running retailers, Running Room, has renewed their multi-year partnership with the 2017 edition of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half marathon & 5K, to be run on Sunday, October 22nd. Running Room will host the official marathon and half marathon Training Clinics and take on the Official Merchandise sponsor to complement their Official Sporting Goods Retailer category. In addition to financial support, this collaborative partnership will also include cross promotions over the next 5 months with New Balance, the new Athletic Footwear and apparel partner of the event.

“We’re thrilled to have Running Room return to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon,” said Canada Running Series president, Alan Brookes. “They have been an outstanding partner since 2007 and have played a vital role in building the success of our IAAF Gold Label race. They also bring unparalleled product support and advice to our runners, and their passionate, unwavering support for running in Canada, especially through their training clinics, has been invaluable. We’re also very excited to see their line of STWM Official Merchandise and Training shirts this year, which will be made available online.”

According to John Stanton, Founder of the Running Room:

“The Running Room is proud to sponsor the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, a prestigious  IAAF Gold Label Marathon and one of only 5 in North America, the likes of Boston, Chicago and New York. The uniqueness of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is everyone from the recreational runner to the elite world class athlete enjoys the gold label delivery from start to finish of the various events under the leadership  of Alan Brookes and his team!”

Running Room’s internationally famous training clinics begin the week of June 19th at more than 40 store locations across Ontario, for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Half marathon. 5K training begins the week of August 14th. Visit the Running Room website for details on times, dates and store locations.

About Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries.

About Running Room

Running Room is proudly a Canadian family-owned company. It originated in 1984 out of founder John Stanton’s wish to purchase quality running shoes from someone knowledgeable about the sport. New to the sport of running, John had a thirst for knowledge as well as a desire to buy the right product. This entrepreneurial retailer decided to fill a niche in the marketplace by opening a small one-room store in the renovated living room of an old house in Edmonton, hence the name, “Running Room.” The concept was highly successful, and the stores have since expanded to over 110 locations across Canada and the United States. Running Room is truly a store for runners by runners. All team members are runners whose philosophy is that if you’re out there running on the same roads as the customers, you can better relate to them. 

Media Contacts

Alan Brookes, Race Director, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, 416-464-7437

Liz Caine, National Events, Running Room, tel:780.439.3099 ext 246

Wodak, Wendimu Win Toronto Waterfront 10K

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TORONTO June 17. Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak (33:52) and Kenyan-born Torontonian Daniel Wendimu (30:26) won today’s Toronto Waterfront 10K, presented by lululemon, in exciting races up front. Councillor Norm Kelly sent off a sold-out crowd of 7,100 from the 7:30 a.m. start on University Avenue next to City Hall under bright, sunny skies. The start temperature was a reasonable 21 degrees for June, with only a light breeze of 10k/hr from the east and humidity at 73%. The participants were drawn from 11 Canadian provinces and territories, 17 American states and 9 countries.

The men went through the first, downhill kilometre in 2:48 as Toronto Olympic Club’s Abrehem Wagaye moved to the front to push the pace ahead of a pack that included Wendimu, Canadian Olympians Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet, and Toronto’s Sami Jibril who ran so well as the top Canadian at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March. Wagaye steadily stretched his lead, to almost 100m at one point, passing 5k in 14:53. But gradually, as the sun and temperature rose, he began to fade and the chasers closed in to set up an exciting finish.

Photo Credit; Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Wendimu passed him just after 8k to race to victory. The courageous Wagaye (30:41) managed to hold off a charging Jibril (30:46) for second. Speed River TFCs Tristan Woodfine was 4th in 30:53, ahead of his Olympic club-mates Gillis and Coolsaet. With the IAAF World Championships marathon just 2 months away, Gillis stopped around 4km to protect “a slight twinge” in his quad. Coolsaet, coming back from a serious foot injury over the winter was pleased to be back racing again, finishing 8th in 31:51. “Racing a 10k when you’re not in shape is tough,” he joked. “It was a fantastic event. A great way to spark my training for a fall marathon.”

Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak led the women’s race from start to finish to build a commanding lead in the current Canada Running Series standings after her victory at the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8K in April in High Park. London, Ontario’s Leslie Sexton and Olympian Krista DuChene of Brantford tucked in behind for the first two kilometres before Canada’s 10,000m record holder dropped the hammer in a quick third kilometre. She then cruised along Toronto’s scenic waterfront, perhaps losing a little concentration mid-race. “At 8km I wrote off the course record (33:50),” said Wodak. “Then with about 50 metres to go I saw the clock and sprinted as hard as I could.” She crossed the line in 33:52, to take home C$2,800 first-prize, but missed the $500 record bonus by a scant 2 seconds!

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Leslie Sexton (34:49), who was also thrilled to be back racing after a lengthy injury-layoff, hung on for 2nd, with TOCs Dehininet Jara (34:51) a close 3rd. Brittany Moran (35:35) came home 4th, with DuChene (35:53) 5th and first women’s Master.  “It was great to be back racing,” said Sexton. “It’s so fun. I really missed this!” DuChene was also pleased with her effort as she starts her re-build for the fall season. “This was more about having a good time and getting back at it, rather than a fast time,” she said.

Indeed, for all the participants, today’s Toronto Waterfront 10K put the fun into running. “I’d like to think that today’s race was a key moment for road racing in Canada,” said Canada Running Series Race Director Alan Brookes. “I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. The activation that lululemon brought to the event was a game-changer. It really represented the new running movement, that is more diverse, more inclusive, more social, more fun, while still including our Olympians and the best of traditional road racing. From the all-day yoga to the donut wall and the nineamazing cheer sites on-course, lululemon brought the event alive and created an experience.” Parkdale Roadrunner’s Daniel Blether summed it up well, “Amazing event, awesome community vibes. #Waterfront10K is a gem.”

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

To round out the new community running experience, New Leaf Foundation, a charity that offers yoga and mindfulness-based programs to support youth in marginalized communities, went home with a cheque for $16,500, raised by the 7,100 participants.

Full Results at 

Canada Running Series continues next weekend with the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon & 5K:

Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Natasha Wodak join the Toronto Waterfront 10K

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By Paul Gains

In what is certainly a rare phenomenon in Canadian road racing, four of Canada’s Olympic distance runners will contest the Toronto Waterfront 10k on Saturday June 17. They will toe the start line with varying degrees of expectation.

The two defending champions, Eric Gillis (10th in the Rio Olympic marathon) and Krista DuChene (35th in the women’s race) are in relatively good shape having prepared for spring marathons. But the other pair are treading into the unknown.

Reid Coolsaet, whose personal best marathon time of 2:10:28 which he recorded in the 2015 Berlin marathon, has been nursing a foot injury since December. After finishing 7th in the Fukuoka Marathon (2:10:55) he took some time off only to experience pain when he resumed training.

“I had some underlying foot issues going in to Fukuoka, nothing too worrisome,” Coolsaet reveals. “Then I took time off after the marathon. I think my tendons, without running, tightened up a little bit. It kind of stopped the blood flow from getting in there.”

The condition is called osteonecrosis and meant he has slowly and carefully plotted his way back, only starting running again in May. Asked what stage he is in training he doesn’t mince words.

“Not one hundred per cent, definitely not,” he declares. “I am building up running at the same rate as taking four months off but I have to pay attention to my foot. My tendons are still tight and it’s a little uncomfortable but, that being said, it’s manageable. I am taking things slowly so I don’t re injure myself.

“I really just want to kind of test my fitness and see where I am; kind of have fun. I wanted to put it on the calendar rather than just having a few months of just training. It’s a fun race and race results don’t lie so I will see where I am.”

Ever the optimist Coolsaet has his mind set on a fall marathon. At the moment he is flaunting with a training regimen that sees him cover roughly 100 kilometres in a week – about half what he will eventually do at peak fitness.

Meanwhile DuChene is expecting a tough race with Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak who is slowly rounding into form following foot surgery last December. Wodak won the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k in her comeback race but then suffered a disappointing defeat in the Canadian 10k Championships, May 27th in Ottawa.

After returning from the Olympics, where she finished 22nd in the women’s 10000m race, the Canadian 10,000m record holder also changed coaches. Now her training is being planned by 1984 Olympic 3000m bronze medalist, Lynn Kanuka. DuChene is definitely respectful of her rival.

“I really don’t know what finish time to expect for myself but I am glad Natasha will be racing as she prepares to do the 10,000m at the World Championships (in August),” DuChene says. “I’m sure I’ll be chasing her.

“The marathon is always my goal race so the Waterfront 10k will be more about having fun and moving the legs a bit faster.”

DuChene, who also switched coaches and now runs with Speed River Track Club under the tutelage of Dave Scott-Thomas (coach of Gillis and Coolsaet) declined her place on the Canadian marathon squad bound for the London World Championships.

“After completing three marathons in eight months, as well as a month of training at altitude in Kenya, it was important to have a complete recovery,” DuChene says. “It was difficult to decline my spot for the IAAF World Championships team but necessary.

This is only the second year of the race, now sponsored by lululemon, and DuChene’s course record of 33:50 could take a beating if the weather cooperates. Meanwhile, Gillis ran 29:23 to beat Coolsaet by two seconds last year a result the latter remembers with a smile.

“Oh the course is great,” Coolsaet says. “A little bit of downhill off the start to get you going and then it’s pretty much flat the whole way. I like running along the Lakeshore, it’s wide and pretty flat.”

The race begins at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Start Line on University Avenue just north of Queen Street, then runs down to Lakeshore Boulevard where it finishes at the Liberty Grand.

Should the Olympians falter there is no shortage of emerging talent waiting to bring them back to earth. Tristan Woodfine, for instance, was third a year ago in this race and like Coolsaet and Gillis is a member of Speed River Track Club. He is obviously in good shape having won the opening Canada Running Series race, the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k, on April 8th.

In addition there is Kevin Coffey, now based in Vancouver who took the bronze medal at the recent Canadian 10k championships in Ottawa (30:42) and Toronto’s Sami Jibril a member of Canada’s 2017 world cross country championship team.

London, Ontario’s Leslie Sexton bears watching in the women’s race.

This year’s race is sold out at its 7,000 cap, but everyone is encouraged to come out and cheer for the runners on race day at one of nine Cheer Sites along the course: There will also be a fun post-event party at Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place with music, yoga, food trucks and more.


For more information:  

Elite start list:

New Balance Becomes Official Sponsor of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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TORONTO June 5, 2017 – Global athletic leader New Balance will become the official Athletic sponsor of the IAAF Gold Label Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, in a new multi-year agreement announced today. In addition to financial support, New Balance will greatly enhance the complete runner experience from the moment training programs begin at Running Room stores the week of June 19th. Complementing the official training programs will be community events featuring athlete appearances and the chance to test-drive New Balance shoes and gear, all the way up to race day on October 22nd. New Balance will bring exciting activation to the Race Weekend Expo, including their innovative high-performance apparel that will feature in the event’s Official Merchandise Program. New Balance will also bring a range of activation to the race day experience including support for the Pacer Program in both the marathon and half marathon.

“This is a perfect partnership between two, globally recognized, premier running brands,” said Canada Running Series president, Alan Brookes. “Our values are so strongly aligned, with a passion for both sport and community – and a proven commitment to Canadian road running at all levels. New Balance has always been a strong supporter of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, at the Expo, and through the participation of their top Team NB sponsored athletes like Olympians Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet, Rachel Hannah and Dayna Pidhoresky. We’re excited to take this natural partnership to the next level and bring further benefits to all our participants.”

Eric Gillis echoes these sentiments: “I’m very excited with the news that New Balance, my favourite athletic brand, is partnering with Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which I’ve raced five times and where I’ve qualified for two Olympics. These two running obsessed brands will no doubt work magic together and take the STWM experience to another level. I proudly call this race my hometown marathon, and today, I’m feeling an even stronger connection to this wonderful event!”

“New Balance Canada is excited to partner with an iconic event like the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and connect with thousands of runners from all over the globe.  Our brand is synonymous with the sport and this partnership is a great step in helping us achieve our goal of being the World’s Best Running brand.  We look forward to working closely with the organizers and the Running Room to elevate the consumer experience and engage at all levels with athletes,” Jon Purdy, Sr. Marketing Manager, New Balance Canada.

New Balance is also the official shoe and apparel sponsor of New York Road Runners and the TCS New York City Marathon, the Virgin Money London Marathon, and the NN Marathon Rotterdam, as they continue to add strategic sponsorships in support of major marathons in leading cities worldwide.

Runners of all levels are encouraged to join in a very special Canadian running experience by registering for the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half Marathon or 5K at


About Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 7-race Canada Running Series. In 2016 it attracted 26,000 participants from 70 countries, raised $3.24 million for 182 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast was watched by more than 72,000 viewers from 129 countries.

About New Balance

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is the only major company to make or assemble more than 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the USA, which represents a limited portion of our US sales.  Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes Made in the USA. New Balance owns five factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 5,000 associates around the globe, and in 2015 reported worldwide sales of $3.72 billion. To learn more about New Balance, please visit and for the latest press information please visit

Media Contacts

Alan Brookes, Race Director, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, 416-464-7437

Victoria Siemon, Marketing Associate – Running, New Balance, 289-290-6063


Canadian Olympians Lanni Marchant and Reid Coolsaet reveal 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon finisher medals

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The 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K finisher medals were unveiled last Thursday night as more than 120 local runners led by the RunTOBeer crew and Canadian Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Lanni Marchant covered a mystery “reveal run” from Rorschach Brewery to the Leuty Lifeguard Station.

Built in 1920, the lifeguard station is an icon in The Beach neighbourhood and for Toronto’s waterfront. The medals – gold for the marathon; silver for the half; bronze for the 5K – were designed by Canada Running Series’ Inge Johnson. The design was based on a photograph by Beach artist and runner, Erwin Buck, taken one sunrise last September. “We’re thrilled to feature the Leuty Lifeguard Station on this year’s medal, and with the way the design has worked out,” said Race Director Alan Brookes. “Just like The Beach neighbourhood, its residents and businesses, the ‘Leuty’ is very special to us.”

Toronto is globally acclaimed as a waterfront city, a “city of neighbourhoods”, and The Beach is one of its finest. The Beach also comes at a critical point in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, between 30k and 35k, when runners can hit that legendary “wall”, only to have the great crowds in neighbourhood lift them and carry them to the finish.

This year’s medals are the 10th anniversary of the “Landmark Collectors’ Series”, all designed by Johnson, that has featured other famed Toronto icons such as Honest Ed’s, The Princes’ Gates at the Canadian Exhibition, and the Gooderham Flatiron Building.

The unveiling was done by Marchant and Coolsaet, who have been important parts of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon event. In 2013, Lanni ran 2:28:00 at the IAAF Gold Label race, to take out a 28-year old Women’s National Marathon Record. In 2011, Reid almost re-wrote Jerome Drayton’s 1975 Men’s Record, as he surged to take on the East Africans in The Beach section, before fading a little in the last 5k to come home 3rd (2:10:55) in a world-class field and book his ticket to the London Olympics.

The Olympians were joined in the ceremony by the artists/designer; Dr. Johanna Carlo and Jessica Wright, Director of the Beach Village Business Improvement Association and Paula Murphy of Pegasus, the neighbourhood charity for the race, who invited the world to run The Beach on October 22nd. On that day, some 26,000 runners of all abilities, from 70 countries are expected to earn one of these fabulous souvenir medals of the city and its marathon, and take them home around the globe.

For more information and entry:

Olympians Gillis and DuChene To Defend Toronto Waterfront 10K Titles

By | Elite Athletes, Toronto Waterfront 10K | No Comments

By Paul Gains

“I remember not knowing where the finish was,” says three-time Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis, laughing as he recalls his victory at the 2016 Toronto Waterfront 10K race.

“Any race I run it’s the kilometre markers I look at more than anything. I think I relied on that just a little too much last year. I knew where the start was, though!”

Gillis won the race in 29:23 and then spent time meeting and greeting fellow runners. The race provided both him and women’s winner Krista DuChene (33:50) with an opportunity to break up their Rio Olympic marathon training and be given a proper send off from the running community.

The pair return to the June 17 race, along with a brand new title sponsor lululemon, with the intention of defending their hard-won titles.

The 36-year-old Gillis, of course, finished an incredible 10th in the Rio Olympic Marathon, the best performance by a Canadian since Jerome Drayton’s 6th place in the 1976 Montreal Games. DuChene, meanwhile, was 35th in the women’s race in Rio. Knowing the Waterfront course a little more intimately this time should be an asset when they line up on University Avenue for the start.

Gillis says he enjoyed last years’ experience on the waterfront.

“I enjoyed the course,” Gillis continues. “It’s a little bit downhill at the start; the waterfront and the finish is great. It has a nice big open feel to it before and after the finish. I stuck around and shook a lot of hands. That was special, last year. A good vibe afterwards and having the kind of Rio sendoff for Reid (Coolsaet), Krista and I, was cool.”

Until a swelling of his achilles tendon interfered with his preparation, Gillis had intended to run the Boston Marathon last month but instead decided to give it a proper rest. Now his attention has turned to the IAAF World Championships in London in August, giving the Toronto Waterfront 10K much more importance as a proper fitness test.

“There is nothing like getting out there on a closed race course and getting in a race. Last year worked well and I believe it will this year,” Gillis adds. “Once I have begun a buildup for the marathon they are all pretty similar in terms of the commitment and the interest and the work that I put in for each marathon. So the Toronto Waterfront 10K will be pretty similar to last year in the way I approach it.”

Following the Olympic Games, Krista DuChene made some significant changes. First there was an amicable parting with long time coach, Rick Mannen, and her subsequent move to Speed River Track and Field Club, where she joins Gillis and six other Canadian Olympians under the guidance of Dave Scott-Thomas. Then, as a 40th birthday present, she spent a month training at a high-altitude camp in Kenya, something she has never done previously.

“I just felt that I needed the next level, kind of the next step. I didn’t want any regrets looking back on my career and I didn’t want to say ‘why didn’t I step out of my comfort zone?’” DuChene says of the changes. “I didn’t want to settle at a level because I was used to it. Knowing I probably have a couple of years of good marathoning left before I plateau, it was definitely the right time to do it.

“I think it’s safe to say my birthday gift was the trip to Kenya. I am thankful that my husband basically gave me his blessing to leave for a month – leaving him at home with the kids. It was a big commitment for him in order to support me, in order for me to be gone for a month. They gave me some earrings and I had some chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Pretty good for a 40th birthday present, if you ask me.”

The altitude training went well and she was in good shape to race at the London Marathon in April. But for the first time in her career, the Brantford, Ont. native experienced gastrointestinal issues while racing. A fall marathon is in the plans now. Nevertheless, she looks forward to racing the Toronto Waterfront 10K.

“I just love running races with the Canada Running Series,” she admits. “Toronto is close to home. I am somewhat familiar with the course and it will be good for me to do a race at a shorter distance off of three marathons since August.

“There are so many reasons I love CRS and choosing those events, so it just made sense to do that one. The timing was also appropriate. It will be almost two months since I ran in London.”


For more information and to join Olympians Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene at the Toronto Waterfront 10K, with title sponsor lululemon, go to

Advice From Your Local Running Store

By | Training Tips | No Comments

We’re fortunately to have some great independent running retailers in town, so we’ve decided to get some tips from them. Covering everything from shoe fitting to what clothing to wear, check back as we add a new feature each week!

The Right Shoe

Article courtesy of The Right Shoe

Your Right Shoe

“Your Right Shoe” Whether you are a marathoner or beginner, it is essential as a runner to be in the proper footwear. Matching a shoe’s properties with your running style and personal biomechanics will increase comfort, running efficiency, and contribute to decreasing the risk of injury.

When you have a standard pronation pattern you can run in a wide variety of shoes, but specialized neutral running shoes that offer optimal cushioning and support are most suitable, whether you’re a beginner or regular-marathoner. A neutral cushioned shoe lacks any additional stability, which promotes the natural motion of your foot. If you are a under pronator, (supinator) you also require a neutral shoe as you need a lot of cushioning to avoid impact injuries.

Both short and long distance runners would benefit from a more cushioned shoe. One of the more popular shoes in this category being the Asics GEL-Nimbus® 19, featuring the new FlyteFoam™ Technology, for optimal comfort and a responsive ride for the neutral runner, while a gradient jacquard-mesh upper is strategically tightened or loosened in zones to allow the foot’s natural motion. For the beginner, the extra cushioning will give optimal support as they build muscle strength. For the runner whose running in the upper end of 20 miles a week, a shoe with plenty of cushioning will act as a barrier between your body and the pavement, with more for your body to break down before it hits the road which gives your muscles a bit of a break.

However, some runners may like natural running shoes that provide a responsive feeling of ground contact. The Asics GEL-Cumulus® 18 shoe features rearfoot and forefoot GEL® cushioning for strike-specific shock attenuation to create smoother transitions. This shoe, among others in its category, are still considered neutral, and meant for a runner with a standard pronation pattern, but are just on a different level of cushioning, offering slightly less than shoes like the GEL-Nimbus® 19.

Now, what if you’re not a neutral runner or supinator? If your foot lands on the outside of the heel, and then rolls inward excessively, transferring weight to the inner edge instead of the ball of the foot, then you over pronate. If that is the case, the best shoe for you is one that offers more structure and support, referred to commonly as stability shoes. If you prefer a lightweight running shoe that provides a slightly more responsive sensation while running, try the Asics GT-2000™ 5, the shoe will offer optimal support without compromising any weight.

Or, for the higher mileage runner or someone in need of more cushioning can rack up the kilometers with the Asics GEL-Kayano® 23. Like others in this category, the shoe helps over pronators stay stable and comfortable over long distances with added cushioning technology, which helps the last mile be just as comfortable as the first.

The most important thing to remember when looking for running shoes, is what works for you. It is vital as a runner to have the proper footwear for your personal biomechanics and running style, as well as preference. Whether you are neutral, a supinator, an over pronator, someone who prefers less cushioning or more, the shoe needs to be right for you. How will you know the shoe is right for you? After you have visited your run specialist for their advice, do what a runner loves best—go for a run!

Fit First Footwear

Article courtesy of Fit First Footwear

The Importance of Accessories

As the sun starts to emerge and the temperature begins to climb, your running gear becomes more and more important. Hats, hydration packs, socks and other running accessories will play a big role in keeping you prepared and performing at your best in the summer months. Here at FitFirst Footwear, we offer you plenty of accessories from a wide range of brands to keep you comfortable.

To keep your feet cool and happy, consider a lightweight, moisture wicking sock that uses a polyester/nylon blend. Particularly with socks, avoid cotton as it can hold up to 5 times its weight in moisture and will put you at risk of blisters and overheating. The Asics Intensity sock comes in packs of 3 and is by far our best-selling sock for runners after a light feel at good value!

Running hats or other sun blockers are really important for summer races including the Scotiabank Vancouver ½ & 5k. Look for a hat that is lightweight and made of breathable fabrics to help stop the sun from affecting your performance. With mesh panels along the sides, Asics’ Mad Dash Cap has great ventilation and sweat-wicking ability. The gender-specific sizing and adjustable back make for a custom fit.

Finally, having a hydration strategy is extremely important while training in the summer months. Whether you choose a lightweight pack with a bladder, a running belt with bottles, or a hand held bottle solution, be sure to carry water and/or electrolyte drinks with you on your longer runs. The #1 challenge runners have is getting and staying hydrated which is paramount in avoiding muscle cramps, pulls and injuries!

Stop by the shop and check out our accessories wall to make sure you’re prepared for summer running in the lower mainland!

Rackets and Runners

Article courtesy of Rackets & Runners

Securing your Workout – Sports Bra Fitting

Without the proper support, sensitive breast tissue can tear and cause irreversible damage. The materials in a sports bra will wear out with use, just like with a pair of shoes. When your bra celebrates a birthday, it might be time to retire it to low impact activities.

Good breast health requires proper support for your unique size and shape. What works for Mary in a size 34B will surely be a disaster for Ellie who wears a 40DD.

Here are some quick tips and considerations for your next sports bra!

  • First off, don’t be shy to ask a Rackets & Runners sales associate for help. They will be more familiar with the products and make your fitting process more efficient.
  • Having a clear idea of what you are looking for in a bra and what type of physical activity it will be used for is critical.
  • When shopping, make sure you give yourself enough time. Rushing through a bra fit will leave you frustrated and walking away with the wrong fit!
  • When trying on bras, don’t be afraid to try different cup sizes. Most brands fit differently depending on their style and your individual body type.
  • If the bra chafes, allows excessive movement, rides up, or gapes under the arm, keep trying!
  • A proper fitting sports bra should fit more snug than a regular lingerie bra.
  • Breasts should be contained completely within the bra cups, with no overflow.
  • Underwire bras should sit next to the rib cage, directly below the breast tissue.
  • Wider straps provide comfort by distributing weight more evenly, thus helping to prevent back or shoulder discomfort.
  • With a properly fitted sports bra, you should be able to slip two fingers snugly between the band and the skin, as well as under the strap at the top of the shoulders.

Bra Tops and Shelf Bras
Both bra tops and shelf bras are designed for low impact activity. A bra top is a basic shelf bra that is sewn into a tank. Although sizing varies from extra small to extra-large, they will not provide maximum support for a cup size larger than B.

Support & Shape Bras
Support and shape bras are designed for medium to high impact. A wide range of supportive features includes; thicker straps, underwire, adjustable clasps, and racer back design. These types of bras range from A to DD, and sometimes E.

Compression and Full Motion Control Bras
Compression Bras are designed to firmly hold the breasts against the body and are ideal for high impact activities.
Some bras with full encapsulation and compression have underwire and are higher cut in the neckline to provide maximum support. These types of bras are best suited for women with cup sizes larger than a B.

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The Right Shoe

Article courtesy of The Right Shoe

A Runner’s Closet

If you were to open your closet at this moment, what would you see? Would you see a line of methodically organized sweaters? Would you see your clothing hung carelessly, stuffed and sprawled across the bottom? Would see an old varsity jacket that smells, among other things, of pride? Would you see a dress that you bought but never wore? Would you see a row of quirky ties that your kids got you, and keep giving you, every year on the same holiday?

Or, would you see a runner’s closet?

A runner’s closet, looks like any other closet, with a few exceptions. While every wardrobe on the block is filled with cotton-shirts and balls of lint, a runner’s closet has technicality. The shirts, pants, and socks, to begin, are never cotton but instead a polyester technical fabric. Why not cotton? Picture this, when you get out of the shower, dripping wet in all your glory, you reach for your favorite cotton towel, right? That reliable towel that does a fantastic job sucking up all that moisture off your body—stays wet. You need to toss the cotton when running for the same reason, because once cotton gets wet, it stays wet, which can be uncomfortable in warmer weather and dangerous in cold weather. Your skin is also more likely to chafe if you’re wearing cotton, spend some time at a finish line of a marathon and you will see the evidence of someone who thought their favorite cotton shirt would carry them through the race. It’s not pretty. Depending on the season, a runner’s closet will alter slightly, a short sleeve will become long and shorts might turn into tights, but no matter the season a runner understands the necessity of proper, technical clothing for their sport.

In the spring to summer months, a runner is most concerned with the weight of their clothing. In the hot weather, you want to feel like you’re wearing absolutely nothing—without terrifying your neighbors. So, instead of becoming a nudist, a runner’s closet is most likely to filled with technical tee-shirts, a specific polyester spun blend to wick away the sweat and ensure that they stay cool while their body warms from the exercise. As an everyday running tee, a runner is looking for a tee that has a soft, lightweight woven fabric with a host of premium design features and contains sun protection, such as UPF. Depending on temperature and preference, you’ll want to pair the tee with either shorts, with lightweight, quick-dry woven fabric and a liner, or a capri tight. Again, no sweatpants, no cotton, just a technical fabric.

For the fall to winter months, the most common trend among runners and their wardrobe is the layer. Depending on the distance you’ll be running and the temperature outside, a runner may carry through their summer wardrobe with a technical tee-shirt and capri. If you’re running at a slower pace, running a longer distance, or just get cold, adding a lightweight long sleeve or even half-zip to your wardrobe is always a good idea. However, it is significant to remember not to overdress, no matter the temperature outside. If you are going to be running in the dark, it is vital to be as visible as possible with technical material that also offers reflectivity. For our Vancouver climate, it is always a good idea to invest in a breathable waterproof or water-resistant jacket, that offers some rain protection, but can also easily wrap around your waist.

So how can you make a runner’s closet your own?

Technical materials don’t stop at tops and bottoms, there are many varieties of polyester spun fabrics that can be found at your favorite running store. As a runner, it is important to feel the difference it makes in everything from socks on your feet to the hat that you put on your head – and everything in between. That’s how a runner does it, and that’s how you do it!

Check back next week when we talk to one of our other local retailers, or head over here to see how FitFirst Footwear helps you choose the correct pair of runners.

The Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k is proud to be partnered with these fine local retailers!

The Right Shoe

How to Choose Running Shoes

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Advice from FitFirst Footwear

These days, with thousands of different models of shoes on the market, it’s virtually impossible for consumers to keep up and select on their own the most appropriate brand and model for their individual foot type and function.

Inappropriate, ill-fitting, or worn out shoes can increase the chance of injury. As well, over time, shoes lose their stability and capacity to absorb shock, which can dramatically increase stress to your feet and legs. These added stresses could lead to blisters and calluses as well as contribute to lower limb overuse injuries causing heel, arch and shin pain. Foot shape is only one factor which determines the type of athletic shoes this is best for you.

FitFirst Footwear strives stay on top of the latest trends and technologies and are there to assist with fit and recommend the most appropriate running and walking shoe for your foot type. Whether you are training for a certain event, getting ready for summer activities, or working your way back from an injury, our store’s staff is here to help!

Shoes Matter:

  • Many studies show that our quality of life is directly related to remaining active, with a long list of benefits from preventing heart disease to improving mental health. Proper fitting and functioning footwear is crucial to maintaining an active lifestyle and preventing exercise related injury.

Fit Matters:

  • Poor fitting footwear is a primary contributor to foot and ankle injury and can exacerbate many common health conditions. Foot size, forefoot width and arch type are essential measurements in a proper footwear fitting. But there is more to know about ensuring an ideal fit.
  • Black toenails and foot cramping are often signs that your shoes are too small or too narrow. When running, the more distance you cover during individual runs or walks the longer you shoe needs to be.
  • When cross training and moving laterally, look for a sturdy shoe with a snug fit that makes the foot feel as though it is taped within the shoe.

Your Health Matters:

  • At FitFirst Footwear, we know an annual foot measurement, and attention to your changing health needs, make a significant difference in choosing footwear to keep you active and injury free. Whether you wear orthotics, have arthritis, diabetes, or experience changes in your feet during pregnancy, our team will provide you with the knowledge you need and a level of service and customer care that stands above the rest.