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Athletic Brewing Co. join the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Vancouver Half Marathon as NA Beer Partner

By | TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Vancouver Half Marathon | No Comments

The leading non-alcoholic craft brewery will bring their popular non-alcoholic beers to the World-Renowned Races in 2022.

[May 10, 2022 – Toronto, CAN] – Canada Running Series (CRS) today announces its partnership with craft NA brewery, Athletic Brewing Company, as the official non-alcoholic beer partner of the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, October 16th, and the Vancouver Half Marathon, June 26th. The new deal promises to bring some of Athletic Brewing Company’s flagship non-alcoholic beers to the finish lines of CRS’ two biggest races, allowing participants to celebrate their accomplishments without the risk of a hangover. 

Participants will have a number of opportunities to try the beer in advance of their race, including at scheduled local training runs, through access to exclusive discounts, by attending the Toronto Waterfront Marathon Expo or by adding a pack to their purchase when they sign up for the race.

“We’re delighted to welcome Athletic Brewing Company to Canada Running Series,” said CRS President Alan Brookes. “Their commitment to sustainability, to innovation and excellence, and most especially to healthy lifestyles, make them a perfect partner in our continued quest to build community through running. Their award winning, non-alcoholic craft beers will greatly enhance our celebratory, post-race experience and are guaranteed to make our events even more tasty than before. Cheers to an Athletic!”

With standing global partnerships with IRONMAN and Spartan Race, Athletic Brewing Company has a deep-rooted commitment to the world of outdoor sport and adventure. Athletic Brewing Company, the leading non-alcoholic craft brewer in the U.S., has recently announced the 2022 submission period of its outdoors-focused give back program, Two for the Trails. As the largest donation program of its kind in the outdoors space, Athletic Brewing Company is pledging one million dollars to grantee winners and other partnerships of Two for the Trails in 2022. 

“Athletic Brewing Company is deeply committed to positively impacting our customers’ health, fitness, and happiness which makes this partnership a perfect fit with Canada Running Series”, said Athletic Brewing Company CEO, Bill Shufelt. “We can’t wait to get some Athletic brews in participant’s hands as they cross the finish line to celebrate their achievements on race day in both Toronto and Vancouver!”

Registration is open now for both events. The Vancouver Half Marathon is set for June 26, 2022, and the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon will take place on October 16, 2022. With hybrid events here for the foreseeable future, each event will offer all distances virtually as well.

For more information on Canada Running Series events, please visit www.canadarunningseries.com

For more information on Athletic Brewing Company, please visit: www.athleticbrewing.ca.

Press Contact: Jess Fiaschetti | Jess@OutsidePR.com | 415.565.9530

About Canada Running Series

Canada Running Series is Canada’s premier road race series, offering seven annual events nationwide. Since 2017, CRS’s flagship event, the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, has served as the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championship race and has doubled as the Olympic trials. In 2021, CRS raised $4.8 million for 260 local charities through the Charity Challenge.

Using innovation and organization as guiding principles, Canada Running Series stages great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians to recreational and charity runners. With a mission of “building community through the sport of running,” CRS is committed to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.

About Athletic Brewing Company

Named as TIME’s “100 Most Influential Companies of 2022” as well as Fast Company Magazine’s “Brands That Matter” in 2021, Athletic Brewing Company is reimagining beer for the modern, active adult. Their great-tasting craft brews provide a refreshing taste of craft beer, without the alcohol or the hangover. With custom breweries on the east and west coasts, their lineup has earned accolades throughout the industry, even against full-strength beers, including the 2021 US Open Beer Awards Gold medal for Run Wild. Additionally, Athletic Brewing’s “Two for the Trails” initiative donates 2% of all sales to trail and park cleanups and maintenance. Plus, as a part of their IMPACT Program, 1% of revenue goes to non-profit organizations that support positive impact and opportunity from the ground up in their communities. Athletic Brewing’s full portfolio of flagships, seasonal, and specialty brews is available for purchase on its website, www.athleticbrewing.com, as well as the company’s hop-infused sparkling water, DayPack, and subscription offering – The Athletic Club. 

Les gagnants du 21K de Montréal sont Lee Wesselius et Laura Desjardins / Lee Wesselius and Laura Desjardins win 21K de Montréal

By | Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal | No Comments

C’est avec enthousiasme que les courses en présentiel sont revenues à Montréal. Plus de 1400 participants ont couru au 21K de Montréal aujourd’hui, la deuxième étape du Canada Running Series 2022.

Les coureurs ont bénéficié d’une matinée printanière parfaite au parc Jean-Drapeau, un ciel avec des éclaircis, une légère brise et une température de 3C au départ. Le parcours sillonnait les îles Ste-Hélène et Notre-Dame avec des vues pittoresques sur le Fleuve St-Laurent et le Vieux-Port de Montréal. Les nombreux virages du parcours ont à la fois abrité les coureurs et parmi aux nombreux spectateurs de voir et encourager les participants à plusieurs occasions. De nombreux sites d’encouragements, animés par des équipes de course, se situant sur le parcours.

Lee Wesselius de Kemptville (1h04min48) et Laura Desjardins de Toronto (1h14min48) ont confirmé leur niveau de forme en ce début de saison en remportant leur course de façons très différents. Chez les hommes, une bataille s’est déroulé pour voir les 5 premiers sous 1h07. Le groupe de Lee Wesselius, Kieran Mcdonald d’Halifax, Kevin Coffey de Kingston, Mohamed Aagab de Montréal et Maxime Leboeuf de Gatineau, «a démarré rapidement», selon Wesselius. «Vers 4 km, j’ai commencé à accélérer le rythme et ça s’est un peu étiré. Quatre d’entre nous étions encore ensemble jusqu’à environ 8 km lorsque Kieran et moi nous sommes séparés». Wesselius et Mcdonald ont ensuite travaillé ensemble, se relayant pour combattre le vent un kilomètre à la fois, jusqu’à environ 16 km. «J’ai creusé un écart de quelques secondes dans une petite montée et j’ai décidé de continuer», se souvient Wesselius. Il a donné le coup décisif avec un dix-neuvième kilomètre en 2min54 et a poussé jusqu’au bout pour remporter l’éprendre par 23 secondes sur McDonald (1h05min11). Le vétéran Kevin Coffey a couru une course stratégique après avoir perdu les leaders après 8 km et dépasser Aagab vers le 16 km, puis Leboeuf, pour prendre la 3ième position en 1h06min13.

En revanche, Laura Desjardins (1h14min48) a dominé la course féminine du début à la fin, devançant la Montréalaise Jenn Dowling-Medley par plus de 3 minutes. Kim Brown, la troisième était à 4 minutes de plus en 1h22min12. Après une 3ième place au Under Armour Spring Run Off 8k plus tôt ce mois-ci, Desjardins a déclaré qu’elle «cherchait juste un effort solide. J’ai choisi cette course à la dernière minute. Ça s’est bien passé. Je suis vraiment contente d’être venue». Comme les hommes, elle a dit qu’elle était partie un peu vite, puis s’est ajustée. «J’ai couru fort pour 15 km, par la suite, le vent m’a ralenti. Mais l’énergie de la foule m’a permis de passer à travers. J’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé le parcours.»

Cette énergie et cette enthousiasme étaient palpables parmi tous les coureurs et spectateurs lors d’une matinée de célébration pour la communauté de course à pied. 45 organismes de bienfaisance du défi caritatif du Canada Running Series étaient également heureux d’amasser plus de 550000$ pour différentes causes faisant de l’événement la plus grande course de collecte de fonds au Québec. «C’était une belle gang», se souvient Kevin Coffey, «Les encouragements et l’ambiance étaient vraiment bonnes.»

Le 21K a été précédé d’un 10km et d’un 5km hier dans le cadre de ce week-end de courses. Simon Poulin (31min56) et Carlie Pipe (38min44) ont remporté la victoire au 10 km. Marilou Ferland-Daigle (17min59) et Paul Molinier (15min32) furent les gagnants du 5km.

La prochaine étape du Canada Running Series se déroulera le 18 juin prochain pour le Toronto Waterfront 10K, avant de se diriger vers l’Ouest pour le Demi-marathon de Vancouver le 26 juin. Les inscriptions et la collecte de fonds en ligne sont ouvertes sur www.RunCRS.ca
Pour les résultats complets du 21K de Montréal voir sportstats.ca. Les photos seront affichées sur la page d’accueil de l’événement.


In-person racing returned to Montréal with great excitement and a sold-out crowd of 1,400 for the 21K de Montréal today, the second stop for Canada Running Series 2022.

A perfect, brisk, and breezy Montréal spring morning greeted the runners with overcast skies, temperatures of 3c degrees that felt like -1, and a blustery north-east wind across scenic Parc Jean-Drapeau, anchored in the middle of the majestic St. Lawrence River across from the Vieux Port. But the numerous turns on the course both sheltered the racers and provided great cheering opportunities for large numbers of spectators. Numerous run crew cheer sites and a cacophony of ASICS bells encouraged the competitors at every turn.

Kemptville’s Lee Wesselius (64:48) and Toronto’s Laura Desjardins (1:14:48) continued their strong, early-season form to take the victories in very different races. The men’s race featured a good battle with the top 5 all under 67 minutes. That group – Wesselius, Halifax’s Kieran Mcdonald, Kingston’s Kevin Coffey, Montréal’s Mohamed Aagab and Gatineau’s Maxime Leboeuf, “got off to a quick start,” according to Wesselius. “Around 4k I started to push the pace and it strung out a bit. Four of us were still together until about 8k when me and Kieran broke away.” Wesselius and Mcdonald then worked together, taking turns to break the wind a kilometre at a time, until around 16k. “I opened up a couple of seconds gap on a bit of an uphill and decided to push on,” recalled Wesselius. He dropped the hammer with a 2:54 nineteenth kilometre and pushed to the finish to take the win by 23 seconds over Mcdonald (65:11). Veteran Kevin Coffey ran a smart race, recovering after being dropped at 8k, to come through and pass Aagab around 16k and then Leboeuf, to take 3rd. in 66:13.

In contrast, Laura Desjardins (1:14:48) owned the women’s race from Start to Finish, breaking the tape more than 3 minutes ahead of Montréal’s Jenn Dowling-Medley (1:18:10). Third place Kim Brown (1:22:12) was a further 4 minutes back. Following her strong 3rd place finish at the Under Armour Spring Run Off 8K earlier this month, Desjardins said she, “was just looking for a strong effort. We threw this race in last-minute. It turned out great. I’m really happy I came.” Like the men, she said she went out a little fast, then settled in. “I ran strong to about 15k, then the wind got to me a bit.  But it was a great crowd and great energy and that pulled me through. I really liked the course a lot.”

This energy and excitement was palpable among all the runners and spectators on a celebratory morning for the sport. Some 45 charities in the Canada Running Series Charity Challenge also went home happy, raising a combined $575,000 for important community causes, and maintaining the event’s reputation as the largest fundraising race in Quebec. “It was great community out there,” recalled Kevin Coffey. “The cheering and the vibe was really good.”

The 21K was preceded by a 10K and 5K yesterday as part of the weekend festival. Simon Poulin (31:56) and Carlie Pipe (38:44) claimed victory in the 10K; Marilou Ferland-Daigle (17:59) and Paul Molinier (15:32) in the 5K.

Next stop for Canada Running Series ’22 will be June 18th for the Toronto Waterfront 10K, before heading West to the Vancouver Half Marathon on June 26th. Entries and online fundraising are open at www.RunCRS.ca

For complete results of 21K de Montréal see sportstats.ca. Photos will be posted on the event home page.

Under Armour Spring Run-Off 8K: Women’s Preview 

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The 45th edition of Toronto’s oldest race promises maple syrup, bagpipes, and a great women’s elite race with track specialists, road warriors, and Sasha Gollish, who is a bit of both

TORONTO, April 7, 2022 — Since the last time she raced in the Under Armour Spring Run-Off in 2014 and finished third, Sasha Gollish has excelled in disciplines far shorter and longer than eight kilometres.

As recently as February of this year, the Toronto-based athlete ran 1:14:11 at the First Half half marathon in Vancouver, before shifting gears and setting a world record in the women’s 40+ indoor mile in 4:38.73 two weeks later. She attributes part of her strong start to the year to a newfound love for Nordic skiing, which she does on the trails near her cottage in the Wasaga region, 90 minutes north of Toronto.

“I’m desperately holding on to winter,” said Gollish. “I love skiing; it’s fun and it made me stronger physically. My best seasons as an elite have been when I was doing different things to supplement my running and playing to other strengths.”

The professional engineer surprised even herself by racing so well this early in the year – she broke the world record before even making any spring racing plans.

“A part of me was shocked,” said Gollish. “I’m definitely in better shape than I thought – that mile was like doing a workout with friends.”

But racing still feels unfamiliar to her, following two years of sporadic lockdowns. Gollish said her objective for this year’s Spring Run-Off is simply to get into the groove of competing again.

“I’m emerging to top form, but I’m not there yet. My goal is to nail the preparation and properly getting to the start line. That means showing up prepared to compete without pressure for place, time or outcome…reintegrating racing into our new normal.”

Gollish will contend for the title with a handful of women, who will include current Canadian National 10K Champion Leslie Sexton. The Markham native and Vancouver resident is coming off her best year of training and racing, in which she won the 2021 Athletics Canada 10K Championship on Toronto’s waterfront in 32:04, and later became the sixth fastest female marathoner in Canadian history by running 2:28.35 at the Philadelphia Marathon.

Toronto-born rising star, Alexandra Lucki, will also challenge for the win, despite being just two weeks removed from representing Canada at the Pan-American Cross-Country Cup, where she finished seventh in the open women’s race. Lucki, a University of Maryland and NCAA alumna with a 4:34 mile and 9:01 3,000m, showed promise on the roads last fall by finishing fourth at the Canadian 10K Championship in 33:58. Cleo Boyd of Kingston, meanwhile, will come to the start line just months removed from personal bests of 15:57 and 33:02 in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

The rest of the women’s elite field combines youth and experience. Recent U SPORTS All-Canadians and now post-collegiate athletes Jenn Dowling-Medley of Montreal and Kristina Popadich of Toronto will both make their Spring Run-Off debut. Dowling-Medley was tenth at the Canadian cross-country championship last fall, while Popadich finished 26th.

Laura Desjardins, meanwhile, will try to reclaim the podium after finishing second at the Spring Run-Off’s 2018 edition. The Toronto-based athlete ran the Houston Half Marathon in 1:15:45 earlier this year, and was just two places and 11 seconds behind Lucki at last year’s Canadian 10K Championship.

Brittany Moran, also of Toronto, returns to High Park’s elite start line for the first time since 2015. The chiropractor should challenge for the medals, too, after posting a massive personal best of 2:33:37 in the marathon last fall, and then a third-place finish at the Around the Bay Road Race two weeks ago.

Canada Running Series Race Director, Alan Brookes, said the race is Sexton’s to lose, but that predicting the rest of the finishing order feels like an impossible task.

“One of the most intriguing things about the COVID-19 interlude is that we don’t know how it’s affected different athletes,” he said. “Who’s fit? Who was too unmotivated to train with no in-person races? We’ll find out on April 9th.”

Brookes said he is thrilled that Toronto’s oldest ongoing race is back this year, with its iconic Canadian traditions: piper Dave MacGonigal leading everyone to the start lines; fresh maple syrup awards from Madawaska Maple Products; the King and Queen of The Hill competition; the Kardia Athletica crew cheer zone on Spring Road Hill and Rogue Runners on Centre Road. Participants will also be raising $60,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and are invited to reward themselves at the post-race pancake breakfast in support of the High Park Nature Centre.

Information on the elite race and complete Women’s Start List can be found here: https://canadarunningseries.com/spring-run-off/elites-and-prizing/

About The Under Armour Spring Run-Off

Date: Saturday April 9, 2022

8K Start Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: High Park, Toronto

For media access on race day, please contact Sam O’Neill, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at sam@canadarunningseries.com

About Canada Running Series

Canada Running Series is the nation’s premier running circuit with seven events: four in Toronto, two in Vancouver and one in Montreal. It annually attracts over 70,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 mostly local charities. The Series includes the World Athletics Gold Label TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships. Since 1999, CRS has gained international recognition for innovation and organization.

We are passionately committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians and international stars to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners, and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process. Our mission is “building community through the sport of running.”

More info: https://canadarunningseries.com/

Under Armour Spring Run Off 8k: Men’s Preview

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Photo credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series 

It’s opening day for Canada Running Series and the 45th edition of Toronto’s oldest race promises a battle for the men’s crown with 3-time champ Tristan Woodfine absent for the first time since 2016. Some exciting up-and-comers to take on wily veterans.

Lee Wesselius is still getting used to racing with a target on his back.

Things have not been quite the same for the New Brunswick-born veterinarian since last fall, when he finished seventh at the Canadian 10km Championships in 29:13, and then followed that with a silver medal performance and 12-minute personal best of 2:16:37 at the Indianapolis Marathon. Wesselius, then a relative unknown unencumbered by the weight of expectation, had run the third fastest marathon by a Canadian in 2021. Now, as he prepares to challenge a youthful and hungry men’s field at his first ever Under Armour Spring Run-Off, he knows his competitors will not take his presence lightly.

“Though I still think that, to an extent, I’m unknown,” said the 28-year-old Wesselius, who lives and trains in Kemptville, 40 minutes south of Ottawa. “I’m still an underdog, but I don’t think people will be that surprised anymore if I’m still hanging in with one kilometre to go.”

Wesselius has been logging regular 160-kilometre weeks for much of the past year, covering most of his mileage between the end of his work day and dinner time. Lately, he mostly runs alone due to an injury to his training partner Blair Morgan. The relative isolation has made him eager to compete and test his fitness against that of others on Saturday.

“I’ll just put myself in a position to win and see if that unfolds or not,” he said. “I’ve been feeling solid in training just by myself, but I know it won’t be easy.”

Wesselius’ top challenger on High Park’s hills could be Jeremy Coughler, an Indiana University alumnus now training with the Bandits Elite club in London, Ontario. The 26-year-old chiropractor got the best of Wesselius last fall in the Canadian 10km Championships, beating him by nine seconds and finishing fourth overall in a time of 29:04 – just 22 seconds off the winning time. Coughler is the only runner in this year’s elite field to have broken 14 minutes over 5,000m, which makes him a threat in any sprint finish.

Kyle Grieve, meanwhile, comes into the race more familiar with the Spring Run-Off’s course than any other top contender. The Toronto-based athlete has finished third in the race’s last two editions of 2018 and 2019, covering the hilly course in 24:50 and 24:48, respectively. Coughler and Wesselius both beat Grieve when the trio last raced each other at the Canadian 10km Championships in 2021, where Grieve’s time of 29:43 was good enough for 12th place.

The absence of three-time defending champion Tristan Woodfine may make Coughler, Wesselius and Grieve the favourites to succeed him, but a 21-man-deep elite field filled with wily veterans and rising stars could open the door to surprises. Kevin Coffey, the Kingston-based 2:20:22 marathoner who has made road podiums for the better part of the last decade, comes to the Spring Run-Off start line with great momentum. In late March, he bested Olympian Reid Coolsaet at the Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, finishing the 30k race in 1:40:10.

Also challenging the leaders will be 24-year-old recent McMaster University graduate Dylan Alick, who finished just seven seconds behind Coffey at the Canadian 10km Championships last October in 30:19. Meanwhile, the 2019 Spring Run-Off runner-up Adam Hortian, as well as the best-selling author of Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, Alex Hutchinson, will add texture and experience to the field.

“This year promises a wide-open contest with the absence of defending champion Tristan Woodfine,” said Canada Running Series race director Alan Brookes. “It’s the wily veterans like Hortian and Coffey versus the up-and comers like Coughler, Wesselius and Grieve. Throw in Quebec’s François Jarry into the mix to shake things up amongst Ontarians and we’ve got a race!”

For information on the elite race including complete Men’s Start List, visit: https://canadarunningseries.com/spring-run-off/elites-and-prizing/

About The Under Armour Spring Run-Off

Date: Saturday April 9, 2022

8K Start Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: High Park, Toronto

For media access on race day, please contact Sam O’Neill, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at sam@canadarunningseries.com

About Canada Running Series

Canada Running Series is the nation’s premier running circuit with seven events: four in Toronto, two in Vancouver and one in Montreal. It annually attracts over 70,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 mostly local charities. The Series includes the World Athletics Gold Label TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships. Since 1999, CRS has gained international recognition for innovation and organization.

We are passionately committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians and international stars to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners, and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process. Our mission is “building community through the sport of running.”

More info: https://canadarunningseries.com/

2022 Race Day Essentials for the Under Armour Spring Run-Off

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Spring is just around the corner and so is our first race of the year, the Under Armour Spring Run-Off. If this is your first 5K or 8K or simply your first in-person race in a while, our title sponsor has all your race day essentials.

The beginning of April can be a challenging time weather-wise. Winter blues have melted away, but mornings are still ridden with brisk winds and unpredictable temperatures. Check out Under Armour’s Flow technology for high-performance shoes with grippy and supportive singular-foam compound bringing unparalleled lightweight cushion. The durable material has increased ground traction, perfect for road running on uneven surfaces.

The UA RUSH product line is perfect for all race day weather. The mineral-infused fabric absorbs body heat and converts it into infrared energy that is re-emitted back into the body. This recycled energy promotes improved performance, stamina and recovery. The RUSH product line provides HeatGear, ColdGear and Fleece depending on your needs.

If you’re looking for a new mask, try the UA Sportsmask. Made with high-performance UA materials, designed to be worn all day and when participating in sports. This mask has UA Iso-Chill fabric on interior lining and ear loops that feels cool to the touch for as long as you wear it.

In-person event participants will get a chance to check out all the latest running gear at the Race Kit Pickup at the Under Armour Brand House at the Eaton Centre.

Lastly, have fun and be sure to share your training and race day experience and PB on social using the hashtag #UAspringRunOff.

Sexton shooting for gold at 45th edition of Under Armour Spring Run-Off

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Fresh off personal bests in the 10k and the marathon, Leslie Sexton looks to test her fitness over 8km in High Park on Saturday.

Four years have passed since Leslie Sexton won her first Under Armour Spring Run-Off title, and in that time she has become nearly unrecognizable as an athlete.

The 34-year-old Markham native, who lives and trains in Vancouver, has dropped minutes off her road times since winning the 2018 edition of the High Park 8km race in 27:51. Just last fall, she won the Canadian 10km championship in a personal best of 32:04, and weeks later became the sixth fastest marathoner in Canadian history by covering the Philadelphia Marathon course in 2:28:35.

“Some of it is the shoe technology,” she said, reflecting on her recent improvements, “but I’m also in the best shape of my life. Stacking on lots of years of consistent training pays off, with patience.”

Racing times and pandemic notwithstanding, much has changed for Sexton since the 2018 edition of the race: she left her long-time training grounds of London, Ontario for Kingston and then Vancouver in 2021, where she and her partner are coaching with the Vancouver Thunderbirds Track Club. She said that moving west has intensified her love for training and racing.

“Relocating out here allowed me to get rid of some life and work stress, and live within running distance of lots of friends. I’ve never had such a big running community around me,” she said, before adding that she now occasionally links with fellow elite marathoner Natasha Wodak for workouts. “Mentally I’m doing well, and I’m just really enjoying the training.”

Despite now living three time zones away from her stomping grounds, Sexton made it a point to come back to Ontario for the Spring Run-Off because she sees the race as an important step towards her ultimate goal: to qualify for the 2022 World Championship in Eugene, Oregon. In the past, a marathoner of her calibre would easily have made the team: her personal best is almost a full minute faster than the competition standard of 2:29:30. But times have changed in Canadian distance running: three women have broken the 2:27:00 mark since 2019, and Sexton fully expects others, like national marathon record holder Malindi Elmore, to challenge her for a spot on Team Canada.

A maximum of three athletes can qualify for the World Championship, and Sexton wants to stay sharp in case she eventually has to post an even faster time to secure her place. That’s where the Spring Run-Off comes in.

“For me, being fit for the marathon means I’m also fit for the shorter distances,” she said. “Last fall, I used the 10km championship as preparation for my goal marathon in Philadelphia. Running well there gave me a lot of confidence, and if I can prove this weekend that I have good range, that’s a good sign.”

The key to staying sharp, said Sexton, is to race athletes who are more speed-inclined than she is. This year in High Park, the marathoner will be up against a fleet of fellow road warriors like 2:33 marathoner Brittany Moran and 1:15 half-marathoner Laura Desjardins, but also track specialists like the world record holder in the women’s 40+ indoor mile Sasha Gollish, and 9:01 3,000m runner Alex Lucki.

Sexton, however, is the only woman on the elite start list with a Spring Run-Off title under her belt, and Canada Running Series Race Director Alan Brookes calls her the class of this year’s field. Yet, Brookes wonders if Cleo Boyd, a late addition to the elite women’s field, might pull off a surprise victory.

“The race can still be Leslie’s to lose – she was National 10k Champion on the Waterfront last October, but Cleo Boyd was 2nd behind her – albeit over a minute back in 33:21.

Still, Sexton is not taking a race win for granted. Besides, her objectives have more to do with effort than placing.

“Really, the goal is to get back to doing a race and event I really enjoy and get a feel for that 8k pain, which certainly won’t be a problem with the hill at the end of the course,” she said.

“At that point, you’re not saving energy and there are no decisions left to make… it’s simple: you just go hard.”

About The Under Armour Spring Run-Off

Date: Saturday April 9, 2022

8K Start Time: 10:00 a.m.

Location: High Park, Toronto

For media access on race day, please contact Sam O’Neill, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at sam@canadarunningseries.com

About Canada Running Series

Canada Running Series is the nation’s premier running circuit with seven events: four in Toronto, two in Vancouver and one in Montreal. It annually attracts over 70,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 mostly local charities. The Series includes the World Athletics Gold Label TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships. Since 1999, CRS has gained international recognition for innovation and organization.

We are passionately committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians and international stars to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners, and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process. Our mission is “building community through the sport of running.”

More info: https://canadarunningseries.com/

Under Armour Spring Run-Off Training Tips

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Before running any 5K or 8K race, you’ll need to train your body to be in top form. Under Armour has tips for every aspect of your training preparation.

Strength

Strength training helps build muscle and increase mobility. Add lifting into your routine three days a week, with one upper body day, one lower body day and one full body day, focusing on high reps with low weights. Flat shoes such as TriBase Reign 3 training shoes help maximize ground contact and improve overall stability.

Endurance

Starting a diverse running program several weeks before the race is an effective way to maintain endurance and meet personal goals.

  1. Tempo runs are fast runs at a steady pace, working at a threshold. Tempo runs make runners stronger milers with less fatigue.
  2. Hill repeats help runners build strength and improve speed. This teaches your body to recover quickly.
  3. Interval runs involve short, intense runs repeated with short breaks between. Interval runs increase muscle size and cardiovascular health.
  4. Long runs involve a steady and comfortable pace. The purpose of long runs is to increase endurance and stamina.

Recovery

Cooldowns, stretching and foam rolling are proactive actions to keep the body injury-free as muscles are strained while training. Cooldowns at the end of a workout bring the heart rate down and promote gradual recovery. Try a brisk five-minute walk, followed by static stretching – holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

Foam rolling before and after workouts helps to alleviate soreness and increases flexibility. By implementing 10-15 minutes of foam rolling into your workout routine, runners become more muscular, less injury-prone and recover faster. 

Nutrition

The key to any fitness goal is to complement your training with a balanced diet. The morning of the race, leave yourself at least a 1.5 – 2-hour window to eat. You want to be able to fuel your body, but if you eat too close to race time your body will expend energy trying to digest. Hydration is also crucial. To ensure your body is ready to perform, you should be drinking 2 – 3 litres a day leading up to the race to avoid cramping.

Motivation

The hardest part of the race won’t be the actual running but rather staying motivated leading up to the race. Set your goals and create a playlist of songs you love. Organization is also key to success. Plan out your training schedule ahead of time, setting small, achievable goals. By writing down goals and results, you’ll make yourself accountable and be able to see the progress you’re making in real-time.

Read the official UA Spring Run-Off Training plan here and show us how you’re applying these training tips on Instagram with #UASpringRunOff.

ASICS Returns As Official Partner for Canada Running Series’ Top Three Races

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ASICS to bring unparalleled expertise and experience to the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, 21K de Montréal, and Vancouver Half Marathon.

[February 2, 2022 – Toronto, CAN] – Today, ASICS and Canada Running Series (CRS) are thrilled to announce a partnership between the two brands which will see ASICS serve as the official partner for CRS’s three largest events, the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, 21K de Montréal, and Vancouver Half Marathon. This five-year deal, beginning in 2022, will see ASICS leverage the brand’s various platforms and performance running products to support and benefit CRS’s core running audience. As part of the partnership, ASICS’ apparel will serve as the official merchandise brand for the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon and ASICS will support the pacer programs for all three CRS races. Also, as part of the partnership, access to the ASICS Runkeeper app will provide CRS athletes with exclusive, personalized, and flexible training programs leading up to each race. Lastly, CRS will continue using Race Roster, a leading race registration platform for running events and a recent ASICS brand acquisition.

“ASICS is excited to partner with CRS and to support the top distance running races in Canada,” said Kris French, Country Manager at ASICS Canada. “We hope that through our platforms and products that we can help share the power of movement and the impact that sport can have on these communities.”

“We are immensely proud to partner once again with ASICS and leverage their extensive knowledge of race technology to dramatically enhance the participant experience,” said Charlotte Brookes, National Event Director at Canada Running Series. “While we remain focused on our mission to build community through running, our community has evolved, pivoting toward virtual connections and subsequently allowing us to expand our community well beyond our racecourses. The unique partnership between ASICS, the ASICS Runkeeper app, and Race Roster will allow us to continue driving positive change for both virtual and in-person racing.”

Registration is now open for all three events. The 21K de Montréal will be held on April 23-24, 2022, while the Vancouver Half Marathon is set for June 26, 2022, and the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon will take place on October 16, 2022. With hybrid events here for the foreseeable future, each event will offer all distances virtually as well.

For more information on Canada Running Series events, please visit canadarunningseries.com.

For more information on ASICS Corporation, please visit: www.asics.com/ca.

-ENDS-

About Canada Running Series
Canada Running Series is Canada’s premier road race series, offering eight annual events nationwide. Since 2017, CRS’s flagship event, the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon, has served as the Athletics Canada national marathon championship race and has doubled as the Olympic trials. In 2021, CRS raised $4.8 million for 260 local charities through the Charity Challenge.

Using innovation and organization as guiding principles, Canada Running Series stages great experiences for runners of all levels, from Canadian Olympians to recreational and charity runners. With a mission of “building community through the sport of running,” CRS is committed to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process. For more information, visit: canadarunningseries.com.

About ASICS
Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, meaning “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body,” is an old Latin phrase from which ASICS is derived and the fundamental platform on which the brand still stands. The company was founded more than 70 years ago by Kihachiro Onitsuka and is now a leading designer and manufacturer of performance athletic footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.asics.com/ca. Follow @ASICSCanada on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for exclusive content and real-time news around ASICS products, events, and elite athletes.

Media Inquiries
Sam O’Neill
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Canada Running Series
sam@canadarunningseries.com

Our Top Moments of 2021

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As this year comes to a close, we wanted to share some of moments and accomplishments that have inspired us in 2021. Undoubtedly, getting back to in-person racing with the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 10K was a huge turning point for all of us and we can’t wait to build on that momentum in 2022. Virtual races continued to dominate and served as an anchor to keep us connected, with over 21,000 participants lacing up and completing their races close to home. We had an outstanding year in fundraising and we renewed our committment to working with underrepresented and marginalized communities which resulted in the creation of some exciting, new, accessible events we can’t wait to reveal.

Thank you for your continued support of Canada Running Series! We can’t wait to share what we have in store for 2022, including an epic announcement about a new title partner and new athletic partner for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Make sure you are signed up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a beat. We hope you enjoy our top moments of 2021!

5000 runners joined us for a 10K race along the lakeshore to celebrate a return to in-person racing! Whether you were running, cheering or watching from home, the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 10K on Sunday October 17th was more than a race, it was a celebration of the joy of coming together to achieve a common goal. Whether you were running your first 10K, going for a personal best, or cheering from the sidelines, the collective energy and enthusiasm you created is carrying us into an exciting 2022 race season

You helped 260 charities continue their important work in the community. Although the past 2 years have been challenging for all of us, your generosity and commitment to fundraising have remained steadfast. This year, through the incredible fundraising efforts and generous donations of many people around the globe, you’ve raised over $4.8 million for 260 local charities across 11 virtual and in-person events. These contributions have been vital for charities to be able to continue supporting their communities and those most in need. Thank you for inspiring us and allowing us to be a part of this journey.

We got to cheer on so many of our Canada Running Series stars and friends during Tokyo 2020! Our vision has always been to provide races for everyone, from Olympians to recreational runners. This summer we were inspired by the performances of so many of our friends at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky, who qualified for Tokyo 2020 at the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon!

We strengthened our commitment to the communities we run through. In 2021, we started working with community groups to understand how we can contribute to positive change. We made a commitment to reflect diversity in running in our imagery and copy as well as in our Ambassador team. In consultation with communities that have been historically underrepresented, we hosted panels to create space for marginalized voices and offered 1% of race entries to BIPOC runners. Moving into 2022, stay tuned for continued commitments and more exciting and accessible community events.

Our friends did some pretty amazing things! Our ambassadors inspired us all year long. Ambassador Bernard celebrated his 42nd birthday by running a marathon every week for 42 weeks. He brought the community together during a time when we needed it. Quinton created Escape to Chicago and brought awareness to some amazing community charities, while also running to Chicago. Anthony (and so many of you) raced his first-ever in-person race during the Waterfront 10K! Melanie created an online forum for Black Runners of the GTA and created a space offline for people to come together. The Everyday Fit Social Club team took on the TTC challenge over one night by each racing a line and meeting at Union Station. We’re lucky to be surrounded by such inspiring people!

We also asked our community members to share their favourite moments of 2021 and here’s what they had to say:

“Seeing all the happy faces of the runners and volunteers at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 10K.”

“Watching Leslie Sexton win the 10K Championships.”

“Running to every station during the TTC Challenge. It was a great way to connect with our city.”

“Crossing the finish line of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 10K and having “The Comeback” by Zac Brown Band playing in my ears.”

“Running through the trails with my grandson.”

“Running the virtual Under Armour Eastside 10K on the East Coast Atlantic View Trail.”

Happy holidays from everyone at Canada Running Series. We can’t wait to make new memories with you in 2022!

Alan’s Journal: Holiday 2020

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First and foremost, thank you! We can’t say it enough. As this year draws to a close, we want to give a heartfelt thanks to you, our community, for sticking by us in 2020. Canada Running Series is something we have built together over the last 30 years and we are grateful and excited to be planning an incredible 2021 season for you.

The past nine months have felt like the last leg of a tough race – we are moving toward the finish line, but the end still seems so far away. Many of us continue to be physically separated from our family, friends and training partners. Many businesses have not survived. The demand for the services our charity partners provide has been high, while resources have been stretched thin.

Our Canada Running Series team has been challenged like never before to create meaningful virtual experiences in an effort to keep our community running together, while we have to be apart. We’ve been challenged to completely rethink the meaning of “diversity and inclusion” in our sport. We’ve acknowledged that running, a sport that prides itself on democratically including everyone on our start lines regardless of talent or speed, may not be as inclusive as we assumed. “No-one left behind” has become so much more than just an assurance that runners of all abilities are welcome.

But throughout this difficult year, your passion, energy and determination has kept shining through and kept our team moving forward.

Four cheers for a resounding, remarkable team effort! 

1. To our community. You went to the fences and back this year. Almost 20,000 of you participated in our Canada Running Series virtual events. A far cry from our usual 70,000, but still an enormous number that has helped keep us in business.

Even more impressive, you raised over $4.6 million for our charities across nine events, with $2,960,760 of that donated to our 163 charities in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. That’s 85% of our usual fundraising total, a truly astounding feat this year!

A special tip of the hat to our Scotiabank Charity Challenge prize winners: Fountain of Love and Life (Largest amount raised, $622,063); Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto (Largest average amount raised per participant, $15,473); and Giant Steps Toronto/York (Most participants, 72). Congratulations all!

The sport component had its diamond-studded moments, too. Yes, it was a year when the Olympics had to be postponed, and our Canadian team was forced to withdraw from the World Athletics Half Marathon in Gdynia, Poland. But it was a thrill for me to have so many of our top Canadian stars compete virtually in our 4-person Athletics Canada 42K Relay Challenge, a substitute for the Athletics Canada National Marathon Championship. They raced hard from Newfoundland to British Columbia: from Kate Bazeley’s ‘Rockin’ Rock’ team in St. John’s, Newfoundland to the ‘Quarantine Queens’ featuring Malindi Elmore, Natasha Wodak, and Kinsey Middleton in the West, with 4th member Emily Setlack racing in Ontario.

The ‘Quarantine Queens’ Kinsey Middleton, Natasha Wodak, Emily Setlack and Malindi Elmore.

Fan favourites Krista DuChene and Reid Coolsaet had teams from Ontario where Chris Baslestrini’s ‘Backroad Bandits’ took the Men’s title. In Vancouver, Justin Kent went out and blistered a 62:34 half to help his British Columbia Endurance Project ‘White Team’ best ‘BCEP Red’, to win the Mixed category (2:11:46 to 2:12:41), despite Luc Bruchet’s scorching 22:47 8 km leg for the latter.

Pumped? I was! Go Canada Go!

2. Our second resounding cheer goes to our partners. It’s an apt saying that “sponsors pay for races: partners help build them.” We have always known how important our partners were to our events and this year they showed up in ways we can never repay.  Their commitment to our events and our community is something we’ll forever be grateful for and we can’t wait to show you how we’re building on that commitment in 2021!

3. Our third cheer must go out to our Canadian government. Without the support of the wage and rent subsidies, we would not have been able to keep our incredible team of employees – a team that has taken us 10 years to build and without whom our races would be vastly inferior when we return to real-life events.

4. My fourth cheer goes out to the Canada Running Series team, in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Mexico. Our world changed overnight in March. I recall editing a statement about the cancellation of our in-person events six times in two days because the situation was being transformed by the hour.

The Canada Running Series team.

Over the last nine months our team has joined event organizers worldwide in the pivot from in-person to virtual running experiences.  They quickly transitioned from five-star event planners and organizers to fulfillment experts – packaging, shipping and delivering race kits across the country and overseas.  They came together to collectively write 20,000 hand-written thank-you cards for our virtual race kits, many of which they then personally delivered to your doorsteps. They did this while, like many of you, they were also looking after their children, quickly learning new roles at work, and trying to adjust to a remote work lifestyle. And like you, many of our team also tried to juggle work/life responsibilities while trying to find the time to get out and run! Over the summer, our team participated in a virtual distance challenge as we collectively logged enough kilometres to cover the distance from our Toronto office to Vancouver, over to Edmonton, then Montreal and finally back to Toronto again!

To cap it off, this week we received the iRun readers’ “Best Virtual Race of the Year” award for Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It feels like this award is from and for ALL of us. Thank you.

2021. The road ahead.  

Where do we go from here?

We’re inspired by the fact that so many of you continue to run, to walk, to train hard, or to race (virtually and in person); and in fact, by so many new people taking up the sport. It’s a hugely positive sign. If you’re a new runner who has joined us for the first time this year, thank you! We look forward to continuing to support your running goals both virtually and in-person.

If virtual has been the key word to describe 2020, hybrid will be the word that best-characterizes 2021. Hybrid races will offer a real-life race option for those willing and able to travel, and to commit to in-person gatherings, plus a virtual option for those more comfortable connecting at a distance.

Our staff getting out to RUN our races this year, something we have never been able to do before.

Virtual races are here to stay. They’ll never replace that mass-race, in-person celebration, but they offer a flexibility in time and space to connect us, when face to face get-togethers aren’t possible. Virtual races have proved especially popular among charity runners and walkers; among people who’ve moved away but want to still be part of their hometown race; or those who want to travel to a Canada Running Series event but can’t do it this particular year.

Gradually, we are planning to return to real-life races, when it is safe to do so in 2021. When in-person races return, they will look different. They’ll be smaller and stripped down to reduce contact touch points, with lots of extra safety precautions. At first there are likely to be no bag check services, no post-race parties and awards, and packet-pick-up will be outdoors or via mailout. Lots of physical distancing, mandatory mask wearing and hand sanitizing.

In order to help you plan your race season, here is our Canada Running Series 2021 calendar. We are currently committed to hosting virtual races for the first half of 2021. Working alongside our municipal and athletics partners, and following local and national health and safety guidelines, we will continue to re-evaluate the potential of in-person events for Fall 2021.

Apologies for this lengthy chat, but there’s so much going on! Rest assured we will continue to do our best to deliver world-class events, both virtually and in-person, while keeping our Canadian running community (and our international friends) strong and moving forward.  To paraphrase that old chestnut that “it takes a village to raise a child”, it has taken all of us to get though 2020, the worst of years. And it will take our continued, combined efforts, working together, supporting each other, caring, resilient, determined and strong to get back on those Starting lines that we love so much in the year ahead.

Keep running. Stay safe. Stay with us. One foot in front of the other, with patience, dedication and determination – all great runner characteristics – we will be back! For the moment, let’s keep connected across all our social media platforms, and keep sharing experiences through our virtual events.

Much love and gratitude,

Alan
Connect with me @alnbrookes on Twitter and Instagram

*Header photo credit: Runners from CECI – Centre d’étude et de coopération internationale fundraising for the Scotiabank Charity Challenge!