Alan’s Journal

Alan’s 2022 Year End Recap

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We cannot say it enough. 

2022. What a year it’s been. A true marathon as we raced our way back to in-person events TOGETHER. Let’s be honest, at times it’s been a challenge, but it’s one we’ve met full on thanks to your resilience, passion, energy, and determination. You showed up this year and made it wonderfully successful in so many ways. Almost 50,000 of you showed up across our 10 events, most in-person with some virtual to keep us connected when we couldn’t get to the races. The energy has been electric and everyone at Canada Running Series is enormously grateful.

This year feels like it has been a wonderful combination of old and new. We’ve revelled in the moments together on the familiar hills of High Park, dashing down Vancouver’s Spanish Banks, revving our engines on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal and cruising the Toronto Waterfront. The old stomping grounds… TOGETHER AGAIN. The magic of those Starting lines, and the joy  mixed with exhilaration of crossing Finish lines. With friends, rivals, suppliers, our absolutely amazing volunteers and our 18 CRS team members. Thank you to our sponsor partners who kept us whole during the darkest days of the pandemic so we’d reach a bright new tomorrow.  

And in many ways, YOU, our community, have given us a re-energized, new beginning this year. Together we’ve made a renewed commitment to “building community through running”, our mission since the 1980s.   

With remarkable numbers you showed you cared for those in need. Through our Charity Challenges you contributed a magnificent $4,206,215. New partners in TCS, Asics, Garmin and Athletic Brewing joined old friends like Oasis, Running Room, Under Armour, and Nuun as we surged back on familiar roads and new directions. 

At every turn we embraced diversity and inclusion to build out the community:  

  • with the new Scarborough 5K built locally through the awesome leadership of Melanie @little3women,  Anoke @ahh.noke and Black Runners of the GTA. It was a race on home turf that also gave back to the Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough & Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.;  
  • by partnering with the Running Physio and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital to help us better understand and champion Accessibility in not only this race, but all our races. 
  • In addition to continuing our work with Native Women Running, we collaborated with Rising Hearts and embraced the Running On Native Lands Initiative, to make land acknowledgements a common practice at CRS events, to further our respect and understanding in a united community. 

A determined commitment to sustainability emerged throughout the year, but especially with our new partner TCS who even developed a “sustainability footprint calculator” in the world-class race app for the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon. You pledged more than 700 trees to be planted along the marathon route by new charity partner Trees For Life, and supported the Trans Canada Trail. Your Finishers’ medals included the oak tree adopted as Toronto’s Official Tree in May and together we made it a priority to become the first marathon in Canada to achieve Evergreen status with the Council For Responsible Sport (still pending). 

2022 saw us put on our first-ever international race as we embraced a commitment to build community globally. The Rumbo a TCS Toronto Waterfront 10k en la CDMX, is a collaboration in México City with the amazing team at Emoción Deportiva, supported by Ambassador Graeme Clark and the Canadian Embassy in México, plus Alma Leal and TCS Latin America.  

From the titanic achievements at National Championships, to the heroics of everyday heroes and leaders you have given us SOOOOO MUCH to celebrate. Most of all we have been struck by the energy, passion and excitement you shared with us in 2022. This was no more evident than in our CRS Ambassador Program, the Building on Belief video features produced for us by Tenfold Productions and Quinton Jacobs, plus the return of BTGYYZ (Bridge The Gap) hosted by Mike Krupika and Parkdale Road Runners who brought some 400 runners from 40 crews in 8 countries to TCS Toronto Waterfront. This year’s Canadian-race-record 22 Cheer Sites on the course personified COMMUNITY.

All of this underscored the fact that we can’t build community through running on our own. You are the stars, the talent, the SHOW. AND WE ARE BACK. It took 50,000 of us TOGETHER to make it happen.   

You’ve left us breathless! But now it’s time to pause, catch our breath, rest and recover. 2023 is just over that next hill, brimming with challenges and accomplishments. But for this moment we pause to say THANK YOU. Together you make our community, our country our world a better place. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!


By | Alan's Journal | No Comments

21KGDL. 26 February 2023.

“Please join me for some beautiful warm weather and a great race in my favourite Mexican city. It’s México auténtico!”


  • One of the best half marathons in all of Latin America in Mexico’s most beautiful city.
  • Home of mariachi, tequila, art, architecture & culture. Great street food, restaurants, coffee shops & markets.
  • A city for running where Mayor Pablo Lemus runs the race (he ran 2022 as a guide for a blind runner)
  • Only a short onward flight or 5 hours on the Executive bus to Puerto Vallarta and Pacific sunsets. ETN bus or Primera Plus lines (about CAD$50 fare). And a marvellous, scenic ride through the mountains to the coast.
  • Or take the day excursion on the Tequila Train to the Jose Cuervo distillery.
  • Plus Tlaquepaque, or Ajijic day trips.


(Email Alan if it’s a challenge!) Cost: 250 pesos or CAD$20)


At least 3 options. YOUR choice!

  • YYZ or YUL to Houston (IAH) then GDL. Easiest. Cheapest
  • YYZ or YUL to MEX Mexico City, then onto GDL
  • YYZ or YUL to Puerto Vallarta for some days on the beach before and after the long weekend in Guadalajara (see bus recommendations above)


Fiesta Americana La Minerva. Excellent, 4-star hotel with great breakfasts, plus Starbucks just across the street. Right on top of the Start/Finish line! ONLY C$129/night for an Executive King or Executive Double room.


OR recommended Airbnbs in the Colonia Americana neighbourhood


The perfect month to visit. Cool in the mornings for running at the 1600m altitude; beautiful, warm sunshine in the afternoons. 5c to 7c overnight lows; 25c to 27c highs in the afternoons. Don’t forget your sunscreen and cap!



¿No hablas español? No hay problema con UBER. Use your UBER app and book your rides in English anywhere around town – know where you’re going and how much it costs.

MiBici. Guadalajara’s City bike rental network. Really excellent with proper, safe separated bike lanes!


  • Best park to run in: Parque Metropolitano (take an Uber or MiBici to the Torre Amarillo orTorre Rojo)
  • El Centro: “Guadalajara: Capital of Culture” is a MUST!
  • Palacio de Gobierno & José Clemente Orozco’s 2ajestic murals
  • Catedral de Guadalajara
  • Instituto Cultural Cabañas
  • Palacio Legislativo
  • Mercado San Juan de Dios

Check Country Collectors’ video for more information.


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,

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! 

Welcome to Canada Running Series 2016!

By | Alan's Journal, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments

IMG_3045VANCOUVER March 17th 2016. Welcome to Canada Running Series 2016! Yaaaay! Opening Day is finally here with the MODO Spring Run Off 8K this weekend, and it’s GREAT to be back in Vancouver! Springtime. Stanley Park. Blossoms, daffodils and green grass everywhere. I just love our two Spring Run Off 8ks in Stanley Park and in High Park, Toronto, April 9th. And before the month of April is done we move onto Parc Jean Drapeau to enjoy some beautiful, traffic-free Montreal public space. See our full race calendar here.

For me, these CRS park races just seem to get road running in Canada off on the right foot. Racing through some of our country’s best parks as they awaken into bloom just gets the blood pumping. For me, they’re an important social thing, a chance to re-connect with so many friends I’ve mostly kept in touch with over those dark, cold, winter months on social media. Now it’s time to live IRL, not just on the ‘Gram! There’ll be another 60,000 of you running with us in 2016; plus maybe 150,000 family and friends out cheering you on; and another 5,000+ volunteers making it happen with our 15-member, full-time, professional CRS crew. It’s #goodvibesonly . There’s also the fundraising component, as many of you play a key role in raising $6 million a year at the CRS events, for some 330 local charities.

And then there’s the racing bit! Even if it’s primarily a social, healthy lifestyle or charity thing, for many of us it’s still a racing thing! How fast can you run an 8K? Can you improve on last year’s time, or beat your bestie, your crew-mate, workmate or partner? This year will bring an extra excitement as an Olympic year, with many of our CRS stars aiming for Rio, another Canadian National Team, or top rankings in our Series.

Sunday’s MODO Spring Run Off 8K maybe our smallest Series race, but it will have it all, as a quality running experience! Great shirts and finishers’ medals. An accurately-measured, as well as a stunningly attractive course around the world-famous Stanley Park Seawall, a great cause to race for in Music Heals, and the buzzzzzz of competition! The event also doubles as Race #4 in the inaugural BC Super Series.

041_IJ_SVHM11_0832Up front in the Men’s race, we’re excited to see Rob Watson, our CRS “free spirit”! It’s part of his fight to get a place on the bus to Brazil. For that he needs to run a marathon before the end of May in 2:12:50 or faster. His 63:58 half in Houston in January indicates he’s right on track. Sunday’s Modo 8k will be a “blow-out” race for Rob before he gets on the plane for Cardiff, Wales, and the IAAF Half-marathon World Championships next weekend (follow me to Cardiff for coverage). In the UK, he’ll proudly rep the Maple Leaf and take on some super-fast dudes like Mo Farah! Then it’s the London Marathon on April 24th. “It’s London or bust pretty much,” the 32-year-old Watson told us recently. “It’s my last chance to make the Olympics.” 2:12:50. Tick, tick, tick. London calling. And did you know Rob is a fan of the early ‘90s skate punk scene? Maybe some Chuck Ragan, Hothouse Music, Bad Religion or Propagandhi tunes will inspire him?

Just to keep things interesting, Calgary’s Trevor Hofbauer will try to get in among the BC boys on Sunday, to keep Rob, Kevin Friesen, Theo Hunt and Nick Hastie honest. Trevor did just that last September when he raced to a 2nd place finish in the Eastside 10k (30:25). Most recently, he’s just back from the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico where he ran 30:20, and teamed up with 2015 CRS Women’s Champion and Rio-bound Lanni Marchant to win the NACAC team competition for Canada, and take home the USD$20,000 first prize.

Wondering if the old guys still have the magic? It’ll be worth getting out of bed on Sunday just to see the epic duel between Vancouver’s super-Master, “Super-K” Kevin O’Connor and the pride of the Victoria veterans, 2015 Canadian National Masters cross-country champion, Craig Odermatt.

The Women’s race on Sunday promises a tasty head-to-head RachelCliffduel between Rachel Cliff and Dayna Pidhoresky. They were 2nd and 3rd at last year’s Modo, behind Lanni, with Rachel just 18 seconds ahead of Dayna as they crossed the Finish line at the Pavilion. Rachel is in great form, with a Course Record performance at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day 5K [16:05]. Dayna’s training has been going very well, but it’s not translated to the races so far in 2016. January saw her DNF at 25k into the Houston Marathon after passing halfway inside the time needed for the Canadian women’s Rio standard of 2:29:50. Then on February 5th she started equally well at a hot and humid Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans Half, passing 10k in 35:17, before fading to finish in 1:18:41. Will it be third time lucky for Dayna this Sunday? We’re also thrilled to see she’ll be going for the “SRO-Double”, also racing the Race Roster Toronto Spring Run Off 8k on April 9th. Read more about that on our blog! 

Is anyone else doing the double? I’ll be doing the “Race Director Double”. In fact, I’ve been RD of the Toronto SRO since 1986 when O’Connor and Odermatt were still in short pants!!!

So I hope you’ll join us on Sunday in Stanley Park . We still have some 50 to 100 bibs left up for grabs. Come out and “just give it hell!” as Rob Watson advises!  If you’re looking for some more detailed advice, look no further than Chris Winter’s “6 Tips To Keep You Out Of Trouble On Race Day.

And if you’re not up for running, then you must come out and cheer, have a beer with us after the race, relax and enjoy the post-race concert with Dominique Fricot and REGAL! 

CRS 2016 is here, there’s LOTS to celebrate, and it’s just the start of an epic year. Good luck to all. ENJOY your running and racing.

For info on last-minute registration and packet pick up see:

For a complete Start List of invited athletes see:

Alan’s Journal: Happy New Year! Let’s Do It Together!

By | Alan's Journal | No Comments
TORONTO January 6th 2016.

Hey fellow runners!

I hope you had a great holiday period with family and friends. There are probably a few of us with food hangovers out there [speaking for myself]. For those who had more difficult times, I hope that family and friends were there with support for you, and with help to move forward.

Speaking of that, 2016 awaits us, pregnant with possibilities, goals, hopes and dreams! What are yours? I’ve SO enjoyed seeing so many of your social media posts over the last few days. Your first runs of the New Year; or your first club and crew runs of 2016, with the Running Room Resolution Runs from coast to coast; from the Paradise Run Club in St.John’s to Longboat Road Runners first run in High Park, to East Van Run Crews first “Monday-Nighter” from Red Truck Brewery in YVR. Please keep them coming; they are great INSPIRATION and MOTIVATION as we start to make our plans for 2016 at Canada Running Series.

Let’s get after 2016 TOGETHER, and make it a banner year!

For sure, it’s now time to set some goals. Maybe it’s your first marathon at STWM or a new 8k PB at the Race Roster Spring Run-Off or a 10k PB at the Toronto Waterfront 10k? If you’re Lanni or Eric, our CRS 2015 Champions, it could be the dream of a great performance at the Rio Olympics. Or it could be a shorter-term goal like Night Terrors’ #JanuaryBattle in TO & LA. Maybe it could be a running streak like Matt Galloway’s epic #365daysofrunning Challenge, which he just finished! If you haven’t read Matt’s interview on the life-changing impact running had for him in 2015, and how it helped him discover his neighbourhood, city and world, as well as himself, it’s really worth a read. And check out the photo of Matt with his #SpringRunOff 2015 finishers’ medal!

cherry blossoms

New Year’s Tips Du Jour: Training helps! 

  • Out on the West Coast, our Modo Spring Run-Off 8k #Modo8k “Learn To Run” training starts this week. Get the training plan here.
  •  Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal #Scotia21kMtl training with Boutique Endurance starts January 17. Details here.
  •  Race Roster Spring Run Off 8k #SpringRunOff “Learn To Run” with Tribe Fitness starts February 7th! Join the training crew here. 
  • Always give yourself three goals: an ACCEPTABLE goal; a CHALLENGING goal; and an ULTIMATE goal, to avoid “all or nothing” disappointment.
  • Plan REWARDS, treats along the way for your daily, weekly, monthly triumphs.
  • In training, VISUALIZE yourself at that Finish Line – the joy, achievement, hands up high!
  • And don’t forget to share these moments with us all on our CRS SOCIAL HUB. It’s a great place to connect as well as getting all the latest news.

At the office, we’re busy, busy, busy getting ready for the 2016 CRS season, and I’ve challenged all of our team to be able to tell each and every one of us:

  • What’s NEW and EXCITING for 2016, for each and every CRS event?
  • Why should I want to sign up for them?

So keep your eyes on our website, newsletters, and especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the new, exciting stuff they roll out for us, as it’s unveiled. I think today’s a great beginning for them! How do you like the Race Roster Spring Run-Off 2015 medal? I love it. Especially the robin! And what about #KillTheHill Challenge?

That’s a sign. The early bird gets the worm! Gotta run,


@alnbrookes on Twitter and Instagram

P.S. Keep an eye on the Houston Marathon next weekend too! A whole bunch of our CRS stars will be starting 2016 with a BANG and a BOOM, chasing dreams to represent us and our country – in Rio and at the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales. Rachel Hannah will be chasing that Olympic qualifying standard [2:29:50]; Dayna Pidhoresky makes her marathon debut; Krista DuChene, Rob Watson & Sami Jibril are racing the Half, aiming for Cardiff. See the preview, and follow me on Twitter. I’ll be there! [and hopefully in Cardiff and Rio, too]. Here’s a great race preview from Canadian Running as well as information to track your favourite runners throughout the race!

Announcing the Race Roster Spring Run-Off and Toronto Waterfront 10k!

By | Alan's Journal, Race Roster Spring Run-Off | No Comments
TORONTO December 3rd 2015.
A Message from Canada Running Series Race Director Alan Brookes:

I hope you are enjoying some nice, easy running in this down season, giving yourself the time to recover physically as well as mentally after the race season. In the planning department at Canada Running Series, we are all systems GO! The 2016 Canada Running Series season will be our 27th year and it’s shaping up to be a thriller! Most of you know our shared mission of “building community through running”, based on the twin pillars of organization and innovation. 2016 will be no exception with some exciting new changes and growth.

We have two big news items to share!

Announcing the Race Roster Spring Run-Off 8k & 5k! The Spring Run-Off is Toronto’s oldest, continuously-held road race, going into it’s 38th edition, with the killer Spring Road Hill, piper McGonigal, fresh maple syrup, Councillor Doucette flipping pancakes, and hopefully some blossoms in Toronto’s most magnificent park! Race Roster has signed on as new title sponsor and we’ll be working with them on state-of-the-art, customer-friendly online registration and referral incentives for you and your friends! And don’t forget Tribe Fitness’ free “Couch to 8k” training program, designed to get you to the start line on Saturday April 9th. Use hashtag #SpringRunOff to connect with others also training for this race. Registration opens this Monday December 7th at 12 noon!

Perhaps the biggest news of the day is that the Toronto Yonge Street 10k is evolving into the Toronto Waterfront 10k! We are working on an exciting new course with a tentative date of either Saturday June 25th or Sunday June 26th. We have submitted our application based on recommended dates and a fabulous new course which starts on University Avenue, runs down the Lakeshore, out and back past the CNE, and then returning from the West to finish at Coronation Park. Pending final approval from the City, we are planning to open registration in the new year. Stay tuned and feel free to connect with us on Twitter @alnbrookes and @RunCRS using hashtag #Waterfront10k to chat and ask us questions about this exciting new development

Are you ready?

Let’s get our CRS 2016 on! View our full race calendar at  

Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram and let’s keep the conversation going!

Important 2016 Canada Running Series Registration Update!

By | Alan's Journal, Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal et 5k, Oasis ZooRun, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | No Comments
A message from Canada Running Series Race Director Alan Brookes:

Hello fellow runners;

As 2015 fades into our log books, 2016 is coming up fast! Canada Running Series is ALMOST done – bar the wrap up! WHAT a year it was! In addition to 8 great Series races, we also had the Pan Am Games to organize and enjoy. A massive THANK YOU to all of you for the important part you played in an outstanding year. Almost 60,000 participants; more than 5,000 volunteers; 19 fabulous sponsors; tens of thousands of spectators and cheer squads; and a whopping $6 million raised for our 339 Official Charities. So many great stories, and reasons to cheer. Beyond EPIC!

Although there’s still a lot of tidy-up activity happening at the CRS offices – paying bills and prize monies, mailing out unclaimed awards, writing 2015 reports for our sponsor partners, we’re also full swing into 2016 – designing next year’s medals and t-shirts, fun new activations and more.

Are you ready?

We have some VERY exciting stuff in the works, including a new race. What will it be called? When will it be held? Where will it run?

Because of these tasty updates, we’ll be LAUNCHING online registration tomorrow for the following Individual Races:

  • Banque Scotia 21K et 5K de Montreal: Sunday April 24th 2016.
  • Oasis ZooRun, 10k, 5K & Cub Run: Saturday September 24th 2016.
  • Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-marathon & 5K: Sunday October 16th 2016.

COMBO PACKS, with multi-event discounts, for our full Eastern Calendar [including Toronto Spring races] will be coming SOON. We’ll have that up and available as soon as we have finalized our plans – and you’ll be among the first to know! ‘Til then, let’s keep running, keep in touch, and get planning for new goals, and thrilling new adventures together in 2016.

Alan, @alnbrookes

Alan’s Journal: #PANAMANIA. We did it! But was it a Tipping Point?

By | Alan's Journal | No Comments

TORONTO August 4th 2015

Hey fellow runners;

Wow! What a month we’ve had since my last Journal edition on July 7th! It was a remarkable month, overwhelmingly dominated by the Pan Am Games, and I think we are all enormously impressed with the way the Games brought us all together. #UnidosJugamos! As well, the Games showcased sport, and our sport of running and athletics in particular, as never before in Toronto.

HUGE thanks to TO2015, and to all of you who gave of your time, energy and passion to bring our city alive for a month! Special shout outs to:

  • The Canada Running Series team – the extended family, not just the full-time crew — who organized 5 road events in 8 days, on top of the regular, gruelling CRS season. There were plenty of 3am Crew Calls, plus a few all-nighters for some. BIG ups to Heather and Chris who have put in MAJOR hours over the last 2 years in preparation. Thanks to Toronto Olympic and other club members, plus our regular support teams who stepped up big time!
  • 08-04-IMG_5657ALL of you who came out to cheer, especially our awesome Toronto run crews who set up CHEER SITES on-course for both Women’s & Men’s Marathons: Pace & Mind, Night Terrors, Parkdale RR, Tribe Fitness, plus a number of other clubs. YOU WERE GREAT! The first thing Catherine Watkins said to me after her finish, was how amazing the support was for her out there. Catherine’s post-Pan Am blog is a must-read: “Running the marathon for Team Canada on home soil was definitely a highlight in my life.“.
  • 08-04-IMG_5337The athletes: our current CRS Women’s champion Rachel Hannah and Catherine Watkins; Rob Watson and Kip Kangogo; and Evan Dunfee and Inaki Gomez who brought home Gold and Silver in the 20K Walk. I think we were all so thrilled to see our regular CRS friends on the world stage, in our hometown, in an event(s) that we were all part of! And on the track too, with SO many fine performances up at York! While Lanni’s bronze in the 10,000m and Alex Genest’s Silver in the 3000m steeplechase were huge highlights for me, there were just so many others. It was an electrifying week on the track in between the 2 marathon and race walk weekends.
  • 08-04-IMG_4537The neighbourhoods, the broader community that was “IGNITED”, like our own St. Lawrence ‘hood, through TO2015’s “Ignite” programme and PanAmania. St. Lawrence’s 41 Neighbours book is a great example, and a special, unique souvenir that we were able to share. There are still a few copies left to buy on Amazon! 
  • Our friends from The Americas who came to visit us in our town! It was really special for me to see friends and strengthen ties with Mexico and Peru and our neighbours from USA – bienvenidos y gracias Gus Borges, Rodolfo Gomez, Gladys, Raul, Vianey for all the special moments. THANKS Mike Nishi and Stan Coburn for being part of it all!

What was YOUR highlight?

08-04-IMG_5684It was glorious to see sport taking centre stage, in Canada’s largest metropolis, in a city known globally for arts and culture, for TIFF or Luminato or Nuit Blanche rather than sport. The City’s support has traditionally been given to these deserving, iconic cultural events, but with scant attention paid to sport [other than pro sports like the Leafs, Jays or Raptors]. I’d like to think this past month has more than adequately demonstrated that “SPORT MATTERS”, and that we can have both arts/culture and sport/healthy lifestyles. As the ASICS name represents: Anima Sana In Corpore Sano—a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Were the Pan Am Games a “Tipping Point”?

We’ve heard lots about the “LEGACY of the Games”. For the most part, I think it’s safe to say, the conversation has been about infrastructure legacy – – the fabulous new neighbourhood of Corktown, including a brand new Y and Corktown Common; the high-speed train link to Pearson; the outstanding renovation of Queen’s Quay to showcase Toronto’s waterfront; Union Station expansion. I hope, I think, it is much more than that. I’d like to believe that the Games got our city moving and brought it ALIVE, through a marvellous combination of sport, culture and activation. For sure, we have a new Y, a new track, a new field hockey field, a new velodrome, a new pool. But there’s something new in the air as well – -the “SPIRIT OF THE GAMES”. And that is perhaps the greatest legacy.

I hope we can keep hold of this spirit, and carry the momentum forward to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. STWM is a wonderful vehicle for sustaining the momentum. It is a truly world class sports/athletics/running event that is with us every year. It brings 25,000+ participants from 60+ countries. It brings top international competition to race against Canada’s best. It ignites a dozen of our great Waterfront neighbourhoods. It generates over $30 million of economic activity annually for Toronto, and raises ~$4 million a year for our local charities.

08-04-IMG_5510For ALL of you involved in the Pan Ams, I offer an invitation to keep the momentum going at STWM this October. Join our CRS gang, and our Canadian stars like Krista and Eric. Come RUN [or walk] one of the STWM distances – they cover the range, from 5K to 42k. VOLUNTEER. We need more than 3,000 every year to make it a success. And in the words of run crew legend Charlie Dark, “IF YOU DON’T RUN, YOU MUST CHEER!!” Let’s line the Course with hundreds of thousands of awesome cheer squads! It’s only through our combined energy that we can sustain the pace, build a true legacy for the Games, and show the world what a great running city Toronto is – we’re NOT a one-hit wonder! As Vancouver’s Catherine Watkins wrote in her post-Pan Am blog, “Running the marathon for Team Canada on home soil was definitely a highlight in my life.” There’s something VERY special about having a hometown, CANADIAN big-city marathon! TORONTO, we CAN do it!

Enough. I need to sleep, recover. As the mantra on the new STWM training singlets from ASICS says, “EAT, SLEEP, TRAIN, REPEAT.”

ps. Let’s stay connected on social media! Twitter & Instagram @alnbrookes
pps. I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer the Insider Tip of the month! For everyone building up your long runs, Steve Lennon’s latest video blog is a MUST WATCH!  

Alan’s Journal: One Series. One Country. One Community. One Family. One Love.

By | Alan's Journal | No Comments

TORONTO July 6th 2015.

Hey fellow runners;

4CatsA big THANKS to everyone who made the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k weekend such a great experience! One of the most enjoyable things for me, was to see the way the race is building out into more of a long-weekend-experience, and bringing together our community from across Canada. Our #ScotiaHalf Digital Champions, our 83 official charities and SO many of you have been lighting up our CRS Social Hub, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for weeks, and it all reached a fine crescendo over the June 26th-28th weekend. Our 2-day mini-Expo was the best so far, and East Van Run Crew leader Ryan Chilibeck, aka @meatysauce, got us up and running in style on the Saturday morning with a Shake-Out Run and beer tasting at Red Truck Brewery. Check out the photos here.

The race itself was HOT, in all senses of the word. Under bright, sunny skies and 20 to 25c temperatures that felt HOT, 4,500 runners from 29 countries charged down from UBC to Stanley Park. Another 2,150 met them in the park and ran the 5K. The main bout was the #BettyandVeronica show in the 21K, Round 5, with Veronica [Lanni Marchant] taking an impressive “W” over hometown bestie Betty [Natasha Wodak], 71:08 to 72:31. Natasha also added to a great atmosphere by running to raise funds for VOKRA cat rescue, and toeing the line complete with cat-woman face paint! It was humorously billed as “Catfight in Vancouver”! The Men’s race also featured some of Canada’s very best, with Reid Coolsaet [65:40] putting on a show, to overpower dust Matt Loiselle and Sami Jibril in the heat. Read our full race report.

NickRyanBillThe weekend of Canadian running celebrations continued on Sunday and Monday evenings. On Sunday, Lanni, Natasha, Matt, Sami, and Kevin “SuperK” O’Connor were able to join our CRS crew in Gastown for a fabulous, post-race dinner. It was a great mix of athletes and organizers, and underscored how much we are all one big family, one community together. Then Monday night, Jenna, Inge and I, plus Toronto’s Bill Chaupiz from Night Terrors Run Crew and Nick Mizera from Pace and Mind, all joined Ryan and the East Van Run Crew for a beautiful recovery run in their ‘hood, including scenic Trout Lake. It was great to see the #ScotiaHalf bringing together our Toronto and Vancouver communities! Thanks for the bike loan John, and great to catch up with Leslie again – sorry I haven’t been out regularly!

It was also special to see JP Bedard among the hundreds of CRS visitors to #ScotiaHalf from across the country. If you haven’t read Paul Gains’ feature on JP, @runJPrun and his remarkable story, plus his crusade to build awareness for childhood sexual abuse, it’s a DON’T MISS! He’s now back in Toronto racking up 200 kilometres a week in preparation for his TRIPLE Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon! That’s right – not a miss-print! If we think 42.195 km is a challenge, JP will be doing the course 3 times, back-to-back-to-back on October 18th. 126.585 kilometres. One day. Indeed, we have such remarkable people in our community! Read the story, and make sure you join us in October.

As well as STWM preparations, July in Toronto 11694060_10102271365233241_153510771_nfor our CRS team is all about the Pan Am Games, where most of us will be involved in the Pan Am Marathons and Race Walks. We hope you’ll join in, especially for #PANAMARATHON on the 18th and 25th, to cheer on CRS stars Rachel Hannah and Catherine Watkins [ July 18th] and Kip Kangogo and Rob Watson [ July 25th]. On the track at York, there’ll be the #BettyandVeronica Show part 6, and SO many of our other CRS stars and friends. Four of our Toronto run crews – Parkdale Roadrunners (pictured at right), Tribe Fitness, Pace and Mind and Night Terrors Run Crew will be hosting CHEER SITES on the marathon course on both dates. I’ve written a separate blog on this with all the deets, schedules, including athletes’ Twitter and Instagram handles so we can stay connected and be part of a shared experience. I know there’s been lots of grumbling about the Games – mostly traffic related – but at the end of the day this is our city, our Games, and our friends racing for Canada. They deserve and NEED our cheers! Let’s show them how much we care; how rightly proud we are of them and of our great city, and make a home-turf difference. Go CANADA!

Gotta run! I’m doing a leg of the Pan Am Torch Relay tonight!

Looking forward to seeing 800 of you on Sunday at Beaches Jazz Training Run for STWM,


Ps. Let’s stay connected on social media! Twitter & Instagram @alnbrookes.

Alan’s Journal Returns

By | Alan's Journal | No Comments

TORONTO June 23rd 2015.

Dear fellow runners;

Hello! It’s GREAT to be back chatting to you on a regular basis through this Journal feature. We’re back up and running on a bi-monthly basis now, on the CRS Blog and Newsletter! How are you all? What’s happening out there? ¿Qué tal? How has you Spring season gone?

I must say I’ve had a wonderful, running-filled Spring at home and abroad that has allowed me to connect with so many of you worldwide. I’ve had SO many great visits with running clubs and crews in Vancouver with Fraser Street Run Club and East Van Run Crew, in Toronto with Parkdale Roadrunners, NightTerrors, and Tribe Fitness, and in London, England with Run Dem Crew (pictured above) on a magical evening in Shoreditch that took us over Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge and St.Paul’s by night. In London I had the privilege of visiting with Charlie Dark, the founder, DJ, scribe, and visionary in the running movement, and charismatic leader of Run Dem Crew; plus Steve, Ellie, Peigh (who ran his first marathon), Jules and BitBeefy. We’ll get to run with some of them again this October at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon!

Alan's Journal - Mexico

Love the Finish Line message and Dad doing a #runfie!

And now I’m writing this from Mexico City, aka #CDMX where this amazing city of 20+ millionis celebrating Father’s Day with 16,000+ runners at the Carerra del Dia del Padre 21k, a superb sight and experience. The race raises money for the Bosque de Tlapan, an unbelievable 250-hectare oasis of green forest and trails, peace and tranquility in the midst of the teeming masses of one of the world’s largest cities. I’m here to firm up an exchange, a “sister-race” partnership between Los Corredores del Bosque de Tlalpan who organize the race (the #CDP21k), and #STWM. More on that later, but suffice it to say it’s part of our unrelenting commitment to be on the roads with you, connecting, building community worldwide, hearing what is currently exciting you, and continuously developing world-class races in Canada.  PLEASE keep connected with me on a regular basis via social media – @alnbrookes and @RunCRS on Twitter and Instagram, plus our CRS and STWM Facebook pages. And as long as you use the hashtags, we can see yours and everyone’s posts on our CRS  and STWM Social Hubs. We NEED your input; we can’t do it on our own!

Alan’s Journal is all about giving you the inside scoop, and a behind-the-scenes look at Canada Running Series. So I want to reassure you that I, plus the CRS team, are all REALLY working hard to bring you the best-organized,  innovative and exciting running events around. On May 28th we were at the Athletics Canada Race Directors’ Summit at Calgary Marathon weekend, where I gave a presentation on “Community Engagement: Does Your City Love You? Or are you just blocking traffic?” Au courant? Our Event Director Charlotte, on a panel with Mary Wittenberg, gave a terrific presentation on our Volunteer Programme, and Tom from CRS West did us proud talking sustainability, and how and why the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon and STWM are the only 2 events in Canada to earn Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in Oregon.  Building healthy, green communities matters, and together we CAN make a difference! Then we dashed onto Chicago to participate in the Chicago Marathon Race Management Program and trade best practices with Chicago, Boston, Houston, LA, Pittsburgh and more. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a BIG shout out to everyone starting Vancouver Eastside 10k, OASIS ZooRun and STWM Training right now. Join our Canadian stars like Krista DuChene, Matt Loiselle and Sami Jibril on the Start lines. Keep your eyes on our Blogs STWM and CRS  for posts from our Digital Champions as well as Paul Gains’ great features on the stars. Let’s do it together!

Alan's Journal - Rachel Hannah

Rachel Hannah after winning AC National 10k title + CRS14 crown at Oasis ZooRun.

Need inspiration? YOU’RE INVITED to join CRS and the Toronto running community at the PanAm Games Marathons on July 18th & 25th.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come out and cheer on some of our CRS stars who you see at our races on a regular basis. Only now they’re running for Canada, and international stardom, repping OUR country on a world stage! They NEED our CHEERS! Our current CRS Women’s Champion, Rachel Hannah, will be racing along with Natasha LaBeaud on the 18th. Can they beat Peru’s Gladys Tajeda or Mexico’s Vianey De La Rosa? Then it’ll be fan favourites Rob Watson and Kip Kangogo on the 25th who have to take on Peruvian ace Raul Pacheco who was one place ahead of Reid Coolsaet at Rotterdam Marathon this Spring. In between the marathons, make sure you grab some tickets to see Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak star in the Women’s 10,000m, Lucas Bruchet in the Men’s 10,000m with Mo Ahmed; plus Cam Levins and Ross Proudfoot and Jess O’Connell in the 5,000m,  Alex Genest & Gen Lalonde from Speed River in the 3000m steeple, and a bunch of our other friends on the track at York. See full Team Canada Lists. Go Canada Go! Stay tuned for our upcoming, detailed blog on the Pan Am Marathon! #PanAmazing

VAMENOS amigos y amigas! I gotta run and catch a plane from MEX to YVR for the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon! Reid, Lanni and Natasha are calling my flight. Can’t wait to see all our awesome #RunVan friends soon!