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Elite Athletes

The Gift of Giving – Elite Edition

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With the holidays just around the corner, we asked some of the elites that have graced us with their presence on the start line about some of their favourite holiday gift, traditions, and ideas for other runners.  We heard from Trevor Hofbauer, Catherine Watkins, Dylan Wykes, Leslie Sexton, and Kate Gustafson.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Trevor Hofbauer:  The best Christmas gift I ever received was a Nintendo 64. The N64 is a classic and it logged hundreds of gaming hours.  The best running related gift I ever received was a Petzl headlamp. It has 3 settings at 50-lumens, 100, and 150. It gets put to use frequently throughout the winter and periodically in the summer during early morning runs and around the campfire.

Kate Gustafson: Composite hockey stick. As a teenager, this was so epic!

Catherine Watkins: The best gifts for me are experience gifts with a destination or an activity (Escape the Room or a Broadway Show for example).  I love the long lasting memories these kind of gifts leave me with.

Dylan Wykes: Goalie pads. When I was 13.

Leslie Sexton: I got a Garmin Forerunner 205 about ten years ago. It was big and bulky and took a while to connect with satellites, but it told me how far I ran and how fast, so I loved it. I upgraded to a 220 a few years ago.

What the best gift for a runner?

Trevor:  The best gift is definitely a headlamp. It’s a multipurpose gift that can be used all year round.

Kate: A gift certificate to a local spa (with a massage included), hands down.  This is such a treat.

Catherine:   Gift certificates for race entries, babysitting services to look after their children while they race/train, homemade cookies (runners always love a good cookie), or a great running watch.

Dylan: Gloves, headlamp, socks, wind protective undies (if you live east of the Rockies…). All the stuff you never think of, but that is essential, and can’t hurt to have a lot of, especially for winter running.  A good running book is great at Christmas too; Once a Runner is the classic.

Leslie: Winter running socks! It may not sound very exciting but a good pair of merino wool socks can cost $20 so it is something a lot of people wouldn’t buy for themselves, making it a practical and thoughtful gift for a runner training through the winter. For guys, a pair of winter running boxers with a windproof material in the front is also an essential winter apparel item, so get one for the runner dude in your life.

Favourite part of Christmas / holiday season?

Trevor:  Spending time with family and friends.

Kate: Hmmm, my dad’s fruit salad on Christmas morning is something I always look forward to. If I’m at home, I love to run on Christmas day with my younger brother on the snowy roads in Northern Ontario, it’s not fast but it’s always fun.

Catherine:  My favourite parts of Christmas are the traditions. Going out with the family to get the tree, decorating the tree while drinking hot chocolate and eating Christmas cookies and reminiscing about where the ornaments came from. I also love the food !!

Dylan: Eating & Drinking with friends and family.  I also like to getting out for a run on Christmas Day every year. Now it’s with my two little girls! We’ll see how long that tradition lasts…

Leslie:  I usually have a pretty quiet Christmas day because I race the Boxing Day 10-miler the following day in Hamilton, Ontario. After that I visit family and refuel with the traditional Christmas turkey dinner. I always bring desserts: homemade brownies and Nanaimo bars.

Some of our favourite places to shop for running gifts:

Looking for gift certificates to local races? They’re currently available for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k as well as the Under Armour Eastside 10k.

 

evan dunfee

Walking vs Running: one man’s very specific case study by Evan Dunfee

By | Elite Athletes | No Comments

Over the last 12 months it has become a fairly common occurrence for the Vancouver running community to see me out on the streets tackling a road race.  Over the last year I have walked in 10km, half marathon and full marathon races, and ran a 10km and a half marathon.

This dabbling in running during my off-season has led to a lot of questions. How often do you run in training? How does racing/recovery differ? Why do you do it?

And I think it would be fun to attempt to answer some of these questions by comparing my two most recent road races, the Scotiabank Half Marathon, where I race walked to a 95th place finish in 1:29:54, and the recent Eastside 10km, where I ran my way to 6th place in 32:26.

evan dunfee

So just how much running do I do in training? Since May 1st I’ve run 120km (not including a few 3km late night runs/plods home from the bar), or a whopping average of 6km per week. Evidently running isn’t something I find myself doing in training too often.

That lack of running most clearly rears its ugly head when it comes to recovering from running races vs. walking races. I can typically bounce back from a 30-40min hard walking effort either later that day or the next day. However, after running the Eastside 10k my legs were shot.

evan dunfee

Race walking, because of its lower impact, takes way less of a strain physically on your body (think somewhere between swimming and running). Plus, given that it’s my primary form of training, my body is primed to handle the specific stressors exceptionally well. Running however, requires way more calf/quad activation, and the higher impact takes its toll on my joints and ITBs.

Additionally, after most of my walking races my focus is on recovering as quickly as possible because I’m mid-season. After Eastside the focus was getting home ASAP to shower and head downtown to celebrate the end of my off-season. With drinks at the White Caps game and a late night concert, my body woke up the next day with considerably more DOMS.

There are many more similarities (think physiological measures: %VO2max, HR etc…) than there are differences. One difference, while running, is how easily my mind wanders. Not having to focus on technique freed up mental capacity. Unfortunately, that mental capacity was used to frequently question: “Why are you doing this to yourself?”. It’s tough to say if that is a positive or negative difference.

Another big difference was the overwhelming lack of expectations. When I go into a walking race I roughly know what I should be capable of. Sometimes this is a hindrance where I might hold back subconsciously. With running, I had no idea what to expect. I figured a good strategy was to make sure I ran hard enough that I was tired by 3km and then just hang on from there.

But moreover, no one else had any real expectations. I could have run 34min and people still would have thought that was pretty good for a race walker. Special shoutout here to my retired teammate/full-time lawyer Inaki Gomez who busted out a 35min run! He lost the fastest lawyer battle when Lanni Marchant pulled away from him late in the game.

Talking about others helps me segue into my final point, which is the real reason I come out to these races (running or walking). That reason is to sneak my way into the amazing running community we have in Vancouver. A community which I used to feel like an outsider in but now, finally, feel like I am welcome. Doing these events has helped show that we race walkers are serious athletes. I think that it has helped raise the level of respect we walkers have. It has also brought me way closer to this incredible community. From the awesome run clubs around the city, to the strong Strava contingent constantly pursuing personal excellence. These are the people I draw constant inspiration from. So if it means putting up with a few days of sore ITBs and calf cramps each year then it is well worth the price!

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: http://canadarunningseries.com/2017/08/ua-eastside-10k-2017-elite-starting-list/

For more information on the run see: www.eastside10k.com

VE10k elite list 2017

UA Eastside 10k 2017 Elite Starting List

By | Eastside 10k, Elite Athletes | No Comments

Under Armour Eastside 10k

2017 Elite Starting List

Bib #Last NameFirst NameCityProvince
2MartinsonGeoffVancouverBC
3WykesDylanVancouverBC
4JustinKentBurnabyBC
5CoffeyKevinVancouverBC
6HuntTheoVancouverBC
7NgenoBenardSurreyBC
8MutaiDavidEldoretUG
9GravelChristianVancouverBC
10WatsonRobinVancouverBC
14WilkieMarkVancouverBc
15BrockervilleRyanCoquitlamBC
16ShahmirzadiCamronMenlo ParkCA
17BauerJesseEdmontonAB
18BrowneNicholasVancouverBC
19LogueRobertVancouverBC
20MichieTomVancouverBC
21NicholsonDrewSurreyBC
22LoewenRonaldLangleyBC
23BlazeyPaulVancouverBC
24GomezInakiVancouverBC
25DunfeeEvanRichmondBC
26HopwoodJeremyRichmondBC
27AmundsonGusVancouverBC
28KimuraKyleVancouverBC
31LonerganKillianThunSwitzerland
32BradfordKeithCalgaryAB
33OdermattCraigVictoriaBC
34NapierChrisVancouverBC
35O'ConnorKevinVancouverBC
36BarthChrisWhite RockBC
37AdkinsTimVancouverBC
38HatachiTatsuyaCoquitlamBC
39NewbyJamesSquamishBC
40PortmanBryanNanaimoBC
41PtuchaStephenRichmondBC
Bib #Last NameFirst NameCityProvince
F1SextonLeslieLondonON
F2WodakNatashaNorth VancouverBC
F3CliffRachelVancouverBC
F4MarchantLanniLondonON
F5InglisSarahLangleyBC
F6WilkieSabrinaVancouverBC
F7Lewis-SchneiderMegVancouverBC
F8ElmoreMalindiKelownaBC
F9MorozJenVancouverBC
F10TherrienBrittanyVancouverBC
F12LeeAndreaVancouverBC
F13MooreKatherineVancouverBC
F14LongridgeCorriVancouverBC
F15MacGregorMeredithVancouverBC
F16CherakStephanaCalgaryAB
F17LeeKirstenPort CoquitlamBC
F18PepinCherylNorth VancouverBC
F19ZimmerLissaVancouverBC
F21WatkinsCatherineVancouverBC
F22LovigChristyKelownaBC
F23KasselMelanieChilliwackBC
lanni goal setting UA

Setting goals like an Olympian: Lanni Marchant

By | Eastside 10k, Elite Athletes, Training Tips | No Comments

Setting Goals like an Olympian: Lanni Marchant

under armour lanni

Whether it’s your first race or your 100th, you always need to set a goal.

Best Health web editor Lisa Hannam had the chance to interview Canadian Olympian and Under Armour athlete Lanni Marchant about realistic goal setting and the runner’s greatest accomplishments.

In the interview, Lanni explains her strategy for goal setting, in which she utilizes a work-backwards approach and vocally shares her goals with others.

“In 2012, I wanted to go to the Rio Olympics, so [my coach and I] worked backwards, in terms of how to qualify. But we also had goals for each season leading up to my qualifiers, [like the] Canadian records, Championship races, and medal contention etc.

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“For life goals, I’ll always keep that target in mind but I know that there might be some different paths and bends in the road to get there.

“Regardless of the goal, I have learned that I have to be vocal and share my goals with those around me. Keeping it a secret means I am carrying the risk of failure solely on my shoulders. When I share my goals with my family, close friends and coach, it means they are there to help me when I hit a bump or come to a crossroad and need help.”

To read the complete interview click here.

With less than two months until the Under Armour Eastside 10k, it’s time to set your goals!

SVHM 17

Kangogo & Tessier take tactical wins at 2017 Scotia Half

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

VANCOUVER, BC. June 25th. Lethbridge’s Kip Kangogo (65:35) and Toronto’s Lyndsay Tessier (77:00) raced to emphatic victories in the 19th edition of the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon, presented by Asics, ahead of 4,229 participants this morning. Another 2,506 took part in the accompanying 5K. The total, sold-out crowd of 6,735 were drawn to the magnificent scenery of the Pacific Northwest and the finish in world-famous Stanley Park, from 9 Canadian provinces, 26 American states and 27 countries around the world. Combined, the runners also raised and impressive $970,000 for 76 mostly-local charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge.

SVHM 17The summerlike conditions showed one of the world’s most-scenic half marathons at its best, but led to tactical races up front. It was 19c for the 7:30am start of the “Scotia Half” start at the University of British Columbia at 7:30am. A group of 4 immediately broke away from the field, led by Canada’s 2012 Olympic marathoner Dylan Wykes, with Kangogo, Lakefield, Ontario’s Thomas Toth and Tristan Woodfine from Guelph’s Speed River TFC tucked in behind. Two initial three-minute kilometres got rid of Woodfine who drifted back on tired legs, and the pace slowed to consistent 3:10s as Wykes kept things moving along. Toth, who had already put in over 200 kilometres this week as he prepares to represent Canada in the IAAF World Championships marathon in London in August, was gone by 8k (24:51).  It then turned into a thoroughly absorbing cat and mouse contest between two wily veterans. Kangogo had already won the event an impressive 5 times, Wykes once in 2014 (with Kangogo 2nd). The pair continued down through Spanish Banks, Jericho Beach, Point Grey and into Kitsilano with Wykes doing all the leading, and Kangogo in his footsteps behind. 10k was passed in 30:47 and 15k in 46:33 before Kangogo moved out to test Wykes’ race fitness around Kits Point at 17k. At 18k, going onto the challenging uphill over Burrard Bridge, the Albertan made his signature, decisive move that has given him so many victories on the course and it was over quickly. “My training has been coming along really nicely,” Kangogo said. “I was happy with my preparation and I planned to make my move at 18k on the bridge. I had won the Canadian Half marathon Championships 3 weeks ago in Calgary and I was ready. I love this race and am glad to come back anytime.” Despite dropping off to finish 18 seconds back (65:53) Wykes was also pleased with his performance. After battling injuries for 4 years and starting a family, he ran a steady, controlled effort. “It’s great to be back racing,” he said. “Right now I’ve still only got one gear, but watch out for me in the Fall!” Toth crossed the line a distant third in 68:02, with Woodfine another minute back (69:03).

SVHM 17 TessierThe women’s race produced a surprise winner in Lyndsay Tessier from Toronto’s Black Lungs club, ahead of strong pre-race favourite Dayna Pidhoresky (78:10) of Vancouver. Pidhoresky was coming off a breakthrough performance at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon just 4 weeks ago – a PB of 2:36:08 that also earned her a place on the Canadian team to the World Championships. “It was tough out there,” she said. “It was hot. The plan was to do a tempo workout and I thought that might be good enough to win today, but it wasn’t. Lyndsay really deserved to win. I’ve only had a couple of workouts since Ottawa, and I was worried if I pushed too hard it might set me back, and I’d miss some important training for London.” Pidhoresky got off to her typical quick start and was well clear at 3k which she passed in 10:02. But Tessier remained steady, gradually hauling her in. Tessier caught up around 8k, and the pair battled back and forth until 13k when Tessier made the move, to eventually win by over a minute. “Early on I just tried to keep the green shorts in sight,” said Tessier. “I’m not good on downhills, and Dayna got away from me on the downhill from 8k to 9k, but I caught up to her again by 10k. I do much better on the uphills and I moved away on the rise from Jericho at 13k. Burrard Street bridge was really a throat punch at the end but once I got over it I just held on.” Washington State’s Courtney Olsen was 3rd in 80:47.

Following the race, Race Director Clif Cunningham presented Kangogo with 6 rings to represent his 6 victories on the course, after several years of the former college All-American repeatedly joking about “where’s my rings?!” A live band, a teeming “Charity Village” and all around good vibes with snow-capped mountains and the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, rounded out a spectacular Vancouver running experience.

After a summer hiatus the Canada Running Series resumes in Vancouver, with the Under Armour Eastside 10k on September 16th. http://canadarunningseries.com/vancouver-eastside-10k/

Full results from today at http://canadarunningseries.com/scotiabank-vancouver-half-marathon/the-weekend/#results-and-photos

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Meet your 2017 #ScotiaHalf Contenders

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments
Kip Kangogo

Age: 37
Personal Best: 1:03:22

Kip Kangogo is a previous Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon winner, having won the event 5 times!  After immigrating from Kenya 14 years ago, he resides in Lethbridge, Alberta with his family.  Kip ran a 2:17:12 at the 2014  Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, to earn the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games Marathon.  He is an accomplished runner in any event from the 5000m to the marathon, and has an exceptional knowledge of the #ScotiaHalf course , Kangogo will be a force to be reckoned with on June 25 as he hunts for his 6th win.

thomas toth
Thomas Toth

Age: 26
Personal best: 1:04:26

Thomas Toth had a breakthrough performance at the 2016 Aramco Houston Half-Marathon where he ran a blistering 1:04:26.   Following this, Toth went on to win the 2016 Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Calgary.  Since then, he’s set a solid mark in the marathon, debuting at 2:18:58 in the Hamburg Marathon. Beating the qualifying standard by 2 seconds, Toth has been selected to represent Canada in the marathon at the 2017 World Track and Field Championships in London, England this summer.

geoff martinson
Geoff Martinson

Age: 31
Personal best: 1:05:18

Geoff Martinson has specialized in shorter distances, with a semi final appearance in the 1500m at the 2011 World Track and Field Championships.  With many podium finishes at local road races, he was the former BC Champ in the 5k, and the winner of the 2015 Eastside 10k. With just a few early results at the half marathon distance, he’s one to watch for in the field.

dylan wykes
Dylan Wykes

Age: 34
Personal best: 1:02:14

Dylan Wykes is one of the most successful marathon runners in Canada. A member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team, he finished 20th in his Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games. He qualified for the Games by running 2:10:47 at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon; a time that is the third fastest ever by a Canadian, behind only Jerome Drayton’s clocking of 2:10:09 in 1975 and Reid Coolsaet’s 2:10:28 clocking at the 2015 Berlin Marathon.  Wykes won the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in 2014 in 1:03:52, and will be contending for the top spot again this June.

dayna pidhoresky
Dayna Pidhoresky:

Age: 30
Personal best: 1:11:46

Dayna Pidhoresky has had a season like no other this year.  She has won every race she’s entered, and although she came in 7th behind an international field at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, she was the first Canadian and hit the mark that would qualify her for the 2017 World Track and Field Championships in London, England later this summer.  Having battled through a sacral stress fracture after running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, Pidhoresky has shown that all her hard work has paid off.  A previous winner of the Eastside 10k, Pidhoresky lives and trains in Vancouver with her husband/coach.  She has never run the Scotia Half, but living in the area will have helped in her preparation to shoot for the winning spot on June 25th.

sabrina wilkie
Sabrina Wilkie:

Age: 32
Personal best: 1:16:20

Sabrina Wilkie grew up in Langley, BC and now calls Vancouver home with her husband and their three-year old son. Self-coached since 2014, Wilkie has podiumed in many local road races and represented Canada at the 2014 NACAC Cross Country Championships.  Debuting in the Victoria Marathon last October, Wilkie won the women’s title in 2:45:54.  Outside of running and family, Wilkie is at the University of British Columbia completing her Masters of Physical Therapy.

lyndsay tessier
Lyndsay Tessier:

Age: 39
Personal best: 1:16:12

Lyndsay Tessier is a competitive runner from Toronto, Ontario who placed second at the 2016 Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.  Tessier has competed in many road running races all across Canada and recently won the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 7 in 1:16:12.  Being familiar with the Scotia Half course, Lyndsay will be ready to better her last years placing, and will be in contention for a spot at the top of the podium.

The full Elite List for this year’s event can be found here.

Want to join these contenders on June 25? Head on over to the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon to see if there’s still space left!

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k – Elite Field

By | Elite Athletes, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

 

Scotia HalfIntroducing our Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k Elite Field.

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Male Elite Athletes  
  Bib # Last Name First Name City Prov.
1 Kangogo Kip Lethbridge AB
2 Toth Thomas Plaistow NH
3 Wykes Dylan Vancouver BC
4 Martinson Geoffrey Vancouver BC
5 Woodfine Tristan Guelph ON
6 Kimosop Willy Lethbridge AB
7 Kasia Dancan Toronto ON
11 Bascal Shoayb Victoria BC
12 Gomez Inaki Vancouver BC
13 Browne Nicholas Vancouver BC
14 Blazey Paul Norwich UK
15 Mulverhill Chris Vancouver BC
16 Dunfee Evan Richmond BC
17 Nicholson Drew Surrey BC
21 Ziak Jeremiah Vancouver BC
22 McMillan Craig North Vancouver BC
23 Hatachi Tatsuya Coquitlam BC
24 Fieldwalker Matt Vancouver BC
25 Newby James Squamish BC
26 Portman Bryan Nanaimo BC
Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Female Elite Athletes  
  Bib # Last Name First Name City Prov.
F2 Pidhoresky Dayna Vancouver BC
F4 Tessier Lyndsay Toronto ON
F5 Wilkie Sabrina Vancouver BC
F6 Olsen Courtney Bellingham WA
F7 Coll Neasa Vancouver BC
F11 Moroz Jen Vancouver BC
F13 Lewis-Schneider Meg Vancouver BC
F14 Smart Kristin Cobble Hill BC
F15 Pepin Cheryl North Vancouver BC
F16 Dale Shannon North Vancouver BC
F17 Longridge Corri Vancouver BC
F18 Moore Katherine Vancouver BC
F22 Kassel Melanie Chilliwack BC
F23 Montgomery Darcie North Vancouver BC
Scotiabank Vancouver 5km Elite Athletes    
  Bib # Last Name First Name City Prov.
5002 Wilkie Mark Vancouver BC
5003 Watkins Catherine Vancouver BC
5004 Gustafson Kate Vancouver BC

Olympians Gillis and DuChene To Defend Toronto Waterfront 10K Titles

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

By Paul Gains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For more information and to join Olympians Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene at the Toronto Waterfront 10K, with title sponsor lululemon, go to toronto10k.com

Yoga for Runners

By | Elite Athletes, Training Tips | No Comments
by Katherine Moore (@RunningIntoYoga)

As runners, we’re told time and time again that yoga is great for our tight muscles. So why don’t we practice yoga more frequently if the benefits are innumerable? From the physical benefits, to the mental aspects, and becoming more in-tune with one’s body, it’s hard to belief more athletes don’t have it as part of their structured workout plan.

The more mileage a training program has, the higher the risk of injury.  Pounding the pavement isn’t forgiving, so it’s good to give your body a little TLC to help the muscles recover and relax. Especially if you’re prone to injury.  Quite often, time is a limiting factor.  Compared to quickly lacing up your running shoes and bolting out the door for a run, it takes time to get to a studio, complete your practice, and head home.  However, you don’t have to go to a scheduled class.  If you’re new to yoga it might be worth hopping into a class, just so you understand/experience the different poses.  After that, it’s easy to do some key poses at home that are great for runners and still reap the benefits yoga classes provide.

With the following poses, keep these five general principles in mind:

  1. You should always be able to breathe evenly. Challenge yourself to find your edge but don’t go past it! Allow your body to open up and adjust over the space of about eight to ten breaths in each pose.
  2. Keep your core muscles active throughout the poses, but still remember to breathe.
  3. Keep a neutral spine; try to keep your back flat and don’t over arch your back.
  4. Twisting happens at the waist, not at the shoulders.
  5. Hinge forward from the hips, not your back (remember, neutral spine!).

 

Thunderbolt Pose (toes tucked under)

 

Begin in a tabletop position. Bring feet together and tuck toes under. Slowly lean hips back until you can sit comfortably on heels. Eventually you want to sit with a tall spine, lengthening your tailbone up through your spine. Keep the abdomen toned and hands resting on the thighs. Hold for 8-10 breaths, 2-3 sets. Release slowly and repeat.

 

Opens toes and feet. Strengthens ankles. Start out slowly if feet are tight.

02-11-downwardDownward Dog 

 

From Thunderbolt inhale and lean forward to tabletop pose. Press your hips up and back to form inverted V from the side. Spread your fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips. Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening the collarbones. Engage the quadriceps strongly to take weight off the arms. Keep a bend in the knees to continue to lengthen the spine.

Opens the entire body fingertips to toes. Opens the hamstrings, shoulders, and strengthens the core, upper body and quadriceps. Hold for 8-10 breaths.

02-11-lungeHigh/ Low Lunge

 

From Downward Dog step your right foot to your right hand and bring your left knee to the floor. Stack your right knee over your right heel. Press your fingers into the floor to lengthen the spine. Roll your shoulders down your back and lengthen your chest forward. Straighten the back of your knee up towards the ceiling (or keep it on the floor for low lunge). Relax and breathe into your hips. Once you feel balanced stretch your arms overhead and spread your fingers wide.

This pose opens the hips, lengthens the spine and stretches the groin and legs. Hold for 8- 10 breaths.

02-11-pigeonPigeon Pose 

 

From Downward Dog, lift your right leg up and place your right knee to the outside of your right hand. Release your left leg to the floor with the toes tucked under. Square your hips. Use padding or a block under your right hip or knee as necessary to bring your hips square. Keep both feet active and begin to lengthen your spine forward and down towards the floor.

Stretches the thigh, glutes, groin, psoas muscle and lengthens the spine. Hold for 8- 10 breaths.

Camel Pose

 

Stand on your knees hip width apart. Place your hands on your lower back for support. Hug your legs towards each other with energy. Inhale lift and expand your chest. Draw your chin in to lengthen the back of your neck, throat back slowly head back. Eventually reaching for your heels. Keep your hips stacked over your knees. Breathe evenly and slowly. To come out of the pose bring your hands back on your lower back lead with your chest head comes out last.

Opens hips and hip flexors, lengthens and improves flexibility of the spine, opens the chest and shoulders improving respiratory, complements overall health and well being.

Savasana – Corpse Pose

 

Complete this series by lying on your back, relax your legs, arms palms face up and close your eyes for 5-15 minutes. This is complete relaxation of all muscle tension and relaxes the mind completely. Never skip Savasana!