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Olivia Hoskin

Running as a Family: How to Get Everyone Involved

By | Training Tips | No Comments

Running or walking doesn’t have to be a solo journey; it can be a bonding experience that brings the whole family closer. Physical activity promotes a healthy lifestyle and instills lifelong values of perseverance, goal setting, and the joy of achievement. 

Whether your family includes young sprinters or more mature marathoners, participating in races and events as a family is about creating memories, sharing successes, and enjoying the great outdoors together. This guide will explore practical ways to involve every family member in running, making it an inclusive, enjoyable, and regular family activity.

Start with Fun Runs and Themed Races

Choose Family-friendly Events

Look for local fun runs or themed races designed with families in mind. These events often have shorter distances, such as 1K or 2K fun runs, and incorporate entertaining themes that appeal to children and adults alike, like superhero runs, colour runs, or obstacle courses.

Benefits of Participating Together

  • Motivation and Encouragement: Running alongside family members provides motivation and builds a supportive environment where everyone is encouraged to do their best.
  • Making Exercise Fun: Themed races can transform the concept of exercise from a chore into an exciting adventure. They provide unique experiences that are much more about enjoyment than competition.
  • Building Confidence: Completing a race gives children a tangible sense of achievement and can significantly boost their confidence. It shows them that setting goals and working towards them is rewarding.

Tips for a Successful Family Race Day

  • Pre-Race Preparation: Get everyone involved in the preparation process. Let children help pick out race outfits or create signs. Discuss race day logistics as a family to ensure everyone knows what to expect.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: Understand and respect each family member’s fitness level and enthusiasm for running. The goal is to finish feeling good, not necessarily to set personal records.
  • Celebrate Together: Plan a post-race celebration. Whether it’s a special meal, a family outing, or simply relaxing together at home, make sure there’s something to look forward to after the race.

The Finish Line is Just the Beginning

Embracing running as a family activity is more than just a way to stay physically active; it’s a journey filled with laughter, challenges, and unforgettable moments. Each reach training session, each taken together, strengthens the bond that ties your family, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

In the grand scheme of things, the distances run or the times achieved are secondary to the shared experiences and the values instilled through running together. Commitment, perseverance, mutual support, and collectively reaching a goal are lessons so far beyond the running track. Life lessons prepare children for the future and remind adults of the importance of health, happiness, and family.

So, as you lace up your running shoes and set out on this path together, remember that every finish line crossed is not an end but a beginning. A beginning to new challenges, higher goals, and more shared adventures. Whether it’s the cheering as you cross the finish line, the high-fives after a particularly tough hill, or the laughter shared over a pancake breakfast post-race, these moments make running as a family beneficial and invaluable.

Let the running journey bring your family closer, one step at a time. Here’s to many miles, laughs, and finish lines ahead.

JP Flavin and Erin Mawhinney Victorious at 2024 Under Armour Toronto 10K

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By Paul Gains

JP Flavin rang up Under Armour Toronto 10K organizers last week and asked if there was a place in the event for him. His eleventh-hour plea came just before the race limit of 7,500 was reached. Lucky for him.

The 25 year old New Jersey native showed his gratitude by front running his way to a victory in 29:20 and in the process pulling top Canadian Andrew Davies to a new personal best of 29:25. Third place overall went to Lee Wesselius in 29:49 and the third Canadian was Rob Kanko in 30 minutes flat.

“I am very thankful they let me in the race,” said Flavin, a member of the Brooks Hanson Project based in Rochester Hills, Michigan. “I did really well. I kept 4:40 miles throughout, which was my plan. It was fun.”

Midway through the race – the lead pack of seven runners reached 5K in 14:32 – he went to the front with the objective of breaking pre-race favourite Andrew Davies.

The Sarnia native has been training in Vancouver, where he is a law student at the University of British Columbia. Earlier this year, he ran a personal best 10,000m on the track (28:34.63) and also finished 2nd in the NAIA (collegiate) national championships in that event, which caught the attention of his peers.

“I knew if I stayed with Andrew to the last two kilometres, odds are he would outkick me,” Flavin added. “So a little before 5K, I started picking it up. I wanted to use that long hill [at the Canadian Legion] to come hard off it.”

“When I made my move and started feeling bad at mile five, I could hear from the crowd; they were screaming his name a little bit. So I knew I had to pay attention, stay on it, and not let up too much. I was able to grind and finish off strong.”

Davies was satisfied with his personal best. When Flavin made his move, he made an effort to maintain contact but could never close the gap.

“I was trying to cover it as best I could without risking blowing up at the end,” he revealed. “I couldn’t quite cover it. I stayed pretty close. I couldn’t catch him over the last two kilometres. He held that gap the whole way.”

Despite his earlier 10,000m success in the spring, Davies admitted he has lately been focusing on the 5,000m, the event he will race at the Canadian Olympic trials June 26-30 in Montreal.

While the men’s race had its drama, the women’s race saw the same podium finishers as in 2023, although Erin Mawhinney’s title defence was emphatic. The 28-year-old Hamilton,

Ontario, nursing consultant won by 25 seconds over Salome Nyirarukundo.

Mahwinney’s 33:40 time was a pleasant surprise after she learned earlier in the year she was iron deficient.

“This was the first race since February that I haven’t felt dizzy, so this is the first one in a while that has felt like that,” says Mawhinney, who was greeted at the finish by her coach, two time Canadian Olympic marathoner, Reid Coolsaet.

Respect for her competitors was evident in her further comments.

“At no point was I confident of winning,” she declared. “Salome is so talented, and I knew there was a good chance she would come flying by but someone yelled at me with a kilometre to go that I had a good gap.

To run in the 33s, especially today, it’s hotter and windier than last year, to run the same time as last year off much less training is great.”

Mawhinney also credited Toronto running coach Paddy Birch for helping her through the windy stretches along Lake Shore Boulevard.

“I owe my life to Paddy Birch. He was sort of breaking some of the wind and pacing up to about 8K, so I didn’t have to think quite as hard about it,” she added. “He is much faster than me, but I think he was going for an easy run. He was (pacing me) on purpose when he was talking to me.”

Nyirarukundo, who competed for Rwanda at the 2016 Olympics, now lives in Ottawa. She complained about having an upset stomach last night and into the race morning.

“I was a little bit tired. This morning I had a problem with stomach. Even now, I have it,” she said with a smile, “so I was struggling even to finish, but because I am a fighter, I just tried to finish. It was not bad.”

“I appreciate the organisers; they are very, very good to the elites. It is really good and I enjoy the people (on the course) who are cheering.”

Rachel Hannah, now recovered from her 3rd place finish in the Ottawa Marathon, was 3rd in today’s race. Her time of 34:10, almost a minute faster than her 2023 finish, pleased her.

Once again, the Under Armour Toronto 10K served as the Canadian Masters’ championships, with Toronto’s Allison Drynan crossing the line first in the 45-49 age bracket, recording a time of 38:46. She finished just 8 seconds ahead of Miriam Zittel (40-44).

In the men’s master’s race, Bryan Rusche earned top honours with his 33:33 performance, and Brian Byrne of London, Ontario, finished next in 33:49.

Race director Alan Brookes was delighted with the sold-out event and pointed out that runners from nine provinces, two territories (the Yukon and the Northwest Territories), eighteen American states, and twenty countries enjoyed the day.



By | Elite Athletes | No Comments

By Paul Gains 

Erin Mawhinney will defend her Under Armour Toronto 10K title Saturday June 15th the next stop on the 2024 Canada Running Series. 

A year ago, the Hamilton resident won the race, which traces Toronto’s scenic Lake Shore Boulevard, in a personal best of 33 minutes 34 seconds. The result was a pleasant surprise and confirmed her arrival as one of Canada’s elite road racers. 

“I would like to take a stab at defending my title I know there are some fast girls running,” the 27 year old says before adding, ”Truthfully I have struggled with some low iron the past couple of weeks. But being able to defend the win would be great. Running close to 33 minutes flat would also be great at this time. 

Despite the medical hiccup – which is now behind her – Mawhinney has followed coach Reid Coolsaet’s training program closely and has gradually increased her training volume. Indeed, she has had weeks where she has run as much as 160km while working full-time as a nursing consultant. 

Mawhinney completed her Master of Nursing degree last year after spending six years nursing in the intensive care unit at Hamilton’s St Joseph’s Hospital. Combining long, demanding shifts with her training program was challenging but she credits Coolsaet, a two-time Canadian Olympian, with providing a flexible plan. 

“I did straight night shifts and I found that sticking on straight nights was a little bit easier for running,” she remembers. “I found the flipping back and forth between days and night was sort of chaotic. 

“I would let Reid know and he was great with being flexible. I worked a lot of overtime during Covid because we were overwhelmed in the ICU during that time. There would be some days where I was too tired to double. There were even times when I had to sleep at the hospital between shifts because there was a risk of exposure in my apartment building.” 

In addition to winning the 2023 Under Armour Toronto 10K Mawhinney captured first place in the 2023 TCS Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon last October (1:13:50). Now she and Coolsaet are targeting a possible marathon debut this coming fall. 

“We are thinking TCS Toronto Waterfront in the fall will be my marathon debut so that is the main focus for the rest of the year,” she reveals. 

Recently Mawhinney’s concerns for the homeless crisis in the Hamilton neighbourhood she has called home the past seven years resulted in her penning an essay on her observations. Her advocacy is paying off. 

“A big win recently was having City Housing Hamilton approve a new public health nurse role I proposed to them,” she adds. “(It is) to help those in higher social-need subsidized housing keep their tenancy and avoid needing to use the emergency room.” 

Among those lining up against her Saturday are 2015 Pan Am Games marathon bronze medalist, Rachel Hannah, who was 3rd in the 2024 Ottawa Marathon last month and, most significantly, was 3rd in the Under Armour Toronto 10K last year and last year’s runner-up, Salome Nyirarukundo the 26 year-old Rwandan who has made Ottawa her home. 

The men’s field is led by Andrew Davies, a second-year law student at the University of British Columbia. Although his 10k best is 29:32 last month he ran a superb 10,000m on the track recording 28:34.63. 

“If you get one of the really fast road courses I definitely feel you can be just as fast, maybe even faster, on the roads (than on the track) with the new shoes,” he declares. 

The 23-year-old Davies claims, however, he will focus more on the competition than on recording a fast time. 

“I am not really going to focus on the time too much,” Davies, who hails from Sarnia, Ontario, says. “I have been transitioning now to focus on the 5,000m leading to the track Nationals at the end of the month. I will focus on racing whoever else is (at the Toronto 10k). I am not going in with a time goal. 

“My 5,000m PB (13:37.39) is three years old and I would like to lower that into the (low) 13:30’s and run Nationals and then in the fall I’d like to run as well as I can in the Canadian cross country championships. I was 4th there this past year. If I could medal there that would be awesome.” 

The fastest performer in the men’s field is Lee Wesselius whose personal best 29:13 earned him 7th in the 2021 Canadian 10k Championships held on a slightly modified Toronto Waterfront course. Also racing is Rob Kanko who was 3rd in the 2023 Under Armour Toronto 10K in a personal best of 30:02. 

The race will once again serve as the Canadian Masters 10k championships. Baghdad Rachem will defend the title he won a year ago on this same course. The Verdun, Quebec resident won that day in 32:05 beating 44-year-old Reid Coolsaet by 13 seconds. 

Edmonton’s Jay Smith finished 3rd in 2023 in 39:23 and leads the female master’s division entries. 

Expert Tips for Success at the Under Armour Toronto 10K 2024 

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The Under Armour Toronto 10K is this weekend and as race day approaches, it’s essential to fine-tune your preparation. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or tackling your first 10K, we’ve got tips from Under Armour Ambassadors Laura Sanhueza-Miller, Emily Rudow and Amanda Regnier to help you make the most of race day. 

Plan Ahead  

Having your running gear ready to go is key, especially if you have a busy schedule, says Laura ( Keep an extra set of running shorts and shoes in your car, by your home entrance, at the office, or even underneath your regular clothing for a quick and easy change. Bring this habit into race day so you have one less thing to worry about. 

Practise Makes Perfect 

Emily (@emilyrudow) knows training doesn’t always go as planned. “We all have those days where we fall short of our pace goals, struggle through a bad workout, or feel like we’re not making the progress we hoped for,” says Emily. Remember that practise makes perfect and trying is a small step in the right direction. Embrace your struggles to help develop resilience and grit. You’ll remember all the lessons you learned from those tough workouts and know how to improve for the big moments.   

Explore New Roads 

Staying motivated often involves finding new places to run. Amanda (@runningwithregnier) suggests planning new routes when training feels stagnant. Exploring new locations can invigorate your routine and make you feel stronger. 

Look for the Pacers 

Whether you prefer training solo or with a group, on race day, you’re never alone. Look towards your fellow racers for motivation to keep moving. If you’re racing towards a specific time, UA Ambassadors Jake Myles (@jakemyles) and Stéphane Hetherington (@coachstedotcom) will be two of your pacers during the UA Toronto 10K. Be sure to look for them to keep you on track! 

Enjoy Race Day 

At the end of the day, this is what you trained for! Enjoy the rush and let the cheering crowds boost your spirits all the way to the finish line. 

With these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for the Under Armour Toronto 10K. Embrace the journey, trust your training, and most importantly, enjoy the race.  

UA Toronto 10K x Wawanesa Insurance Partnership Announcement

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We’re thrilled to announce that Wawanesa Insurance will be joining us for the Under Armour Toronto 10K next month! Wawanesa is a Canadian-owned and operated company with a vision to build a safer, healthier, and more sustainable future – a commitment that aligns perfectly with Canada Running Series’ mission of building community through running. 

Wawanesa’s long history of helping Canadian families and businesses protect their greatest investments makes them the perfect partner to help our runners at aid stations throughout the race. 

“Wawanesa shares our dedication to fostering community, as well as collaboration and fairness,” said Charlotte Brookes, National Event Director for Canada Running Series. “Their support will ensure our aid stations are top-notch, enhancing the experience for all participants. We’re excited to work together.” 

Participants can look forward to enhanced race support, with well-stocked aid stations ready to assist you every step of the way.  

“Wawanesa is committed to supporting the communities where our members and employees live and work,” said Selena Hinds, Vice President of Communications & Marketing at Wawanesa. “As part of that ongoing commitment, we’re happy to support the Canada Running Series and lend a helpful hand at the aid stations throughout the race. On behalf of Wawanesa, I wish the best to all of our runners.” 

The Under Armour Toronto 10K is coming up June 15th at Exhibition Place. See you at the starting line! 

For more information about Wawanesa Insurance, please visit  

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your First CRS Event

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Deciding to participate in your first Canada Running Series (CRS) event begins an exciting adventure. With events spread across the calendar year and across Canada, CRS caters to runners of all levels with various distances and unique experiences. 

This guide will help you select the perfect CRS event, considering factors like training, location, season, and personal running goals.

Understanding Canada Running Series Events

A Year Full of Running Opportunities

CRS organizes several flagship events yearly, from fun runs to marathons. Each event is set against the backdrop of Canada’s most scenic locations, from city streets to zoological parks. 

Here’s a snapshot of what’s available:

CRS East Highlights

  • Move Your Paws For The Polar Bear Cause: Kickstart your year with a winter run on February 24, 2024, supporting polar bear conservation.
  • Spring Run-Off: Celebrate the arrival of spring on April 6, 2024, with 5K and 8K races that challenge runners with the infamous Kill the Hill segment.
  • Under Armour Toronto 10K: Experience the heart of Toronto on June 15, 2024, in a 10K race known for its vibrant atmosphere and strong community spirit.
  • Oasis ZooRun: On September 14, 2024, run alongside exotic animals. There will be races for the whole family, including 5K, 10K, and Cub Run options.
  • TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon: This is the pinnacle of the CRS calendar, held on October 19 & 20, 2024. It offers a marathon, half-marathon, and 5K races along Toronto’s beautiful waterfront.

CRS West & Montreal Highlights

  • Vancouver Half Marathon: Challenge yourself with a half marathon on June 23, 2024, featuring stunning views of Vancouver.
  • Under Armour Eastside 10K: Dive into Vancouver’s vibrant east side on September 22, 2024, in a 10K race that showcases the city’s diversity.
  • 21K de Montréal: Join the spring race fever in Montreal on April 20, 2024, with a half-marathon that weaves through the city’s iconic locations.

Community Partner Events

  • Freestyle 5K: On May 4th, 2024, enjoy a 5K run that supports a charitable cause. It is perfect for families and runners looking to give back.
  • Rev&Run: This unique event, which will take place on July 19, 2024, combines running with a post-race automotive show.
  • Scarborough 5K: On August 10, 2024, explore Scarborough’s scenic routes in a welcoming 5K event suitable for all ages and abilities.

Choosing Your Perfect CRS Event

  • Training Timeline and Seasonal Considerations

Plan your event based on how much time you have to train and your preferred running weather. Early-year events like “Move Your Paws” are significant for winter enthusiasts, while “TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon” in October allows ample time for comprehensive marathon training over the warmer months.

  • Location and Community Atmosphere

Consider whether you prefer a local event or a destination race. Events like the “Under Armour Toronto 10K” and “Oasis ZooRun” offer unique urban and zoological settings, providing memorable experiences beyond the race.

  • Setting Goals and Making the Choice

Whether aiming for a personal best or participating for the joy of running, there’s a CRS event tailored to your aspirations. For beginners, the “Freestyle 5K” or “Scarborough 5K” offer accessible distances with supportive crowds. More seasoned runners might aim for the challenge of the “Vancouver Half Marathon” or the “TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon.”

Your first CRS event can start a lifelong love affair with running. When choosing your event, consider your training preferences, location, and personal goals. Remember, every CRS race is more than just a run; it’s an experience, a community, and a chance to challenge yourself. 

Pick your race, lace up your shoes, and enjoy every step of your CRS journey.


Lassonde Renews Commitment to Canada Running Series & the Oasis ZooRun for a 19th Consecutive Year

By | Oasis ZooRun | No Comments

TORONTO, APRIL 30, 2024 – Canada Running Series proudly announces the renewal of its enduring partnership with Lassonde for an additional four-year term, solidifying their collaboration on the annual Oasis ZooRun and other CRS events through 2027. 

Since joining forces in 2006, Lassonde, through it’s Oasis Juice brand, has been a cornerstone of CRS’s series of races, contributing to their growth and success. This commitment marks nearly two decades of shared achievements and innovation in the Canadian running landscape. 

“We are thrilled to continue our exceptional journey with Lassonde, and are excited to celebrate our 20th year together in 2025. Their ongoing support has been instrumental in shaping the Oasis ZooRun into the premier event it is today,” said Charlotte Brookes, National Event Director at Canada Running Series. 

Lassonde has consistently aligned with the Canada Running Series vision, enhancing race day experiences for participants and supporting healthy, active families across the country. The renewed partnership ensures even more impactful experiences at the Oasis ZooRun and other Canada Running Series events. 

“We are honoured to extend our partnership with Canda Running Series for another four years. Our shared commitment to excellence continues to drive our collaboration, and we look forward to contributing to the ongoing success of the Oasis ZooRun,” said Marlène Hins, VP Marketing, at A. Lassonde inc.  

For more information and to register, visit 

For more information on Lassonde, visit  

For press inquiries please contact:  

Ian Cater 


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 2023, CRS raised over $3.5 million for over 200 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. 

5 Essential Spring Training Tips for Runners

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With the snow melted and the days getting longer, spring brings renewed energy to the running community. Transitioning from winter to spring training can be exciting but requires a strategic approach to maximize performance and prevent injury. 

Here are five essential spring training tips for runners to help you make the most of the season, improve your running, and prepare for upcoming Canada Running Series (CRS) events.

1. Adjust Your Training Gradually

Transition Carefully from Indoor to Outdoor: Transitioning too quickly from treadmill to asphalt can shock your muscles and joints. Start by gradually mixing outdoor runs into your routine, increasing the proportion as your body adapts.

Incremental Increases in Distance and Intensity: Follow the 10% rule: Never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% from the week before. This gradual adjustment helps prevent overuse injuries.

2. Dress Appropriately for Spring Weather

Layering is Key: Spring weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers that you can remove as you warm up. Focus on moisture-wicking fabrics to keep sweat away from your body.

Protect Yourself from the Elements: Even mild spring sunshine can cause sunburns. Wear a cap and apply sunscreen to exposed skin. In chillier or windy conditions, consider light gloves and a wind-resistant jacket.

3. Focus on Hydration and Nutrition

Hydration Needs Increase with Warmer Weather: As temperatures rise, so does your need for fluids. Hydrate before, during, and after your runs. Consider carrying water for longer distances or plan routes with water fountains.

Spring Clean Your Diet: Incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables into your meals for natural energy boosts. Focus on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats to fuel your runs.

4. Cross-training and Strength Training

Balance Your Running with Cross-Training: Incorporate non-running activities like cycling, swimming, or yoga to improve cardiovascular health without additional stress on your running muscles.

Strength Training to Complement Running: Targeted strength exercises, such as squats, lunges, and planks, can enhance your running efficiency and power. Include 2-3 strength training sessions per week.

5. Set Realistic Goals

SMART Goals for Spring Races: Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for your spring races. Whether aiming for a personal best or completing a race, clear goals can guide your training and motivation.

Listen to Your Body: Spring is a time for growth and building foundations. Pay attention to signs of fatigue or injury, and be willing to adjust your goals as needed. Rest days are just as important as training days.

Spring offers the perfect backdrop for runners to train, improve, and enjoy the sport. By gradually adjusting your training, dressing appropriately, focusing on hydration and nutrition, incorporating cross-training and strength training, and setting realistic goals, you can optimize your spring training and set yourself up for a successful running season. 

Remember, every run is a step forward in your running journey. Embrace the season with enthusiasm and commitment, and watch as your running blossoms along with the spring flowers.

Looking for your next event? Find it here!