Djibouti’s Mumin Gala to Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By Paul Gains

With their medal-winning performances at the1985 IAAF World Cup Marathon in Hiroshima a pair of Djiboutian runners left international sports journalists scratching their heads with one hand while turning the pages of a global atlas with the other.

“Where on earth is Djibouti?” they cried in unison.

Ahmed Salah and Djama Robleh finished first and third respectively, stunning the world class field and further adding to their legend by leading the country to the team gold medal.

Salah would defend his World Cup title two years later in Seoul before earning silver medals at both the 1987 and 1991 IAAF World Championships.  Although Salah and Robleh became national heroes, since then the country has not had anywhere near the level of success in the long distance events. Mumin Gala is hoping to change that.

Gala celebrated his 31st birthday on September 6th and has announced he will race the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 22nd. This will be his first marathon since finishing 12th in the Rio Olympics in 2:13:04 – just two places behind Canada’s Eric Gillis.

Though he had qualified to represent Djibouti at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, in the days leading up to the race, he decided not to run after injuring his calf. Now all his heavy marathon training is expected to pay off on the streets of Canada’s largest city.

He also represented his native country at the 2012 Olympics and finished 13th in the 5000m. He spent a few years in England racing as a member of the Newham and Essex Beagles whose most illustrious member is legendary distance runner Mo Farah. With a personal best 5000m time of 13:17.77 he realized his limitations on the track. These days he spends most of his time in Ethiopia’s high altitude, training with a marathon group.

“I was born in Djibouti City (the capital). I left Djibouti in 2003 and went to London,” Gala says. “In the past I trained with Mo Farah but not since he moved to the US. I live in Addis most of the time. I would say between nine and ten months of the year. My coach is Haji Adilo and he coaches a lot of elite athletes such as Tadese Tola and Lelisa Desisa.”

Adilo’s group can number around 100 men and women on any given day and Tola and Desisa are two exceptionally competent ‘training partners’. Tola claimed the marathon bronze medal at the 2013 IAAF World Championships while Desisa has twice won Boston.

Though he may appear to be a wandering soul, piling on the air miles as he goes back and forth between Djibouti and Ethiopia with occasional trips to England for good measure, Gala calls Djibouti “home sweet home.”

“I have a family in Djibouti and two beautiful girls ages one and four. I try to visit them as often as possible,” he declares. “I spend time with my kids at home. If I go to London I visit my brother and the rest of the time is training and going to the gym.”

Mumin is tremendously optimistic about his prospects at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and has good reason to be. That rain soaked 12th place finish at the Rio Olympics, was his first serious attempt at the distance. He had run Hamburg in April 2016, just to get a qualifying mark.  Earlier this year he improved his personal best half marathon time, finishing 3rd in the Rabat International Half Marathon in 1:02:41 and hasn’t come close to tapping his marathon potential.

“My goal is to run under 2:10,” he declares. “I am looking forward to a great race.”

And a great race is what he will surely find when the starter’s pistol fires. As the first runner from Djibouti to race Toronto he faces the formidable Kenyans Dickson Chumba (a past Tokyo and Chicago winner) and the defending Toronto champion, Philemon Rono. Ethiopia will counter with Endeshaw Negesse, the 2015 Tokyo Marathon champion (personal best of 2:04:52) and Solomon Deksisa, who ran 2:06:22 at the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon.

Clearly the stage is set for a memorable race in Toronto. Weather permitting, the course record (2:07:05) and Canadian All Comer’s records (2:06:54) are legitimate targets, but more than anything Gala wants to restore Djibouti’s name to the top of marathoning.


For more information and to join Mumin at this year’s race:

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.


Sarah Inglis and Geoff Martinson win the Under Armour Eastside 10K

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Sarah Inglis and Geoff Martinson win the Under Armour Eastside 10K

VANCOUVER, September 16,2017 – Geoff Martinson cruised to a comfortable victory in 30:00 at this morning’s Under Armour Eastside 10k in Vancouver.  Falkirk, Scotland’s Sarah Inglis claimed a surprise win in 33:45 in a thrilling women’s race.

A sold-out record crowd of 2,800 runners toured historic Gastown and the streets of Eastside Vancouver under sunny skies and perfect 13 degrees Celsius weather.  The fifth year of the race featured a new course that started and ended at the iconic Woodward’s building.       

Martinson took a lead pack of five through a leisurely first kilometre in 3 minutes and 2 seconds. He injected a little pace in the third kilometre and the group was whittled down to three: Martinson, Justin Kent and Kevin Coffey. Coffey didn’t survive the impressive hills between the 5 and 6 kilometres and the race came down to a dual between Martinson and Kent.  Martinson made his final surge at 8km to claim the victory. This is the second time Martinson, a former Canadian 1,500m international, has won the race.  Kent held on for second in 30:17, with Kevin Coffey third in 30:38. 

On the women’s side, last year’s champion Leslie Sexton of London, Ontario led through the first kilometre before Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak and Sarah Inglis moved to the front and dropped her.  The Ontarian, who has been running over 200km a week in preparation for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon next month, pulled them back on the big hills after 5km, but couldn’t contain Inglis’ speed on the downhill final 2km.  At the line, Sexton was happy to be just 15 seconds back while Wodak held on for third in 34:32.  Under Armour athlete and Canadian marathon and half-marathon record holder Lanni Marchant came home an encouraging fourth in 34:37 as she continues her comeback from illness.

“I am really happy to win the race with a personal best today,” said Sarah Inglis.  “It was a great field of women this year with Natasha, Rachel and Leslie and I felt strong on the hills and great during the race. I’ve been training really well and I am looking forward to the Victoria half marathon in a couple of weeks.” 

The race was also an important fundraising event for three Eastside community charities: The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, PHS Community Services Society, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Combined, the 2,800 participants have already raised $17,000 and participants can continue to fundraise online until October 1st online at

“Thanks to everyone who was part of such a spectacular morning.  The sun shone brightly over the Eastside, the athletes up front put on a show for us, and a record crowd showed they cared about our community raising money with every step,” said Race Director Clifton Cunningham. “We couldn’t have had a better day.” 

Under Armour Eastside 10k top finisher’s results:

10km Male  
1. Geoff Martinson – Vancouver, BC
2. Justin Kent – Burnaby, BC
3. Kevin Coffey – Vancouver, BC
10km Female 
1. Sarah Inglis – Langley, BC
2. Leslie Sexton – London, ON
3. Natasha Wodak – North Vancouver, BC
Information and complete race results can be found at   
For more information on Canada Running Series events, please visit
About Under Armour Eastside 10k:
The Under Armour Eastside 10k is part of the prestigious Canada Running Series. As Vancouver’s premier fall 10k, it takes place in the Eastside, running for three Eastside embedded charities, with the great Eastside Community. 2,800 runners take to the streets each September to show their love for the heart of Vancouver. Canada Running Series is the nation’s premier running circuit with events in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.  It annually attracts over 60,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 charities. Canada Running Series is strongly committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels from first time runners, charity supporters and Canadian Olympians; and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.  Our mission is “building community through running”. For more information please visit:
For media inquiries, please contact:    
Carolyn Abbass
Serena Vampa
Canada Running Series
Cell: 778-549-8329
 Photo credit: Mark Bates, Canada Running Series

Race Day Tips for #UAeastside10k

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Every year we’re joined by hundreds of new runners at the Under Armour Eastside 10k. We’ve taken some tips from the seasoned runners out there and come up with the ABC’s of how to set yourself up for a great race – both before and after the event.

While this guide is primarily aimed at new runners, it’s always good to refresh your memory even if you’ve been racing for decades! Also be sure to check out our Race Etiquette Page.

Before the Race

A – Know where you need to be and when

This may seem obvious, but it’s so often overlooked. You can save yourself a amount of stress on Race Day (and the days leading up to it) by knowing where to go and when. This includes knowing where to pick up your race package and bib number in the days leading up to the race, as well as how to get to the start line.

  • Package Pickup – ALL participants must pick up their race package and bib number at Package Pickup before Race Day. Package Pickup is located at the SFU Segal Building — 500 Granville St (Granville @ Pender) and is open on Friday September 15th from 11:30am to 6:30pm, and Saturday September 16th in the Woodwards Atrium from 7am-8am. More details here.
  • Start Line – The run will start and finish on Cordova Street, near the Woodward’s Development. Your best way to get to the Start Area is to take public transit. To plan your trip, click here and select your starting location then choose Transit direction. Woodward’s is a short walk from either Waterfront Station or Stadium Skytrain Station. The second best way to get there is to bike, as BEST will be providing a complimentary and secure Bike Valet right beside the Start/Finish Line.A reminder that road closures will be in effect for the event, so please leave extra travel time. Recommended routes into Downtown are Hastings Street, Georgia Street, and Cambie Street Bridge.Driving to the start line? The easiest access/parking option is to take Cambie Street northbound to Cordova, then turn right to access the parking garage off of Cordova Street. Note that this access route is only possible until 8:15am, after which Cordova Street will be fully closed for the start of the race. If you are dropping someone off, please do so on Hastings Street.For full road closures details click here.

B – Don’t do anything new! We mean it!

A common mistake is to try something new just before or on Race Day. This could be anything from wearing a new pair of shoes during the run to changing up your diet the day before. If you typically eat a simple pasta the night before your training runs, don’t try out that new sushi place around the corner on Friday night. If you don’t usually have coffee before your training runs, don’t go for a double espresso on Race Day morning. Stick with what works for you – from your meals to your running clothes to your morning routine.

C – Start in the right corral

What’s a corral? In order to give everyone their best experience on Race Day, runners are typically assigned into a corral based on their predicted finish time. At the #UAeastside10k all runners will self-assign themselves to a estimated finish time.  Speedsters can start at the front of the pack while walkers start further back. Please be respectful of other runners and line up according to your expected finish time, and be honest in your approximations. Please also be mindful of other runners who may need to pass you on course.  Keep in mind the race start closes 10 minutes after the scheduled start time.  Make sure you arrive on time.

Corral colour Est. finish time Start time
Black Elites  8:30am
RedRed Corral < 50min   8:30am
Yellow CorralYellow 50–58min   8:30am
BlueBlue Corral 58–66min   8:30am
GreenGreen Corral 66min +   8:30am

Corral details for the race here.

BONUS – use our Gear Check to store a bag of warm, dry (and less-sweaty) clothes for after the race. Your $2 donation will go to our Featured Charities.

During the Race

A – Make sure your bib number is on your front and visible

We use a bib-tag timing system, which means your timing chip is embedded in your bib number. In order for it to work properly and have your time recorded:

  • Do not remove the “bibTag” or foam spacer from your bib.
  • Do not fold your bib or excessively bend or twist the “bibTag”.
  • Wear your bib on your chest/abdomen. Do not wear on your back, side, leg or arm.
  • Do not cover your bib with clothing – always make sure it is completely visible.
  • Make sure you cross over the timing mat at both the Start Line and the Finish Line.
    ***Start Line will CLOSE 10min AFTER THE SCHEDULED START TIME ***

B – Start slow and stay even

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Race Day and start out too fast. Do the opposite – start a little slower than your normal pace and gradually pick up your pace over the first kilometre. After that, try to keep an even pace throughout the race and save your extra energy for the final push to the Finish Line!

C – Be prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings

No one knows what the weather will be in September, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. If it’s hot, bring your own water, but we’ll also have plenty of aid stations on course, serving up both water and Gatorade. If you are using one of the aid stations:

  • When approaching a hydration station, move to the side of the road, grab your fluid/nutritional needs and keep moving. There will be multiple hydration tables so if the first table is busy KEEP MOVING.
  • There will be water refill stations for those runners carrying their own bottles.
  • Throw your used cup to the side of the road as close to the hydration station as possible, ideally in one of the marked bins. Drop your cup down by your waist so you don’t hit/splash another participant. Please don’t litter on the course after passing the last aid station garbage bin.
  • If you plan to stop at the aid station, move past the tables and pull off to the side of the road.
  • Say thank you to the volunteers!

After the Race

A – Keep moving

Collect your medal as you cross the Finish Line, then keep moving through the chute until you get to the Post-Race Recovery Area. Keep moving for at least 10 more minutes afterwards to gradually bring your heart rate down and help your legs flush out that lactic acid (this will prevent you from being stiff tomorrow).

B – Refuel and rehydrate

Right after the finish line we’ll have water and Gatorade for you to rehydrate with. Grab a cup and keep walking – there will be more in the Post-Race Recovery Area. A variety of snacks will be available in the Recovery Area, including bananas, bagels, Powerbar, cookies, juice, and yogurt. The carbs will help replenish your energy stores while a bit of protein will help rebuild your muscles. Make sure you eat something within 30 minutes of crossing the line.

There will also be an Under Armour stretching station after the Finish Line, so you’ll have a designated area to do a proper cool-down and post-race stretch!

C – Get warm and enjoy the Finish Area

After you’ve fueled up, stop by Gear Check to collect your spare clothes. Even on a sunny day, your core temperature will drop fast once you stop moving, especially when you’re still wearing sweaty clothes. Once you’ve done that, check out the Awards Ceremony (9:45am).

Post-race brunch is always key. There are many excellent restaurants in the area, including The Charles Bar that is putting on a special brunch from 9:30-11:30am. You must buy a ticket ahead of time, which will be given to you at package pickup. Click here to reserve your spot!

Congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning your next race – registration for the 2018 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k, or the 2018 Under Armour Eastside 10k opens after the race on Saturday!

An Inspired Leslie Sexton to Race Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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By Paul Gains

Inspiration can be derived from a variety of sources when it comes to marathon running. In the case of Leslie Sexton, a self -admitted Star Wars geek, the strength exuded by a fictional character has raised her spirits.

Two years ago, Sexton knocked close to six minutes off her then personal best with a 2:33:23 clocking at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Now the thirty-year old London, Ontario resident has her sights set on improving on that time at the 2017 edition of this IAAF Gold Label race.

Of her fascination with Star Wars she speaks unabashedly.

“I really like the character of Rey in ‘The Force Awakens’ because she has got this real strength and independence,” Sexton reveals. “I sort of like to think of that sometimes when I am out doing lots of miles on my own. I have a lot of fictional characters I like to think about. There are runners I look up to but I will think about Star Wars or something cool that Wonder Woman would do.”

That’s not to say Sexton doesn’t have some more earthly heroes. Watching Emma Coburn of the US strike 3,000m steeplechase gold in the recent World Championships, an enormous upset in sporting terms, stirred her soul, she admits. And there are others.

“A sort of hero for me over time has been (American marathoner) Desiree Linden because she was someone who had some talent but wasn’t a top high school or collegiate runner and has stuck with the same coach over time and had great results,” she explains. “I see her as a grinder. She does the work; she doesn’t complain and has been consistent year after year. I think she is really my inspiration for sure.”

Overcoming odds seems to be a theme that captivates Sexton. After turning her ankle while trail running at the end of last year she has been focusing on returning to form.

“I was off for four months and didn’t start running until the start of April this year,” she reveals. “In terms of racing in the summer, part of it was just spending time getting fit again. The first one back was the Toronto Waterfront 10k in mid-June. That went fairly well. Then I did a couple of track races that weren’t as fast as I wanted. The main thing of that summer block was getting fit again and getting back to interval training and a bit of racing.”

Now her confidence is soaring after running between 200 and 210 kilometres in each of the past four weeks. That includes some interval training. When she is not out with her London Runners’ training mates, she works part time at a local running store. She also coaches some club members. Under coach Steve Weiler’s watchful eye, her own fitness continues to grow, which has her eagerly anticipating Toronto Waterfront.

“I feel like every workout I am showing improvement,” Sexton maintains. “The times are coming down and I am getting fitter. I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be going for a personal best in Toronto if things keep going well.”

Sexton understands she is amongst a fine group of Canadian women who are stepping on the heels of Olympians Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene. Going toe to toe with them in Toronto is all the more appealing especially since the race is a Canadian Championships.

“I love that the Canadian Championships are in Toronto,” she declares. “It’s a race I would do anyway whether it was here or not. But having that Canadian Championships and having a lot of good Canadians on the line makes it all the more special. It makes it a good competitive race. So, I want to be very much about running even and running a fast as possible time and hopefully the place will take care of itself.

“Right now it’s just about taking small steps. If it is only 30 seconds or a minute at a time I am knocking off I am still happy with that, because I am moving forward.  And, even this year, coming back from an injury and having a rough year last year (in terms of race results), it has taken the pressure off me to run like a 2:31 or 2:32. I am still chasing fast times but to me it would be good just to get back in that range.”

England Athletics are sending Tish Jones (2:33:56 in London this year and winner of last Fall’s Cape Town Marathon) and Anna Boniface (2:37:07 this year in London) to Toronto and no doubt Sexton will find herself in close proximity to them during the race.

Among the Canadians she will face is the aforementioned Olympian Krista DuChene who ran 2:28:32 on this course four years ago, and Natasha LaBeaud. The latter has a personal best of 2:35:33 recorded in Toronto in 2014. In addition, a trio of relative newcomers to the distance will battle for Canadian medals and prize money.

They are Montreal’s Melanie Myrand, third in the 2017 Canadian Half Marathon Championships; Arianne Raby, also from Montreal, won the Montreal Marathon last Fall then took 7 minutes off her PB in Ottawa this Spring where she ran 2:41:58; and Lyndsay Tessier, winner of the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in June.


For more information and to enter this year’s race:

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.

eastside course

Your Guide to the Under Armour Eastside 10k

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We know the feeling all too well, you signed up for your race ages ago and now it’s snuck up on you with less than one week to go. Here’s everything you need to know to get ready for race day:

UA Bandit banner ad
What to wear:

Make sure you’re prepared for whatever mother nature has in store for race day, whether it be hot, cold or raining. If you’re in need of new pair of running shoes, our sponsor Under Armour has shoes suitable for any type of running style and gear to keep you one step ahead of the elements. If it rains, make sure you layer up, wear quick drying gear, and wear a hat to keep the rain out of your face. In order to make sure Eastside 10K participants have the best gear possible, the top five fundraisers will receive head-to-toe Under Armour running gear and entry into the 2018 race.

Who to look out for:

On race pack pick-up day, Canadian marathon record holder and Olympian, Lanni Marchant will be on site taking pictures and signing autographs for her fans from 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m..

How to share:

Did you even really do the run if you don’t have a picture to prove it? Share your experience with fellow runners before, during, and after the run using the hashtag #UAEastside10K. Not only are we excited to see the run from your perspective, but we want you to show the world why the Under Armour Eastside 10K is the best run in Vancouver.

Who you are supporting:

The Under Armour Eastside 10K is a run in, for and with the Eastside of Vancouver. The run has partnered with three amazing charities, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and PHS Community Services Society.

We look forward to seeing you all on race day!

Race day etiquette & pacer information

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Race day is the most exciting part of any training build.  After months of workouts, long runs, and mentally preparing for a race all seems worth it when you finally get to pin your race bib on, and accomplish your goal.  To make a race the best experience possible, there are some race etiquette tips to keep in mind for the big day.

Before the race:

  • Read the website, entry form or other race information before contacting the race directly. All of the race details you need to know are probably there.
  • Respect entry restrictions. Check if the race permits wheelchairs or baby joggers, imposes a minimum age, or has time restrictions.
  • Pay attention to packet pickup hours. Do not show up at other times and expect to receive your race packet/number.
  • Carefully check your information at packet pickup. The time to correct any errors such as age, gender, or misspelling of your name is BEFORE the race.

Race day:

  • Keep your race bib visible. Pin your number on the FRONT of your shirt or outermost clothing. Announcers, photographers, timers and medics use it to help identify you.
  • Start in the correct corral. There is a reason why races ask for your predicted finishing time.  Slower runners and walkers should move into to the later corrals as their race bib indicates to avoid any congestion for faster runners trying to pass by. Arriving early doesn’t mean you can start at the front of the race. If you want to switch corrals, there are usually spots at package pickup to request that change.
  • Don’t make a fence.  It is incredibly frustrating to try and pass a large group of slower individuals who take up the entire width of the street during a race.  If you’re in a large group, respect other races, and stay two abreast.  If you’re walking, please remain behind the runners to avoid obstruction.
  • Pass on the left, stay to the right. If you’re speeding along, pass runners on their left. If you need to slow down, move to the right to allow others to easily pass. The first mile or so of a race can be crowded and sometimes you need to weave to pass people.  Just be aware of those around you.
  • Don’t stop dead in your tracks. If you need to stop for any reason move to the side.  Whether it’s an untied shoelace, your walk/run program, or an urgent phone call, don’t stop dead in your tracks. Look around, move to the side and slide back into the race when you’re ready.
  • Be mindful before taking mid-race photos. Many runners love documenting their journey, especially since selfies have become all the rage.  These are great mementos, but please step to the side when taking them. The last thing you want is another runner plowing through you and your phone shattering on the ground.
  • Don’t tune out. Portable headphone devices for iPods, MP3 players, phones etc are discouraged for your safety and the safety of others.  Blasting music in your ears can block out any verbal warnings/directions or sounds of vehicles/participants along the course. Be aware of your surroundings for your own safety, as well as for respecting others.
  • Be aware of other runners at water stops. If you’re skipping the water, run straight through the station and don’t crowd where the water is located.  If you need to wet your whistle, minimize congestion by grabbing quickly and move to the side once you’ve passed the water station volunteers before slowing down.
  • Listen to your body. If you’re not having a great day and decide to drop out, tell someone.  Sometimes race day doesn’t go as planned.  If you need to drop-out, be sure to tell a race volunteer so no one is looking for you afterwards.
  • Run through the finish line. Hundreds of runners are coming through behind you, so move towards the medals and snacks to avoid congestion in the finishing chute.
  • Share the post-race goodies.  After a race, the first thing runners see are the food tents.  While you’ve just burned a lot of calories during the race, remember that everyone else in the race has too.  Take one of each thing to allow every runner to replenish their energy once they cross the finish line.


Many races have a group of volunteers that run the race to help others reach their goals.  These pacers, sometimes known as pace bunnies, are a valuable tool for staying on target for your goal.  When following a pacer, always keep an eye on your own time as well, just in case.  At the Under Armour Eastside 10k, there are 15 pacers for a number of race times.  The pacers will have matching pacer kits on, and will hold a sign with their designated pace time on it.  Hop in to whatever group matches your personal goal and let the camaraderie of others help pull you along!  The pacers will be as follows:

  • 45:00 = Lucas & Tibor
  • 50:00 = Alan & Fergus
  • 55:00 = Kenny & Shannon
  • 60:00 = Karl, Mark & Andy
  • 65:00 = Kelsey & Olivia
  • 70:00 = Erika & Evgeny
  • 75:00 = Fiona & Maryam


Kenya’s Dickson Chumba Aiming For Canadian All Comers’ Record

By | Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | No Comments

By Paul Gains

Ever since its origin the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has attracted some of the world’s best marathoners but never an athlete with such a competitive record as Dickson Chumba.

The 30 year-old Kenyan won both the 2015 Chicago Marathon and the 2014 Tokyo Marathon, two of the exclusive World Marathon Majors (Boston, New York, London and Berlin make up the remainder). That’s not all. In February of this year he finished third in Tokyo, the fourth consecutive year he has been amongst the top three in that race.

His best time ever is 2:04:32 which he recorded in finishing third in the 2014 Chicago Marathon.

Curiosity and a willingness to change direction led Chumba to confirm his Toronto appearance at this IAAF Gold Label race October 22nd.

“I honestly don’t know much about the Toronto (Waterfront) Marathon but my agent, Gianni Demadonna, told me that it is a good race,” Chumba admits. “In the last few seasons I have been running mostly Chicago and Tokyo. After my third place in Tokyo last February I thought I needed to run something different. My agent talked to me about Toronto and the possibility to run the course record or even the fastest time ever run on Canadian soil. I found the target interesting and I decided to run Toronto.”

Winning Chicago earns US$100,000. Along with an appearance fee, Toronto, in comparison, offers C$25,000 to the winner. However, there is a bonus of C$50,000 for beating the Canadian All Comers’ record (2:06:54 by Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia, at Ottawa 2014). Setting a new course record (2:07:05 by Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia, 2013) would earn C$40,000. So it’s not all about the money for this Kenyan athlete.

“So far my training has gone well,” he reports. “If I continue like that and, if the weather will be okay on that particular day, I think I can try to attack the 2:07:05”. In Tokyo I ran 2:06:25 but it was a very fast pace for the first 30km, which I paid for a bit towards the end of the race. But if I can get into similar shape I think I can run well in Toronto.”

Chumba trains at a camp in Kapsabet high up in the Great Rift Valley under the watchful eye of Italian coach Claudio Berardelli. Amongst the group are several athletes who have run 2:06 or faster. One of the up and comers is Chumba’s younger brother, Benson Kipruto, 26, who ran 2:09:51 in Prague this year.

“Kapsabet is a very hilly area and we like training along the tea plantation there which is a very good place for our long runs,” Chumba explains.

“The rain in Kenya is a factor that we have to consider because it can rain quite a lot (April to June) and the roads become very muddy. But our coach has made us use tarmac roads when it is not possible to use the dirt roads. The tea plantation is also a good solution during the rainy season. Roads there are the best because the tea factories are maintaining them in perfect conditions.”

The camp is not too far from Chumba’s home village where his family is located. Though he prefers to remain in the camp when he is focusing on a marathon, he does enjoy going home occasionally to visit his family and to check on the businesses he has established with race earnings. Those visits are only undertaken when Berardelli hasn’t scheduled a group workout. Otherwise, he is totally committed to the training camp.

“I am married and I have three children, two boys of seven and five years and a girl who is one year old,” he reveals. “My wife stays at home with them and she takes care of the land we have around our home. We usually plant maize and some vegetables.

“When I am in off season, I like staying with my kids. I don’t have any particular hobby but when I am not fully in training I take care of my other business. I have built some rental houses and I hope to build some more. I like building because, for someone like me who comes from a poor family, it allows me to visualize what I have managed to achieve in all the years of hard training. It gives me satisfaction.”

Unlike many Western athletes, who will race at some point to test their fitness in the marathon buildup, Chumba has no plans to leave Kenya before his trip to Toronto, which will be his first time in Canada.

“During the preparation for a marathon we always have two or three key workouts which give us some feedback about our shape,” Chumba says. “It can be a fast, long run around 35km or a session of 22/24km very close to marathon pace with the last portion faster than that. But, honestly, over the years I have gained experience about my body and I can feel day by day if I am doing the right things or not.”

Among the world class field Chumba will face is defending Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon champion, Philemon Rono and a pair of Ethiopian stars:  Solomon Deksisa, who ran 2:06:22 at the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon and Endeshaw Negesse the 2015 Tokyo Marathon champion who has a personal best of 2:04:52.

Clearly, this is the strongest men’s field the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has ever assembled and an indication of how far the race has come over the past decade.


For more information and to join this year’s race:

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.

Olympian Natasha Wodak Leads Field for Under Armour Eastside 10k

By | Eastside 10k, Elite Athletes | No Comments
by Paul Gains

Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak heads a strong women’s field for the running of the Under Armour Eastside 10k, in Vancouver on Saturday September 16, though she is cautious about being considered the favourite.

The 35-year-old is coming off an excellent 10,000m performance at the 2017 IAAF World Championships – she finished 16th in a season best 31:55.47 – and then proceeded straight into a well-deserved rest period.

“I took a week off after the world track and field championships and have been doing some easy running.” she reveals. “It has been going well. I have been listening to my body and it is feeling good right now.”

Foot surgery last December left her playing catch up throughout the spring and summer leading to inconsistent performances. To add to the mix, she switched coaches and is now being guided by one of her heroes, 1984 Olympic 3,000m bronze medalist, Lynn Kanuka. In London she was inspired by the surprise appearance of Kanuka at the warmup track on the day of the 10000m final. The coach had only arrived in London hours before the race.

Two years ago, Wodak set an Eastside 10k event record of 33:04. She has a best 10k road time of 31:59 (Ottawa 2015) and also holds the Canadian 10,000m record of 31:41.59 which quali-fied her for the Rio Olympics. She was 22nd in the Rio 10,000m final. When she looks over the Eastside 10k field she points out that along with the ‘usual suspects’ there might be another sur-prise.

“Sarah Inglis is from Scotland and is training out here. She has been doing some training with me,” Wodak says of the graduate of Trinity Western University. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she runs low 33 or 33:30 so I am definitely going to not take her lightly either.”

Inglis finished just ahead of the Canadian at the Portland Tack Festival 5,000m in June so they are well aware of each other’s abilities. Rachel Cliff, who ran a personal best 10,000m (32:00.03 for 20th place) at the world championships is among the challengers along with marathoners Leslie Sexton, the defending Eastside 10k champion, and Lanni Marchant.

Marchant, the Canadian marathon record holder at 2:28:00, signed an endorsement contract with Under Armour in May but suffered kidney stones which required surgery. Since then she has kept her cards close to her chest and pulled out of the world championships where she had been entered in the 10,000m. Still, Wodak says she will underestimate no one.

“I think it’s going to be a really great competitive race,” Wodak continues. “I feel like we are all in the same boat, Rachel and I coming back from worlds and taking some time off, Lanni coming off a bit of an inconsistent spring and summer, so I don’t know where she is at. Leslie had a big injury in the winter and had a slow comeback. Obviously, I want to win in my hometown.”

The men’s race features 2015 Eastside champion Geoff Martinson of the BC Endurance Project a former Canadian 1,500m international, who has been tearing up the roads the past few years. He has a best of 29:26 (2016) on the roads but ran 28:48.33 on the track in June of this year in-dicating he has much potential at this distance.

The race which has been sold out for a couple of weeks, doubles as the BC championships hence the excellent turnout of local talent. Justin Kent (30:26 personal best) and Kevin Coffey (30:13) should also be contention for the prize money. The race winners will receive $1,000 with second and third earning $600 and $400 respectively. The top BC runners will collect a further $400, $300 and $200.

There is even more money at stake. Since the Under Armour Eastside 10k is part of the seven race Canada Running Series there are points to be had. The winner here will earn 60 points, and, with Wodak currently in the lead thanks to dominant victories at the Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k and Toronto Waterfront 10k earlier this year, she can solidify her grasp on the over-all title – and $5000 prize money.

For a complete start list see:

For more information on the run see:

crew challenge

#UAeastside10k Crew Challenge

By | Charity, Eastside 10k | No Comments
Eastside 10k Crew Challenge Detail
  • The crews will be grouped according to the charity they are supporting and will be evaluated by the combined group effort. The group of Crews supporting the same charity is referred to below as the ‘Charity Team’.
  • The winning Charity Team will be the group with the highest total points accumulated across the 5 categories.
  • Each Charity Team must fundraise a minimum of $500 for their charity to be eligible for prizing.
  • Fundraising totals will be tallied based on online fundraising pages as of 6:00am PST race day, Saturday September 16, 2017. But fundraising will remain open 2 weeks after the event.
  • Runners must be registered on their appropriate teams, by the close of online registration, Monday, September 11, 2017 midnight PST to be counted for prizing.
The five scoring categories:
  • Fastest Team
    • Combined time of the three fastest female runners and three fastest male runners.
    • Scoring 3, 2, 1. Highest value = fastest Charity Team.
  • Largest Team
    • Total number of runners registered on your team that finish the run.
    • Scoring 3, 2, 1. Highest value = largest Charity Team.
  • Total Fundraising
    • Total amount of team fundraising for their charity.
    • Scoring 3, 2, 1. Highest value = most raised by Charity Team.
  • Average Fundraising
    • Total Fundraising divided by the number of runners. Giving an advantage to smaller crews.
    • Scoring 3, 2, 1. Highest value = highest average by Charity Team.
  • Charity Influence
    • Each Charity Team will be evaluated by their respective charity and awarded up to 3 bonus points.
    • The charities will evaluate the crew’s participation on Social Media influence (tagging and promoting fundraising), Volunteering (supporting the charity in person)
  • 1st Place
    • Unique placard denoting your 2017 Championship.
    • Canada Running Series Sponsors Prize package.
    • $500 donation to your team’s Charity.
    • 5 – 2018 Canada Running Series West seasons passes.
  • 2nd Place
    • $300 donation to your team’s Charity.
    • 3 – 2018 Canada Running Series West seasons passes.
  • 3rd Place
    • $100 donation to your team’s Charity.
Our 2017 Charity Partners:


Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) is one of the busiest women’s centres in the country, operating a non-profit Drop-In Centre and Emergency Night Shelter in one of the poorest communities in Canada. DEWC is unique in that it is one of the only safe spaces within the Downtown Eastside specifically and exclusively for all women and their children, and has been a permanent and pertinent part of the community since 1978.

Instagram: @dewcvan
Facebook: @DowntownEastsideWomensCentre
Twitter: @DEWCvancouver

Greater Vancouver Food Bank

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to nourish themselves by providing access to healthy food, education and training. The GVFB provides assistance to over 26,500 people weekly through 14 food locations and close to 100 and community agencies located in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and North Vancouver. The GVFB is committed to its vision of accessible, healthy and sustainable food for all and through community collaboration, is pro-actively working to help end hunger.

Instagram: @VanFoodBank
Facebook: @VanFoodBank
Twitter: @VanFoodBank


PHS Community Services SocietyPHS Community Services Society

PHS Community Services Society (PHS) is an innovative and well-established non-profit organization located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) community. The agency has extensive property management experience in complex mixed-use projects and primary care initiatives. The PHS improves the lives of thousands of vulnerable individuals each year through housing, health and support services. Clients served represent the most marginalized populations residing in Vancouver’s DTES and facing multiple barriers due to their mental health and substance use. Through many successful partnerships, PHS contributes to the development of best practices in health, mental health and harm reduction.

Instagram: @PHScss
Facebook: @PHSCommunityServicesSociety
Twitter: @PHScss

10 tips for 10k

10 tips for 10k

By | Eastside 10k, Training Tips | No Comments

Dylan Wykes & Rob Watson, two of the coaches at Mile2Marathon, gave us 10 tips for this year’s Under Armour Eastside 10km and how to prepare for the event. Check them out!

1. Be prepared for race morning:

Leave nothing to chance. Know what you are going to eat, know how you are going to get to the race, and know where you are going to stash your gear. Arrive early, as there’s no need for added stress on race day; you are there to compete and perform. Unnecessary stress will affect your performance. Oh, and bring lots of dry clothes!

2. Warm-up:

For some this is a 20 minute run and active strides. For others this is a 5 minute walk and some
stretches. Either way, get those muscles loose and ready to go, it’ll help avoid injury and have you
primed to go when the gun sounds.

3. Find your place:

Get on the start line and line up with people at the same level, or pace as you. A
45:00 10km is a great accomplishment, but you probably shouldn’t be lining up at the very front- you will get pulled out too hard and will impede faster runners. On the other hand, if you want to run 35:00 get yourself to the front, otherwise you are going to spend too much energy passing people and trampling over slower runners.

4. Get off the line:

The first km of a race is always fast. You will feel fresh and frisky. If you are several seconds faster than your goal pace do not worry, get the fist km in and then settle into your race.

5. Settle and flow:

From 2-6km you should relax and find your flow. If you are pushing too hard at 3km you are going to have a bad time- both literally and figuratively. Have your goal pace in mind and focus on maintaining that effort and rhythm. Being 5 seconds too slow is fine as you can make up time with a strong last 2km, but being 5 seconds too fast can be disastrous as when you blow up you’ll be giving time back in chunks.

6. Enjoy the scenery:

The Under Armour Eastside 10km course takes you on a tour through some of Vancouver’s most beautiful and culturally rich neighbourhoods. Appreciate the city and take it in. We live in a really special place.

7. Find a group:

There is power in numbers when it comes to racing. Working as group can help a lot. A group can pull you along, and you can lock in and roll. Find a friend and roll together… until 9km, then all bets are off!

8. Focus:

This is racing, it is supposed to hurt! Your legs will burn, you’ll fight for breath and you’ll want
to stop. You trained for this. Focus on your goals and stay positive. The pain of racing is brief, and that post run beer/brunch tastes so much better knowing you earned it.

9. Bite your tongue and go:

When you get to 9km it is time to get going! This is where you put your head down and give it hell. Dig deep and push, and when you are 400m out it is time to empty the tank. Give it everything you have until you cross the finish line.

10. Reap the spoils:

Congratulations on finishing the Under Armour Eastside 10km! Now enjoy yourself a bit- go get brunch, drink a beer or just do something to spoil yourself. You have earned it!

More info on the Under Armour Eastside 10k can be found here.