Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Scotiabank Charity Challenge helps Charities take Giant Steps in Fundraising

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By: Amy Friel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remembering Ed Whitlock. By Kate Van Buskirk

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By Kate Van Buskirk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Kate Van Buskirk

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

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

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Earns Third Consecutive IAAF Gold Label

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By: Paul Gains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Scotiabank Neighbourhood Challenge Winners Announced!

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Toronto, ON. October 25, 2016– At the recent Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon held Sunday October 16th, 12 of Toronto’s top neighbourhoods and their charities battled it out to see who had the BEST cheering section. Known internationally for its vibrant neighbourhoods, Toronto’s waterfront came alive to welcome more than 25,000 runners from 68 countries, and to cheer them on in what for many is a life-achievement.

Now in its 13th year, the Neighbourhood Challenge is part of Scotiabank’s commitment to local communities. Together with the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, this year’s race will raise over $3 million for 182 local charities. Despite some early rain, this year’s neighbourhood cheering sites were some of the best ever, and the event judges undoubtedly had one of the toughest challenges of the day.  After careful consideration, we are pleased to announce this year’s winners!

stwm16ta_823First Place – St. Lawrence Neighbourhood for Jamii Esplanade.
NCE 12 – $6,000.00

cy_stwm16_b1602Second Place –  Riverdale/Woodbine Park for South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
NCE 10 – $3,000.00

stwm16ta_752Third Place – Greektown Eastern/Broadview for Greek Community of Toronto.
NCE 9 –  $2,000.00

stwm16ta_1462Honorable Mention 1 – Liberty Village/King West for West Neighbourhood House.
NCE 3 – $1,000.00

gh_stwm16-0160Honorable Mention 2 – The Beach for Pegasus Community Project for Adults with Special Needs.
NCE 11 – $1,000.00

Awards and prize cheques will be presented at the STWM awards night on November 28th at Scotiabank.

For further information contact:

Bonnie Taylor
Cell: 647-401-0974

Six Guinness World Records achieved at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon!

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October 24th, 2016 – By Amy Friel

In the days leading up to the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, it seemed as though everyone’s mind was on one matter: the weather.

Photo Credit: Photo Run

“Throughout the week I was pretty worried,” recalls marathoner Calum Neff, who had spent the better part of a summer preparing to run down a Guinness World Records title at STWM.

Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, including rain, wind, and high humidity, Neff — along with four-year-old daughter Aley — captured the title for fastest marathon while pushing a pram (stroller), finishing in a blistering time of 2:31:21 and bettering the existing mark by more than ten minutes.

“I just said, you know, anything can happen, but I trust that it’ll be okay,” he says. “It was a little bit rainy, but I decided I wasn’t gonna let the wind be a factor on the day, and decided to get after it.”

But while the combined 60-pound weight of stroller and passenger made headwind the decisive factor for Neff, fellow Guinness record-chaser Jen Wilson was far more concerned with precipitation.

“I was starting to get nervous,” she recalls. “They were calling for torrential rain, and there was no training for that.”

Wilson had her eye on the Guinness World Records women’s title for fastest half-marathon in a suit. But the threat of a downpour exposed what she worried might be a weakness in her preparation.

“I didn’t do any training runs in my suit in the rain because, I mean, who does that?”

Clad in dress pants, a blouse, vest, tie, and blazer, Wilson (along with a handful of fellow Guinness World Records contenders) cut a conspicuous figure in a start corral packed with the usual shorts-and-singlet set.

“Everyone was kind of staring on the morning of like, what is this person doing?” she says. “But in comparison to the girl in the motocross gear, I looked downright comfortable.”

After a rainy first 5K, Wilson and her many wet layers toughed out the remaining miles to clinch her first-ever Guinness World Records title in a time of 1:42:42.


Photo Credit: Christine Cater/Canada Running Series

At the finish line, she was congratulated on her race by a Guinness official. A laughing Wilson recalls accepting her certificate, smiling for a photograph, and then immediately stripping off the many layers of her sopping wet suit, as fast as humanly possible.

“I’ve never been so happy to be wearing a sports bra in public,” she jokes.

But though the rain proved less-than-ideal for running in a suit and tie, one thing it did not seem to impact was the spectators who came out to cheer. For Toronto chef and record-chaser Daniel Janetos, it made all the difference in the world.

“Race day, I had an incredible experience, as far as all the people that came out,” he says. “Friends, family, my girlfriend — there was a ton of support.”

Janetos claimed the Guinness World Records title for fastest marathon dressed as a chef, finishing in a time of 3:56:21, and beating the existing record by a whopping ten minutes. His race doubled as a fundraising endeavour for the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation, ultimately raising about $5,000 for the charity.

“It kind of re-inspired me,” he says. “Just the way you can turn something little into a huge success.”

But whether struggling with a soaked suit and tie, pushing a stroller into a headwind, or lugging some cookware along for the ride (Janetos’ costume required that he carry a pot), the biggest challenge facing record-chasers remained the race itself.

“The pot wasn’t as bad as everyone might have thought — it was more just my legs,” Janetos recalls. “It was a really, really difficult last 10K.”

“It was a typical marathon, so it wasn’t easy by any means,” agrees Neff. “We really loved the Beaches, but that was a long uphill, and then you turn around and get the downhill right into the wind. That final 10K was the absolute toughest.”

Struggling over the final miles, Janetos was paced to the finish line by a friend and fellow runner from the Night Terrors Run Crew. That, along with the friends and family who made it out to cheer, carried him home to claim his Guinness World Records title.

“Without that support, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it,” he says.


Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Along with fellow runners Bridget Burns, Robert Winckler, and Jasper Moester, a total of six new Guinness World Records titles were set at STWM 2016.

Despite worries about the wind and rain, Neff recalls a day that ultimately unfolded exactly to plan.

“I was having one of those magical days you always hope for in a race,” he says. “Everything was kind of perfect.”

Ed Whitlock Sets World Age 85 Marathon Record

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TORONTO – October 17th, 2016.  By Paul Gains

Ed Whitlock has made headlines once again for an outstanding road running performance.

The 85 year old from Milton, Ontario carries expectations into every race as he sets record after record and again did not disappoint his supporters at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Crossing the line in 3:56:38 he added the over 85 age class world record to the half marathon record he set this past spring.

“Have you seen the Globe and Mail?” he asks more out of astonishment than boastfulness. “They have a photograph of me on the front page of the sports section. Scotiabank and (race director) Alan (Brookes) will be well pleased.”

Whitlock laughs but admits the effort has taken its toll.

“I feel Ok. My legs are not the best,” he admits laughing. “They are very, very stiff but apart from that everything else is ok.

“I had got in sort of the bare minimum of appropriate training preparations and I had a couple of months of serious long distance training runs and I felt that was enough. Certainly, ideally, I would have liked six months instead of two months but I felt that was just enough to get by.”

Roughly one hundred yards from his house is a cemetery which he uses for training on a daily basis. The man who caught the road running world’s attention when he became the first man over 70 to beat three hours in the marathon – he ran 2:54:49 at age 73, also set on his hometown Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course.” – still runs laps of the cemetery for hours on end.

He calls it ‘very fast walking’ with his customary humour. But as age tries to catch up with him and his future marathons will be nearer four hours, he knows he must do more.

“I actually got up to three and a half hours this time,” he says. “The thing is three hours doesn’t do it anymore. That’s the hell of it. I need four hours now. And it’s only going to get worse.”

Laughing again he turns serious when asked if he can further reduce the record in subsequent marathon races.

“I think 3:40 would have been possible if the weather had been perfect and if I had had six months training,” he declares. “I really think 3:40 would have been possible.”

Well-wishers surround him at every race and he is asked to appear at various events and dinners. In many ways he is a reluctant hero. Notoriety doesn’t suit him. Indeed, after the race last night his 56 year old son, Neil, himself a two time Boston marathon finisher, drove him home where he had a minor celebration with his wife, Brenda. They cooked dinner together then opened a bottle of Bordeaux, the race and the crowd of well-wishers now a fond memory.

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

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

Whitlock will gradually overcome this year’s marathon race and before long will be out on that cemetery road churning out the miles. There are more races to run and more records to chase. And if he inspires many to keep running as they age then that’s a good thing too.

Post-race interview by Canadian Running Magazine. 

Competitive Races at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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October 16th, 2016 – By Paul Gains

Warm temperatures, high humidity and a light drizzle conspired to prevent course records at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon today.

World class fields had arrived for this IAAF Gold Label race targeting fast times but when it was over, Kenya’s Philomen Rono had won the men’s race in a time of 2:08:27, while Shure Demise of Ethiopia became the first woman to successfully defend her Toronto title.


Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Demise crossed the line in 2:25:10 well off the course record of 2:22:43, held jointly by Sharon Cherop (Kenya) and Koren Yal (Ethiopia) and far slower than the world under 20 world record she set a year ago in Dubai. That time of 2:20:59 seemed a distant memory as she battled compatriot Tadelech Bekele (second in 2:26:31) and Kenya’s Rebecca Chesir (third in 2:28:54).

“I have a great deal of happiness for winning,” Demise said before praising her friend Bekele. “About 35km I knew that I would win the race. I would have been as happy if she won. She is my friend and we are very close; we come from the same place so I would have been just as happy.

“When we started I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the rain. I was a bit conscious of that but it got better.”

For her part Bekele revealed she had suffered stomach cramps around 38km and slowed. She wasn’t the only athlete to have health issues.

While he was warming up Rono was injured when a barricade he was using to stretch his hamstrings tipped over. It crashed down on the side of his head opening up a bloody gash and stunning him temporarily.

His agent called one of his colleagues in Holland to discuss the predicament.  They agreed Rono could start but if he felt awkward in the opening kilometres he should drop out. Evidently he felt fine.

“I was not expecting to win today,” he said at the finish. “It was a surprise. When I fell and hurt my head I thought I would not run.”

The winner trains in the same camp as Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and drew inspiration from his friend’s success in Rio.

“Eliud (Kipchoge) is my training partner,” Rono offered. “I thought after he won the Olympic games I should win this race. We are training partners so it was a good marathon for me. He told me I would win this race so I was very confident.”

Seboka Dibaba of Ethiopia was the last of Rono’s competitors to give way. That occurred just five kilometres from the finish when he said an old injury had flared up.  He finished second in 2:09:47 while twenty two year old Albert Korir earned a podium place with his 2:10:23 performance.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon was, once again, the Canadian Marathon Championship and two of the country’s Olympians emerged victorious.

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Eric Gillis finished 5th overall in a time of 2:13:44, just eight weeks after his historic 10th place finish in the Rio Olympic marathon while Krista DuChene was crowned Canadian women’s champion in a time of 2:34:02.

Rachel Hannah was second Canadian woman (7th overall) in a time of 2:34:37 proving she will be a force to reckon with over the next few years. The bronze medal went to Dayna Pidhoresky who ran 2:40:41 after running very quickly over the first 25 kilometres at one point a few hundred metres ahead of DuChene. She was legless at the end and was taken to the medical tent in a wheelchair.

The winner recognized the strength of the women’s field and paid tribute to her younger rivals.

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

“This is an emotional Krista day not a happy Krista day,” DuChene, 39,  said. “I am happy. I really wanted this win. This was my year with Rio and then deciding to do this. I wanted a national championships again. I knew with the conditions that fast times weren’t going to happen so it was all about being patient and using my marathon experience. It was my thirteenth one. So I knew I just had to wait.

“Dayna was someone I was looking to the whole time but then I knew Rachel was right behind me. So it’s exactly what you want to happen because it might end up in a footrace in the end and no marathoner wants that.”

DuChene became teary eyed when she thought of the tremendous support she has received from her coach and her family this year.

“I am lost for words. This is how I wanted it to be. I am just so blessed with my husband being so supportive,” she explained.

“My kids did the housework this summer. It was about me this time. I really want to savour this moment I am just so grateful for this moment, It’s all about my faith and how God can use me in any way He wants.”

Gillis admitted he was not at his best after running the Olympics just eight weeks ago and was disappointed with his time.

“I am fitter than that,” he revealed. “But I am glad I went out at 65 minutes I don’t think I would have been happy if  went out in 66 minutes and ran 2:13 I wouldn’t be happy but I probably would have felt better. It’s a decent race after Rio.

“It was tough out there. I really completely felt the opposite to what I felt in Rio. My hips tightened up and my right knee was sore. I think its a fine line keeping that balance on wet pavement.”

Although the professionals could not approach the course records there were, however, world records set on the day. Ed Whitlock who finished the marathon in 3 hours 56 minutes 38 seconds for an age 85 best.

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Photo Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Earlier this year he set a world half marathon record for his age group in Waterloo, Ontario and decided there was no point in trying to beat his record over that distance. Hence his quick decision to run 42.2km

The Guinness Book of World Records will soon include the name Calum Neff, 32, who knocked some twelve minutes of the fastest marathon completed while pushing a pram (stroller). His daughter Ally was the beneficiary of a course tour in 2:31:26. Neff was surprised to learn he had finished 5th overall in the Canadian championships. 5 other Guinness World Records were also set today.

Photo Credit: Todd. Fraser/Canada Running Series

Photo Credit: Todd. Fraser/Canada Running Series


Coach Kate’s Tips for Race Day Prep!

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TORONTO – October 13th, 2016 – By Kate Van Buskirk.

With just a few days until the race, most runners are in their final preparations for Sunday’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half Marathon & 5k! Whether you’re nearing the end of your marathon taper or psyching yourself up for the 5k, there are a few things that everyone can benefit from as they prepare to hit the streets of Toronto.

Control The Controllables

I wrote about this in my “Overcoming Adversity” post, but its worth mentioning again: take stock of the factors leading up to a race that are within your control, do everything you can to manage these, and let go of everything else. Although the weather, your competitors’ fitness, and the size of your start corral are beyond your command, there are many things you can do to set yourself up for the best chances of success on race day. Don’t leave any of your gear, nutrition, or logistics to chance. Stick with what you’ve been doing in training, have a good plan in place and develop realistic and flexible goals to maximize your potential for a positive experience!

Don’t Try Anything New

Running stores tend to get flooded in the days leading up to a big race with customers stocking up on fuel, body glide, and last minute accessories. But there also tends to be a percentage of the population who wait until race week to buy a new pair of shoes or a flashy new running outfit. Unless your wardrobe is literally falling apart, I strongly urge you NOT to wear new shoes or clothing on race day in order to avoid unforeseen chaffing or blisters. Similarly, don’t change up your fuelling regiment before or during the race. The combination of nerves and pushing your physical limits can cause the gut to become sensitive and sometimes rebel. Don’t introduce new food or beverages in the 48hrs leading up to the race, try to eat home-prepared meals, and stick to relatively bland, easily digestible carbs. Going out for pizza or hot curry the night before your race, while delicious, could wreak havoc on your digestive tract the next morning. So could experimenting with a new gel or bar mid-race. Stick with the familiar and save the adventurous eating for your post-race celebration.

Have A Plan

If you’ve ever attended a major road race, you know that they are exciting, energizing events with great crowd support and camaraderie. But this also means that there are throngs of runners, spectators and media all trying to get to the same place at the same time. The last thing you need to add to any race-day jitters is the stress of navigating the city with thousands of other race-bound folks. My advice is to plan out your day from wake-up to finish line and allot extra time for each activity so that there are no stressful surprises. Scout out your route and method of transportation to the start line in advance, taking into consideration road closures, TTC hours, and the shortage of downtown parking. I also like to do as much as possible to prepare the night before as a means of keeping stress low on race morning. Planning and laying out your race kit (clothing, shoes, fuel, accessories, bib, safety pins, warm clothes for after the race, etc) before you hit the hay will ensure that you don’t forget anything. On race day, plan to be up in lots of time to get in a light breakfast (oatmeal, bagels and bananas tend to sit well with most people), do some gentle stretching and warm-up exercises, then get out there and get pumped up with your community of fellow runners!

Set A, B And C Goals

Goal setting is a very useful tool for any runner, although it can sometimes feel defeating to fall short of a single performance goal. I recommend setting A, B and C goals so that you can feel successful regardless of what obstacles you might face on race day. These can be performance-based (ie; running a personal best time, placing in the top half of your age group, or hitting your BQ), personal goals (completing your race distance for the first time, crossing the finish line knowing you gave your all, or just enjoying every element of the race day journey) or a combo of both. You may know that you’re in shape to run a specific time, but strong winds mean that finishing 3 minutes slower is still a huge accomplishment. You may miss out on your personal best, but you learned a lot about how to fuel better for your next attempt. Ultimately, every race is a learning experience and an opportunity to celebrate your body in motion!

Speedy vibes to everyone competing on Sunday, and as always: RUN HAPPY!

About Kate Van Buskirk:  Kate is a professional track and road runner representing Brooks Canada, who specializes in the 1500m. She is a 2-time National Champion, an 8-time National Team member, and a Commonwealth Games bronze medalist. She is a Duke University alumnus where she studied cultural anthropology. She currently lives and trains in Toronto where she works as a coach with Pace and Mind and Myodetox Performance. Connect with Kate on Twitter and Instagram

The ultimate year-end reward! Join Lanni Marchant, Natasha Wodak & Alan Brookes on the beach for Run Barbados 2016, December 1st – 8th.

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TORONTO – October 12th, 2016.

“Come for the Run, and Stay for the Fun!” That’s the tag line of the Run Barbados Festival, a marvelous running experience that offers something for everyone over the December 2nd to 4th weekend. There’s a 1 mile, a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon, as well as miles of magnificent sandy beaches, warm breezes, and even a rum punch or two on offer after the races are done!

You’re invited!

Canada Running Series has organized a trip-of-a-lifetime tour group with Marville Travel, led by our Race Director Alan Brookes, plus Olympians Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak. It’s a fabulous opportunity to do a few easy runs with our CRS running stars, and hang out with them on the beach at the magnificent Bougainvillea Resort.

Call Marge at Marville Travel TODAY to find out more, and join us December 1st to 8th. Tel. 905-891-0111 or 1-800-461-0473

Prices start at only $1,600 per person (based on double occupancy: single supplements available on request). This includes:

  • Round trip airfare from Toronto or Montreal
  • 7 nights (December 1st – 8th) at the fabulous 4-star Bougainvillea Beach Resort on Maxwell Coast Road
  • Transfers between airport-hotel in Barbados

For more info on the events themselves, plus online entry, check out Run Barbados website.

And for a great throwback to see Alan at Run Barbados 20 years ago, check out this post on our blog.

Join Alan, plus Betty & Veronica on the beach for the ultimate year-end reward! 


Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Aims to Keep Green!

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TORONTO – October 12th, 2016. Organizers of the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) recognize that every choice we make comes with the opportunity to benefit our friends, neighbours, and the broader community by creating a safe and welcoming event for all interested participants.  We are committed to producing a sustainable event, with the definition and measure of sustainability being that as provided by the Council for Responsible Sport’s (CRS) standards for certification.

In 2016, STWM hopes to renew our CRS “GREEN” Certification by meeting and exceeding these standards. In 2014, STWM achieved Silver Level status by achieving 70% of the credits available to become certified.  Some of these standards include, but are not limited to:

  • Minimizing carbon and water footprints through rigorous conservation and mitigation efforts.
  • Choosing transportation options that minimize fuel consumption.
  • Removing barriers to participation.
  • Planning for low levels of waste production and a high rate of waste diversion.
  • Contracting with locally-owned businesses whenever possible.

We are committed to setting a notable example at the 2016 STWM by reducing our overall environmental footprint, ensuring participant accessibility, and supporting the local economy. We’re excited to surpass 2014’s success and build towards an even more sustainable future for our community.

About the Council for Responsible Sport:

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

About Canada Running Series and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon:

An IAAF Gold Label race, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is Canada’s premier, big-city running event, the National Marathon Championships, and the Grand Finale of the 8-race Canada Running Series. In 2015 it attracted more than 26,000 participants from 63 countries, raised $3.5 million for 173 charities through the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and contributed an estimated $35 million to the local economy. The livestream broadcast regularly attracts viewers from over 100 countries, and in 2015 the event also hosted the international Bridge The Gap movement of running crews.