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Philemon Rono to Defend Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Title

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By Paul Gains

A year ago Kenya’s Philemon Rono overcame a world class field, humid conditions – not to mention an incident with a traffic barricade – to capture the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a time of 2:08:27.

It was a remarkable achievement and one that was madly celebrated upon his return to Kaptagat in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley.

“There was great joy,” he recalls of being reunited with his training group back at the Global Sports training camp.  “We celebrated together and everybody was happy for me. Laban Korir was happy that the victory came back to Kaptagat.”

Now Rono has announced he will return to Toronto Waterfront to defend his title in this IAAF Gold Label race (October 22nd).

Amongst his training partners, Toronto is spoken of in respectful terms. Korir it will be remembered was the 2014 Toronto champion. It was he who had encouraged Rono to race in Canada’s biggest city after his own success there.

“I started training (for the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon) in June and my training is going along well,” Rono reveals. “I am just focusing on a great achievement. If the weather is good I will run my personal best. I am very excited to come back as I really enjoyed the race.”

Rono has a personal best of 2:07:07 recorded at the 2014 Hamburg Marathon. A year ago he also ran 2:07:20 in Hamburg while finishing second. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront course record remains 2:07:05 by Ethiopia’s Deressa Chimsa (2013) and there is a C$40,000 incentive for beating that time.

During his warm-up last year Rono managed to pull over a barricade that he was using to stretch against, it came down on his forehead and rendered him briefly unconscious. For a few frantic minutes his management consulted by overseas telephone on whether to allow him to run or not. The decision was taken to let him see how he felt during the first couple of kilometres. As we now know, he quickly recovered and was grinning ear to ear following the victory.

Rono is currently back at the Global Sports camp training with some of the world’s greatest runners. His roommate is Brimin Kipruto (2008 Olympic 3,000m Steeplechase champion). But the most famous training partner in the thirty-man group is the reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, who has had a profound impact on Rono and the others.

Philomen Rono with his training group in Kenya, including Eliud Kipchoge (front left) who ran 2:00:25 in the Nike Breaking2 attempt. Photo credit: Rosemarie Smit/Global Sports Communication

“He taught me to focus on what you want to do and want to achieve and to be disciplined,” Rono explains. Prior to his Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon debut Kipchoge had told Rono he believed he would win Toronto. “I want to be like him.”

“Mostly I stay there in the camp from Tuesday till Saturday full time. On Sunday and Monday I go home. I go home after the speed work on Saturday morning. I am married.”

Each athlete has specific duties and shared responsibilities. Rono, for example, is the camp treasurer and collects money from the others when necessary. When one among them has success somewhere in the world there is normally a celebration. This camaraderie has been responsible for numerous champions.

There is a vegetable patch which is tendered by the runners and they also have acquired some cows. And, they all ensure the camp stays clean which means rolling up their sleeves in various odd jobs – cleaning the outhouse included. A full-time cook prepares a balanced diet when the group is in camp.

The group is coached by the illustrious Patrick Sang, who won an Olympic silver and two World Championship silver medals for Kenya back in the 1990’s. His influence on the group is extraordinary from creating a tight relationship within the group to scripting their individual programs.

“Training starts at 6:00 a.m., Eliud is the one who wakes us every day at 5:45 a.m.,” Rono says. “After training we take breakfast (chai and bread), then we relax until lunch and around 4:00 p.m. we go for a recovery run.”

During the evenings, when there is some time for relaxation the athletes enjoy watching athletics, professional wrestling and soccer on television. Rono is a huge fan of Chelsea Football Club he says. While training for the marathon takes up most of his time he is also a member of the police force and reports for duty during his off season.

In the buildup to Toronto Waterfront he will continue training hard with his teammates. He will test himself with a half marathon race sometime in September and determine where his fitness lies. Earlier this year he ran 2:09:22 in Rotterdam finishing 8th. But there is much more on the line as defending Toronto champion.

Though he is still just 26 he sees himself running for another ten years and has dreams of following Kipchoge’s path.

“My dream is to run a time under 2:04,” Rono declares with confidence.  And once his competitive career comes to an end he has other plans.“I hope to be a coach in the future. But first I will focus on my athletics career.”

With the experience gained from racing and winning Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon a year ago, Philemon Rono will certainly be one to watch when the elite racers line up come October 22nd.

For more information and entry, see


About the 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.

Green Turns to Gold at 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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Organizers improve on past performance to earn gold level certification from the Council for Responsible Sport for Social and Environmental Initiatives

Eugene, OR—August 8, 2017—The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), held October 16, 2016 and hosted by Canada Running Series, has achieved Gold Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport (Council) by improving performance from its first certification effort (silver) in 2015. Organizers earned credit on 45 of the best practice standards offered in the Council’s certification program for social and environmental responsibility at sporting events, up from 38 achieved in 2015. The marathon, which hosted over 25,000 participants in 2016, remains the only certified event in Toronto out of over 150 total certified events worldwide.

Race Director Alan Brookes said “Canada Running Series is passionately committed to ‘building community through running’ – and that means the cities we live in as well as the sport we love. Sustainable communities; green, healthy cities for people, and the organizing of environmentally responsible runs are core values for us. We’re proud of this achievement for our city, and the certification will inspire us to do more.”

Certification is valid for two years. It is achieved by complying with criteria across five categories: planning and communications, procurement, resource management, access and equity and community legacy. Highlights from the event that earned credit towards certification included:

  • Continual improvements to a comprehensive solid waste management plan to strive for high rates of diversion from landfill. Green team members assisted with proper placement of garbage, recycling and compost at each waste station.
  • 135 pairs of lightly used running shoes were collected and redistributed through partner organization Community Education Services (CES) Canada, which provides secondary school education for youth orphaned in Kenya.
  • 740 pounds of food was donated to Second Harvest, a local food bank that distributes the food to those in need.
  • 1,200 local youth in grades 4-8 finished an active lifestyle training program by running in the 5K event weekend free. Canada Running Series covered all transportation costs, t-shirts, bib numbers and a nutritional snack, totaling around $36,000.
  • Canada Running Series staff coordinated a staff outing to clean-up a community park along the marathon route.
  • The Neighbourhood Challenge annually provides an opportunity for neighborhoods along the marathon route to gather and celebrate their communities by providing resources, coordination support and even prize money for categories including most people, most noise, best costumes and best entertainment.
  • Supported locally owned businesses such as Chiovitti Banana and Vert Catering through direct purchases and promotion.
  • The Scotiabank Charity Challenge helps to make runner’s participation meaningful by fundraising for causes important to them. Scotiabank adds an additional total of $33,000 in cash awards to the participating charities who recruit the most runners, fundraise the most dollars and who raise the most on average per fundraiser. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge is a turnkey fundraising program that provides a simple way for runners to support the charity of their choice and make a significant impact locally. Participating charities keep 100 per cent of the proceeds raised, as Scotiabank pays for all transaction and credit card fees.

“The Council for Responsible Sport congratulates Canada Running Series on this most recent accomplishment. It’s a group that has worked hard for many years now to think strategically about what it means to host events that truly support local economies, build community and reduce the environmental impacts of their planning and purchases. That’s the core of the responsible sport movement!” Said the Council’s managing director, Shelley Villalobos.

About the Council for Responsible Sport: 

The Council’s vision is a world where responsibly produced sports events are the norm and its mission is to provide objective, independent verification of the socially and environmentally responsible work event organizers are doing and to actively support event organizers who strive to make a difference in their communities. The current version of the Council’s Certification standards (v.4.2) was developed by an outside working group of both sustainability and sport industry experts, reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders throughout 2013 and implemented in January 2014.

About the 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.


England’s Top Marathoners to Challenge Canadians at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By: Paul Gains

Using the 2017 London Marathon as its selection event, England Athletics has chosen six athletes to represent the country at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, October 22nd.

The special relationship between the sports’ governing body and this IAAF Gold Label race has existed for more than a decade.

“It is very important to us,” says Charlotte Fisher, Road Racing Coordinator for the national federation. “We are trying to provide a proper international quality opportunity for our elite road runners and we are trying to link to our own England national championship so there is an incentive there for athletes who perform well at our national championships.

“It is an important stepping stone for our elite athletes of the future. For somebody like Anna Boniface or Tish Jones, it provides them an experience of competing abroad and all that goes with that, the travel, and preparing yourself for a proper championships with a view to hopefully seeing them on England and GB international teams in major championships in the future.”

The fact that Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront is an IAAF Gold Label race is heavily promoted amongst English international athletes. The team are treated as elite athletes and as such are entitled to their own specific fuel positions on the elite tables during the race. They also eat their meals with the large contingent of international stars at the race hotel.

“Some of the athletes that go hone that experience of being on the elite start line, dealing with water stations and the fact that it has that status definitely is a factor,” Fisher continues. “I think just that whole thing with dealing with traveling to the other side of the world and with a view of preparing people for future championships is important.”

Anna Boniface. Photo credit: Marathon Foto.

Named to the team bound for Toronto are Anna Boniface, Tish Jones, Jonathan Poole, Lee Grantham, Ben Johnson and Keith Gerrard. The latter, who represented the Isle of Man at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, is one to keep an eye on. He hasn’t really begun to explore his marathon potential having run the half marathon in 63:39. At present he is preparing for Toronto from his training base in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Tracy Barlow is an example of how the relationship with Toronto has benefited English athletes. Two years ago she ran 2:38:49 in Toronto as part of the England team, a 13-minute personal best. Earlier this year she was picked to represent Great Britain at the 2017 World Championships after improving to 2:30:42 at London Marathon in April.

Boniface, who is fairly new to the marathon, knocked almost nine minutes off her personal best at London with a time of 2:37:07. The Reading Athletics Club athlete has the benefit of being able to ‘gather intelligence’ from her personal coach Rob McKim who was England team coach last year in Toronto.

“I am still quite young for a marathoner. I am 26 I have only done two marathons,” she admits.  “The big things I am still learning are the feeding strategy, and also the pacing strategy. I went into London with more of a kind of a racing target and thinking about my splits. I was just there to race it. It was more of a risky strategy.

“So, for Toronto, I might have to think differently about how I target it. Because I am in the elite field – one of the first times I have done that – I will be thinking about drink stations rather than having to load myself down carrying the gels and things. You actually get to have designated athlete drink stations to work off, so I am going to be looking at changes in my training.”

Tish Jones. Photo credit: Roger Sedres/Gallo Images.

Possibly the most anticipated performance is expected to come from Tish Jones who ran 2:36:13 in her debut to win the Cape Town Marathon last September. Then, in her second marathon this Spring, she ran 2:33:56 in London. A member of Belgrave Harriers she has traveled the African continent in recent years before settling in South Africa.

“It was a delight to be selected to represent England at such an established event,” she said recently. “My goal would be to run under 2:35 if I am in good form. The experience of participating means a huge deal to me. I love to travel and I love to run. To visit this part of Canada and to race will be an amazing achievement for me.”

Jones will be easily identified: she bears a tattoo down her right forearm with the words ‘to travel around the world’ written in the language of all the countries she has visited.

Although there will be the usual contingent of East African stars lining up in Toronto the England team will more likely be competitive with the next generation of Canadian marathoners during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon.

At this point Canadian women will include the previously announced 2016 Canadian Olympian Krista DuChene, debutant Lyndsey Tessier, who recently won the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon, Melanie Myrand and Arianne Raby. The latter ran 1:15:56 to place third at the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal this year.

Leading Canadian men include Speed River Track Club’s upcoming duo Rob Winslow (2:19:00 at the 2015 Rotterdam Marathon) and John Mason whose personal best is ‘only’ 2:22:35 but who recently ran an encouraging personal best of 67:41 at the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal.  Fellow Speed River athlete Trevor Hofbauer has a personal best of 64:30 for the half marathon and will make his much awaited 42km debut after representing Canada in the IAAF World Cross-Country in Kampala, Uganda in March.

While the battle for prize money will invariably be sorted between the East African stars at the front, this England – Canada confrontation represents a splendid sub plot.

For more information & entry to this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half & 5K



Krista DuChene

One Last Push: Krista DuChene

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By: Paul Gains

Athletes aren’t always the best judge of when it’s time to retire but 2016 Canadian Olympian Krista DuChene has no false illusions.
Seven months past her 40th birthday the second fastest female Canadian marathoner of all time acknowledges she is ‘plateauing’ and with that in mind is pouring all her efforts into one last sublime performance at the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The race, set for October 22nd, has once again earned an IAAF Gold Label.

“This is probably my last attempt at a PB (personal best),” DuChene declares. “I feel like this is where I am giving 100% one last time. And, I am not saying I am retiring or giving up on a chance to make a world championship team, but this is where I am going to give everything to run as fast as I can and then just take it from there.”

Four years ago she recorded her personal best time of 2:28:32 in Toronto, four seconds faster than Sylvia Ruegger’s Canadian Record but was beaten to the line by Lanni Marchant (2:28:00). Given her declared intent to chase her personal best the Canadian record would be a suitable target, one would think. DuChene, articulate as ever, declines the bait.

“When I am asked that it comes down to ‘do you want to beat Lanni?’ And no I don’t want to just go out there and beat Lanni,” DuChene clarifies. “She’s a phenomenal runner and well deserving of that record. I want to run as fast as Krista DuChene can run.”

Following the Rio Olympics, where she finished 35th in 2:35:29, DuChene turned to Dave Scott-Thomas for coaching after a long and successful relationship with Rick Mannen. Though she is clearly grateful for Mannen’s commitment she says she felt she needed to grow and try a new approach. Scott-Thomas had seven athletes on the 2016 Olympic team including marathoners Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet.

Over the winter DuChene traveled to Kenya for her first ever experience with high altitude training, running as much as 190 kilometres a week. She expected that the tremendous work would bear fruit at the London Marathon in April. But, for the first time in her career, she fell victim to gastrointestinal problems during the race and faded to 2:43:31.

“Reid (Coolsaet) said it’s almost like I have taken two steps forward and one back,” DuChene recounts. “The one step back was my performance in London. I think that is true. I believe I have grown so much even as an experienced marathoner at the age of 40 I can apply that again and there are still benefits I can gain from that experience.”

One thing she learned is how much she enjoys running in Toronto which is only an hour’s drive from her Brantford, Ontario home.

“I must say I am excited to run Toronto because, when I was in London, even though it’s such a prestigious race with such an amazing elite field, I was lacking that healthy pressure I get in Toronto,” she explains.

“When I was there I was no one. It’s not that I needed to be going to the race expo and being busy with all that stuff, but it was so relaxed. It was too relaxed. There was no element of accountability with the home town crowd or knowing that I would have family at the finish line that I could hug when I finished, or, seeing people along the route cheering for me and just giving me that extra push.

“You don’t get that anywhere in the world other than in Toronto for me. That’s why I am returning to do this race again. I could pick any race in the world to do and this is the one I choose.”

Under her new program DuChene is covering more mileage than ever. On her summer schedule she rises at 5am so she can run and then be ready to spend the day with her three children who are on summer break. Afternoons may be spent at her sister-in-law’s pool down the road. Occasionally she drives to Guelph for key workouts with Scott-Thomas.

As her children grow up she realizes she has been sacrificing home life to get the most out of her running career. Now as they are 11, 9 and 6 years of age she embraces the change to come.

“One thing that makes me feel this is my last attempt at running my fastest I want to save some energy. I want to be able to ski with my kids and not worry about injury,” she reveals. “I want to be able to go for ice cream when they are going for ice cream, Those are some of the things I don’t want to look back on and say ‘I wish I had spent more time with my kids.’

“When I went to Kenya, Johnathan took the kids out to Calgary to ski.  And there was this little video clip of the kids coming down. It was the sweetest thing. One of my kids said ‘it would be so much fun if mum was here.’ It didn’t upset me; it kind of resonated with me. I don’t want to look back and wish I had taken a bit more of physical risk with my kids. That is something I have definitely had to sacrifice. I want to have more energy to give them.”

DuChene will make those sacrifices one last time and hope that her health and the racing conditions in Toronto are optimal so she can run faster than ever. It’s her fifteenth marathon in fifteen years. It could be a one heck of a climax to an Olympian career.

To join Krista on the start line, or get more information on Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon see


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.

Exercises to Improve Hip Stability in Runners

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The Centre for Sport and Recreation Medicine has been a proud medical sponsor of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for 15 years. We’ve had the privilege of helping many runners make it to the start line and watch thousands of runners cross the finish line every year. New this year, we’re partnering with Canada Running Series to provide a monthly blog to support runners preparing for the race. Whether this is your first 5K or your 50th marathon, we wish you well in reaching your goal!

By: Darryl Reid, MScPT 

What this Physiotherapist learned about hip strength from looking at his own race photos. 

After finishing a sprint triathlon 5 years ago, I was surprised by what I saw in a race photo taken of me during the final kilometre of the run.  In the photo, you could see I was weight bearing on my right leg during the mid-stance of my stride.  My left hip was dropped compared to my right, and my knee looked like it was caving in towards the mid-line of my body.

Not only did this explain why I was having some hip pain after the event, it also demonstrated to me that the endurance of my lateral hip stabilizers was not up to par.

As running is really just alternate single leg stance, it is very important for runners to have good strength and great endurance of the lateral muscles that stabilize the hip.

A lot of runners that I see feel that they don’t need to perform any lower body strengthening exercises because “I run, my legs are strong.”  This is typically true; runners usually have excellent strength in the muscles groups that help propel them in a forward direction while running.  But what we as Physiotherapists commonly see is a relative weakness in the lateral stabilizers of the hip musculature of runners, especially those rehabbing from an injury.

When I speak about the lateral or outside muscles of the hip, what I’m referring to is the hip abductors, more specifically the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.  These muscles help to stabilize the lower limb while standing on one leg and prevent the large bone of your leg, the femur, from rotating inwards which can cause a poor force on the knee.

The following is a progression of exercises to target the hip abductors.  The first exercise in this serious was presented in our last blog by my colleague Alison Pinto.

As always, the following exercises are not for everyone, if you experience pain with any of these do not perform them.  If new to exercise please consult a healthcare provider for proper guidance.

Clamshell: Keep your back still, you should feel the muscles in the back of the hip working as bring the top knee away from the bottom 3 sets of 10 reps on left and right 3 times a week.

Bridge with alternate leg extension: Lift your tailbone off the ground to the bridge position.  Do not extend through the lower back as you bridge.  Once in the bridge position, extend the right leg, make sure to keep your pelvis level (as if you are balancing a tray on your belt line) as the leg is extended.  Bring the right leg down and perform the same extension with the left side.  That is one rep.  Lower back down to the start position with the back flat on the ground 3 sets of 8 reps 3 times a week.

Side stepping with resistance band: Place a resistance band around your legs just above your knees. Slightly bend your hips and knees into an athletic ready posture.  Slowly and with control step out with one leg to the side.  Bring the opposite leg in the same direction to get back into the athletic posture.  You should feel the muscles working in the outside of your hip.  Take 5 steps to the left and 5 to the right, that is one set.  Perform 4 sets.

Single leg ¼ squat on chair:  Start with one leg forward in a lunge position and the opposite rested on a chair.  The front knee should be in line with the mid aspect of the same foot.  Keep tall through you spine and try to keep your pelvis level. Perform a ¼ squat on the leg that is forward.  Try to keep you knee in line with your hip as well.   The knee should not travel over the toes.   You should feel the muscles in the outside part of the hip on the leg that is forward.   Perform 3 sets of 6 reps on each leg.

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: