Community Leaders

Ryan Chilibeck joins Canada Running Series as Western Race Director

By | Community Leaders, Eastside 10k, Newsletter, Scotiabank Vancouver Half | No Comments

VANCOUVER. January 30th, 2018. Canada Running Series is delighted to announce the appointment of Ryan Chilibeck, who will join the team as Race Director, CRS West, replacing Clif Cunningham. Ryan’s first day will be tomorrow, January 31st, though Clif will continue full-time until the summer as part of a smooth transition.

“After 17 years, we’re sad to see Clif move on in search of new adventures,” said President Alan Brookes, “but thrilled to have someone with Ryan’s combined running, community and business experience on board to continue to build on the success of the events.”

Ryan ChilibeckA lifetime sportsperson, Ryan turned to running in 2010, and got the “race experience” bug when he signed up for Canada Running Series’ Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon in 2014. That was also the year he founded East Van Run Crew:

“Until 2014, I typically ran alone,” he recalls. “Then one of my friends was running with Parkdale Roadrunners in Toronto and I couldn’t stop watching his social media feed to see what was going on. I looked around Vancouver and didn’t see anything that really captured the energy of this new running movement that they were bringing to the streets every week. In the lead up to my 2014 Scotia Half, EVRC was founded over social media, to a lukewarm reception. From there, things have just snowballed into what EVRC is today…a large, dynamic, inviting, open-door, community-building and thirsty group of people who also like to run.

Once this social aspect of running came into my life, it gave me another thing to look forward to every week: a new circle of friends and a creative output that no job could not offer me at the time. We were able to raise money for charities, jump on social media to connect with runners across the globe, host group events in our own city and represent our run crews at races around the world.”

From 2012 to 2016, Ryan also gained invaluable business experience establishing and managing a flourishing Famoso Pizza franchise in East Vancouver that also helped sponsor races and act as a popular location for crew runs, post-run pizza and beer, as well as supporting a wide range of community-based charities. He also coordinated and oversaw the training of new Famoso partners and their management teams, and re-vamped and refreshed the music offerings at 29 Famoso locations across Canada.

Ryan has spent the past year in Edmonton where he launched and managed the Northern Alberta Trail Run Series.

“Bringing a new Race Series to Edmonton was an incredibly rewarding experience. I was able to use my previous racing knowledge to coordinate the entire runner-experience from registration to finish line. There is no better feeling than seeing a lofty vision and months’ worth of planning come to reality. The only downside was that I never got to race in any of them! I’m really looking forward to bringing my personal experiences and talents to the amazing structure that Clif, Tom and the rest of the CRS team has worked hard to create across the country.”

Ryan will be joined on the Canada Running Series West team by Jen Cerullo and Ron Denischuk, two high-energy event professionals, as Event Manager and Operations Manager, respectively. Jen has worked on many Vancouver-area events including prominent roles with lululemon’s Seawheeze, the Rock ‘n Roll Vancouver Half marathon and the First Half Half Marathon, as well as with CRS on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a range of volunteer-management, course, venue and “people” areas. Ron has worked with CRS under Tom Skinner for 5 years, as well as on the Sun Run and other major events. A UBC Business graduate, he is eager to step up as Tom moves on to a new challenge with HUB Cycling. Like Clif, though, Tom will be there in the transition to support the Scotia Half and the Under Armour Eastside 10k in race-week roles.

“We’re really excited about 2018, from Vancouver to Toronto and Montreal,” said Brookes. “And we’re looking forward to seeing the running community out in force to give Clif and Tom a royal send-off, and be part of the new energy, excitement and innovation that Ryan and his team will bring. We’re all building this together.”

Canada Running Series [CRS] is the nation’s premier running circuit with 7 events: 4 in Toronto, 2 in Vancouver and 1 in Montreal.  It annually attracts some 60,000 participants and raises more than $6 million for some 320 mostly-local charities. The Series includes the IAAF Gold Label Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon, the only event in Canada to receive “Inspire Gold” certification from the Council for Responsible Sport in Oregon for its exemplary practice of sustainability. 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”.

Ed Whitlock Dies at 86

Legend Ed Whitlock Dies at Age 86

By | Community Leaders | No Comments
Ed Whitlock

Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Just a week after his 86th birthday the ever so gracious and remarkably talented long distance runner Ed Whitlock has died at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.

In a statement issued this morning his family wrote:

“The family of Ed Whitlock is saddened to report his passing on March 13, 2017, of prostate cancer at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His 86th birthday was on March 6th. His wisdom, guidance and strength of character will be greatly missed by his wife Brenda, sons Neil and Clive, and sister Catherine. The family requests privacy at this time.”

Although he was an accomplished British club runner in high school and in university Whitlock put the sport on hold while he embarked on an engineering career in Canada. As a master’s runner, he quickly established his credentials becoming the first septuagenarian to go under the 3-hour mark with a 70+ world marathon record of 2:59:10 at the 2003 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, an event to which he became particularly attached.

Ed Whitlock

Credit: Greg Henkenhaf/Canada Running Series

A year later he improved that record with a 2:54:49 at age 73, again in Toronto. Eventually he set world master’s marathon records for age 75+, 80+ and, most recently, 85+ with a time of 3:56:38 M85 last October 16th, 2016 in Toronto. In all he set roughly 25 world master’s records over distances from 1,500m to the marathon.

Alan Brookes, the race director of the Toronto event, an IAAF Gold Label race the past three years, enjoyed a longstanding friendship with Whitlock.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ed Whitlock, The Master. The Legend. This is an enormous loss to Canada and the global running community. Somehow we thought Ed would just go on setting records forever. We are especially saddened at Canada Running Series.

“We grew up with Ed. He won many of his 20+ year-old shoes at our Series’ races in the ’90s and, in many ways, he defined our Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. He will always be a vital part of the identity and spirit of that race.

“In 2003 Ed shocked the entire running world when at age 72 years he ran 2:59:10 at STWM, to become the first 70-year old on the planet to go under the magical 3-hour mark. Ed was, overnight, every marathon runner’s hero. He then ran the 2:54 with us the next year – a race he often said was his finest performance.

Ed Whitlock

Credit: Photo Run

“Over the next couple of years, the STWM grew from 935 to 2,526 participants and keeps growing. ‘Don’t limit yourself,’ was one of Ed’s key messages, and it was one we latched onto. It gave us the vision and the inspiration of what STWM could become.

“We travelled many miles together. He will be deeply missed, but his indomitable spirit, his love of racing, his modesty and inspiration, and so many unforgettable Ed memories, will be with us always.”

Whitlock’s story has been told in periodicals around the world. He lived a hundred yards from Milton’s Evergreen Cemetery where he did his daily training. It consisted of laps of the cemetery for hours. With his customary sense of humour he called it ‘very fast walking.’

“I actually got up to three and a half hours this time,” he said after his most recent marathon record. “The thing is three hours doesn’t do it any more. That’s the hell of it. I need four hours now. And it’s only going to get worse.”

Ed Whitlock

Credit: Action Sports International

At races all over the world he was approached by runners of all ages who wanted pictures with him as well as autographs. The attention made him a little uncomfortable.

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

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

An inspiration to millions around the world, a reluctant one perhaps, but a gracious one nonetheless.

Article by Paul Gains

Vancouver Run Crews

By | Community Leaders | No Comments

We’ve been catching up with local Vancouver Run Crews and every Friday we’re posting a quick Q & A with a new crew.  Stay tuned over the coming weeks to find out about their favourite workouts and their go-to places for post-run food and drinks!


Favourite Workout – Our Tuesday night tempo runs are a fav. It’s usually 20-40 minutes of hard work. Most people don’t really know how to do a proper tempo run. So we try to help them figure that out. And when they start to find that groove it’s great. You finish exhausted but exhilarated.

Favourite Post-Run Spot – Musette Caffe. Owner Thomas Eleizegui has been kind enough to let us start/finish our runs from the cafe. They’ve got it all from coffee to beer. It’s an amazing space to hang out in before or after a nice run.

Website | Facebook | Profile | Tuesday Nights & Saturdays

West Van Run Crew

Favourite Workout – Thursday intervals, anything from 100m to 1k repeats. We like to stick together and internal workouts allow us to do just that. Working on speed & form is also something that runners of all levels need to do in order to improve.

Favourite Post-Run Spot – For our Saturday #runtimes we run from Cafe Crema and stay for coffee & treats after. On Thursdays, we run from Village Taphouse at Park Royal and always have dinner/beers together after. They take great care of us and most of the time have a table with pitchers of water ready for us when we return from our workout. The social aspect is a huge part of our crew and even when people can’t run, you’ll find them coming by after the runs to say hi and catch up.

Facebook Group | Profile | Thursday Nights & Saturday Mornings

East Van Run Crew

Favourite Workout – Uhhh, we don’t really do structured work-outs at EVRC. We like to keep it pretty social on Monday nights and create a welcoming environment for runners of all abilities. On occasion you might see us sprinting up East 1st Ave towards Red Truck, at Empire Fields doing the odd lap of their odd lap or on a treadmill if there is a charitable running event happening in any dodgy warehouses around town.

Favourite Post-Run Spot – We usually meet at breweries in and around East Vancouver. Our mainstay has been Red Truck over the past year but other favourites include R&B, Big Rock, Strange Fellows, Parallel 49, Callister, Postmark & anywhere else where the beer flows like wine and beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano.

Facebook Page | Profile | Monday Night Group Runs

North Burnaby Runners

Favourite Workout – Our favorite run is our Wednesday night social run. We are an inclusive group and provide varied pace groups so there is something for everyone. The social run allows runners to go at their own pace and log some extra miles. For some this is the only run of the week and for others it an easy social pace run to break up some of the more challenging runs in their training plan.

Favourite Post-Run Spot – We always start and finish together and we take breaks along the way to re group. Our favorite meeting spot is Dageraad Brewing. Just a short walk from the Production skytrain station, this small brewery has a lot of character and treats us like family. They always have water waiting for us on the table when we are done running and most of the time they stay open later just for us. We love other destination runs but Dageraad is definitely our home base.

Facebook Page | Wednesday Group Runs

Fraser Street Run Club

Favourite Workout – Intervals on the Grouse Grind. I find doing a full, non-stop, hard Grouse Grind effort is often too long of a workout, so I like to break it up into 1/4. I’ll use the actual 1/4 trail markings and will take 1 minute rest for every 5 minutes it took be to do that quarter. For example: if it took me 15 minutes to do the first 1/4 I’d rest 3 minutes, but if it only took my 10 minutes for the second 1/4 I’d rest 2 minutes.

Favourite Post-Run Spot – One of our favourite places to go after a FsRC Feel Good Friday run is Sal y Limon on Kingsway & Fraser. It’s got great authentic Mexican food and easy to fit a large group of people.

Website | Track Tuesdays & Feel Good Fridays

New Years Resolutions from Elite Runners

By | Community Leaders, Elite Athletes | No Comments

We’ve rung in 2017 and, like every runner out there, our Canadian elites are writing their own running- and personal-related resolutions.  Here’s what they had to say:

Rachel Hannah:

1 – Doing my Physio ‘homework’ (hip drills) to prepare for the biggest Running ‘exams’ (goal races)!  I will take 20min a day to work on new hip drills to strengthen core muscles to help align and take load off repetitive-use soft tissues as my mileage increases in the new season.

2 – Taking more opportunities to connect with my new nephews (Cohen 2.5 years and Oliver 2 months old).  While they live in BC, we can connect through digital and also when races take me that way.  Family is important to me and I cherish the chances to get to see the new things they come up with each new day as they grow up so fast.

Erin Burrett:

1 – After a few injuries, I need to focus more on the little aspects of running (recovery, nutrition, hydration etc). I seem to
set this resolution every year, so hopefully this is the year I make it a habit and stick with it.

2 – Big life changes with regards to employment and my personal life in 2016, means I will spend 2017 focusing more so on myself. This means being happy, healthy and spending less time worrying about what others think.

Natasha LaBeaud Anzures:

1 – My running-resolution is to keep up with the little things that make a big difference including: staying positive, regular visits for physio, and focus during drills.

2 – My husband, Marco Anzures, and I cofounded the youth running non-profit organization 2nd Recess that teaches kids 4-13 about healthy habits through running.  We have multiple locations in San Diego and have a 2017 goal of reaching more locations in the area so that more kids can access the program, while also having more adult running workouts at the same time as kids’ practices so that parents can stay fit too!

Catherine Watkins:

1 – To ensure I continue doing my activation and strength training exercises to stay healthy for 2017 and so I can get back out to what I love… racing !

2 – To keep my girls healthy and active with fun activities together.

Dayna Pidhoresky:

1 – One of my running goals this year is to remain uninjured and run consistently throughout 2017.  To accomplish this we are trying something new — taking 1 day off running each week (cross-training only).  We’ll see how this goes.  On a similar note, I will try to not stress about the mileage number at the end of each week. . .

2 – In real life, I’d like to read more.  I got through a good amount of books this past year but I know I can do better!

Kevin Coffey:

1- I am not going to stress the small stuff on race day.  It’s important to just to play the hand that is dealt that day.  If the weather is off, so be it.  If I miss  a bottle, so be it.  And so on and so forth!

2 – Take time to make more calls back home to friends and family. Texts are great but calls are better!

Krista Duchene:

1 – Embrace change and keep learning. Make easy runs easier and hard runs harder to achieve personal best at 40!

2 – Give more into cooking for my family. Try new recipes while continuing to keep nutrition, cost, and packaging in mind.

Dylan Wykes:

1 – Focus on sleep and good nutrition. Two things that easily get lost in the shuffle these days 😉

2 – Find some balance. Kids, wife, running, coaching, drinking beer… sometimes it’s hard to know where to focus my time and energy!

Trevor Hofbauer

1 – Stretch more.  This is often an area I tend to overlook/ignore and the body is showing signs of neglect in the stretch department. If I can stretch one minute for every minute of running, I’ll be a happy camper.

2 – None as of right now. The move to Guelph just took place, so I need time to get comfortable and will evaluate myself as time passes.

Sabrina Wilkie

I don’t make new year resolutions but I do set goals throughout the year. Here’s the latest goal…
Since my husband Mark works full-time, I’m in school full-time and we have a toddler to look after, finding time to run/train is challenging. Our goal for the winter is to “run commute” to work/school to get in our off-day runs/mileage and once a week take a couple of hours to ourselves to do a workout.

Life is pretty hectic these days so I find running helps me clear my head and recharge.

Rachel Cliff

1 – to make it a priority to do strength/core work and rolling out/stretching every day. I’m hoping to run more half marathons and 10k’s in 2017 which means I’ll need to be much more proactive about these things to avoid injury.

2 – to be more organized with my leftovers and grocery shopping so I stop throwing out so much food!

NEW – Eastside 10k Clinic from Mile2Marathon

By | Community Leaders, Eastside 10k | No Comments

The Eastside 10k’s ‘10 weeks to your best 10k’ is coached by Mile2Marathon coaches Dylan Wykes and Rob Watson. These two have completed a combined 20 marathons under 2:20 and have represented Canada on the biggest stages that road racing has to offer at the Olympic Games, World Championships, and the Boston Marathon. They have also competed locally in all of the Canada Running Series Events. Dylan was the champion of the inaugural Eastside 10k & Rob has countless top 3 finishes in the Canada Running Series West events.

mile2marathonDylan and Rob both also have strong backgrounds in coaching. For the past several years Dylan has been coaching runners of all abilities through his specialized Mile2Marathon training programs. Rob has also been active in the coaching game, having helped guide several athletes to PB’s in all different events. Be it those looking to complete their first 10km, to others racing the Boston Marathon, Dylan and Rob have the experience to make it happen.

The Eastside 10k Clinic is designed to help athletes take their 10k training and racing to a new level. Prior distance running and racing experience is recommended for athletes to be able to take full advantage of what the clinic has to offer. Athletes should be running 3 times per week (or more) and have completed a 5k in 30 minutes or faster.

In addition to receiving a 10-week training plan tailored towards your specific goals, we will also provide in-person guidance at two weekly group workouts (time and location TBD). These workouts will teach you the why’s and how’s of proper 10km training. We will lead athletes through various types of workouts, including tempo runs, interval workouts and fartleks. All of this will culminate on September 17th as you toe the line at the Vancouver Eastside 10k, confident and ready to smash your PB!

  • Start Date: July 11, 2016
  • Cost: $100
  • What’s included: 10-week training plan tailored to your goals & 2 weekly practices for 10 weeks. 20% discount code for your Eastside 10k race entry.
  • Times & Locations: Tuesday evenings @ 6pm – Location TBD, Saturday mornings @ 8am – Pt. Grey Secondary School Track
  • Goal: Eastside 10k
  • Pre-Reqs: ~30 minutes for 5km.
  • Coaches: Rob Watson & Dylan Wykes of Mile2Marathon Coaching

To register, contact Mile2Marathon coaching at

More info on the 10 Week Clinic | More info on the Eastside 10k Race

How to Take Your Training to the Next Level

By | Community Leaders, Digital Champions, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments

March is around the corner and race reason is officially upon us! We spoke with one of Canada’s top middle-distance runners, our friend Rachel Cliff (shown above at last year’s Modo 8k) and she’s given us some great advice on how to take your training to the next level!

February 22, 2016 – by Rachel Cliff (@dangerous_cliff)

Is the Modo 8km on your radar? If not, it should be! This year the run is held on March 20th and its route takes you along the stunning Stanley Park Seawall. With the days getting longer (and hopefully sunnier and warmer), what better way to kick off the beginning of Spring than with a great road race!?

With just a month to go, the next few weeks are very important. Even a good hard 3-week block of training (which still leaves time to recover before the Modo 8km) can have a huge impact on race day and the fitness gained can carry through to your other races later this Spring and Summer.

The mental approach taken to training can be as important as the work itself; here are 5 tips to help you maximize your training over the next month:

  1. Set Goals
    These two types of goals are equally important:

    • Outcome goals (i.e. complete a certain distance or run a particular time) – these should be established at the beginning of a training block.
    • Process goals (i.e. a number of minutes to run each week) which break the outcome goal into “bite sized pieces”- these can be re-evaluated on a weekly basis.

    Most of us are good at setting outcome goals, but as a runner you should create both. Without process goals you’ll never know whether you are on target to meet your final outcome goals. Design an appropriate training plan yourself or with a coach, write your goals down and glance over them often.

  2. Establish a Schedule
    At the beginning of each week outline your training and schedule time for it the same way you would for anything else. Scheduling is critical, especially at this time of year when motivation can be low and the Spring racing season may still seem far away.Schedule your runs at times that will least likely conflict with other commitments. Doing so means you’ll be less likely to cut your training short or miss a session altogether. Once your training session is scheduled, be committed and just accept whatever weather occurs at the time.
  3. Run With Purpose
    Before heading out have a quick pep-talk with yourself about what you want to accomplish on that run. This can be something very small like focusing on relaxing your shoulders, running a particular pace, or simply just having fun. Having purpose and focus will allow you to get the most out of each training run.
  4. Remember, Everything Is Important But Nothing Is
    Sometimes things don’t go as planned; you may roll an ankle, feel a new pain come up, or terrible wind may prevent you from hitting your goal pace. When adverse events happen, think big picture and long term. If something is hurting, get in to see a physio quickly and don’t be afraid to be pro-active with cross-training (I.e. elliptical, stationary bike, swimming) for a session– there’s no point getting seriously injured over one run. Similarly, don’t stress if you can’t hit your goal workout times, especially if the weather isn’t playing nice or you’ve had a tough day at work. The most important thing about training is to be consistent.
  5. Keep It Fun
    Enjoy your training and, if needed, mix things up to stay motivated: try a new running route or run with a friend. Some Spring days can be beautiful, but many of your runs may still be before sunrise or after sunset and in the pouring rain. Remember that no matter what the conditions, focus on the positives and be thankful that you’re outside exercising and breathing in clean Vancouver air.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we’ll continue to bring you training tips from some of Vancouver’s top runners! Remember that the final price increase for the #Modo8k is March 1st, so sign up soon to save!

Happy, Healthy, Hips

By | Community Leaders, Digital Champions, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments
by Katherine Moore (@RunningIntoYoga)

You know you need to stretch, you think about it, you may even talk about doing it, however you never get around to it. I hear so many times “I am too stiff to do yoga”. It is like saying “I am too dirty to take a shower.”

Runners tend to have tight muscles due to the repeated action from running. Your hips can especially get tight over time. Whether you are a beginner or competitive runner you can benefit from a simple yoga practice. Yoga poses increase flexibility and also improves strength, stability and balance in the body.

All you need for a simple yoga practice is 10-20 minutes, your breath and an open mind. While doing the postures make sure you are aware of your body and breath. You want to focus on the breath keep it steady, smooth and slow this will help relax your nervous system and mind. To keep your joints and muscles safe you will be expanding and opening one area of the body while keeping muscle energy in another area.

Here are a few yoga poses you can do anytime to keep your hips happy, and healthy:

02-10-16-hips-anjaneyasanaLow Lunge – Anjaneyasana

Step right foot forward, stack the front knee over the front ankle; bring the left knee softly to the floor. Push the right foot into the floor and pull it towards the body, back knee pulls in energetically. This will help to lift the hips up and back. Keep your lower abdomen in and spine long. Shoulders stay on the back. You can stay on fingertips or lower down to hands or forearms. Keep the jaw and facial muscles relaxed. Breathe into your hips.

02-10-16-hips-lungeStaying in the lunge, walk your right hand off to the side, fingers face out. Move your hips forward and down, then reach back bending your back knee and see if you can hold your right foot in your left hand. You are off your back knee and more on the top of the right thigh. Spread the back toes and pull your heel in as you push it away. Shoulders stay on your back, abdomen toned. Keep both sides of the throat even and lean your head back. Breathe deeply.

Pigeon Pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

02-10-16-hips-pigeonPlace your right wider than your right hip. Your left leg extends behind your left hip. Pull your legs towards each other and square your hips. Keep your abdomen toned and lengthen your spine. Keep your right toes spreading and your right inner ankle lifted. Breathe deeply.

Tree Pose – Vrksasana

02-10-16-hips-treeStanding on your left leg place your right foot on your inner left shin or thigh, above or below the knee. Push them together and lift up out of your waist and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders on your back and lift your chest. Breathe deeply.

Reclining Bound Angle – Supta Baddha Konasana

02-10-16-hips-suptaLie on your back and bring the soles of your feet together. Allow your knees to relax to the side and down. Relax the whole body into the floor. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Corpse Pose – Savasana

02-10-16-hips-corpseMake sure to lay in this posture at least for a few minutes to allow the body to absorb all the benefits. Relax, close your eyes and breathe deeply. This will rejuvinate your body, mind, and spirit.

Calmness comes with Quiet – B.K.S Iyengar

Check out some of Katherine’s other articles on how to incorporate yoga into your training schedule, then join us at the #Modo8k on March 20!

Tribe’s ‘Learn to Run’ Program Can Help You Rock the Race Roster Spring Run-Off!

By | Community Leaders, Race Roster Spring Run-Off | No Comments
TORONTO February 7th 2016.

Tribe’s ‘Learn to Run’ Program Can Help You Rock the Race Roster Spring Run-Off! By Heather Gardner. 

Through the Tribe “My First Race: Learn to Run” mentoring program I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and running with over a hundred new or returning runners. Folks who literally got off the couch to run, those returning after having a baby, and those looking to connect with family through fitness.

As we begin our third “My First Race: Learn to Run” program I wanted to share the story of an amazing and inspirational woman, Ljiljana Stanojevic, a fierce mother who not only met her goal of racing Spring Run-Off as part of our training program, but went on, with the motivation of her daughter, to race a 15km road race and a half marathon during 2015. Ljiljana has a drive and energy that is truly contagious and you can’t help but be inspired when you sweat with this gal. Please enjoy this “My First Race: Learn to Run” story as told by Ljiljana.

When I joined the ‘My First Race: Learn to Run’ program I couldn’t run. I thought it would be easy to start running, but all my previous attempts had failed and I ended up with sore muscles and an injury. During a weekly yoga class held by Tribe Fitness at MEC Toronto, I heard about the “Learn to Run” program with Canada Running Series and signed up without too much hope that I would ever be able to run – was I ever wrong!

IMG_2043My first day of training was interesting. I was nervous and I thought that all the other participants would run with ease while I fell behind. Thankfully, all of the Tribe mentors were so encouraging, patient and supportive, explaining what to expect and the difficulties that everyone faces when beginning to run. We were all given a training schedule provided by Tribe. During this first session we ran for 1 minute, walked for 2 minutes, and repeated that for a specified amount of time. During the week we were told to run two times on our own as part of the program and once a week we would meet and run with Tribe. The running time would increase and the walking time would decrease every week.

A draw to this free program is that we were teamed up with experienced run mentors from Tribe. We would connect through email and in person at the weekly runs. My mentor, Jenna, was amazing. She helped me by providing valuable advice and sharing her own experiences. She understood the difficulties that I had and followed up with my training through emails. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be running today.

IMG_2042What I loved most about the ‘Learn to Run’ program is that Tribe is like a family. They care and help each other and always welcome new members. I felt very comfortable during my training and later on during the runs with Tribe. Tribe’s founder Heather Gardner invited various experts to come during the training sessions to talk to us about proper clothing, running shoes, nutrition, etc. which was very helpful. We learned more than just running, we became part of a community.

The goal race was the Canada Running Series Spring Run-Off. Everyone knows it finishes with a giant hill in the final 500m before the finish line. During the Spring Run-Off, killing that hill would have been impossible without the Tribe cheer squad standing at the bottom cheering everyone on. You get an energy boost when you see a bunch of people yelling words of encouragement, holding signs, dancing, and telling you that you can conquer the hill.

One thing I would tell a new runner would be that you can do it! It’s an amazing program. Your mentor and all the Tribe members will be there to help you all the way. You will not regret it. Trust me, you are going to Kill that Hill!

The 2016 Tribe Fitness “Learn to Run” Program in preparation for the Race Roster Spring Run-Off 8k begins this Tuesday February 9th and there are still spots available! If you’d like more information or to sign up, you can find all the details here. Be sure to connect with Tribe Fitness and Canada Running Series on Twitter if you have any questions. 

CRS Community Leader Heather Gardner is a marathon runner, indoor cycling coach, yoga teacher, and triathlete. Running highlights for Heather include racing her first marathon in NYC in 2010, racing her first 70.3 Ironman in Muskoka in 2014, and the Canada Running Series ZooRun every year because it’s such a fun race! Heather is the founder of Tribe Fitness, a Toronto fitness community sweating for social good, and enjoys supporting runners, yogis and cyclists of every level set and rock their fitness goals. Connect with Heather on Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog.

Thriving Through the Winter Months

By | Community Leaders, General, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k | No Comments

Well the Race Season is pretty much wrapped up and Winter is definitely here. It can be tough to stay motivated at this time of the year, so we’ve turned to one of Canada’s top runners, Chris Winter, for his tips on Winter training!

Winters on the West Coast are cold, dark, and damp. It is dark when you leave for work in the morning and it is dark when you get home. It rains continuously. These are less than inspiring conditions to get you out the door for your workout. So how do you stay motivated through the Winter months? Here are 4 tips:

  1. Set Goals. (This is important!) It’s much more difficult to lace up your shoes on those less than motivating days without a purpose. Challenge yourself to run a new distance, new race, or a PB. Once you’ve set your goal, write it down somewhere where you’ll see it every day. I like to set a daily alarm on my phone that reminds me of my goal.
  2. Workout in the morning. (If you are simply not a morning person you can ignore this.) During the Winter months I find the mornings are the best time to train. Especially around the Holidays there is always something looking to derail your training. Whether it is an office lunch or party or family “obligations”, if you put your training off until the evening there’s a good chance you’ll have to sacrifice one for the other. Also, getting your training done in the morning means you can “earn the party” later in the day without feeling too guilty.
  3. Find a training partner. This can be tough as everyone has different schedules that can be tough to align but, even if you can only meet 1-2 times a week, it can help break up the monotony of training alone and keep you honest on those couple of days.
  4. Go inside. Some days it just plain sucks to run outdoors. Depending on the weather it might even be dangerous. On those days where the streets are flooded, it’s howling a gale out there, or there’s a fresh layer of snow/ice on the ground, opt to do your workout inside. Try a form of cross training you haven’t done in a while and/or do the strength work that you may normally neglect on the sunnier days. The Winter can be a great time to build strength and flexibility that will pay off in the Spring and Summer months of racing.

With the Winter Solstice quickly approaching on December 22nd we can all look forward to the days getting longer again and then it’ll be Spring before you know it. In the meantime, stay true to your goals and when the first races come around your results will reflect the hard work you put in and you’ll be happy you did so.

With much motivation!


Looking for a goal race in the Spring? Check out the Modo 8k on March 20!



Chris, a New Balance athlete, is an elite middle distance runner based out of Vancouver. He’s competed on numerous national teams, including representing Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Chris ran both the Modo 8k and Eastside 10k this last year. In 2014 he was the Canadian Cross Country Champion and he’s currently aiming for a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team to race the 3000m Steeplechase in Rio! You can follow his journey through the blog Chasing Rio 2016.

Train With Grains Recipe: Chickpea, Barley and Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Feta

By | Community Leaders, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon | No Comments
Train With Grains Recipe: Chickpea, Barley and Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Feta. By Heather Gardner. 

This year we’re teaming up with the Grain Farmers of Ontario to bring you the best pre and post-run recipes to fuel your marathon training! Each week we’ll feature a new and unique recipe from one of our CRS Community Leader Ambassadors. Our final recipe is a fresh, tasty and nutritious salad from Heather Gardner. Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? Share a photo on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TrainWithGrains for your chance to win a “Good in Every Grain” Prize Pack valued at $50!

Barley isn’t as well know as oats or wheat, but it’s a great addition to many grain-based dishes. Did you know? Barley appears in plenty of baked goods, and barley flakes can be eaten cooked like rolled oats! And of course, barley malt, made by soaking and drying barley kernels is a key ingredient in the production of beer! Here’s a fresh, tasty and nutritious salad originally posted on that uses pearl barley as it’s main ingredient.

Makes 2 servings as a main dish, 4 servings as a side dish


2 medium zucchini11222555_10156155506175475_7606881267581100037_o

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more for salting water

1/3 cup pearl barley

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups (or 1 15-ounce can) chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons feta cheese

Freshly ground pepper

Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut in half crosswise. Using a mandolin or a knife, cut the zucchini into thin matchstick strips. Place strips in a colander in the sink in drain excess moisture. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and massage lightly with your hands to evenly disperse the salt. Let sit as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the salad.

Next, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the barley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

12087705_10156155506280475_8425192442077811610_oWhile the barely is boiling, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, barley and about half of the dressing. Once cooled, stir and transfer to a serving bowl. Crumble the feta over the top and serve.

It’s the FINAL week to WIN! Share your favourite pre or post run snack or meal on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #TrainWithGrains for your chance to win a $50 “Good In Every Grain” prize pack!