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Isn’t all that running bad for your knees?

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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: Alison Pinto, PT, FCAMPT, CAT(C)
Physiotherapist, Athletic Therapist

Good-intentioned people (typically non-runners) often advise runners to be wary of running so much because of the harm it will do to one’s knees.  While it’s assumed that pounding the pavement also results in pounding the cartilage of the knees, eventually leading to arthritis, this is not the case. In a recent study comparing runners and non-runners, Lo et al. determined there was no increased risk of symptomatic arthritis in runners and that running does not appear to be detrimental to the knees. Similarly, Chakravarty et al. looked at x-rays for a group of long distance runners and non-runners over almost twenty years and determined that runners did not develop arthritis at an accelerated rate compared to non-runners. It’s believed that running could even be protective against arthritis since running assists in maintaining a healthy weight and keeps muscles strong, thereby decreasing load on the joints.

Strong Glut Medius – Proper alignment

That being said, knee pain in runners must be common enough to coin the term “runner’s knee”. This type of injury (also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, or PFPS) is characterized by pain in the front of the knee around the knee cap. Pain usually occurs while bending the knee, such as squatting, going down stairs, or running. While the pain can be sharp and hinder day to day activities, this type of injury is usually the result of a muscle imbalance and not structural damage to the knee. Since running is a forward motion, runners tend to develop tightness in the muscles that move the hip in that direction, namely the iliopsoas (hip flexor) and tensor fascia lata. Conversely, muscles that control the lateral mobility of the hip (gluteus medius and mimimus) are underused and become weaker. However, those lateral muscles are important to stabilize the pelvis and knee while running.

Weak Glut Medius- Leads to hip drop and knee collapse.

To test how strong your lateral muscles are, stand in front a mirror with your hands on the top of your hip bones. Now bend your right knee to lift the right foot off the ground. Ideally your hips should remain level and your knee should remain over the ankle

If your right hip dropped it indicates weakness in your left hip stabilizers. Hip drop leads to the knee collapsing inwards when all the weight is on that leg. As a result, the knee cap (patella) rubs against the ridges of the thigh bone (femur) instead of gliding smoothly in the groove. This leads to the sharp pain that is felt when bending the knee.

If you found that you were weak on one (or both) side, try this strengthening exercise:

  • Lie on your side with hips and knees bent slightly. Ensure shoulders, hips and heels are all in a straight line.
  • Keeping the feet together, lift the top knee as high as possible without rotating backwards through the pelvis. Ensure you feel the muscles of the buttocks and not the front of the hip working.

Repeat 3 sets of 10-15 reps, or as many as you can do with good form.

Don’t let runner’s knee hold you back. See one of our highly-trained therapists who can determine if you have any muscle imbalances which may be impacting your running. Visit our website at to book your appointment today.


Chakravarty, E. (August 2008). Long Distance Running and Knee Osteoarthritis: A prospective Study. American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 35(2), 133-138.

Lo, G. (February 2017). Is There an Association Between a History of Running and Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis? A Cross-Sectional Study From the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care & Research, 69(2), 183-191.

Scotiabank Charity Challenge helps Charities take Giant Steps in Fundraising

By | Scotiabank Charity Challenge, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | No Comments

By: Amy Friel

When Giant Steps Toronto took to the streets more than ten years ago as part of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the prospect of raising more than a million dollars towards their cause was little more than a pipe dream.

Founded in 1995, the York Region-based school and therapy centre offers an integrated program of academics along with speech, behavioural, and occupational therapies for elementary school students with autism. Amidst the hundreds of official charities who participate in the Charity Challenge each year, they’re a comparatively modest operation – but their more than ten years of participation in the event has had a decidedly significant impact.

“In the beginning, it was just kind of a group of parents of kids with autism,” recalls Joanne Scott-Jackson, the Director of Development for Giant Steps Toronto. “But we got really enthusiastic, and we raised $20,000 that first year.”

Since their Charity Challenge debut in 2004, Giant Steps Toronto has raised more than $1.1 million in funding for their programs. They’re the smallest charity by far to make it into the Charity Challenge’s “Million Dollar Fundraising Club”. For a local organization with limited resources, it’s a fundraising opportunity that could never have been possible without the marathon’s help.

“Events are kind of risky prospects for many charities, particularly small ones who have limited resources,” Scott-Jackson explains. “You have to have a lot of skill to pull these events together; they’re risky, they’re time-consuming, and they can be costly as well. So for a small charity like us to be able to piggyback onto such an established, world-renowned fundraising and athletic event, the opportunity is very unique.”

For more than 550 official charities who participate annually in six community road races across Canada, the Scotiabank Charity Challenge offers the opportunity for a large-scale fundraising event that’s both low-cost and low-risk, allowing organizations to invest their resources into fundraising rather than logistics. For Giant Steps Toronto, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has become their largest annual fundraising event, accounting for about 20% of their yearly fundraising dollars.

And while impressive, their success story is far from unique.

“Since we launched the Scotiabank Charity Challenge in 2003, runners in six community races across the country have collectively raised more than $50 million for community charities,” says Kyle McNamara, Scotiabank’s Executive Vice-President, Global Retail Banking Technology.

To help charities maximize their dollars raised, Scotiabank covers the cost of transaction fees, and offers additional team awards and incentives, complete with cash prizes, to those participating in the Charity Challenge.

“Scotiabank believes in giving back to the communities where we live and work,” says McNamara, an avid runner himself. “The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is more than a great running event – through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, the race raises money for local charities that help to create a stronger future for young people and build vibrant communities.”

For Joanne Scott-Jackson, the event has become a true community celebration, drawing together a diverse collection of individuals who have a deep personal connection to her organization and its work.

“A lot of people who run or walk with us are parents of kids with autism, or family members, or friends, or staff,” she says. “A lot of them have very intimate connections with our charity, and very direct connections with the kids who are benefiting from our program.”

Ever the enthusiastic bunch, Giant Steps Toronto fielded a team of 139 participants in last year’s race – the charity with the largest amount of fundraising participants in the 2016 Charity Challenge, for which they were awarded an additional $6,000 towards their fundraising campaign. The award was the latest in what has become a strong tradition of excellence for the Giant Steps Toronto team, which has now taken home fundraising  prizes nine times over their twelve years participating.

For Race Director Alan Brookes, the Scotiabank Charity Challenge is a particular point of pride, one that embodies the spirit of Toronto’s marquee marathon weekend. At once a celebration of individual endeavour and community engagement, it allows athletes of all abilities to unite in support of the causes closest to their hearts.

“This is always an exciting time – the beginning of training and fundraising for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Charity Challenge,” says Brookes. “We all share so many hopes and dreams. Very best wishes to everyone on our road to October 22nd. There, we will come together, with one goal: to make our community a better place, and celebrate your achievements. Let’s do this together!”

Runners interested in making their steps (both giant and otherwise) count this fall are invited to register for the race and sign up for the Scotiabank Charity Challenge:

Remembering Ed Whitlock. By Kate Van Buskirk

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By Kate Van Buskirk

I don’t remember when I first learned who Ed Whitlock was, but I do know that for most of my growing up he held almost mythical status in my mind. As a young runner, hearing my dad—an avid marathoner himself—talk about Ed with great reverence forged an image of part-man, part-wing-footed spirit, gliding tirelessly for hours each day along serene cemetery roads, breaking this monotonous habit only to go off and capture world records. My interactions with other members of the Canadian running community over the years have lead me to believe that I was not alone in this impression.

When I finally met Ed in person and heard him speak at the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) elite athlete press conference, my perception of the man only grew more complicated. First off, he arrived in a suit and tie to contrast starkly with the jeans and athletic gear donned by every other runner.

At first glance he appeared almost stoic, standing expressionless off to one side of the room, not seeming particularly comfortable or pleased with the media buzz. But if his initial appearance was somewhat severe, everything changed when he obligingly engaged with the journalists and race organizers, his face softening into a kind smile whenever someone approached him. He was soft-spoken and deliberate, answering questions openly and without a hint of self-importance. When asked about his preparation for the marathon last fall, he mentioned an injury that had set him back, saying that that it was very frustrating not to have been able to put in as many 3-hour training runs as he would have liked, but that he supposed “this sort of thing happens as you get older.” He said that last part with a chuckle.

This juxtaposition of a publicly venerated legend with an almost comically dry and understated persona seemed consistent with Ed’s approach to being a runner more generally. By all accounts, he was austere and disciplined in his training, often saying that he didn’t particularly enjoy the rigours of hard running but was rather compelled to regiment by the desire to draw the best out of himself come race day. But he also strongly downplayed, or even flat-out dismissed, any reference to heroism or inspiration. This, despite countless world masters and age group records, including perhaps his most newsworthy accomplishments: Ed was the first, and remains the only septuagenarian to run under 3 hours for the marathon. He did this three times. 2:59:10 at STWM 2003; 2:54:49 at STWM 2004; and 2:58:40 at Rotterdam 2005.

My role as social media lead for the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon included conducting post-race interviews for the live broadcast, granting me an all-access media pass to the finish line area. The top elites crossed the line to tremendous fanfare, cheered on my throngs of excited fans, media and agents. They conducted their interviews before being whisked away to Nathan Phillips Square for the awards presentation, the cameras and excitement following close behind.

With my on-camera responsibilities completed, I wandered back to the finish line to cheer on the masses and ride out the incredible energy of the morning. I approached the line just in time to hear the announcement that Ed Whitlock was less 1 kilometre away, and was on pace to annihilate the 85+ world record. Annihilate was a good word for it.

Ed bettered the previous record by over 30 minutes, dipping well under 4 hours in the process. Unlike the professional runners whose finish line experiences had been rife with pomp and ceremony, Ed sauntered into the chute accompanied by three fellow competitors (at least 40 years his junior) to the applause of a handful of dedicated fans. He stopped his watch, posed graciously for a few official photos, then asked if he could please have a cup of water. He demanded no attention, his signature grin acting as his only expression of celebration. But amongst those of us who were fortunate enough to bear witness to his feat, the atmosphere was palpable and the feeling was communal: deep respect. It is a memory that I am grateful for and will carry with me throughout my own running career.

Photo Credit: Kate Van Buskirk

Ed may not have seen himself as an inspiration, but he has been exactly that to me for as long as I’ve been a runner. His fortitude, his refusal to acknowledge age as a limiting factor, and his sheer love of running–whether based on compulsion or otherwise–all speak to me deeply and will continue to inspire me as long as I’m a runner (hopefully until I’m 86!)

A few moments later and with all signs of exertion eradicated, Ed spoke on camera with Canadian Running Magazine. He rested casually against the fence as if he were having an impromptu mid-day chat with a friend rather than having just completed a marathon faster than most people can dream of in their lifetimes. He spoke about having to be mentally tough and push through the hardest kilometres of the race when he wasn’t sure that he would be able to finish, something that runners of every level can relate to. And in my mind, that was the quiet heroism of Ed Whitlock: his humanity, his relateability, and his desire to be better at every age.

Natasha Wodak To Run Race Roster Spring Run-Off

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By: Paul Gains

Over its four-decade history the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8km has seen world champions and record holders dueling with the nation’s best in a race which traditionally kicks off the racing season.

This year marks the 40th running of the prestigious event – the second with Race Roster as title sponsor – and Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak is making her debut (Saturday April 8th).

Wodak is the Canadian 10,000m record holder (31:41.59) and represented Canada at the Rio Olympics finishing 22nd in the 10,000m. In addition, she holds the Canadian best performance at the 8km road distance (25:28).

Most athletes turn up here to Toronto’s High Park wondering what kind of shape they have managed after the winter. Though she always delivers a stellar performance on the roads she too is approaching the race cautiously.

“I haven’t raced since September,” the 35 year-old admits. “I was looking for something a little less than a 10k and this race is part of the Canada Running Series. I like all of (race director) Alan Brookes’ events and I thought it would be a good start to my season. It’s something I have never done before and I always like going to Toronto.

“I had surgery on my right toe on December 23rd. I have really bad arthritis in my toe joints and it ended up fracturing the toe. There was a piece of bone fragment that had to be removed and then they shaved down the bone spur to increase the mobility in the toe joint.”

She believes that the toe issue lay at the cause of several injuries the past few years including plantar fasciitis and a couple of stress fractures. These prevented her from a lengthy block of uninterrupted training which begs the question: what could she accomplish fully fit?

Now, well recovered, Wodak has slowly increased her mileage with a berth at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London remaining the year’s top priority. She qualified with her performance in the Rio Olympics (31:53.14).

“I just want to get in a race, a hard effort under my belt, to start this season,” she says of the Race Roster Spring Run Off.  “I was going to open at (her hometown) the Vancouver Sun Run but I really want to do well at the Sun Run so I thought I need one race before it. I thought this is perfect, a race I haven’t done before.”

The reputation of the Race Roster Spring Run Off is well known to Wodak. The women’s outstanding course record of 25:50 was set in 1990 by Britain’s Jill Hunter (now Boltz) while the men’s record is held by Daniel Komen of Kenya, an equally remarkable 22:35.  Such is the calibre of some of these champions that three years later Komen was both world 5000m champion and world 5000m record holder.

The race was founded in 1978 as a means for RMP, the Canadian distributor of Brooks Shoes, to promote the brand while putting something back into the sport. Mike Dyon, himself a former national marathon champion, remembers the race’s inauguration well. As one of the principals of RMP Athletic Locker – along with his father Robert and brother Paul – he founded the race with the help of his club, Etobicoke Striders.

Dyon says they were pleased with how quickly the race grew into one of the biggest local races reaching 1,000 plus entries within the first few years. Held inside the park, it affords spectators many opportunities to see the race. He also fondly remembers his late father’s idea of giving out maple syrup to the top ten finishers. This has become a race tradition.

“He also came also up with the idea of having a bagpiper pipe everybody down to the starting area,” Dyon adds.

In 1981 the race became the first in Canada to offer prize money, helping turn the tide towards professionalism.

Former Canadian 1,500m record holder, Dave Reid, a club mate of the Dyon brothers, has attended and volunteered at all but one of the races. The athletic performances of the superstars like Komen, the US’s  Ed Eyestone, and 1995 world 10000m champion Sally Barsosio, are well etched on his mind.

In 1994 Barsosio, he remembers, had to be coaxed out of the Grenadier Restaurant where she was sheltering from the bitter cold. Even though she missed the start she went on to win the race. Three years later she was crowned world 10000m champion.  But his personal highlight was the 2003 edition held in the aftermath of a devastating ice storm.

“I get up Saturday morning, ice everywhere, and get to the park at 4:00 a.m.,” Reid remembers. “The main maintenance guy had actually pulled two massive plows and salters off the main streets. They were working like mad all throughout the night, right up till the 10:00 a.m. race time.

“At 8:00 a.m. the police wanted to cancel the event and I told them that it would be safe by race time. The workers salted and plowed the two huge hills about ten times and sure enough the race went off. I still can’t believe we pulled it off or that 1,400 runners showed up.”

That infamous Spring Hill Road has seen many a fine runner humbled. Organizers have capitalized on this with a ‘Kill the Hill Challenge’ whereby runners can compare their times up the 365 metre long climb. The prize, naturally, is a bottle of maple syrup.

This year, following the race all participants and their families and friends can head over to Henderson Brewing Company for a complimentary beer. The brewery is also providing a Grand Prize to the top fundraising team at the Race Roster Spring Run Off.

Another addition to the event is a free training run led by 2016 Canadian Olympian Genevieve Lalonde and Tribe Fitness this Saturday morning, March 18th.

And so Wodak is stepping into a race with illustrious history and charm relishing the opportunity. Like all Olympians she has extraordinary ambition for the upcoming year.

“Obviously the World Championships this summer,” she explains. “I already have the qualifying time. So that is awesome.  I would like to get fully healthy and run a fast 10k and hopefully a fall marathon.”

The Race Roster Spring Run Off will give her an indication of her progress towards these goals.


To run with Natasha Wodak at the Race Roster Spring Run Off or for more information on the Training Run:

Ed Whitlock Dies at 86

Legend Ed Whitlock Dies at Age 86

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Ed Whitlock

Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Just a week after his 86th birthday the ever so gracious and remarkably talented long distance runner Ed Whitlock has died at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.

In a statement issued this morning his family wrote:

“The family of Ed Whitlock is saddened to report his passing on March 13, 2017, of prostate cancer at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His 86th birthday was on March 6th. His wisdom, guidance and strength of character will be greatly missed by his wife Brenda, sons Neil and Clive, and sister Catherine. The family requests privacy at this time.”

Although he was an accomplished British club runner in high school and in university Whitlock put the sport on hold while he embarked on an engineering career in Canada. As a master’s runner, he quickly established his credentials becoming the first septuagenarian to go under the 3-hour mark with a 70+ world marathon record of 2:59:10 at the 2003 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, an event to which he became particularly attached.

Ed Whitlock

Credit: Greg Henkenhaf/Canada Running Series

A year later he improved that record with a 2:54:49 at age 73, again in Toronto. Eventually he set world master’s marathon records for age 75+, 80+ and, most recently, 85+ with a time of 3:56:38 M85 last October 16th, 2016 in Toronto. In all he set roughly 25 world master’s records over distances from 1,500m to the marathon.

Alan Brookes, the race director of the Toronto event, an IAAF Gold Label race the past three years, enjoyed a longstanding friendship with Whitlock.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ed Whitlock, The Master. The Legend. This is an enormous loss to Canada and the global running community. Somehow we thought Ed would just go on setting records forever. We are especially saddened at Canada Running Series.

“We grew up with Ed. He won many of his 20+ year-old shoes at our Series’ races in the ’90s and, in many ways, he defined our Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. He will always be a vital part of the identity and spirit of that race.

“In 2003 Ed shocked the entire running world when at age 72 years he ran 2:59:10 at STWM, to become the first 70-year old on the planet to go under the magical 3-hour mark. Ed was, overnight, every marathon runner’s hero. He then ran the 2:54 with us the next year – a race he often said was his finest performance.

Ed Whitlock

Credit: Photo Run

“Over the next couple of years, the STWM grew from 935 to 2,526 participants and keeps growing. ‘Don’t limit yourself,’ was one of Ed’s key messages, and it was one we latched onto. It gave us the vision and the inspiration of what STWM could become.

“We travelled many miles together. He will be deeply missed, but his indomitable spirit, his love of racing, his modesty and inspiration, and so many unforgettable Ed memories, will be with us always.”

Whitlock’s story has been told in periodicals around the world. He lived a hundred yards from Milton’s Evergreen Cemetery where he did his daily training. It consisted of laps of the cemetery for hours. With his customary sense of humour he called it ‘very fast walking.’

“I actually got up to three and a half hours this time,” he said after his most recent marathon record. “The thing is three hours doesn’t do it any more. That’s the hell of it. I need four hours now. And it’s only going to get worse.”

Ed Whitlock

Credit: Action Sports International

At races all over the world he was approached by runners of all ages who wanted pictures with him as well as autographs. The attention made him a little uncomfortable.

“I don’t know how to respond to them. Well how do you respond to that?” he said with a laugh. “I suppose it’s nice for people to say I inspire them but I am somewhat embarrassed and I don’t know what the appropriate response is to that.

“I don’t consider myself to be an inspiring person. I am not one to stand up on the stage and say ‘you all can do this.’”

An inspiration to millions around the world, a reluctant one perhaps, but a gracious one nonetheless.

Article by Paul Gains

Running Solo

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By: Katrina Allison, Speed River Track and Field Club.
Photo Credit: Michael P Hall.

My name is Katrina Allison, and I am a 10,000m runner with Speed River TFC. I was born in Vancouver where I was introduced to the sport through the Thunderbirds Track Club, and then attended the University of Guelph where I competed for four and a half years as a Gryphon. Recently I have taken on my next academic chapter, where I am studying to become a naturopathic doctor in Toronto. I am now running post-collegiately, and am still coached by Dave Scott-Tomas and the Speed River group in Guelph. I’m currently gearing up for an outdoor track season after suffering an injury that put me out for the 2016 season.

Most runners would agree that running is an activity best enjoyed alongside their closest training partner or community running group. However, many of us will find ourselves lacing up alone at some point or another. While having a training group provides structure, a social outlet, and a little friendly competition, running on your own can also have benefits. The key is approaching solo workouts with the right mindset.

  • Stick to a schedule. If training on your own for an extended period of time, the flexibility of being able to fit workouts and runs into your own personal timetable is a definite plus, however it can also lead to a loss of accountability. If you procrastinate a run because there’s no group to notice your absence, it may lead to runs being skipped or pushed off. I recommend planning out your week’s workouts ahead of time. That way you can still navigate social events, work or school obligations, all while ticking off your training plan.
  • Download an upbeat playlist. Or don’t! If the hardest part of a solo run is getting out the door, having some tracks on hand that energize you and make you want to move can definitely do the trick. That being said, don’t be afraid of running sans tunes. You’ll be amazed at how therapeutic a run can be when you allow your mind to wander without the bombardment of the latest beats. Before you know it, you’ll be back at your door with a clearer mind and a few km’s in your legs.
  • Use GPS sparingly. Without the pressure of your training partner breathing down your neck, it may seem difficult to push yourself to the pace you know you’re capable of running. This is when a GPS watch can help give you an indicator if you’re way off pace, or right where you need to be. If you know what pace you normally run with a group, you can use that as a bench mark for solo workouts. But don’t berate yourself if you’re a second or two off pace; the mental toughness aspect of your workout is definitely higher than when you’re just coasting behind your workout buddy.
  • Change it up. Workouts can get monotonous when you don’t have playful banter to make the miles blow by. It may be helpful to constantly keep your body and mind guessing by trying new things. If the thought of doing the same set of mile repeats around the same park at the same time every Tuesday makes you sick to your stomach, it’s definitely time for some creativity. Hit the track one week, followed by trails the next. Throw in some hills, try change of pace workouts, find a cross training modality, and add in some strength training. Your fitness and your sanity will thank you.
  • Appreciate the chance to listen to your body. As much as running with others helps us to push ourselves, it can also cause us to push ourselves too hard. Training solo even one or two days a week can help you stay in tune with what you’re body is telling you, and give you the chance to comply with your body’s needs. You may even notice earlier indicators of overuse injuries that would have been drowned out by the latest recount of Game of Thrones with your pals. Go the pace that best facilitates your recovery and preparation for the next big race or workout, and check in with how your body is coping with your recent training.

Under Armour joins as new title sponsor of the Eastside 10k

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Canada Running Series announces Under Armour as the new title sponsor of the Eastside 10k race, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 16th this year.

In addition to the title sponsorship, Under Armour is the exclusive athletic footwear, apparel and Connected Fitness sponsor. All participants will receive Under Armour technical running shirts and race organizers will receive technical apparel and footwear. This collaborative partnership will also bring cutting-edge innovation to the Canadian road running scene with activations across Under Armour’s digital training platforms, MapMyRun® and UA Record™. These platforms will include official training programs for runners of all abilities. There will also be an ambassador program and community outreach for run crews and clubs.

“This is a strategic partnership between two premier high performance brands,” says Canada Running Series president, Alan Brookes. “This partnership with Under Armour, the global leader in innovation performance product, is about bringing the latest and greatest to the Canadian road running scene. Together we will be able to grow the Under Armour Eastside 10k into an even bigger and better international running event, and something that is in, for and with Vancouver’s Eastside.”

“Under Armour is passionate about making all runners better and we are thrilled to partner with Canada Running Series to elevate the awareness of the Eastside 10K race,” says Shana Ferguson, Director of Marketing, Under Armour Canada. “This is one of the highlights of the Vancouver fall racing calendar, as the race winds through some of the most historic and vibrant areas of the city, and we are looking forward to outfitting runners in our innovative gear.”

Under Armour’s partnership with the Eastside 10k is the company’s first title sponsorship of a Canada Running Series race. In the U.S., Under Armour has enriched the running experience at signature events, including San Francisco’s Bay to Breakers 12K, and Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossom 10-miler & 5k. As in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Under Armour will enhance the experience in Vancouver in all phases of the run.


Registration for the Under Armour Eastside 10k is now open at Registration is limited and we encourage runners in Vancouver and across Canada to register today!

Making it to the Start Line Injury Free

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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: Alison Pinto, PT, FCAMPT, CAT(C)

As a Physiotherapist/Athletic Therapist, I often meet people only after they have sustained an injury and are looking for a solution to get back to their sport as soon as possible and advice on how to prevent the injury from recurring. By this point, a lot of them are frustrated because running was their form of exercise, a source for stress relief, and a method of accomplishing a new goal and now they can’t do it. So how do you save yourself from this frustration and avoid becoming sidelined by an injury? Here are some tips to help you make it to the start line of your race.

  1. Training

When choosing a training program, consider your current level of physical activity and running history. Training programs that have consistently high weekly mileage and high intensity runs (i.e. tempo runs, hill repeats, race pace runs) are best suited for people who have some prior running experience. Training programs that start with shorter distance and gradually increase to longer distances as well as start with steady runs and build to higher intensity runs are best suited for novice runners or those embarking on a new distance (such as 10 km to half-marathon or half-marathon to marathon).

In general, weekly mileage should increase by no more than 10% per week. This is due to the fact that muscles, tendons and ligaments take time to adapt to the forces placed on them when running and a larger increase in weekly mileage will often result in musculoskeletal injuries.  Another thing to consider is how far, how frequently, and how fast you are running. It’s best to change only one component at a time and to have a solid cardiovascular and muscle strength base before adding speed.

  1. Warm Up and Cool Down

The purpose of the warm up is to prepare your muscles, heart and lungs for more intense activity. Therefore, the warm up should mimic the movements you will be doing during the workout, but at a lower intensity. The warm up should be dynamic in order to gradually increase heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to muscles. For runners, this can include hip swings, high knees, butt kicks, heel raises, and light jogging. The cool down is mean to relax the body after intense activity.

Consider doing a light jog or short walk before completely stopping your workout in order to gradually reduce your heart rate and prevent blood from pooling in your legs (which may make you feel light headed or faint). Static stretches, held for 30 to 60 seconds, are best performed post-workout to restore muscles to their resting length.

  1. Cross Training

Cross training is considered to be any activity that is different from your primary sport. Whether it be cycling, swimming, weight training, or yoga, cross training is beneficial because it allows you to use different muscles or use your muscles in different ways so as to prevent repetitive and overuse injuries. Cycling and swimming are great low impact cardio workouts while weight training and yoga help build muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. Cross training can even be used as your recovery after a hard running workout to reduce muscle soreness.

  1. Dealing with Aches and Pains

When starting any new activity or increasing the intensity of an exercise, some soreness is to be expected. How do you know what is normal pain and what is a potentially an injury? “Normal” pain, also known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurs in the muscles that were worked due to micro-tears and inflammation. DOMS usually lasts 2-3 days and gradually reduces over time. Ice or light activity can be used to reduce DOMS. The good news is that the next time you workout at the same intensity, DOMS won’t be as bad since your body has adapted and become stronger.

“Bad” pain can occur in muscles too, but more commonly occurs in tendons and joints. There may be inflammation (swelling, heat, redness) around the area and the pain often lasts longer than 2-3 days. If the pain is lasting more than 5-7 days, is worsening, or is causing you to compensate in some way (i.e. limping while walking or running), it is best to seek help from a medical professional. Pushing through pain often leads to delayed healing as well as secondary aches and pains in areas that are compensating for the primary injury.

The Centre for Sport and Recreation Medicine has two locations in Toronto and a variety of health professionals to assist you in getting healthier, stronger and faster. Visit our website at for more information or to book an appointment with our staff.



Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Earns Third Consecutive IAAF Gold Label

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By: Paul Gains

For the third consecutive year, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has been awarded an IAAF Gold Label, an accolade which solidifies its inclusion amongst the world’s most prestigious city marathons.

The news comes as no surprise to Eric Gillis. The three time Canadian Olympian, who finished 10th in the Rio Olympic marathon, has watched the event grow into a world class race from his position at the head of the field.

“If there are only five Gold Label marathons in North America and three of them are World Marathon Majors (Boston, Chicago and New York), known around the world, then Toronto is in pretty elite company,” Gillis declares. “I guess it shows how much work it takes to become a Gold Label.”

Gillis’ five fastest times have come in the Toronto Waterfront race – his personal best of 2:11:24 was recorded in 2014 –  and he treasures many personal memorable moments. One in particular stands out.

“Certainly qualifying for (the 2012 London Olympics) by one second in 2011,” he recalls. “Kevin Mackinnon was calling the race at the finish line that day and he got the crowd into it cheering and doing the countdown to my Olympic standard. That wouldn’t have happened in any other country.

“The IAAF Gold Label is good for Toronto, good for marathoning in Canada, good for elite marathoners. It is a fabulous option in the fall. The Gold Label is exciting and well deserved for (Race Director) Alan Brookes and his group.”

The 2017 edition is scheduled for Sunday October 22nd. With the IAAF Gold Label comes a level of respect amongst the world’s elite marathoners. Ethiopia’s Shure Demise chose Toronto on the recommendations of her countrymen and won the 2015 race nine months after setting an unofficial world ‘under 20’ best time in Dubai. Last year she returned to Toronto and successfully defended her title.

Demise, now an experienced 21 year old, notes that “in both years I have faced challenging weather and I had faced a difficulty of improving the (course record) time although the course is good and there were also good competitors.

“I should simply say ‘Wow.’ The organizers treated me in a very good way. All the people who were involved in the race they all were amazing and, if I get the chance, I would like to thank all the people who were at the Toronto Marathon. I have a plan to go Toronto (again) if things would be right for me and, of course, I want to be a three times winner.”

Stringent criteria must be met for a race organization to earn an IAAF Gold Label. For instance, the race must have a minimum of five men and five women from five different nations. They must have reached Gold Label standards of 2:10 and 2:28 respectively in the preceding 36 months or finished in the top 25 at the Olympics or World Championships marathons.

The certified course must be entirely closed to vehicular traffic and water and sponge stations set up, as per IAAF regulations, with electronic timing for all participants. A giant screen at the finish area for spectators and media to watch the race is another mandatory requirement.

After the race is over, a minimum of twelve anti-doping tests must be carried out (six men, six women) and media must have access to the leading athletes. One other major criterion is that the entire race must be available to a domestic and to an international audience of at least five countries, either through television or live streaming. Last year’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon was live streamed to 129 countries.

Internationally, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has a stellar reputation. Here at home it is the flagship event in the seven race Canada Running Series and, for the third year running, it will double as the Canadian Marathon Championship. Athletics Canada’s CEO, Rob Guy, praises the event and has confidence in the organisation.

“The Gold Label means that it’s a great event,” he says. “And, for that reason we are proud to associate with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It is great that they are the host of our championships and the athletes have great competition and the opportunity to make some money.

“Our national championships are important to us and trying to our best to get our best athletes there is important. Moving forward, performances at national championships are going to weigh into selection for our teams.”

Race Director, Alan Brookes, speaks of the label as the ultimate reward for a great Canada Running Series team effort.

“It’s an enormous honour, enormous prestige to be recognized on the highest international stage. It puts our race, our city and our country in the ‘premier league’,” he declares. “When we started organizing road races in the mid 1980’s people used to tell me, “Alan, if you want a decent race you’ve got to go to The States. It used to drive me nuts.”

“That’s changed, and the Gold Label is recognition by the global governing body of our sport, that Toronto has a world-class marathon.”

Brookes is quick to acknowledge the involvement of title sponsor, Scotiabank, whose longevity sponsoring elite marathons is surpassed only by John Hancock in Boston.

“This will be the twenty-first year with Scotiabank,” says Brookes. “Their unwavering partnership has given us the support and stability to focus on building and growing the event.

“With their support we have been able to bring innovations to Canadian road running like the Scotiabank Charity Challenge and Scotiabank Neighbourhood Challenge, leading-edge race-organization technology as well as an international-class field.”

Brookes emphasizes that a Gold Label means it’s an outstanding marathon experience for runners of all abilities. For more information and entry see


Join Canada Running Series at the 2017 Ragnar Relay!

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Canada Running Series has partnered with the three Canadian stops of the 2017 Ragnar Relay! Use your Canada Running Series discount code when registering and look out for the CRS booth in the Ragnar Village!

Enter code CANCRS17 to save $100 on your team entry. Please note that the discount must be applied at time of registration and cannot be applied retroactively or used with any other promotion.

Reebok Ragnar Niagara

May 19 – 20, 2017

Reebok Ragnar Relay Niagara is a 300-ish kilometer running relay race through the most breathtaking parts of Ontario, happening on May 19-20th! Your team of 12 members (or ultra team of 6 members) will run relay-style starting on Friday, run through the night, and finish on Saturday. This running adventure kicks off in the quaint town of Cobourg. From there your team will conquer kilometers of rolling hills as you pass farmlands, beautiful vineyards and views of Lake Ontario from the Waterfront Trail. As night falls, electrified views of Toronto, stars, and runners with headlamps light up the night. Reebok Ragnar Niagara finishes at the majestic Niagara Falls where you and your team can admire the view and marvel in your grand accomplishment.

Click here for details.


Ragnar Trail Cottage Country – ON

September 8 – 9, 2017

Ragnar Trail Cottage Country-ON presented by Salomon is a brand new trail running adventure coming to Ontario on Sept. 8-9, 2017. Only 90 minutes from Toronto, right outside of Orillia lies an adventure seeker’s paradise known as Hardwood Ski and Bike. Your team of 8 members (or 4 ultra members) will conquer a set of three trails, or “loops”, that start and stop at Ragnar Village. Teams start on Friday morning, run through the night with headlamps, and finish on Saturday. When you’re not running, you’ll enjoy camping with friends, bonfires, s’mores and party vibe that is unique to Ragnar.

Click here for details.


Ragnar Trail Mont-Tremblant – QC

September 15 – 16, 2017

Ragnar Trail Mont-Tremblant presented by Salomon is a one-of-a-kind overnight trail running relay, coming to the Laurentian Mountains on Domaine Saint-Bernard preserve. Teams of 8 runners (or ultra-teams of 4 runners) will run relay-style from Friday, through the night, and into Saturday on three different trails. The green, yellow and red trails are different, challenging and fun, just like the runners who conquer them. When you’re not soaking up the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer, you’ll be camping at Ragnar Village where you can expect s’mores, bonfires, entertainment and a party-like atmosphere.

Click here for details.