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“Bridge The Gap” Urban running Crew Movement comes to Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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TORONTO October 8th 2015. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is excited to welcome the “Bridge The Gap” urban running crew movement to this year’s event, and have them as an important part of our 26th edition. A total of 29 crews from 13 cities in 7 countries, representing more than 300 runners, will descend on “The 6” for the October 15th-18th weekend. Bridge The Gap Toronto is being hosted by the city’s largest crew, Parkdale Roadrunners (pictured above), with the marathon and half-marathon as a focal part of the experience.

Now a decade old since its beginning with Bridge Runners in New York City and Run Dem Crew in London, England, the movement is dominated by millennials in big cities from Berlin to Amsterdam, Paris to LA, and is a powerful force in driving the current running boom and re-shaping it. BTG members bring both new energy and new values.

Most important, the movement is about “community”. It is about sharing and caring, and actively engaging to shape the kind of cities millennials want to live in. Participants eschew the traditional name and format of “running club” in favour of “crew”, who welcome all, most-often with no membership fees to be paid – “everyone welcome; no-one left behind.” According to Charlie Dark, the charismatic founder of Run Dem Crew, “‘crew’ is about family first and foremost and the running is actually secondary. Crew is about supporting and elevating everyone in your crew, particularly newcomers, beginners, and making everyone the best that they can be.”  It is also about using running and social media – especially Instagram – as a vehicle for creative expression, and for discovering your city, connecting with it, often at night. It’s about #crewlove, and members are “bonded together by similar values and perspectives on physical activity, community and culture,” says the Parkdale credo. Charlie Dark, who recently gave a TEDx presentation at Canary Wharf, will be speaking about the movement and its values at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon [Free] Expo, on the Main Stage at 1:30pm on Saturday, October 17th.  “You have to have style and learn to be original,” says Charlie. Some of this original style is nicely captured in RDC member, Steve Lennon’s series of VLOGs he’s produced on the road to Toronto Waterfront: http://ow.ly/STTde

Alan's Journal - Run Dem Crew

Run Dem Crew

“We’re thrilled to play a part in hosting #BTGYYZ and the Bridge The Gap weekend in Toronto,” said Race Director Alan Brookes. “Our mission at Canada Running Series is ‘building community through running,’ so this is a perfect fit. We also share BTGs values of inclusion and innovation and ‘style’. Several of our CRS event medals this year have featured bridges, as bridges connect and unite us.” The STWM 2015 Finisher’s medals feature the Humber Bay Bridge near the 12km turnaround on the course.  “We are also pleased to have an Official Race Cap #STWM from Montreal company Ciele, who are a part of crew scene in Canada,” added Brookes.

“Hosting the first Canadian Bridge The Gap is an honour and privilege,’ said Steven Artemiw, co-founder of Parkdale Roadrunners. “ We are so excited to host a few hundred members of our international running family here in Toronto. We are flattered so many of them are making the trip from Europe as well as across the USA. This is an opportunity for us to showcase what a great multi-cultural hub Toronto is, with a thriving running scene to boot. We have numerous events planned through the weekend, but the highlights will certainly be Sunday’s race and our post-race party. Look out for that on-course Cheer Squad too!”

The on-course Cheer Squad is a key feature of the movement and BTG gatherings. As Charlie Dark says, “If you can’t run you MUST cheer.” Cheer Squads are famous for their music, inspirational signs and confetti that are all part of ‘community’ and supporting fellow runners!

Marathon weekend in The 6 will begin on Thursday evening 15th at 7pm, with a Marathon Flame Torch Relay from Alexander the Great Parkette on the Danforth, led by Parkdale Roadrunners, and including several of Toronto’s other key crews:

Everyone is encouraged to join in the Bridge The Gap Toronto experience by using the hashtags #BTGYYZ and #STWM.

For further information on Bridge the Gap Toronto, see bridgethegaptoronto.com and

For entry, spectator information and information on Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront marathon see http://www.STWM.ca