iRun issue 02 2017

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TOP 10


The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is Canada’s biggest marathon weekend. Here are 10 reasons why you need to be here and run here in 2017.




The Canadian Parliament buildings as you cross the Alexandra Bridge at KM 25 is just one of the many inspiring views on this tour of the National Capital.







This is the only running event in North America with two IAAF Gold Label events. Now add a 2016 Golden Shoe award from Canadian Running for best race of 2016.


To celebrate Canada’s 150th, we’re planning a very special marathon experience. Get ready for a journey across our great country, all in the span of 42.2 kms.





To celebrate Canada’s 150, we’ve designed a very special marathon shirt. And there’s only one way to get it. Register to run the marathon today at Don't miss out!


MAY 2 7 - 2 8






Six events mean there is a distance for everyone in the family. Run the 2K on Saturday with the kids before taking on the half-marathon or marathon on Sunday morning.

When you line up in Ottawa, you’re sharing the course with Canadian Olympians, Boston Marathon champions, and future running stars.



From our Celebration Stage to our Beau’s Beer Garden, your tired legs don’t have far to go to celebrate the moment. Cheers!






Thanks to thousands of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of spectators, Ottawa has a reputation for providing one of the best atmospheres in running.

Half-marathon not long enough? Full marathon not long enough? How does 59.2 km sound? Take on four races over two days in the Lumberjack Challenge.



Join 50,000 runners as we celebrate Canada’s 150th year at Canada’s biggest marathon and North America’s only double IAAF Gold event.


learn more at


WATCH AND LEARN Reid Coolsaet test drives the RUN IQ, the smart watch from New Balance that’s changing the game

The most consistent Canadian marathon runner of the past 10 years is Reid Coolsaet, a 37 year old from Hamilton who twice ran the marathon in the Olympics for his country. For Coolsaet, speed, pace and distance aren’t just numbers to keep track of but a way to write his name in the history books— Coolsaet is the second fastest Canadian marathoner of all-time. And he’s far from satisfied with that title. “I’ve raced with GPS watches for the last four years and if it’s a little off—even off by a second per kilometre—that’s 42 seconds,” Coolsaet says. “42 seconds faster in my last marathon, that’s the Canadian record. 42 seconds slower in 2012, I don’t qualify for the Olympics. The watch—my time—is an important thing.” The watch Coolsaet wears is the New Balance RUN IQ, a new smartwatch that was designed by runners, for runners, and one that Coolsaet recommends. It contains all of the necessary data for the eager runner—pace, time, speed and distance—but it’s also loaded with delicious extras: music via Google Play, automatic uploads to Strava and a state of the art heart rate monitor, powered by Intel. “This is the first smartwatch I’ve had and it’s blowing my mind,” says Coolsaet, a lifelong runner who’s been focussing on marathons since 2009. “It has voice command and I can check the weather just by flicking my wrist and it feels like a really good combination of a runner’s favourite things.” Coolsaet is a new father and a husband and a professional athlete, so his priority will always be function over fashion. However, he’s also well-travelled and highly lauded, and needs to look good. He


says the watch not only fulfills his training needs, but also looks well enough to wear to the after-therace celebrations. “Most running watches I wouldn’t want to wear around, but this one I will, for sure,” says Coolsaet, who also describes the watch as snugfitting, and reports that it doesn’t jump around while he races. “I don’t want a big watch face bumbling around, either when I’m running or when I’m just being social. I think the RUN IQ checks off every box.” Coolsaet, of course, needs his gear to be responsive. He trains in Kenya with the world’s top athletes and in Guelph, where his partners are Olympians Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene. He wears New Balance sneakers and clothing in his races and says that now he’ll also wear the RUN IQ watch in his 2017 race season. In his last race, Coolsaet ran the fastest time of his career. He thinks he can still go faster. It’s going to take proper training, maintained health and ideal conditions on race day. It also might take a certain new piece of gear. “My intention is to get back as soon as possible, to get training, get racing and run a marathon in the fall,” Coolsaet says. “I’m excited to do this in the RUN IQ watch.”

Save $50 off registration. Use promo code TNTiRUN Expires March 15, 2017

Volkswagen Prague Marathon Prague, Czech Republic – MAY 2017

Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon & Half Anchorage, Alaska – JUNE 2017


2017 ISSUE 01


Me, Peter Symons Son-in-Law, Jeff


Granddaughter, Taylor Daughter, Jennifer

CONSCIENCE Lanni Marchant

Wife, Lois Grandson, Charlie


Granddaughter, Rebecca

Daughter, Erin Son-in-Law , Nick

STAFF WRITER Ravi Singh CONTRIBUTORS Robyn Baldwin, Jean-Paul Bedard, Andrew Chak, Stefan Danis, Krista DuChene, Rick Hellard, Patience Lister, Joanne Richard, Erin Valois

Son, Taylor

Daughter, Allison

Grandson, Nathan

CREATIVE DIRECTORS & DESIGN Geneviève Biloski, Becky Guthrie CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER Kevin Van Paassen ILLUSTRATOR Chloe Cushman STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Colin Medley iRun is a publication of Sportstats World CEO Marc Roy Canada Post Publications PM42950018 Sportstats 155 Colonnade Rd. #18 Ottawa, ON K2E 7K1 (Canada) 613.260.0994


Nathan Charlie

Rebecca Emily


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So, this summer will be the 5th summer I have been running. During that time I have made lots of truly great friends, men and women ranging in age from early 20s to over 70. Literally every single one of these running buddies has made me feel welcome, regardless of differences in age or ability (most of them are waaay faster than me). The running community is simply the best. But they are not family. Our 4 kids gave me the attached card last night, with Lois as the head cheerleader. How cool is that!!! ­—Peter Symons INSIDE: TRAVEL SPECTACULAR P.9-14 > COVER STORY: KING OF PAIN P.16-18 > WHY I RUN P.22 > MOTHER OF INVENTION P.27 > COMBAT ROCK P. 28 > THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LANNI MARCHANT P.32-33

iRun because I have no limitations. — Trisica Perritt, Oshawa




Travel the world and achieve your personal best with Team Diabetes! Learn more at

Stanley Williams and Miranda Woodrow on how racing around the world with Team Diabetes (Team D) has enriched their lives and contributed toward the $37 million that Team D has raised

iRUN: Tell us about your experience with diabetes. WOODROW: Everybody in my family has it; my sister got it at two and died at age 38, that was a year and a half ago. I wanted to run with Team D. It’s about not feeling powerless. WILLIAMS: My wife has had type 1 diabetes for 42 years and we’ve been married for 37 years. iRUN: What is it about Team D that makes running rewarding? WILLIAMS: I’ve run Reykjavik, Munich and Disney for Team D and feel like I’m contributing to a greater cause. People in the crowd scream, “Go Team D!” It’s a euphoric feeling. WOODROW: Race with Team D, you arrive someplace as a tourist and you leave as a family. iRUN: How so? WOODROW: Training through grief is hard— my sister has two children—but I crossed my first finish line with my mum and she was proud. She knew she was making a difference for her family. WILLIAMS: I like making running about more than just me. iRUN: What would you like to say about Team D to Canadian runners? WILLIAMS: 11 million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes. It’s a crisis and requires everyone’s help. Team D is a fun, rewarding place to begin. WOODROW: I didn’t think I could do a marathon and I did. I ran with Team D. Together, imagine where we can go from here? To find the complete list of 2017 and 2018 national and international Team D affiliated races, please see


iRun to lorem ipsum something goes here tktktktk. — Name Name, Province




our gels are packed, along with a few other of your race day rituals, powdered electrolytes, lucky socks, and unforgettable race hat. Your running gear and traditions have been tried-and-true, but something’s different—this race’s start line is 3,878km away! It’s no longer just about your run, but rather expanding your race experience and many runners are following suit. By travelling the world and living like a local, destination runners get inside what destination race communities have to offer. You and thousands of other Canadian runners are lacing up to take on the world, crush race goals and travel to bucket list destinations. Destination races are booming and travelling runners—including me—can tell you why. After returning from my thirteenth destination race in December in Barbados, I know the allure of destination races. Having travelled alone and in large groups, destination

New York City has personal significance to my family. It was my final family trip before the passing of my mum in 2005, and as a runner, it’s one of the World Marathon majors known for its epic crowd support and huge participation numbers (51,388 finishers). I’m not the only one catching the racer’s travel bug. Charlotte Brookes, event director at Canada Running Series shares that, “over 15% of race entries, in adult races, in the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) were from participants coming from outside of Canada, with USA, Mexico, and Great Britain leading the way. Out of province racers also made the trip, with the highest number of registrants travelling from Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.” Brookes attributes this to new tour groups and agency packages, such as Canadian Affair for U.K. Runners, Your Group from China, and Your Group from Mexico. Combo destination

NO TREADMILL CARDIO: May Stemshorn at the Medoc Marathon, left; Grace Egan in Lyon, France.


2017 ISSUE 01

races offer runners the obvious subtleties of travelling alongside the thrill of sharing new experiences, accomplishments and bonding with friends. My destination races include: being 1 of 30 runners in a Vancouver race with my run group Tribe, being 1 of 8 runners in a Paris race in 2014 for the Marathon De Paris, and 1 of 4 runners in a Disney World race for the inaugural Dopey Challenge. However my most prized destination race was with my sister in New York City in 2010. The New York City race was our first destination race and our first marathon and really the gateway into the past seven years of endurance sports. The race was a goal I had set for us two years prior, to “race our first marathon, to do it in New York, and to cross the finish line holding hands,” and we did it!

race-tour packages entice runners to go outside of the box. And of course, since it’s 2017, social media has a way of making the world a smaller place. Movements like Bridge The Gap (BTG) are bringing runners together from across the globe. In 2015, STWM was a goal race of the BTG movement, resulting in international registration of runners from more than 70 countries at the starting line. Grace Egan, culture blogger and artist, will be attending her sixth destination race and second BTG event this spring at the Washington Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. Egan defines the BTG movement as “an enormous community of wonderful people who love running, meeting others, and generally not taking life too seriously.” Further explaining that the movement is all about “crew love,” a

iRun because I want to inspire my daughter to be strong. — Arlene Sardo, Binbrook

concept her cynical mind scoffed at until she experienced it herself in 2015 at STWM. “We welcomed hundreds of runners from all over the world,” she says. “People stayed in each other’s homes, ate an absurd amount of pasta, ran 21 or 42 kilometres together, danced, and yes—drank a considerable amount of beer.” For Egan, destination races are not only an opportunity to connect with the global running community, but are also a way to venture off the beaten city path to new and exciting destinations. Egan says, “Every new place I visit, I try to connect with a running group in the city. It’s especially important to find a safe community if you’re a female solo traveller and the running community is perfect for that. No travel magazine or website can compare to sitting down with people who know their hometown and can tell you where you should go and where to avoid.” It’s this sense of exploration and global

others from their group participated in the race. “Racing the marathon covered everything that they saw on the tour!” Stemshorn says. “Plus, pounding pavement in new countries brings on unique sights and smells— who can resist the sight of an ocean-side palm tree?” Stemshorn advises new destination race participants that during destination races, “the key is not to race, but rather to enjoy yourself because if you go too quickly you’ll miss so much of everything that is new around you.” Travelling these days can be more challenging with heightened security at airports and the cost of flights and hotels, but alternatives do exist. Booking early at designated race hotels, or using peer-to-peer networks like Airbnb, can save you some cash. In preparation for the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon, Airbnb, the title race sponsor, took a closer look at the impact their peer-to-peer network would have on the

can add elastic accommodation capacity to cities and provide unique accommodations for runners,” says Aaron Zifkin, Regional Director, Americas Operations at Airbnb. Meanwhile, destination runners are enjoying the impact of their savings and using the extra cash to spend more time travelling and exploring and creating a greater destination race experience. As a long-time runner, destination races give me something new and exciting to look forward to. The opportunity to travel for a race makes me feel alive, counting down the days to when I can dip my toes in new sands, explore foreign roads, see historical landmarks, and all the while, do one of my favourite things: run. Like me and many other Canadian runners, Grace Egan shares this passion for destination races. She says they allow her to connect to different runners all over the world. “I can


FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Heather Gardner and Tribe at SeaWheeze, 2016.

accomplishment that keeps registration from international runners high and city doors open. In 2011, Enigma Research conducted an economic impact study for Canada Running Series that estimated an influx of $33.5 million into Toronto as a result of STWM and the Running Health and Fitness Show. May Stemshorn, a runner with 50 marathons under her race belt, explains how destination races are a great way to explore the sights of a new city. “Running in a different environment is always a challenge and fun,” the 66-year-old says. “You never know what you’ll learn about yourself and running, and it’s a way for you to see a great deal of a new city.” Stemshorn remembers a time in New Orleans when a group of friends (that were not racing) went on a city tour while she and

host city of Brooklyn. In total, they predicted nearly 12,000 guests would be staying with Airbnb hosts over the half-marathon weekend and an increase of approximately US$8 million in economic activity in Brooklyn would occur. This is broken down with US$6 million going directly to the Airbnb hosts and the remaining US$2 million being spent in the community as guests eat and shop in the local area. Hosts aren’t the only ones benefiting financially­—guests in town for the TCS New York City Marathon are saving an average of $200 per night over a race weekend (Friday to Sunday), and are staying for an average of 5.7 nights. “Running events all over the world are marquee events for cities where Airbnb

iRun because it keeps me grounded and alive in the moment. — Susan Meyers, Kingston

travel to Lyon or New York, meet new people, run with them, practise languages, learn about their lives, and go for coffee after,” she says. Her race experiences go beyond running—they involve exploring and being engulfed in the culture and life of the places she travels to. Destination races help runners—new and old—experience a destination at a level beyond any guide book or double decker bus. It’s this global connectedness, sense of community and adventure that continues to grow the destination race scene and global running community. When recommending destination races to a friend, Egan suggests thinking of the race as “an excuse to discover somewhere new”—an excuse, now more than ever, runners are making today.



met Katherine on a number of occasions as she was studying medicine at the same institution where I was an educator.1 Katherine approached me for some tips on how to fuel in an upcoming race: the 2010 Toronto Half Marathon. This was a key race in her running career as it was one that would give her a qualifying time for the NYC Marathon. In the fall of 2011, I was off to NYC as a medical observer. A couple weeks before the race, I was contacted by Katherine, reminding me that she would be in the city. I was pretty excited. My hotel was positioned only minutes from Times Square and the equivalent distance from Central Park—where the race ends. Due to my medical credentials, a finish line welcome was possible but, alas, her goal time passed and no Katherine. I was going to be the


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one who gave her the promised finishing hug. I wandered back to my hotel and after an hour or so, Kat was seen slowly making her way down the street, freezing cold and disappointed.2 Talking about the race was a great opportunity for her and I to have some time together and chat about something that we were building a common love for—running and travel. Post-race festivities led us to Broadway where we enjoyed each other and The Lion King— fitting as we seemed to be living hakuna matata in each other’s presence.3 Shortly after, I received a call from my sister with the idea of meeting for the L.A. Marathon in March of 2012 so that she could crank out a sub-3 marathon. Break up the winter weather in rural Ontario, run my first marathon, and see some of the landmark sights of L.A.? Done

iRun because others can’t. Running is a treasured gift. — K. Lomas, Goderich



deal. My running shoes led me to Dodger Stadium, Chinatown Dragon Gate, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, Palisades Park, Sunset Boulevard and the Santa Monica Pier (and all in one run). Meanwhile, Kat was living in Victoria, B.C., training and practicing medicine there. I was in Huntsville, Ont., doing the same. My marathon preparations became Kat’s as well. With our journeys to see each other back and forth across the country, there were hours spent together in our running shoes.4 Running had helped create

parents gave me the opportunity to have insight and perspective on their family dynamics and values. Things of importance to me as, by now, I was madly in love with Katherine.7 I wanted to make our marriage proposal special. Resorting back to our running roots (or maybe routes), I researched the exact location, near Hyvinkaa,8 where Katherine’s grandfather received and ran with the Olympic torch. With her mom and dad with us, Katherine said ‘yes.’ 9 Kat and I decided our marriage vows should connect to travel and racing. Since most of

OK, too. BRIDE, MADE pretty 8. Lowell tricked my 1. We met at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. I was the keener in his class — only his class. 2. It was the most awful race for me. Let’s just say that the Queensboro Bridge had no bathroom.

dad into driving to this specific spot, right beside a demolition site. I think my dad thought Lowell was going to kill us, but I may have felt a rather large box in his pocket 15 minutes before we stopped. 9. He walked me a bit

3. I don’t remember going to see The Lion King at all. 4. It was really fun and, for runners, really romantic. No speed work or hills. 5. I was skeptical about Ontario — I’m a West Coast Girl, what was I doing? I was willing to take the chance. 6. Ran a 3:14, took 10 minutes off my previous PR and afterwards I felt like I could run clear across the country. 7. I thought he was

down the road then he got down on one knee and proposed. I said yes. 10. My training didn’t happen. The wedding planning didn’t really happen either. Which was fine: a) I was injured and b) all I wanted was a tiny gathering on the beach. 11. I was probably more nervous about finishing the marathon than my wedding. Plus, I had all my toenails. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.


Lost together: Lowell Greib and Katherine Ahokas at their beach wedding on Vancouver Island, October 10, 2016; at the Victoria Marathon, 24 hours earlier.

the love that was growing between us. In May of 2012, I’d wooed Kat enough, as she decided that she would move to Huntsville and practice at The SportLab.5 Immediately following my medical directorship responsibilities for the Toronto Marathon, I jumped on a plane and met Katherine in Vancouver where she had just finished RunVan. A PR for her and more fuel for us to discuss as we hopped in her Civic and drove it and all of her possessions across the country.6 Two years later, we were off to Burlington, Vermont to get our BQ’s. And not only had we scheduled our Vermont trip, but also a trip to race the Helsinki Marathon later in the year. This was of particular significance as Katherine’s dad is Finnish and this trip led us to her cultural roots. Spending time with her and her

Katherine’s family live near Vancouver Island, the Victoria Marathon seemed like the perfect opportunity to race together and commit to each other at the same time. Our training cycle turned into a wedding planning cycle.10 The plan was to have a sunrise wedding (as distance runners, we’re up anyway) the morning after the Marathon. Many of our family, including my sister, brother-in-law, my twin five-year-olds and one of their Ahokas cousins, experienced race day. The wedding day was perfect. The sun broke the horizon just as the beautiful bride arrived. On October 10th, 2016, I was privileged to have Katherine as my wife, less than 24 hours after we both finished racing.11 And then we packed up our shoes, got back on the plane and went home.

iRun because we have to fight cancer and rely on each other to do so. — Elysse Savaria, Owen Sound




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ne of the best parts about running is travel. I don’t just mean destination running, but those runs that come out of a work trip or family vacation. Like the surprise run I had in Hong Kong. Within a few kilometres of the waterfront, there are mountain trails and in less than 10K you can be overlooking one of the busiest cities in the world—from the top of a mountain. By packing your shoes, the world is yours to explore, as long as thou follows the 10 Ray Commandments. 10. THOU SHALT RESEARCH DESTINATIONS I choose expeditions to places that would be great for connecting with schools, but are also remote locations that I am pumped to visit and learn from. The challenge is secondary! Choose a destination you are passionate about seeing—whether it’s Las Vegas at night or Iceland in the morning. Trust me, the run will be amazing.

6. THOU SHALT MEET PEOPLE Runners from around the world have taught me gear tips, running philosophies, and recipes too; plus, all you singles—you’re beside thousands of people with whom you already share something in common! 5. THOU SHALT MAXIMIZE THE EXPERIENCE Bring a camera. Always. Capture moments that you can later explain; learn about your photographic subject and location and earn bragging rights on Instagram. 4. THOU SHALT NOT FREAK OUT You’ve trained, researched and prepared; just go for it on race day, whether it’s in Boston or Bangladesh. Running is running, you can do this—no matter what language the race shirt is written in. 3. THOU SHALT NOT BEMOAN A POOR FINISH So everything short of being run over by camels happens, don’t travel halfway around the world (or to Guelph) and get bummed!

ICE DREAMS: Ray Zahab in Baffin Island, Nunavut, 2014

9. THOU SHALT PACK WITH PURPOSE Don’t schlep too much stuff! Learn to love your carry-on. Also: for multi-day runners, biodegradable baby wipes are great for washing at night after a long run—then the next morning at camp you can use them as toilet paper! Thank me later. 8. THOU SHALT CHOOSE TRAVEL COMPANIONS VERY CAREFULLY Someone you can laugh, cry and argue with…. without any permanent hurt feelings. 7. THOU SHALT EAT JUDICIOUSLY Eat conservatively before the race, and like a glutton afterwards. And if you’re packing, base that on what you KNOW you will eat. If you’re multi-day stage racing, bring more food than you think you need. It’s impossible to make food appear out of nowhere if you don’t have enough.

That night, whatever happens, wear your race shirt and hit the town. Who knows when you’ll be back again. 2. THOU SHALT ENHANCE LOCAL COMMUNITIES Don’t just run Egypt or Tahiti, do something while you’re there that benefits the community. Learning about a place and its people is a great way to come home with something valuable that you can share beyond souvenirs—share lessons learned from time far away. 1. THOU SHALT SUBSCRIBE TO THE RAY ZAHAB DOCTRINE FOR A GOOD, HAPPY LIFE We have one kick at the can, so I commit to a philosophy of taking chances, and talking myself into doing things, rather than talking myself out of something that I fear the negative outcome of. You’re a runner. Pack up your shoes and fly.

iRun because I can’t turn back the clock, but I can work with what I’ve got and make it better.—Stephanie Stoyko, Listowell




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April 22 - 23, 2017 21k • 10k • 5k

Connect with the running community @RunCRS #Scotia21kMtl #runScotia iRun to lorem ipsum something goes here tktktktk. — Name Name, Province





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he walls in the room where Lionel Sanders trains are painted yellow to replicate the sun. Sanders, the 28-year-old from Windsor, Ontario, spends three hours a day here riding his bicycle, he runs on a half-broken treadmill, yelling at himself, cursing, and trying hard to appreciate every ounce of strain. In November, Sanders set the new Ironman World Record in Arizona, completing the 3.9 kilometre swim, 180 kilometre bike and 42.195 kilometre run in 7:44:29, 90 seconds faster than it’s ever been done before. The accomplishment is extraordinary, given any circumstances. But Sanders, who is self-coached, trains alone and wears two-yearold bike shoes despite the fact that his sponsors give him thousands of dollars of specialty clothing, crafted his starting line out of desperate necessity. Ravaged by years of drinking and drugs, Sanders hit rock bottom in 2009, alone in his garage, contemplating suicide. “I didn’t feel comfortable with myself unless I was on some sort of drug or drinking and I went into a real dark place,” says Sanders, who is friendly and smiles easily but contains a certain coiled energy that makes a strange explosiveness appear buried just beneath his tattooed skin. “In my family, there’s a history of mental illness, specifically induced by drug use and amphetamineinduced psychosis and, eventually, I was having trouble differentiating reality from what was in my mind.” As a kid, Sanders ran track and played sports in high school—his mom ran and his dad lifted weights—and he says his addiction didn’t come from any deeply-held emotional abuse. Rather, he fell in with a crowd of dangerous party animals and found himself enjoying the good times until they became something else: you’re no longer partying when you don’t have a choice. He dropped out of school, became addicted to coke and one day walked alone into his garage,

preparing to bring on his death. It was a vision of his mom reacting to his suicide that drove Sanders back in the house. “My mom always blamed herself for my condition, as if she did something wrong, but the reality is that I had a great upbringing, she didn’t do anything,” says Sanders in his tidy living room, balloons from his mother congratulating him on his world record above his head. “Even sitting there at my lowest moment—and I was definitely thinking about suicide, I did go into the garage with that intention—I knew that if I ended my life I’d be ending her life and I just said: ‘That’s not the answer. That’s not the way out.’ And I walked out of the garage, enrolled in some local running races and all of the sudden, there was this whole new community.” The running community, where his mom is a member, welcomed him with open arms. “Running helps you realize what you’ve got,” says Becky Sanders, a triathlete, 4-time Boston-finisher and nurse. “Running helps you express gratefulness and today Lionel lives his life that way; running reminds you to hang on, to not lose faith and it nurtures hope.” With the encouragement of his mom, Sanders entered his first triathlon in 2010. He had a breakthrough performance in 2014. And perhaps more important than his finishing times was that, despite one relapse on New Year’s Eve, 2011, he never returned to drinking or drugs. “It would take one hit and I’d be back so fast and I hated that life and I hated myself and I don’t hate myself now, that’s my motivation,” he says. “That’s why I don’t go back there and that’s part of what helps me train— getting through the rough patches is part of the game. If you experience adversity, you become stronger.” There’s no doubt that Sanders is among the strongest athletes in Canadian sport, relying on his natural gifts and ability to work


hard in lieu of scientifically-honed technique. He’s an excellent cyclist, though he has an unorthodox style that he’s constantly refining. Teaching himself about torque and aerodynamics, he figures he can get more power into each pedal rotation given his physique. The running portion of his triathlon is his competitive advantage and when he broke the record in Arizona, he ran the marathon in a fierce positive split, hitting the halfway mark in 1:18:15. (This year in Boston, he aims to pace his mom to a 3:30). Swimming is where Sanders needs the most improvement and to put power to action, he’s now training with the Windsor Aquatic Club five times a week. He thinks he hasn’t gone as fast as he can yet and he points to his Arizona experience as proof. During his run, which is the Ironman’s last portion, he hit the wall around 35 kilometres and mentally had given up. It wasn’t until he saw his fiance, Erin MacDonald, who urged him forward, that he picked up his pace and become the fastest Ironman of all-time. “The thing Lionel has more than anyone else is a relentless desire to push himself,” says MacDonald, herself a weightlifter and Ironman. “When it comes down to a race it’s about who can suffer the most. If you can’t suffer, you’re not going to win and Lionel—maybe it’s a by-product of his past—what he has is intense and something that you can’t teach.” This hunger to improve his times, to get the most out of his body, to push himself to the very limit of what he can endure is what he says he loves most about sport. He relays an anecdote that any runner can appreciate: how a peer of his has said that during competition he had secretly hoped to be hit by a car just to end the agony of the race. What drives Lionel Sanders is pushing himself to that very moment, then deciding to fight on. “That’s the moment I live for—when the voices are screaming to crash into the wall, get injured for the rest of the season, just so we don’t have to do it—you’re never more alive and aware of your existence than at that time,” Sanders says. “Whatever’s behind that,


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your soul or whatever it is driving you, to get in touch with that, that’s what I love about sport. Nowhere else in my life do I get that sensation I want.” Balloons still waft around the ceiling of Lionel and Erin’s tidy house in Windsor and there’s a wedding to plan, a dog to look after and more races to run. Both Erin and Lionel’s parents travel with them to races when possible, his mom Becky competing with him when she can, and the future looks bright for Canada’s Ironman champion. He’s not completely straight-edge—he’ll have the odd glass of wine or pint following a big race—and he’s not part of any recovery program. He calls himself a lone wolf. What he does do is walk into his little room with its yellow walls and peels of his shirt and turns on his music and trains, sometimes as much as three times a day. It’s a quest to find the sensation he needs. A way to focus his gift. “I’m a true believer that when you decide to walk in a direction so many stars align— the universe conspires to get you towards where you want to go, but only if you give yourself to it 100 percent,” Sanders says. “There was no doubt that I was going there with the triathlon and I went there and I’m going there—very fast.” Ben Kaplan is the General Manager of iRun magazine.


Old shoes, new record: Sanders chops 90 seconds off the Ironman World Record in Arizona, 2016.



STEP 2: GULP, BUY STUFF Here’s a handy little chart showing the essentials and the not-so-essentials you will need to do a triathlon. Warning: It will take longer to pack for this race than a running race, so give yourself time.





> Goggles, $10+ > Bathing suit, $40+

> Wetsuit, $200+ > Triathlon Suit, $100+


> Bike (free if borrowed/owned) > Helmet (free if borrowed/ owned) > Flat tire kit, $15+ > Fuel > Sunglasses (athletic pair, not your Gucci’s) > Running Shoes (you can do both the bike and run portions in your running shoes)

> Triathlon Bike, $1000++ > Triathlon Aero Helmet, $100+ > Triathlon Wheels, $1000+ > Cycling Shoes, $100+ > Power Meter/Bike Computer, $1000+


> Running Shoes, $125 > Socks, $15 > Body, $12

> Running Watch, $150+ > Race Belt, $10 (recommended so you don’t have to safety pin your number to your shirt)

STEP 1: MENTALLY, GET YOURSELF IN THE GAME Anyone can do a triathlon—a race comprised of swimming, cycling and running (in that order). There are distances for all abilities and they’re fun…once you get over the spandex! When I started dating Lionel, I had no idea what a triathlon was. However, the more I watched, the more I said, “Erin, you could TOTALLY do this!” So, that’s what I did. I signed up for “Try-A-Tri,” an entry level distance, like a 400-meter swim to a 10km bike to a 3km run (or shorter). Training may seem daunting, but manage your time efficiently and it’s fun—plus, you’ll meet cool people along the way.



Unless you’re competing in triathlon professionally, like to pretend you’re a professional or competing at an elite-age group level, the amount of training for a triathlon isn’t that intense. That said, you don’t want to sign up for one of these things right off the couch either. If your only goal is to finish the race then there is nothing to be worried about, it’s supposed to be fun! When you’re starting, get in a few sessions of each sport per week. Also focus on your weaknesses more during the beginning as there are cut-off times for each sport. If you’re a great runner, but struggle in the swim or on the bike, focus most of your time on those sports ensuring you will finish them in the allotted time and can finish the race. As your triathlete persona develops, you’ll be able to answer the question, “Why am I doing this workout?” No one is perfect and to expect perfect training sessions all the time is putting unnecessary mental/ physical strain on your body and will be detrimental in the end. Have FUN with it.

The days leading into the race reduce your training load (ahhh, the taper, most athletes favourite word!) to ensure you are rested. Make sure you get in highquality carbohydrates before the race as well. The morning of the race, your alarm clock is going to go off at an ungodly hour. Unless you have a baby, then you are not familiar with this time of day. Day? No, night. Definitely, night. It’s 4am and the race starts in a few hours. You need breakfast; keep it simple. Practice eating your race breakfast during training to make sure your stomach doesn’t act up. Lionel has learned this lesson the hard way, a few times. Don’t be like Lionel. Pack all your gear the night before so you have every precious minute of sleep possible. Load the car and get there early. You don’t want to be rushed setting up your transition area. If you’re on the OCD spectrum, then put all your stuff in a plastic bin next to your bike—keeps things tidy.



Check in and get your timing chip and swim cap. Make sure your transition is set up and ready to go. Head to the swim start and do a few minutes of warm up in the water if permitted. At your first race, I recommend lining up towards the back of the pack to avoid all the commotion at the front of the swim. Swim your pace and what you trained for. Don’t swim outside of yourself in the beginning because you will burn out. Exit the water and run/walk to your bike. Put your helmet and shoes on before taking your bike off the rack. Run with your bike to designated area and off you go. Ride like the wind! Okay, you’re back into transition now and it’s time to start the run. Your legs will feel like Jell-O for little while—totally normal. Mmmm, Jell-O. Once again, pacing is key. Do what you trained to do. Whether you are doing a “Try-a-Tri” distance (this took me a little over an hour) or a full Ironman (this took me almost 17 hours), pacing yourself is one of the most important things you can do to succeed.

So, you’ve just completed your first triathlon. You feel superhuman. You ARE superhuman! Most people couldn’t fathom doing what you just did! Harness that feeling and apply it to your life! If you loved it, which you probably did, sign up for another race. Get outside of your comfort zone and try something a little longer. Or, keep the distance the same and try to better your time. Much like running, best to start small and work your way up. Grab a friend and give it a TRI!




Joshua Bergman Edmonton, Alta.

Betty Burns Whitehorse, Yukon

Brad Firth (Caribou Legs) Inuvik, NWT

Josée Drainville Joliette, Que.

Alex Bain Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Mayling ChungRobinson Toronto, Ont.

Miranda Woodrow Swift Current, Sask.


2017 FLAGBEARERS! The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is throwing a party for the Sesquicentennial and everyone is invited. Reppin’ from across the country are 13 runners chosen from thousands of applicants who wanted to be Flagbearers for Canada’s Marathon in 2017. These 13 men and women train in places and climates as diverse as the Canadians who live there — meet them at the start line for races from 5K to 150K on May 28th.

Contact with your nomination!

Junel Malapad Winnipeg, Man.

Geneviève Cauffopé Vancouver, B.C.

Janis Lynn Power Halifax, N.S.

Sarah Baird Whelan St. John’s, N.L.

Daniel Violet Edmundston, N.B.

This could be you! Nunavut




Mark Sutcliffe takes the world in on quiet, stolen moments in his running shoes arly one autumn morning, I left my family sleeping in their hotel beds and ran out the door onto the streets of Paris. The sun was just starting to rise. I made my way to the banks of the Seine and turned to the east, following the bend in the river to the Pont d’Iena. As I turned my eyes upward, the sunlight was striking the Eiffel Tower, casting a long shadow onto the surrounding trees. I planned to use the tower as the halfway point of an out-and-back run, but it was impossible to turn away from the breathtaking palette of colours. I looped around the Champs de Mars and ran toward the tower again from a different angle, surveying a glorious scene: the sky was blue, the grass was emerald green and one side of the tower was bathed in bronze light, the other shaded in a milk chocolate brown. The scene still blazes in my memory more than six years later. I saw the Eiffel Tower again half a dozen times over the course of the next few days, from noon to midnight. But it never matched the stunning vista I would have missed if I’d stayed in bed that morning. That image is one of the brightest in a rich album of memories catalogued from so many runs in unfamiliar places.


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CASTLES MADE OF SAND: Mark Sutcliffe takes time off from his run in the Bahamas to think about home.

There are the destination races that allow you to see places you never would have travelled as a tourist: pacing through small town New England in the Boston Marathon, pounding the neighbourhoods of Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx in the New York City Marathon, basking in the monuments of Washington in the Marine Corps Marathon. I relished the views of the architecture of Chicago every time I crossed a bridge in last fall’s Chicago Marathon. And although it’s my hometown race, I always feel like a tourist when I run the Ottawa Marathon, getting glimpses of the gothic buildings of Parliament and the capital’s

museums and attractions. Such organized foot tours are special. But some of the fondest memories in my travel collection are from quiet, improvised runs taken entirely on my own. On a late-summer night in London, I set out to cross as many bridges over the Thames as possible in a 10K run. A few years ago, I ascended the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle as the sun was setting.

While visiting friends in Argentina, I struck out alone on the streets of Buenos Aires, looping around the president’s residence and a giant racetrack called the Hipodromo. I’ve run the beach-lined streets of Punta del Este in Uruguay and both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida (and around the theme parks in between). I’ve looped through the resort towns of Whistler, Banff

and Mont Tremblant. I’ve run on canal paths in northwest England, along abandoned train tracks in northern Ontario and on dirt roads in Quebec cottage country. I’ve stolen precious minutes on business trips from Saskatoon to Phoenix. And I’ve lapped the deck of a cruise ship in the Caribbean. A run is the perfect pace at which to discover a new neighbourhood, park or waterfront. But it’s more than the scenery that benefits the travelling runner. It’s another challenge that calls out: to explore the unknown, to test another boundary, to wander the streets and see where they take you. Each of these runs becomes a stamp on a passport in your mind, another gift from this glorious activity that gives so much. Running on the road reminds you of who you are: a traveller moving through the world at the pace and in the direction of your choosing, absorbing all there is to witness and appreciate around you.

Mark Sutcliffe is the founder of iRun and the author of Long Road to Boston: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Marathon. DOWNLOAD the iRun Podcasts: LISTEN Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.: 1310 News FOLLOW him on Twitter: @_marksutcliffe SEE excerpts of his book:

iRun because it makes me think, it makes me strong and it’s faster than walking.—Juanita Dickson, Toronto





How Quebec City aims to put on the best race weekend in the world The SSQ Quebec City Marathon isn’t just unlike any other race in the country—it’s unlike any other race in the world. It’s not just that Quebec City knows how to race and knows how to party, it’s that the convivial atmosphere is heralded from Toronto to Tahiti to Tokyo, and that’s something the race organizers want to promote and extend. “We want to make it so that on race weekend, the whole city just smells like race shoes,” says Chantal Lachance, founder of Gestev, which has taken over the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon event in its 20th year. “If you’re coming from Vancouver, Yellow Knife, Buffalo—anywhere to Quebec—we want to make it so that everyone has a great time, and not just the runners, but also their grandmothers, children, spouses and best friends!” Of course, Quebec City is already known as a tremendous destination on the culinary and sporting scenes. It hosts the Red Bull Crushed Ice championships and recently took over the Cross Country World Cup when host country Russia had to pull out. Quebec City knows how to blend good times with good courses for maximum results. And Lachance is aiming high for her 2017 marathon. She recently visited the Rock ‘n’ Roll event in Brooklyn, New York, and felt the good vibes of a race that puts on a good show for 30,000 runners and their closest friends. “The energy around Brooklyn for that race was incredible—everywhere you went it felt like you saw race shirts and medals,” says

Lachance. “Of course, I’m not certain we’ll attract 30,000 runners this year to our event, though nothing is for certain, but putting on a show that runners will love in the same way is absolutely our idea.” So far, Lachance and her team—including the hardworking folks that Gestev took the race over from, including retiring race founder Denis Therrien and his wife—have done an amazing job in putting together the right pieces. It’s been heralded by both Runner’s World and ESPN and the events are spread out over the August 25-August 27 weekend. Instituting a pay-your-age component for the children, and a chance for groups over 10 to receive a corporate discount, race weekend also has races in all distances, a Fun Run, and a 5K kids’ event on race weekend’s Saturday morning. Lachance and her team are working overtime to ensure that runners both from Quebec and from all over the world have an experience at the SSQ Quebec City Marathon that they can’t find anywhere else in the world. “Everyone on our team is putting all of our energy and all of our love into this amazing event,” says Lachance. “We want the event to become a celebration of running, a full-on festival, and we want everyone who attends—not only the runners but their friends and family—to go home from our marathon and say, ‘Boy, I can’t wait for next year. I want to do that again!’” The SSQ Quebec City Marathon is August 25-August 27, 2017. For more information, see


LA SAISON MORTE? QUELLE SAISON MORTE? COURIR PENDANT LES MOIS D’HIVER Alana Bonner, la coureuse la plus active de Sportstats’, parle de ses plans d’hiver


lusieurs coureurs passent les mois d’hiver dans les gyms à faire de l’entraînement croisé ou sur les tapis roulants plutôt que de sortir lorsque le temps se refroidit, mais je vous annonce qu’il peut être plaisant de courir sur la neige et la glace! Avant de me mettre à courir, je ne comprenais pas comment c’était possible (ou pourquoi) qu’il y ait encore des coureurs à l’extérieur, à s’entraîner à -25 oC dans ce que j’estimais être la pire des températures. Tout cela a changé lorsque j’ai quitté ma zone de confort pour ma première course d’hiver en février 2010. Ces cinq kilomètres de routes enneigées et la ligne d’arrivée m’ont apporté un sentiment de fierté incroyable, pour avoir réalisé quelque chose que j’avais auparavant cru impossible ou, à tout le moins, douloureusement improbable! Parfois, c’est le premier pas en dehors de sa zone de confort qui est le plus important et qui nous mène dans une direction qui changera notre vie à jamais. Plus de six ans et précisément 316 lignes d’arrivée plus tard, je suis un joggeur


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et un coureur de compétition toutes saisons, et très heureux chaque jour que je peux lacer mes souliers et courir! Ce sont les conditions les plus sévères qui mettent à l’épreuve notre détermination, notre persévérance et notre ténacité. Lorsque je pense à mes entraînements et à mes courses, je ne me souviens pas tellement des courses faciles et des journées de météo « parfaite », mais je me rappelle avoir couru le demimarathon Hypothermique de Montréal à -30 oC dans un blizzard et la fois que j’ai participé à la course ultime d’hiver Endurance Aventure à Saint-Donat, Québec, avec la ligne de départ sur le lac gelé et une température de -35 oC avec refroidissement éolien! Ces journées-là, j’ai affronté des défis que je n’avais jamais relevés auparavant et je l’ai fait avec force et avec confiance. Je croyais en moi et je crois en vous aussi. Une de mes citations préférées provient de R.S. Grey : « Elle croyait qu’elle pouvait, alors elle l’a fait. » Souvenez-vous de ces mots sages la prochaine fois que vous doutez de vous-même!

Je crois fermement qu’il faut alterner les surfaces et les conditions sur et dans lesquelles nous nous entraînons en tant que coureurs. Partager nos kilomètres hebdomadaires entre le tapis roulant, la route, les collines, les sentiers et la piste engage différents muscles et fait de nous des athlètes globalement plus forts. Courir aux températures sous zéro sur neige et la glace est très différent que de courir sur un tapis roulant ou sur une piste intérieure et donc dans un environnement contrôlé. Tout comme notre système cardiovasculaire et nos muscles sont mis à l’épreuve différemment pendant les courses d’hiver, notre esprit l’est aussi. Nous affrontons des doutes et des défis que l’on ne peut imaginer lors d’une matinée ensoleillée de juin sur route sèche, mais nous sommes des coureurs et nous affrontons ces défis avec le cran et la détermination qui accompagnent ce titre! Le regretté Bill Bowerman, un entraîneur américain d’athlétisme et le cofondateur de Nike, est à l’origine de ma citation préférée sur la course en hiver : « Il n’y a pas

iRun parce que j’admire Forest Gump. — Maggie McDougall, Kitchener




de mauvais temps, juste des gens mous. » Je me répète les mots de Bill chaque fois que je sens une excuse liée à la météo se frayer un chemin dans mon esprit et l’excuse disparaît, remplacée par une attitude de confiance en moi-même renouvelée. Je crois que je peux et je le ferai! Tout comme VOUS pouvez et VOUS le ferez! Nous sommes seulement aussi forts que notre meilleure excuse et si cette excuse est « il neige », il est facile de la battre! Je suis fier d’être Canadien. L’hiver fait partie de moi, tout comme la course fait partie de moi; il est donc tout naturel que ces deux éléments se rencontrent. Adopter nos quatre saisons canadiennes et continuer de s’entraîner et de courir dehors pendant l’hiver (NOTRE hiver!) nous donne une occasion unique et spéciale que nos amis en Floride et aux Bahamas ne connaîtront jamais. Il n’y a rien comme entendre le crissement de la neige fraîchement tombée sous ses pieds, sentir la fraîcheur de l’hiver dans ses poumons ou encore voir le monde à travers des cils glacés et ressentir le désir inexplicable de retrouver la chaleur d’un foyer et de nos couvertures. On appelle ça la course d’hiver au Canada et c’est formidablement fantastique! L’hibernation est pour les ours, pas pour les coureurs! Sortez de la maison cet hiver et découvrez ce dont vous êtes vraiment capables! J’ai hâte de vous rencontrer aux courses et sur les routes en décembre!

iRun parce que j’aime manger. — Melanie Weiss, Phelpston

Gauche à droite: Alana Bonner avec Melanie Medza et Valerie Medza à la course 5K de Montréal Santa Shuffle; en haut: la course Ri Ra Santa 5K à Burlington, Vermont, organisé par VR Pro

Le temps froid signifie que nous avons besoin d’équipement spécial pour courir au chaud, de façon sécuritaire, et donnez le meilleur de soi en hiver. Voici mes cinq principales suggestions pour votre équipement hivernal: 1. Des mitaines, pas des gants! Les gants séparent et isolent les doigts tandis que les mitaines les gardent ensemble et permettent de profiter de leur chaleur mutuelle en la conservant au même endroit, gardant ainsi vos extrémités au chaud. 2. Habillez-vous comme s’il faisait 10 degrés plus chaud! J’applique cette règle toute l’année pour éviter de surchauffer en pleine course, ce qui affecte la performance. Ça peut sembler bizarre, mais vous pouvez avoir trop chaud en hiver si vous être trop habillé! 3. Des souliers avec une bonne traction! Ne portez pas vos souliers de course habituels dans les conditions hivernales. Trouvez-vous de bons souliers de sentiers avec semelle antidérapante. Mes préférés de tous les temps sont les Trail Minimus de New Balance avec semelle Vibram. D’excellents souliers pour courir en hiver, tant sur la route que dans les sentiers enneigés. 4. Portez plusieurs couches! Un bon col roulé mince en matériau technique sous un chandail à manches longues plus large en laine ou l’équivalent sont mes deux vêtements préférés pour courir en hiver. Saucony offre une gamme « Siberius » de hauts, de pantalons ou leggings de course faits spécialement pour la course en hiver. Ils sont fantastiques! 5. Couvrez vos oreilles! Les oreilles sont des extrémités tout comme les doigts et sont aussi sujettes aux engelures, alors n’oubliez pas de les recouvrir. Je préfère recouvrir simplement les oreilles et non la tête entière, alors je porte un bandeau de course d’hiver en matériau technique.

LA COURSE EN HIVER! Voici mes cinq conseils principaux en tant que fervent coureur d’hiver : 1. Partez tôt! Tout prend plus de temps en hiver; qu’il s’agisse de conduire et de stationner dans la neige ou de marcher sur les trottoirs enneigés jusqu’à la ligne de départ. Ne prenez pas de chances et n’ajoutez pas de stress supplémentaire à votre matin de course : partez plus tôt. 2. Adaptez vos attentes! Le temps froid (et les mauvaises conditions routières) ralentit naturellement votre corps, alors ne vous attendez pas à courir vos cinq kilomètres aussi rapidement en hiver que vous le faisiez au début de l’automne. 3. Changez-vous immédiatement! Ne restez pas dans vos vêtements tout en sueur après la course d’hiver. Mettez immédiatement des vêtements chauds et secs pour éviter de prendre froid et, si possible, prenez une douche et séchez vos cheveux. 4. La sécurité d’abord! Si vous trouvez les routes glissantes, c’est qu’elles le sont aussi pour les voitures, alors faites tout ce qui est en votre pouvoir pour éviter les dangers. Laissez la musique et les écouteurs à la maison afin d’être alerte et d’avoir pleinement conscience de votre environnement. Pendant une course, les routes devraient être fermées à la circulation, mais il vaut quand même mieux porter des vêtements voyants avec bandes réfléchissantes et courir face à la circulation, surtout s’il n’y a pas de trottoirs ou de sentiers pédestres séparés sur lesquels courir. 5. Amusez-vous! Lorsque la course devient difficile, souriez, tapez dans les mains des bénévoles et des spectateurs et souvenez-vous de la chance que vous avez de pouvoir courir et vous mettre au défi toute l’année!




CONNECT WITH US! @vrproinc @ChillyHalf @ChillyHalf


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iRun because lorem ipsum something goes here tktk. — Name Name, Province



’m doing it. I’m finally doing it! At 40 years of age and after nearly 15 years of marathoning, I am finally making my first trip to train at altitude! At last, it’s time to see if running with less oxygen will give me those desired red blood cells for a competitive edge. Making this decision was not something I could do earlier in my career when trying to balance training and competing while raising three young children, even with the incredible support from my husband. But as the kids grew older and we aimed to raise them to be confident, responsible and independent, I succeeded in gradually increasing my time away. When still breastfeeding, they came with me so that I could feed them right before and after racing. My time away then grew to weekends, racing in Vancouver or Montreal. I then spent five days away, shortly after our youngest weaned, to race in Rotterdam in 2012 for a shot at the Olympic standard. Finally, it grew to three weeks to compete, and vacation after, at the 2013 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games. Similar to taking one hour off my marathon time in 11 years, time away from the kids was also gradual. A steady approach was necessary, and thankfully it has allowed me to succeed in many areas of my life. Recently, after deciding to take the next career step by moving to coach Dave Scott-Thomas with Speed River in Guelph, I felt that it was also time to check off the last item on my training bucket list. Pursuing a stint at altitude would allow me to later look back and know that I gave absolutely everything possible to be my best. In the spring I will be fulfilling a dream; I will be travelling to Iten, Kenya to train at the High Altitude Training Camp, which is 2,400m (8,000 ft) above sea level. I know it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and

TAKES THE CAKE: Krista celebrates her 40th birthday with her daughter, Leah.

Mother of Invention What it means for Krista DuChene to train in Kenya and how she prepares herself, and her family, to say goodbye

I’m going to be prepared to make every single day away worth it—all 29 days will be an investment I will likely never be able to make again. So, how does one prepare for an altitude camp as an athlete? In terms of training, I’ll be mimicking routines at home, aware of the difference in paces for various workouts, and reinforcing the great importance of easing my way into training once I arrive. As a traveller, I am a list-maker. I prepare by jotting things down, asking others for tips, and setting things out well in advance. I certainly cannot throw things together into a suitcase the night before. I’ll need books for leisure and my laptop for work and communication. A loofa for scrubbing off the red dirt, some sunscreen and a first aid kit should fairly suf-

ficiently fill my toiletries bag. Since I will be there for nearly a month, I can do laundry at the facility. Food will be provided so only snacks and sports nutrition products will be required. And anything I forget or might need can easily be purchased in nearby Eldoret. Now, the mom in me is who will face the biggest challenge in preparing for nearly a month away. My hope is to make the time away from my kids and husband as smooth as possible. When training for the Olympics, my kids stepped up to the plate. Our babysitter made sure they completed their chores, including laundry, dishes, and cleaning. Prior to departing, my plan is to have a similar system in place so that my husband isn’t too burdened at the end of a full work day. In previous years, he

iRun because I’m in good health and in appreciation of the life I have.—Wendy Kerswill, Toronto

travelled a fair amount for work so I know that parenting on your own is not easy. And I intend to stock the fridge and freezer with food for dinners and school lunches. I think the biggest emotional challenge will be the absence from my daughter for so long. Like many mothers and daughters, we share a very special bond. Even though she is independent and mature for six, she is still only in kindergarten and sometimes just wants mommy. When children are really young, they don’t grasp time the same as when they are older. My little girl will be aware that I am not there, every single day. When I was in Rio, she had my sister, who, aside from my husband, was the next best and closest thing to me. And this time she will be blessed with some nurturing care from grandma and a few other aunties. One of the things I plan to do, maybe to help with my emotions more than anyone’s, is record short videos onto each of the kids’ iPods. Reading their favourite books, telling short stories, and simply creating individual messages for each child should help them feel a bit of mom while I am away. Similarly, I’ll have videos of them when away. Since turning 40 I have embraced change and getting out of my familiar comfort zone; I have learned more about myself and the sport and felt more alive than ever. It has been exhilarating. I think this trip away will be beneficial not only for my career but for my entire family. I am ready. We are ready. Krista DuChene holds the second fastest female marathon time in Canadian history. Racing the Canadian Half Marathon Championships, DuChene finished the course on a broken leg. She took second. Her website is KristaDuChenerunning.




Cass McCombs was heralded by the New York Times as one of the greatest songwriters of the 21st century. So when the country-infused 38-year-old anti-rock star, fresh off an appearance on Ellen, made a video starring a marathon-running, Manitoba-based Indigenous activist, iRun was intrigued. The video is for Run Sister Run and stars Tracie Léost, 18, born in Treaty 1 Territory of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who ran from her grandparents’ house in Oak Point, Manitoba to the Monument for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women: 115 kilometres in four days. McCombs, Léost and Rachael Cassells, the video director who introduced them, narrate their tale of music, ultra-marathoning and Indigenous rights.


LÉOST: I was in grade 11 when I found out about the national crisis: 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, elders to infants to girls my own age. Nobody is doing anything. So I ran a route of places that mattered to me and reflected on who I am.


CASSELLS: Women running in public spaces is in itself an act of defiance. LÉOST: I ran track in high school, then marathons and half marathons. I like having the capability to make my body perform, to push my body to new limits and I like how with every marathon, I get a better time. When I could combine that with something bigger— speaking out for my people who are being systematically killed and ignored—I feel a sense of being invincible (even though on the third day of my run I had blisters so bad I had to wear moccasins because I couldn’t put on my running shoes).

MCCOMBS: For someone so young to seem so confident—I’ve never had that kind of confidence—that’s part of what I find inspiring. It’s an honour to be part of Tracie’s story and give light to this crisis. LÉOST: If I was ever to become a statistic myself, I’d be remembered along the route that I ran; the shoulder of Highway 6 is where my people would lay flowers. But is anyone paying attention? I’m glad to have been part of the video, but I have more work to do. CASSELLS: Listening to the song I knew I wanted a visual image of a woman running, but when I thought about everything I’d seen, it’s always women being chased, women running away: women and running associated with fear. When I heard Tracie’s story, when I met her, I knew this wouldn’t be like that. Her running would be associated with strength. I wanted a powerful view of her as a character.

MCCOMBS: In this video, she’s not running away—she’s running toward, and I love that. That shows how any action can be redirected and the song itself was written about the struggle that women have all over the world. It was intended to show solidarity with all the women in my life, and of course running works as a great metaphor. LÉOST: My running shoes became my getaway. On a crappy day, I’d go running. I like the aspect of being free. CASSELLS: Think about the history of running and how much resistance there’s been to women, especially in long-distance events: it wasn’t until the 70s that women could run the Boston Marathon and the 80s for the Olympics, and it’s mind-blowing when you read the quotes: that women don’t have the physical strength to run the marathon. Talk to Tracie for two

iRun because it makes me feel free strong and like anything is possible if you give it your all. — Chantel Witiuk, Mississauga

minutes and you know none of that nonsense is true. LÉOST: Highway 6 is one of the most dangerous highways in the world, the shoulder was uneven gravel and my blisters were horrible and my toenails fell off and I knew I couldn’t stop. MCCOMBS: We’re not talking about running as physical fitness, but running as something more spiritual. CASSELLS: We filmed in Winnipeg and Oak Point and I stayed with her grandparents, and it was a great DIY process: her family were the support crew on her run and it makes sense, since we followed her route in our video, that her family worked with us. They know the roads and the people, where it’s safe to film. MCCOMBS: People still keep singing, ‘Hey baby, you look real hot, come with me on Friday night,’ and that bugs me a little, so I end up speaking about different themes in my songs—it’s about something beyond any individual, it’s about community. LÉOST: Canada is great and I love my country, but there’s a national crisis affecting Indigenous women and girls and to put on my running shoes and draw attention to something that so many people choose to ignore, feels like my mission. I thank Cass and Rachael for helping give me a platform with their beautiful song.




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For the latest iteration of the 1080 line, New Balance has incorporated its state-of-the-art Fresh Foam technology. We spoke with the brand’s Canadian footwear merchandiser David Korell about the science and tech on this innovation and why you need to add these kicks to your running shoe repertoire. iRUN: How was the technology first developed? DAVID KORELL: In developing the Fresh Foam technology, New Balance had 200 lb. runners in a lab after a 10-mile outdoor run and had them run on a treadmill to look for fatigue scores. Using the Aramis program, the scientists collected and analyzed data on the foot movement, and assessed where the foot strain was. The goal with Fresh Foam is to support the foot for maximum cushioning and comfort using intelligent geometries. iRUN: How does Fresh Foam work for runners? DK: In this, the seventh version of the 1080, the Fresh Foam hexagons wrap around the medial and lateral sides of the foot.

On the lateral side, the hexagons offer additional cushioning with a concave design. iRUN: Why is this version of the 1080 so different and what makes it such a hero shoe? DK: With the 1080, runners have the added cushion, which greatly improves the longevity and durability of the shoe. The FreshFoam design offers a better rebound, which for a given runner will enable the shoes to last at the upper end of the shoe life spectrum measured near 800km. iRUN: Explain why every runner should have this type of shoe among their footwear repertoire. DK: We’ll have it in the performance shoe category and also as our answer to the comfort experience. When runners have a chance to wear shoes at different stack heights it can be good for recovery, as much as a thinner or more flexible shoe offers runners the ability to develop more foot strength.


016 you were weird… 2017 let’s see what you got. We are almost two months into the New Year and I am still trying to process what all happened last year. Controversies, running peaks and valleys, new friendships, failed relationships, bridges built, bridges burned, love gained and loved ones lost. Usually by now I have assessed the good, the bad and the ugly and have set out my plans, goals, and challenges for the next 12 months. Note how I didn’t say “season” or “training cycle.” There is more to life than qualifying periods and race times. Record holder, Olympian, national champion, feminist, role model … titles, accolades and labels that others use to identify me. Yes, I have used the same terms too, but in reality—in my day to day life—that’s not how I necessarily self-identify. I was told once that I am a good runner. A good writer. And a good beer drinker. That description is medium at best. Besides, I am an excellent beer drinker, a hard worker, a thesaurus and spell check user. If someone asked me to rank the titles that I deem important, my list would be different. I am a sister. Little and big. And it is probably the role I identify deepest with. I am an aunt. And all that matters to me in this world is the legacy I leave behind for them—not you. I am a friend. I am a university and law school grad. The first in my family to go to university. I am a lawyer. I’ve loved the law for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s because of my stubbornly naïve belief that everyone is equal under the law. I’ve learned this is true in theory—not necessarily true in practice. I am a nerd. I am a runner. Not a pro or an elite. Not a record holder. Not an Olympian. Just a runner. I was running long before anyone knew


2017 ISSUE 02

of me and I’ll be running (I hope) long after I am forgotten. I am an advocate. I will argue for you, myself, an altruistic cause, or a self-serving cause with the same ferocity. But just because I argue against you doesn’t mean I do not respect you. I am opinionated. I am open minded. The two are NOT mutually exclusive. I am an athlete. I suck at skilled sports. My coordination is terrible on a good day. Team sports intimidate me. I hate being bad at something but love learning how to be better. I am a hater of all double standards. I am a huge fan of happy mediums. I am a sarcastic jerk, but hilarious in my own mind. I am pragmatic with my caring. I am not afraid to be wrong... and I’m sure that happens more often than not. I am not nice but I try hard to never be mean. And if I am, I apologize full-heartedly and genuinely. I am a shit disturber…but usually only after you have disturbed my shit. I am not your role model. I never asked to be. I do not intend to be abrasive or ungrateful in stating that—but it is the truth. I was asked by iRun if I’d like to write a “Q & A” column. Not just about running; I am not a running expert. I am not a life expert either. But, like many of us, I have experienced times when my passion—running—and my life have worked together and times when they have worked against each other. I am usually someone who says yes—you never know when you will learn something new or what an interaction can do to help shape your next 12 months. Send in your questions. I do not pretend or promise to have all of the answers, but I’ll give it my best shot. Questions bring discussion and discussion is healthy.



LANNI MARCHANT Lanni Marchant, double Olympian, woman’s activist, Canada’s all-time fastest marathon and half marathon runner, is iRun’s new question answerer (she doesn’t like being called an “advice columnist”). You ask, she answers—whether it’s about training techniques, dealing with bullies, dating, speed work or lacing up against the best in the world, the floor is open and Lanni is ready. Honesty guaranteed. To ask Lanni a question, email Ben Kaplan at

iRun because I find peace in each pace.—Daphne Paszterko, Toronto

SCOTT GOODBURN What’s your favourite craft brewery in Ontario, Lanni? I live near London! LANNI MARCHANT Amsterdam Brewery, though I’m also a fan of Flying Monkeys. One near London is Forked Rivers. I just discovered it and like it a lot.

When I’m not getting destroyed by hard interval or tempo workouts, I’ll be in the gym 3-4 times a week strength training (weights, plyometric exercises, drills and core work). As my season progresses, my strength program cuts back to 2 times a week.

AMANDA BELLIVEAU What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face during your training, and how did you overcome it? LM Most recently I’ve had to figure my way around dealing with my Dad’s passing. We lost him just before New Year’s Eve and it was unexpected. I’ve been trying to figure out why I did not let the issues between us affect my training before, but I’m letting him have an effect on my training now. January 1st was my official start back to real mileage and there I was dealing with a mental and emotional curve ball. Obviously, this challenge is different than coming back from injury or dealing with running politics, but my approach has been similar. I focus on what I can control and have to be willing to modify some of my mini goals so that I do not lose ground on my big goals. I like writing things down–training notes, workout splits, or just feelings I had during a session. My biggest challenge was and is self doubt/fear toward the end of training if I don’t always hit the mark during my workouts. I think I could have done more to be better, stronger, faster. This is why I now keep a training journal for my half marathon and current marathon training, so when those thoughts creep in, I can look back and see my efforts, my split times, my speed training. It’s a work in progress.

MARC ROY Do you do most of your running outdoors in the winter and if yes, does the cold affect your pace? LM I run outdoors as much as possible year round. Winter running isn’t just about dealing with the cold, but also the extra layers we have to train in, poor footing and less daylight. I run by effort rather than by my watch for any harder efforts.

JEFF SHIKAZE How often during the season should I be weight training (is twice enough?), and should it mostly be body weight exercises? LM I weight train year round though it changes from when I am in my base phase versus my peak phase.

iRun because I love the feel of my heart racing along with my feet.—Julie Hann, Toronto

YVON DUVAL Are you single? LM Isn’t the standard answer for an athlete to say we date our sport? LEAH MARSH 2016 I did my first half in Vegas, baby! Now with cracking down on my budget and living in northern BC (Fort St. John) and with only a few local 5K and 10K coming up, what’s a good way to find a goal you end up doing by yourself (like a half marathon)? LM Plan on one of the 5K/10K local races, but get in 10-15km of running beforehand and set a time goal. I’ve done this in training when my coach wants a half marathon effort but traveling to one is not a great option. It’s a great balance between working hard on your own and then having people to run hard with. JESSICA CLARK SHODY Have you ever had to combat bursitis? LM In my hips/glutes off and on since college. Rolling out with a lacrosse ball is helpful, as is making sure not to stay seated in one position too long when lawyering. JOHN POWELL Have you got any marathons planned for 2017? LM Not this spring, but as we get closer to the summer we’ll evaluate if there’s a fall marathon that

seems appealing. CHARLOTTE FLEWELLING What got you into running in the first place? LM I started running as a form of cross-training for figure skating and also as a form of punishment when I had been a “mis-fit” and my figure skating coaches would make me run laps of the parking lot. I soon discovered that I liked running more than skating and found it refreshing to not have to worry about how I looked competing—I just needed to focus on passing girls and trying to cross the finish line first. My first true running memory is running in the elementary school cross country meet at Spring Bank Park. I had borrowed a pair of running shoes from my girlfriend which were more than a few sizes too big for me and trudged my way around the course. JAMES WILD How to taper for distance races? Reduce mileage but keep race pace intensity? Or reduce mileage and intensity? What about speed work during taper? LM I do not do well with a long taper. The week of a big race we start backing off the mileage but keeping with some intensity. It’s important to keep some intensity in your program so you do not feel flat or stale, but the volume of the workouts does not need to be high. CLAIRE BOONE I’m going to run my first half in 2017. I’ve been running 12-15K and while I know I can add distance, I struggle to get faster. I’m 5’0” and have short legs. Tips? LM If you are already doing a speed program then try adding strides (810x 100m pickups) after you have finished your normal mileage runs. STEPHEN WOOD What’s your favourite training song that gets your ass moving? Mine is “Kickstart my Heart.” LM Dirty Radio’s “Ground Shake” is my race day alarm clock. I listen to it before hard workouts as well.



This is no ordinary race. At Canada Army Run, we run together – civilians and Armed Forces – to support each other. To give thanks. To show our strength as athletes, individuals and Canadians.



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How the Vancouver Marathon has become the mecca of all marathon cities


he BMO Vancouver Marathon couldn’t happen without the high-powered crew of runners toeing the line and the high-energy collective of volunteers keeping every race on course. Truth be told, the city’s only marathon event wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for the nearly 4,000 volunteers that participate annually. Vancouver is a hub for health and wellness junkies, especially runners. From organized run crews to individual runners and elite athletes in training, runners infuse enough energy into the streets to power the entire city. When it comes to his sport, Canadian elite runner Rob Watson believes Vancouver is the ideal training and racing ground for practitioners of our sport. “Vancouver is second to none for year-round training, there’s no such thing as bad weather, and you get out the door and the places you can run blow the mind,” says Watson. “Personally, I think the best parts are Stanely Park and Pacific Spirit Park and, of course, the Seawall, but the whole BMO Vancouver Marathon course, really, just blows my mind.” On race day, the energy and power of the volunteer crews keeps Vancouver humming. For Watson, the BMO Vancouver Marathon is his hometown race, which is to say that he’s pumped because of the positive energy that builds throughout race weekend. “Vancouver already had an incredible running community that embraces physical fitness,” says Watson, “and the community of runners is very inclusive and supportive which contributes to the positive atmosphere.” While he doesn’t consider himself among the “super-elite runners,” Watson, two-time Canadian national champion, can definitely hold his own. This year, he’ll race the full marathon and he’s looking forward to taking on the challenging race course and being fueled by the energy of the crowds. “Over the course of a marathon, you may not feel it physically, but you get the boost you need from these crowds,” he says. “I’m super pumped...and now I need to get training.” With a marathon course that weaves through the University of British Columbia, along the Seawall, and finishes in the iconic Stanley Park, the BMO Vancouver race also celebrates the distinct landmarks of this urban running paradise. And thanks to the Community Challenge, this scenic course is also roaring with the cheers of spectators and community groups who pull out all the stops in a spirited competition. “You may not be having a positive race—anything can happen on race day,” says Watson, “but I know my hometown run and the crowds won’t let you think about that, instead you find yourself honed in on the spirit and energy of a race well run.” The BMO Vancouver Marathon is Sunday May 7, 2017. For complete information, see


THE FASTEST (FLATTEST) RACE COURSE IN THE COUNTRY How the Manitoba Marathon became Canada’s hottest race ticket of the year

Ask any runner chasing a personal best time to describe their ideal course for the feat, and most would list hallmarks of the Manitoba Marathon. The course is “flat, fast, and shaded,” as Race Director Rachel Munday likes to say; with a median finishing time of around 4:15, it’s perennially among the fastest marathons in Canada. Its route weaves past Winnipeg landmarks and through beautiful residential areas, giving runners the sensation of speed as they trek through Winnipeg’s dense urban foliage and whizz past cheering, friendly Manitobans. But beyond being the veritable Bonneville Salt Flats of the Canadian marathon scene, Munday said the Manitoba Marathon is also evolving to offer “a better experience for everybody,” by giving athletes a literal “goal line” to run towards and offering their friends and families a spectator experience like no other. In 2017, for the first time in Winnipeg—or any other Canadian city—the finishing corral will be located at the centre of a Canadian Football League (CFL) field. Adjacent to the previous finish line at the University of Manitoba, the world-class Investors Group Field (IGF) has been the home


turf of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers since opening its gates in 2013. It has also hosted elite soccer during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015, and was converted into an ice rink for the NHL’s Heritage Classic in 2016. But as much as elite soccer, football and hockey games at IGF have captivated local and visiting fans alike, 2017 is the year to see the everyman amateur have their moment on the field and on the big screens. “To be able to see yourself finishing on the Jumbotron, or for your family up in the stands watching you finish—with the DJ and the music playing—it’s going to be pretty cool,” Munday said. Wade Miller, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, agrees with that sentiment, adding “standing on that field is going to be special for those runners.” “To be able to say you crossed this finish line at Investor’s Group Field is going to be impressive,” Miller said. He explained the spectator experience is also being “taken to the next level” as all of the amenities and concessions typical to a Bombers game will all be available for marathon-goers. This represents a significant change from what was possible at the finishing line of the past few decades, the University of Manitoba’s track and grand stands. Munday said the post-race recovery routine for runners will similarly be revamped by the venue swap. “Historically when you finish the race you’re corralled out of the track area into the recovery area in the parking lot,” she explained. “You were then away from friends and family, and also unable to watch the race itself. “Now all of that recovery is done in (IGF), as you finish on the field you move up through stands into the recovery area in the concourse, so you can sit in the stands, socialize, and watch people come in as you have your post race food.” Munday said “keeping everyone together” loans a supportive, community vibe to the flashy event, and the new venue transforms the race for everyone involved, making it a can’t-miss race for 2017. The finish line change is the second major alteration to the marathon in as many years after it went unchanged for decades. In 2016, the route was reversed to freshen things up; Munday said there was “no negative runner feedback” to the move. “You never expect to please everybody, but it was actually really well received,” she said, adding that the switch made the course shadier in the first few miles, then as the sun shifted it was also shadier “on the back side,” just in time for finishers running down negative splits or looking for relief in the race’s dying miles. Overall, “the running community was ready for a change of any sort,” Munday said. So if simply running the course backwards was a popular change amongst locals, imagine how the new finish line will be received. But beyond catering to the local running crowd, Munday believes having one of the coolest spectator venues and finishing lines in the country goes a long way towards adding value and making the Manitoba Marathon more of a “destination event for out of town runners.” “The idea is to grow the race, offer a better participant experience and better spectator experience,” she said. “It’s going to be a spectacular event.” The Manitoba Marathon will be held in Winnipeg June 18, 2017. Information on the event and registration can be found at



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