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Elite Athletes

Running & Beer

By | Elite Athletes, General | No Comments

Beer and running seem to be a match made in heaven.  From infiltrating local running clubs, races, the Beer Mile, and as a reward for any hard workout or race, beer has added yet another social element to the running scene.

Chemically speaking, brewing beer occurs from the fermentation of starch by yeast.  The sugars in the grain are metabolized which creates the alcohol and CO2.  Although beer is 90% water, and typically four to six percent alcohol, it is still considered a diuretic. Beer does contain sugary carbs, nutrients from the hops, starch, and some electrolytes, but the alcohol content puts a damper on these benefits.  So if you plan on having some post-run brews, grab a glass of water and a snack to have before the beer.

Even with the alcohol content, beer has health benefits when consumed in moderation. Moderate consumption means one 12-ounce beer per day for women, and two for men (but don’t think that the days you don’t have a beer can be added to another day and still be considered “moderate consumption”).  In moderation, beer has been seen to lower risks of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages; contains multiple B vitamins and chromium; helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol; contains hops that are rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols; and can decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

While it seems quite normal to have a beer after a run, having beer during the run may seem a little extreme, but that’s exactly what the Beer Mile is. We caught up with some of Canada’s top beer milers to share their running & beer stories:


Jim Finlayson

I was one of the rare ones who didn’t really drink beer. Had my first one 2nd year university, 1992, and didn’t care for it. Felt way too bloated, too, and I couldn’t understand how my roommates could drink more than one. And so their surprise when I ran my 5:09 beer mile world record in 2007.

My first beer mile was in 2005. It was a fundraiser for melanoma, in honour of a local triathlete who had passed away. We had a huge crowd. 75 participants and over 100 spectators. The Times Colonist newspaper was on hand. I only did it to support the cause. At the time the world record was 5:42 and I figured if things went really smoothly I could be 6:20-30. Certainly wasn’t thinking anything faster than that, and so I chose Guinness, which isn’t beer mile legal (only 4.4%, and it needs to be a 5% beer). It was late December, just before Christmas, and we ran it in the rain and dark. I had no idea what my splits were. I just ran as hard as I could. Someone told me after the race I’d run 5:12, which seemed impossible to me, but it was corroborated by the official timers. The mark didn’t count as a record since I drank Guinness, but I knew then I would return the next year with a legal beer, which I did, and ran 5:20 drinking Keepers Stout from a can. The year after that I ran 5:09 with Granville Island Winter ale, which stood as the world record for 6 years.

I didn’t run a single beer mile after that until Flotrack hosted the World Championships in the fall of 2014. By then I was a master, with suspect speed and no chugging practice. I thought I would get dusted by these University kids. Figured I would come last. Nick Symmonds was in the race, Lewis Kent, Corey Gallagher. These boys were big and fast and young. They were brash and controversial. In the media guide all of our fastest chug times were listed and mine was the slowest at 8 seconds. Our mile bests were listed, too, and I was nearly the slowest there, with my personal best from 16 years prior. But for whatever reason my body takes to the beer mile. I ran 5:20 and finished 3rd. A year later I took another serious crack at it on the track, just because my curiosity was intense, and ran 5:01 which still stands as my beer mile best.

This nascent beer mile frenzy… I feel like it’s a bit of a supernova. After that first World Championships and before the first World Classic the beer mile burned pretty brightly, and so when I went to the pub with my mates I would order a beer in whatever bottles they had, Sleeman or Heineken or (preferably) anything from Phillips, and I’d get my friends to time me. They’d pull out their iPhones and set them on the table, and as soon as the waitress put the beer down and turned away, I’d go. The truth is I don’t love beer. I can enjoy it, sure, but I’d rather train than sip at it. I’d rather see if I can get under 4 seconds than nurse one. So the waitress would leave and my boys would be ready, and I’d train there in the pub, getting down to 3.37 seconds once, confirmed by the backup timer. We’d only be there for an hour or 90 mins and I’d drink two beers in that time, and they’d be in my hand for less than 10 seconds. It helped having the stage. I wanted pressure on me. I wanted to have the possibility of being ridiculed if I screwed up and spat it out my nose, and so the pub was ideal. I was preparing for the big races. Never had the urge to run after, though. Not on those nights at the pub.

I don’t really fall on either side of the pro/con argument. Clearly I’m not contra beer and, more generally, drinking, but I don’t drink much. I like the environment mostly for the socials. I know alcohol can interfere with recovery and sleep, but I also know keeping the governor on too tight can have the same detrimental effect.


Corey Gallagher

I’ve always thought of myself being a beer connoisseur. I love trying new beers everywhere I go. One of my favourite winter celebrations is our Winter Beer Mile (we also hold a summer one) here in Manitoba. My first one was in 2006, during my first year of university. Every year after CIS championships the team would host an underground beer mile. This time conveniently fell around by birthday, which is on St. Patty’s Day, so it was a fun way to celebrate with everyone.

The only draw back being, its March in Winnipeg, which means there was also a fair amount of snow to shovel.   We would gather the team on a Friday night, hang out and shovel the track for hours. We would then wake up the next morning a bit rough around the edges, and dreading what we were about to do. My first beer mile were terrible, I ran around 14 minutes and was definitely penalized for not holding down my contents.

I’m happy to say things have greatly improved since then, and I look forward to our Winter Beer Mile every year.  Since my first year of university, our Beer Miles have grown beyond just the team. We get all types of people coming out (family members, friends of friends etc) as it’s a great fun and active way to bring people together over beers.

I always look forward to enjoying a casual beer once Beer Mile training is done. Nothing beats a nice cold beer after a hard workout or long run. However, during training I don’t allow myself any casual sipping beers, I practice chugging with everything.

New Years Resolutions from Elite Runners

By | Community Leaders, Elite Athletes | No Comments

We’ve rung in 2017 and, like every runner out there, our Canadian elites are writing their own running- and personal-related resolutions.  Here’s what they had to say:

Rachel Hannah:

1 – Doing my Physio ‘homework’ (hip drills) to prepare for the biggest Running ‘exams’ (goal races)!  I will take 20min a day to work on new hip drills to strengthen core muscles to help align and take load off repetitive-use soft tissues as my mileage increases in the new season.

2 – Taking more opportunities to connect with my new nephews (Cohen 2.5 years and Oliver 2 months old).  While they live in BC, we can connect through digital and also when races take me that way.  Family is important to me and I cherish the chances to get to see the new things they come up with each new day as they grow up so fast.

Erin Burrett:

1 – After a few injuries, I need to focus more on the little aspects of running (recovery, nutrition, hydration etc). I seem to
set this resolution every year, so hopefully this is the year I make it a habit and stick with it.

2 – Big life changes with regards to employment and my personal life in 2016, means I will spend 2017 focusing more so on myself. This means being happy, healthy and spending less time worrying about what others think.

Natasha LaBeaud Anzures:

1 – My running-resolution is to keep up with the little things that make a big difference including: staying positive, regular visits for physio, and focus during drills.

2 – My husband, Marco Anzures, and I cofounded the youth running non-profit organization 2nd Recess that teaches kids 4-13 about healthy habits through running.  We have multiple locations in San Diego and have a 2017 goal of reaching more locations in the area so that more kids can access the program, while also having more adult running workouts at the same time as kids’ practices so that parents can stay fit too!

Catherine Watkins:

1 – To ensure I continue doing my activation and strength training exercises to stay healthy for 2017 and so I can get back out to what I love… racing !

2 – To keep my girls healthy and active with fun activities together.

Dayna Pidhoresky:

1 – One of my running goals this year is to remain uninjured and run consistently throughout 2017.  To accomplish this we are trying something new — taking 1 day off running each week (cross-training only).  We’ll see how this goes.  On a similar note, I will try to not stress about the mileage number at the end of each week. . .

2 – In real life, I’d like to read more.  I got through a good amount of books this past year but I know I can do better!

Kevin Coffey:

1- I am not going to stress the small stuff on race day.  It’s important to just to play the hand that is dealt that day.  If the weather is off, so be it.  If I miss  a bottle, so be it.  And so on and so forth!

2 – Take time to make more calls back home to friends and family. Texts are great but calls are better!

Krista Duchene:

1 – Embrace change and keep learning. Make easy runs easier and hard runs harder to achieve personal best at 40!

2 – Give more into cooking for my family. Try new recipes while continuing to keep nutrition, cost, and packaging in mind.

Dylan Wykes:

1 – Focus on sleep and good nutrition. Two things that easily get lost in the shuffle these days 😉

2 – Find some balance. Kids, wife, running, coaching, drinking beer… sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus my time and energy!

Trevor Hofbauer

1 – Stretch more.  This is often an area I tend to overlook/ignore and the body is showing signs of neglect in the stretch department. If I can stretch one minute for every minute of running, I’ll be a happy camper.

2 – None as of right now. The move to Guelph just took place, so I need time to get comfortable and will evaluate myself as time passes.

Sabrina Wilkie

I don’t make new year resolutions but I do set goals throughout the year. Here’s the latest goal…
Since my husband Mark works full-time, I’m in school full-time and we have a toddler to look after, finding time to run/train is challenging. Our goal for the winter is to “run commute” to work/school to get in our off-day runs/mileage and once a week take a couple of hours to ourselves to do a workout.

Life is pretty hectic these days so I find running helps me clear my head and recharge.

Rachel Cliff

1 – to make it a priority to do strength/core work and rolling out/stretching every day. I’m hoping to run more half marathons and 10k’s in 2017 which means I’ll need to be much more proactive about these things to avoid injury.

2 – to be more organized with my leftovers and grocery shopping so I stop throwing out so much food!

10 tips for 10km – Dylan Wykes

By | Eastside 10k, Elite Athletes | No Comments

Dylan Wykes, winner of the inaugural Eastside 10k and coach at Mile2Marathon, gives us 10 tips for this year’s 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, know where you are gonna stash your gear. Arrive early, no need for added stress on race day, you are there to compete and perform. Unnecessary stress will affect your performance.
  2. Warm-up: For some this is a 20min run and active strides. For others this is a 5min walk and some stretches. Either way, get those muscles loose and ready to go, it’ll help avoid injury and have you primed to perform.
  3. Find your place: Get on the start line and line up with people whom are at your same level. A 45min 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 you will impede faster runners. Also, if you wanna run 35min get yourself to the front- if not you are gonna spend too much energy passing people and you may be trampling over slower runners. Be smart here.
  4. Get off the line: The 1st km of this race is the fastest. You will feel fresh and there is a nice downhill. If you are several seconds faster than your goal pace do not worry, get the 1st 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 gonna be suffering hard by 8km. 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 Eastside 10km course takes you on a tour through one of Vancouver’s most beautiful and culturally rich neighbourhoods. Appreciate the city and take it in. We live in a really friggen cool city.
  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, you can fight the wind together and you can thrive off the positive vibes that come from sharing a common goal. Find a friend and roll together.
  8. Focus: This is racing, it is supposed to hurt! Your legs will burn, you’ll fight for breath and you’ll wanna stop. You trained for this. Focus on your goals and stay positive. The pain of racing is brief, but giving up will sting for a whole lot longer.
  9. Bite your tongue and give’r: Ok, you got to 9km. Time to get going! This is where you put your head down and give it hell. Dig deep and push. Give it everything you have until you cross that finish line.
  10. Reap the spoils: Congrats on finishing the 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 Eastside 10k can be found here.

Eastside 10k elite field announced, past winners Martinson and Wodak defend, joined by Olympians.

By | Eastside 10k, Elite Athletes | No Comments

The Eastside 10k elite field is shaping up to be one of the fastest 10k events in Vancouver. Geoff Martinson and Natasha Wodak will have their work cut out for them as they toe the line to defend their 2015 victories.

The men’s field features Dylan Wykes, Kevin Coffey, Theo Hunt and Rob Watson, all top contenders for the title. Eric Gillis fresh off his 10th place finish at the Rio Olympics, will be pushing the pace in contention for top placing in this year’s Canada Running Series.

On the women’s side, Natasha Wodak, coming off her 10,000m run in Rio, will be pushed by a number of BC racers. Dayan Pidhoresky is gearing up for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Natasha Labeaud has had a strong summer race season. From out of province, Leslie Sexton and Lindsay Carson will be pushing the pace.

The event is on pace to sell out for the third year in a row, so sign up today at Eastside10k.com. If you are not able to run, make sure to come downtown and catch all the excitement on Saturday September 17th, start time 8:30am.

Vancouver Eastside 10k – Elite Male Athletes

Bib First Last City Province Category Twitter
1 Geoff Martinson Vancouver BC Open
2 Eric Gillis Guelph ON Open
4 Dylan Wykes Vancouver BC Open @dylanwykes
5 Kevin Coffey Vancouver BC Open @fluentstep
6 Theo Hunt Vancouver BC Open hunttheo
7 Robin Watson Vancouver BC Open @robbiedxc
8 Evan Elder Vancouver BC Open @EvanElderNZ
9 Christian Gravel Vancouver BC Open CGravs
10 Shoayb Bascal Victoria BC Open
11 Cody Therrien Victoria BC Open @TherrienCody
15 Mark Wilkie Vancouver BC Open
16 Anthony Tomsich Anchorage Alaska Open
17 Blair Johnston Surrey BC Open
18 Mathias Nipen Oslo Akershus Open
19 Nicholas Browne Vancouver BC Open nbrowne1
20 Bryan Andrews Vancouver BC Open
21 Chris Napier Vancouver BC Open @runnerphysio
23 Evan Dunfee Richmond BC Open
24 Kirill Solovyev West Vancouver BC Open Kirillsolovyev
25 Ramsey Ezzat North Vancouver BC Open
27 Tim Adkins Vancouver BC Open
28 Josh Seifarth Vancouver BC Open
29 Thomas Nipen Oslo Oslo Open
30 Jeremy Hopwood Richmond BC Open Jeremyhopwood
31 Ben Hanke Vancouver BC Open repstos
32 Drew Nicholson Surrey BC Open
33 Tristan Simpson Richmond BC Open
34 Tom Michie Vancouver BC Open
35 Nicolas Jirot Burnaby BC Open
36 Gus Amundson Vancouver BC Open
41 Kevin O’Connor Vancouver BC Master
43 Craig Odermatt Victoria BC Master
44 Anthony Skuce Vancouver BC Master @outforarun
45 Jeremiah Ziak Vancouver BC Master
46 David Guss Calgary AB Master
47 Simon Stewart Edmonton AB Master @stewsimon
48 Chris Barth White Rock BC Master
49 Vince Brotherston Courtenay BC Master
50 Tatsuya Hatachi Coquitlam BC Master
51 James Newby Squamish BC Master
52 Russ Esau Abbotsford BC Master @resau66

 

Vancouver Eastside 10k – Elite Female Athletes

Bib First Last City Province Category Twitter
F1 Natasha Wodak Vancouver BC Open
F2 Dayna Pidhoresky Vancouver BC Open @daynapidhoresky
F3 Natasha LaBeaud San Diego CA Open @tashyrunner
F4 Leslie Sexton London ON Open @lesliesexton
F5 Lindsay Carson Whitehorse YK Open
F6 Shannon Banal West Vancouver BC Open
F7 Catherine Watkins Vancouver BC Master @runmommaster
F8 Courtney Olsen Bellingham WA Open
F9 Ellie Greenwood North Vancouver BC Open @eLLiejG
F10 Lissa Zimmer Vancouver BC Open @lissa2s
F11 Sabrina Wilkie Vancouver BC Open @sabrinawilkie
F12 Catrin Jones Victoria BC Open
F15 Jenn Dowling-Medley Vancouver BC Open
F16 Christy Lovig Kelowna BC Open @clovig
F17 Jen Moroz Vancouver BC Open jen_moroz
F18 Neasa Coll Vancouver BC Open @neasacoll
F19 Kate Gustafson Vancouver BC Open
F20 Melissa Ross Nanaimo BC Open @melissaross929
F21 Adrienne Gomes Squamish BC Open
F22 Kristyn Webster Port Moody BC Open
F23 Laura Morrison Vancouver BC Open
F24 Shannon Dale North Vancouver BC Open
F25 Allison Ezzat North Vancouver BC Open
F26 Morgan Cabot Vancouver BC Open morgls_c
F27 Meredith MacGregor Vancouver BC Open meredithshelagh
F28 Stephana Cherak Edmonton AB Open stephanacherak
F29 Brittany Dunbar Chilliwack BC Open brittd03
F30 Cheryl Pepin North Vancouver BC Open
F31 Justine Stecko Victoria BC Open
F32 Katherine Moore Vancouver BC Open
F41 Melanie Kassel Chilliwack BC Master
F42 Darcie Montgomery North Vancouver BC Master
F43 America Aznar Edmonton AB Master @mekiaznar
F44 Jill Delane Vancouver BC Master @jillplouvier
F45 Margreet Dietz Squamish BC Master @MargreetDietz
F46 Rika Hatachi Coquitlam BC Master

 

Meditation in Motion – by Katherine Moore

By | Elite Athletes | No Comments
Guest Article by Katherine Moore

Calmness comes with Quiet – B.K.S Iyengar

This is one of my favorite quotes. I find a calmness and quiet in both Running and Yoga. They require you to drop into your body, breath, and connect to the present moment. This creates incredible inner discipline, strength and ease.

Running and Yoga are like a healthy relationship. They compliment each other beautifully. Running, as freeing as it can feel it can be demanding on the body, nervous system and joints from repetitive action. With Running and in Life we make goals and projects to constantly improve on. Yoga helps you to become aware of your body, mind and breath, which can awaken you to the possibility of change. Yoga you are practicing taking a step back even leaning back, breathe into the back body and accept the moment you are in. These teachings can bring great balance to training and everyday life.

What I love about Yoga is you are always practicing. You may practice the physical practice for a certain time but the yoga practice is 24hours. The teachings are everywhere. You can weave the teachings into your running training. Being present in your training is a great technique. This can help to avoid injury so you accept where you are in your training and practice being patient to achieve your goals. Being present and patient also means listening to your body. You will learn that if you are feeling tired or something is sore to adjust your schedule and rest. That is probably the hardest one for runners and being goal orientated.

Both in Yoga, Running and life you are always refining and changing, it is a continuous practice. Patience and presence you practice in yoga can help you to achieve future goals.

07-14-16-yoga2

To offer harmony and balance I have partnered with Shelley Tomczyk and created a weekend retreat:

MEDITATION IN MOTION – BOWEN ISLAND YOGA RETREAT
Wake up to morning meditation practice by the ocean followed by yoga practice and a guided run to Killarney Lake. Relax in peaceful eco friendly Zen cottages in the forest and enjoy holistic organic vegetarian meals, snacks, juices, and smoothies prepared by Nutritionist and private chef Kate Horsman. Learn running drills to improve form and technique coupled with asana practice with focus on restorative and therapeutics. Swim, unwind, find stillness, and retreat for the goodness of the soul.
OCTOBER 21-23- 2016
To register – www.runningintoyoga.ca

Kip Kangogo runs to victory, marking his fifth win at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

Over $860,000 raised at the 2016 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k.

VANCOUVER June 26th 2016 – Over 6,500 people took part in the 18th annual Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k on Sunday, June 26. The event raised more than $860,000 and counting for 81 local charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. This amount is a significant contribution to the $50 million raised nationally in the lifetime of the Scotiabank Charity Challenge since its inception in 2003.

Race day saw momentous victories on a sunny Vancouver morning as runners brought their best to the scenic course, stretching from UBC to Stanley Park. Kenyan-born Kip Kangogo of Lethbridge, Alberta owned today’s race, as he has since his Canadian debut in 2009, leading the men’s pack and winning his fifth Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon in eight years with a time of 01:07:03. Kenya’s Pius Kipsang Korir followed in second place, with Kangogo’s fellow Kenyan Canadian, Willy Kimosop in third for the men’s event.

KipKangogo

Romanian born American, Adriana Nelson came to Vancouver looking for a half-marathon win, and led the women’s pack from the beginning. She ran to victory three minutes clear of second place, Lindsay Tessier from Toronto.

“We would like to congratulate all of the runners in the 2016 Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k, especially those who participated in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge and ran for causes close to their hearts,” said Winnie Leong, Senior Vice President of the BC and Yukon Region at Scotiabank. “This marks a special year for the race here in Vancouver. With the support of the local community, the Scotiabank Charity Challenge reached a fundraising total of $860,000 and counting – helping to take our national fundraising even further past the $50 million national fundraising milestone achieved this past week.”

Charity

The race also saw record-breaking moments as Jason Cole and Rand Surbey broke the Guinness World Record for fastest half-marathon pushing a wheelchair. The powerhouse duo had a strong finish in the race and in their fundraising efforts, raising over $15,000 for the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge also saw a record broken as Cassie and Friends Society raised over $120,000 this year, surpassing the most a charity has raised through the Challenge in Vancouver, annually.

“Today we saw residents of Vancouver and surrounding areas unite in an inspiring way – from talented runners to dedicated supporters cheering on race participants, we witnessed a great deal of athleticism, philanthropy and community spirit,” said Clif Cunningham, Canada Running Series Western Race Director. “With the combination of outstanding running achievements and hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for local charities here in BC, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.” 

Spectators

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k Results:

Half-Marathon Results   

Half-Marathon Male 

1. Kip Kangogo – Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada:  01:07:03

2. Pius Kipsang Korir–  Kenya: 01:07:29

3. Willy Kimosop – Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada: 01:08:11

Half-Marathon Female         

1. Adriana Nelson – Boulder, Colorado, USA: 01:14:35

2. Lyndsay Tessier – Toronto, Ontario, Canada: 01:17:30

3. Robyn Mildren – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 01:18:55

5k Results

5k Male          

1. Alistair Kealty – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 17:07

2. Dorian Baysset – Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada: 17:56

3. Samuel Yeung – Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada: 19:28  

5k Female               

1. Olivia, Willett – Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada: 18:57

2. Carina Blafield – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: 20:12

3. Hannah Ye – Leesburg, Virginia, USA: 20:22

To see a list of charities involved in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, please visit the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon and 5k website.

For more highlights and complete race results, please visit: www.vancouverhalf.com 

Twitter Hashtags: #ScotiaHalf and #runScotia

Krista DuChene to race Toronto Waterfront 10 on Road to Rio

By | Elite Athletes, Toronto Waterfront 10 | No Comments
June 9, 2016 – by Paul Gains

Although the official announcement won’t be made for another month Krista DuChene has checked all the necessary boxes and is poised to represent Canada in the 2016 Olympic Marathon.

Now the 39 year old Brantford, Ontario native can look forward to racing the Toronto Waterfront 10 on Saturday June 25 without the pressure of anyone looking over her shoulder and assessing her fitness. Nevertheless, she will approach the 10km race with a specific target.

“I think it’s just to throw a bit of a changeup in the pace, just try to switch it up from the half marathons that I have done,” she reveals. “It will be a tune-up speed workout that’s the way we will look at it.

06-09-16-krista-finish

Photo credit: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series

“In four of my last five races I have been second place. So, to be honest, if I get second again that day: whatever! I have been fit and healthy all year with injuries so who cares if I don’t get the win. What matters at the end of the day is that I am healthy and fit and ready to put it all out there on August 14 (the date of the Rio Olympics marathon).”

DuChene raced several times in the winter and early spring looking to satisfy Athletics Canada’s “proof of fitness”. She achieved the Olympic marathon standard with 2:29:38 in Rotterdam (April 2015) and this proof of fitness was required. After winning the Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal (April 24) she accomplished her task then managed a week off during which she admits to enjoying culinary treats. The rest was short-lived, however, as her 15 week marathon buildup toward Rio began immediately afterwards.

Although her legs will no doubt feel the effects of the extra training miles she will race to win the Toronto Waterfront 10, the newest race on the Canada Running Series calendar. She chose to run jt rather than fly across the country to compete in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon which is on the same weekend.

“It’s an early start so I will go to Toronto Friday night,” she explains. “I am there and back in less than 24 hours. There is a lot to be said for staying close to home, in your own environment, in your own bed, your own food and everything like that. I love going out to Vancouver to do that race but I think it just made sense to throw a 10k in there and also so I could focus more on those harder longer runs locally.”

Amongst her fans in Rio will be husband Jonathan and her three children. They have booked tickets for the marathon finish at Copacabana Beach. Now that all three kids are in school she no longer has to wake up before sunrise to get in her training and is obviously feeling the benefit of additional sleep.

On the Toronto starting line she will face Dayna Pidhoresky, who beat her at the Vancouver First Half Marathon in February, as well as Vancouver’s star master’s runner, Catherine Watkins. The latter a 44 year old rising star represented Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games marathon where she finished a solid 8th. More recently she raced in the Ottawa 10k on May 28. She was the first Masters woman and finished 12th overall.

06-09-16-watkins

Photo credit: Inge Johnson/Canada Running Series

“I went into Ottawa feeling pretty fit but the conditions there weren’t ideal for a fast time,” Watkins recalls of the heat and humidity which plagued the race. “I kind of suffered in that heat. But I think in a few weeks in Toronto that is definitely my chance to go under 34 minutes again. That’s the goal.”

Watkins has seen remarkable improvement in her running career since joining up with BC Endurance Project coach Richard Lee. Among those she often trains with are 2012 Olympian Dylan Wykes, 2016 Olympic qualifier Natasha Kodak, Pidhoresky, and, when she is in Vancouver training, Canadian marathon record holder Lanni Marchant. They all live within a few kilometres of each other.

With two children in school full time Watkins is able to fit in her training while pursuing altruistic activities.

“I have been doing some volunteer work with a group out here called Street 2 Front,” she reveals. “They are a school out here that works with children from the Downtown Eastside. They are kids who generally haven’t made it in the regular school program. The man who runs the program has developed an amazing running program with them and has inspired them through running.

“A couple of years ago we organized a run to raise money. They took all the kids to Mount Kilimanjaro. They are doing another trip next year, to Peru to hike the Inca Trail.”

While the women’s race at Toronto Waterfront 10 is compelling stuff the men’s race holds great interest too. It will feature Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis.

Both represented Canada in the 2012 Olympic marathon while Gillis also ran the 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And with DuChene soon to become a first time Olympian there will definitely be an Olympic edge to the race.

Organizers are throwing a “Rio Send-Off” post-race party complete with Brazilian drummers and samba dancers from 8:45 a.m until 9:15 a.m. to celebrate the Olympians. There will also be presentations by the Honourable MP Peter Fonseca, himself a 1996 Olympic marathoner and the Brazilian Consul General.

Join the celebrations at the Toronto Waterfront 10k on June 25th!

Rob Watson on the #ScotiaHalf Course

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

May 23, 2016 – by Rob Watson

Elite athlete Rob Watson has raced the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon a number of times and has trained on every square inch of the course countless times, so we asked him for a play-by-play of the race course and tips for Race Day.

Vancouver has some truly wonderful races, but if you ask me, I’d say that the Scotiabank Half-Marathon is the best one going. Why would I say that? Well for many reasons, but for today I am going to focus on just one very specific, very awesome reason; the course. This race has the most spectacular course around. It offers up a beautiful tour of our incredible city. From UBC, all the way to Stanley Park, this course showcases many of the best parts of Vancouver. If you are properly trained and ready for the intricacies of the course it can be very fast. I’ll take you through the race and give you a few tips on how to make sure you are ready to roll come June 26th.

Ok, let’s get started. Firstly, when the gun sounds, get going! The first couple km are quick fast – take advantage. Obviously you don’t want to go off sprinting like a crazy person, that’d be unwise, but don’t be afraid to let the legs stretch out a bit. If you are 5-10sec faster than goal pace do not stress, that’s just how the first few km’s rolls.

Settle in and try to find your rhythm during the rest of your time up at UBC, there are some gradual ups and downs, but nothing too gnarly. Settle in and relax.

Coming down off UBC we have ourselves a big ass downhill. This can be awesome, but it can also be tricky. Be careful here folks, running downhill is a great way to open up the stride and gain some time, but if you are overeager you risk putting junk in your legs. The pounding from that downhill mile can beat you up a bit. Two tips; 1) Practice running downhill. Get the body used to that pounding. 2) Come race day be patient and run light going down this hill. Let gravity do the work and save the legs for when you really need them (hint; we have a bridge to deal with at 18km).

So now you are at the bottom of the downhill. Hopefully you enjoyed the amazing views and the smooth ride on the way down. Now we are at Spanish banks and about 10km into the race. Use this time to settle back into rhythm. It will probably feel a bit funny at first as you change your stride back to a flat running gait. Don’t panic, the next 3km are pancake flat, plenty of time to get things sorted. You’ll be fine.

At 13km there is a little climb. Not gonna lie, it stings. The good news is that it is short-300m(ish), and when you get to the top there is a nice 1km downhill. That’s one of the good things about this course, after every uphill there is a nice downhill to recover on right afterwards.

At 15km you will roll past LuLu Chip’s place. Run strong and look pretty, the crowds are great here and you are making your way home. Enjoy the sights and sounds as you run past Kits beach and into the Kits Point area.

Alright then. Let’s talk about this bridge. At 18km you are going to come around a corner and encounter the Burrard Street Bridge. This is an iconic Vancouver structure that connects Kitsilano to Downtown. It is also an uphill, and it will be uncomfortable. Just get yourself to the top! Use the crowds, look at the mountains and think about all the training you have done to get to this point. Remember that it is all worth it. Once you crest this badboy it is all downhill to the finish.

After the bridge life is good. The crowds are rowdy, the course is downhill and you are so dang close to that finish. It is truly a wonderful feeling to run into Stanley Park to cross that finish line. Stanley Park is the jewel of Vancouver and boy does she look good after 21km of hard running. Cross the line, do a little dance and then drink a beer – you will have earned it.

Good luck folks.

Race Route

Want to join Rob on June 26? Sign up today at VancouverHalf.com and remember that prices go up on June 1st, so register today to save!

For more details on the course, check out the map, elevation profile, and course description.

Toronto Waterfront 10 Draws Canadian Olympians, by Paul Gains

By | Elite Athletes, Toronto Waterfront 10 | No Comments

TORONTO May 17th 2016. Two of Canada’s Olympic marathoners have confirmed their entry into the Toronto Waterfront 10, the newest race in the Canada Running Series.

ericEric Gillis, who has satisfied all the criteria to represent Canada at the Rio Olympics, his third successive Olympic Games, will tackle Speed River Track Club teammate and training partner Reid Coolsaet over this scenic and very fast 10 kilometre course on June 25th. Their addition is welcomed by race director, Alan Brookes.

“We are thrilled and excited for this race to be a Rio sendoff for some of our favourite Canada Running Series stars,” says Brookes. “I am sure the Toronto running community will come out in force to give them a proper send-off.”

The pair, both 36 years of age now, have similar but different objectives for the race which is expected to draw around 7,000 runners.

“You know what? A solid effort is important to me,” Gillis reveals. “The fastest time I can run on that course, in those conditions, is important to me. So (it’s not just) going out there and just getting the win or just getting a race in. I am expecting it to be warmer come June 25 and it’s always tougher, when it is warmer, to get a fast time but in the conditions I’d like to run as fast as I can on that course.

“It’s a new course, a new time of the year for that race but you know what? It’s consistent; as always it’s a Canada Running Series race and CRS races are great to be part of. So I am excited to try their brand newest event and it is close to home too.”

Coolsaet, who met the Athletics Canada Olympic qualifying standard with his 2:10:28 clocking at the 2015 Berlin Marathon – the second fastest Canadian performance ever – has been suffering since March from an impinged nerve in his lower back. Because his qualifying time was recorded in 2015 he must still satisfy a ‘proof of fitness’ and knows his result here will be watched closely by Athletics Canada’s head coach, Peter Eriksson.

“Oh yeah it’s been super frustrating,” Coolsaet who ran the reid2012 Olympic marathon admits. “I have been injured since the beginning of March and now that I know what it is, I am making good progress and I am optimistic that I can turn things around the next few weeks and have a proper buildup for Rio. And, if I am training hard and getting ready for Rio, I am definitely going to want to run some races as well.

“I am sure Toronto Waterfront 10 will play into the mix; any race I do from now until July 10 will be scrutinized and if it goes well, will my seal my selection to the team.”

Gillis has had the luxury of easing back from a busy spring schedule during which he proved fitness with a 6th place finish in the Berlin Half Marathon (1:03:42) and then won the Vancouver Sun Run 10k in a quick 28:52. Reading bedtime stories to his two young children is a regular occurrence in his household these days. Meanwhile, Coolsaet has been fitting between two and four appointments for massage, physiotherapy and acupuncture into his weekly regimen.

“I am running about 100 and 120 km a week then supplementing what I can’t do on the elliptical and on the bike,” Coolsaet explains. “For me Waterfront 10 is just about being race sharp and breaking up the training and just having another good effort close to home before Rio.

“I have been doing a lot of volume and doing my intensity on the elliptical so I really don’t know what kind of running shape I will be in. Any sort of hard effort will be a test and a race more so than a big workout.”

Still, whenever he races Coolsaet can be counted on to produce a solid effort. Earlier in the spring he represented Canada at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff and, under dreadful weather conditions, and, with his back seizing up the last third of the race, he still managed 1:04:56. And with a personal best of 27:56.92 for 10,000m he has the ability to race with the best in the world when fully fit.

These days he has been busier than usual because he must drive to the Guelph YMCA to do his cross training and also commute to therapy appointments. On top of this he and his girlfriend, Marie, have bought a house in Hamilton where he grew up.

“The last six weeks there has been a lot of house hunting on the internet and then going to open houses,” he reveals.  “This past week we bought one. I suspect once we move in I will be pretty busy with doing ‘new house stuff’ trying to save money by doing it myself.

“When I do have some downtime I like to pay attention to cycling and skateboarding. Right now I am kind of following the Giro d’Italia and other times watching skateboard videos on the internet.”

Coolsaet will commute to Guelph for workouts with Speed River Track Club. With five weeks remaining until the Toronto Waterfront 10 he will be gradually reaching peak fitness.

“I think my main concern will be putting in a solid effort that would really be a time-based goal and then it depends on who shows up,” he reveals. “Hopefully, it will be a good competition and I will want to win. Eric is going to be there. Depending on where we are in training we might push each other and go for a good time, then race it at the end like we have done before.

A new course. Two inspirational Canadian Olympians. What better way to introduce Toronto’s newest 10 kilometre road race?

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For More Information and to join Eric and Reid on the start line: http://www.canadarunningseries.com/toronto10k/