iRun ISSUE03 2016

Page 1

SPECIAL ISSUE The Call of the Wild 2016 iRun Guide to Everything Trails





We have run through the sleet and the snow. We have weathered frozen toes and too-short days. We have conquered another Canadian winter. What is our reward? To run down the Rideau Canal in spring sunshine. To have a whole city cheering us to the finish line. To experience one of the world’s very best running events. May is just around the corner. Get on the starting line today at

#LoveEveryMoment #RunOttawa2016


28 - 29


Let’s Go Toronto!

Connect with the running community: @RunCRS #STWM

October 16, 2016

2016 National Marathon Championships


CONTENTS FOUNDER Mark Sutcliffe GENERAL MANAGER Ben Kaplan ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Sabrina Young MANAGING EDITOR Anna Lee Boschetto EDITOR AT LARGE Karen Kwan RUNNER IN CHIEF Ray Zahab ASSISTANT EDITOR Priya Ramanujam COMMUNITY MANAGER Megan Black STAFF WRITER Celeste Botton CONTRIBUTORS Robyn Baldwin, Jean-Paul Bedard, Andrew Chak, Stefan Danis, Krista DuChene, Rick Hellard, Karen Karnis, Patience Lister, Joanne Richard, Erin Valois CREATIVE DIRECTOR & DESIGN Geneviève Biloski, Becky Guthrie CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER Darren Calabrese ILLUSTRATOR Chloe Cushman STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Elliott, Zoom Photo 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

PHOTO BY TKTKTK PHOTO BY DARREN CALABRESE SPECIAL ISSUE The Call of the Wild 2016 iRun Guide to Everything Trails

the toughest course the fAstest runners the womAn who cAme in


AlissA st lAurent By eric Koreen  ISSUE 03 2016

GET iRun’s DIGITAL EDITION FREE: GO GREEN and get all the same content ... and more! Subscribe at DON’T MISS ANOTHER ISSUE! Go to for a complete list of the country’s best independent running stores where you can pick up your next copy of iRun for free!


Across the country and into the fray, your best snapshots of adventure and triumph from the nooks and crannies of the Canadian running world.






Chloe Cushman portrays the distinguishing characteristics of the country’s biggest, baddest and most bodacious trail runs.

An autobiography from Sarah BergeronLarouche, a Quebecois trail runner who heads into the woods to be free.

When Canada’s bestknown runner-activist doubles as iRunNation’s advice columnist, even our most elite runners chime in.

Jim Cuddy has been running for almost 40 years and no wonder he loves it — it’s how he met his wife; plus, Cuddy’s favourite playlist.

The life and times of Ray Zahab, iRun’s runner in chief who has done more than anyone to bring trail running out of the darkness and into the light.


iRun because I love to eat. — Meghan, Toronto







TRAIL OF TRANSFORMATION Jason Deluce, of the Night Terror Run Crew, changed his life in the woods. iRun’s guest editor documents his story

M Before trail running

After trail running

iRun to spend time with friends and to be healthy. — Alex, Montreal

y name is Jason Deluce, and I am pleased to be the guest editor of this trail edition of iRun. When I entered my 40s, living a sedentary lifestyle began to show. In July of 2014, I reached 230 pounds and found tying my shoes a chore. I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea and would be winded after a flight of stairs. I needed to get off the couch. Throughout grade school I was a runner. I was on the track and cross country teams and placed well. What happened? I determined that running should be easy enough to start doing again. What I thought would be like riding a bike, took effort and determination. Initially I was run/walking 5km, and the results were hard earned. Eventually I was running the full distance, losing weight and even getting quicker. My dad asked if I wanted to run a marathon. I thought he was crazy, but after some thought, I figured it was feasible given the amount of time I’d have to prepare. I followed a basic program, increasing distance and frequency. As I got closer to the marathon date, I had become a full running convert, and was seeking more challenges. I started reading how Dean Karnazes got into running — the trails started

calling my name. Two months after running my first marathon, I ran the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50-mile race at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood. Wow! I didn’t finish in my goal time, but how does one set a goal for something they’ve never done? Either way, I finished, and became hooked on trail running. Today I’m a Dirtbag Runners Ambassador and lead the trail chapter of the Night Terrors Run Crew (NTRC) in Toronto. NTRC Trails introduces urban runners to trail running and we’ve partnered with the North Face Endurance Challenge Series to set their Ontario race as our goal race for 2016. I’m running the 50mile race again this year and have set my goals higher, having signed up for a 125km race through the Charlevoix region of Quebec. Trail running isn’t really about distance or speed. For me, running trails takes me out of the day to day, and even takes me out of my own headspace. I’ve rediscovered a passion, while discovering a whole new me. Over the following pages, I encourage you to join me and do the same. Life can be different, and the trails can take you there. Jason @deluce_on_the_loose



Run Through Everything like It’s Nothing. Christine Blanchette on Joan Roch, the trail runner that has everyone talking

© 2016 Wolverine Outdoors, Inc.




2016 ISSUE 03

oan Roch is no ordinary elite ultra marathon trail runner; he combines functional with fast to achieve fantastic. One of North America’s fastest 100-mile runners, Roch gets his miles in like the rest of us — getting to and from work. “Running to work is a great way to see the city,” says Roch, who makes his way every day from his home in Longueil to his office in Montreal. “No matter what the weather is, I certainly prefer that to traffic.” Ultra-Ordinary, a Runner’s Diary, is the name of Roch’s new book and it’s a fun, revealing, plain-spoken account of how a father becomes an elite trail star while maintaining a regular life. (Recent blog posts feature titles like “3 Naps and an Ultra” and “Every day a Different World.”) “I started running in 2005 after I tried many sports, like hockey and golf, but I was bored with the training. Running is simple,” says Roch, who breaks the sport down into small pieces in his popular talk, The Attainable Ultramarathon. “There is no schedule, no partner and you’re free to do whatever you want to.” That Roch has climbed some of the running world’s highest mountains — winning

the Bromont Ultra, the Ultimate XC and snagging third at the Vermont 100 Mile — is even more remarkable given his trail running’s humble beginnings. His decision to start running wasn’t by choice. “I used to bike to work but my bike got stolen,” he says, with a laugh. “Little did I know that my running would evolve into something bigger.” It’s been all bigger and better since the Incident of the Stolen Bike and now Roch inspires others as an author, TED Talk speaker and running expert and ambassador. And he does the impossible while being accessible. Like everyone, he learns through trial and error — running through extreme heat and freezing temperatures. A lot of running, indeed. In the last 12 months alone, Roch completed the TransMartinique (10th), the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (209th), the Diagonale des Fous (355th), the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile (3rd), the Vermont 100 and the Quebec-Montreal 250K. Not bad for a guy with a full-time day job and that only adds to his lore. Roch is extremely popular on social networks, with an ever-growing base of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo and Strava. At this point, the guy has almost as many followers as he does finisher medals. He’s a sterling example of how to make trail running not only impactful, but fun.

iRun for the achievements of my goals and to push myself. — Ruth, Hamilton











iRun because my best ideas come on a long run. — Anna, Hamilton





AID STATION: Always appreciated.

FUEL: You’ll need it. It’s why you see trail runners geared up with hydration packs and belts. Those packs are often a cornicopia of energy gels, dried fruit, peanut butter sandwiches and jujubes.


BAD BEAVER ULTRA: Inaugural 2016 race, 3-day stage event in Gatineau Park, great for first multi-day race.


ENDURANCE TAP: An organic and nutritous energy gel made from three ingredients - pure Canadian maple syrup, ginger and salt. Also delicious on pancakes.

DNF: Did not finish. Better luck next time.

C 12

THE CHAN BROTHERS, ERIC AND PAUL:These beasts are going for a world record for the number of desert runs run in one year.

2016 ISSUE 03


MUD: Your new best friend.

GLIDE: Don’t be stingy with the Body Glide. Chaffing is the enemy.


HYPONATREMIA: Too much water, not enough sodium. A dangerous condition brought on by a water to salt imbalance that causes disorientation, tunnel vision and loss of coordination in its early stages.


ICE CHIPS: Extremely effective for cooling down your core temperature during a hot summer race. Pro tip: When racing, grab a few at an aid and put them under your hat to keep you cool for an extra kilometre or two.

LIMBERLOST CHALLENGE: Muskoka Ontario. Scenic, yet technical trail race that will have you splashing through creeks and scrambling over beaver dams in the wilds of Ontario cottage country.


JUREK, SCOTT: American ultra-runner often touting the benefits of a plant-based diet and current record holder for the fastest thru-hike of the full Appalachian Trail in 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes.

D K KARNAZES, DEAN, A.K.A. ULTRAMARATHON MAN: A popular ultramarathon runner, motivational speaker, North Face brand ambassador and all-around nice guy.

iRun at the age of 70 to stay physically and mentally health in the memory of my brother and sister. — Bernadine, Hamilton

NTRC TRAILS: Trail branch of Night Terrors Run Crew. Introducing urban runners to the trails.

TRAIL SHOES ARE NOT YOUR AVERAGE RUNNING SHOE: Compared to road shoes, they provide greater traction on precarious surfaces, are a lot tougher and can withstand a good beating, and for some unknown reason they always look better with dirt on them.


SINISTER 7 ULTRA: This relay and solo race cuts a course through 161km of rugged terrain in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta.

OUT AND BACK: Route planning lingo that indicates that you’ll be returning along the same path that you head out on.


POISON IVY: Poison oak, poison sumac. Know your leaves and steer clear of these top three itch-makers.

P iRun for fun and health. — Chris, Kitchener



ZION 100: The 100-mile ultramarathon race that cuts through the dreamy and surreal desert landscape of Zion National Park, Utah.

VERTICAL ASCENT: The total up-distance into the sky you will climb when running or racing routes over mountains and out of canyons. Used in a sentence “Whoa that vertical ascent looks like a real calf burne.r” (Related: Quad Buster).




UTHC (ULTRA-TRAIL DU HARRICANA CANADA): This multi-distance trail race with sprawling views of the St. Lawrence River and Laurentian mountains is held in the wilds surrounding Charlevoix, Quebec.


QW RECOVERY: Rest up as it’s an important part of any and all training plans. Don’t worry about missing a day, the trails will be waiting for your return.

QUAD BUSTER: A very long, and very steep downhill descent.


YOUNGBLOODS: Those fresh and enthusiastic first-time trail runners that sprint right off the start line and end up winded and walking halfway up the first climb, while seasoned veteran trail runners just trot right on by.

WEATHER: Trail runners are a tough bunch and will run through the worst of weather conditions, but if the forecast calls for lightning, best to let that storm pass before heading out.


XAVIER THÉVENARD: The 2015 winner of the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc who completed the prestigous 170km through the Alps in a time of 21 hours and 9 minutes.






18 27 17



14 25 15


1. Pick Your Poison Orillia, Ontario April 30 2. The Seaton Soaker Pickering, Ontario May 14 3. Sulphur Springs Trail Run Ancaster, Ontario May 28/29 4. Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence kingston/6-hour-race Kingston, Ontario June 4 5. Niagara Ultra Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

2016 ISSUE 03

June 18 6. MEC Ottawa Race 5 Gatineau Park, Quebec October 15 7. Sri Chinmoy Ultras Ottawa, Ontario SriChinmoyUltrasOttawa Ottawa, Quebec July 2 8. Trail du Coureur des Bois deDuchesnay Quebec City, Quebec May 23 9. Trail Valcartier Valcartier, Quebec May 14 10. Serie de Courses Vert

le Raid Quebec City, Quebec July 16 11. Uxbridge Half Marathon Uxbridge, Ontario April 17 12. Ultra Trail du Mont Albert - Canadian Skyrunning Festival Gaspesie National Park Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Quebec June 24 to 26 13. Ultra Trail du Bout du Monde Forillon National Park Gaspé, Québec September 23-24

14. Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run Vancouver North Shore, British Columbia July 9 15. Paavo Nurmi Run, Burnaby, British Columbia June 18 16. Tough Mudder Whistler Whistler, British Columbia June 18 17. Mud Hero Alberta alberta/ Calgary, Alberta August 5, 6, & 7 18. The Banff Jasper Relay Banff, Alberta

June 4 19. Canadian Death Race Grande Cache, Alberta July 16 20. Cabot Trail Relay Race Baddeck, Nova Scotia May 28 21. Not Since Moses Five Islands, Nova Scotia August 21 22. Rum Runners Relay Halifax, Nova Scotia September 24 23. Yukon River Trail Marathon Whitehorse, Yukon August 7 24. Tour du Lac Brome Lac Brome, Quebec June 17 25. Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race momar/ Cumberland, British Columbia September 24 26. Frostbite 50 Yellowknife, Northwest Territories March 18, 2017 27. Summit Run Prince Albert, Saskatchewan June 18, 2016 28. East Coast Ultra St. John’s, Newfoundland October 29, 2016

iRun because Terry Fox did a marathon for 143 days in a row. I can do this for a couple of hours! — Paula, Hamilton

12 13

9 10 8


24 6 1

11 2 3


21 22





iRun because that is the answer. — Allen, Mimico





unning the Canadian Death Race is an undertaking. The course is 125 kilometres long, but it is not simply a matter of navigating flat city streets or running around a track in excess of 300 times. Befitting the word “death,” completing the race involves dealing with more than 17,000 feet of elevation change, with all of the toll that comes with ascending and descending mountains attached. Depending on whether you are in town or in the mountains, or if it is night or day, it can feel like summer or winter. There have never been any incidents, but sometimes a runner will come across a bear. That would be distracting. Beyond that, there are time cutoffs along the way. Failure to meet a minimum time standard at any of those points results in not even getting to finish. It is easy to, at once, admire and fear for the sanity of anybody who manages to cross the finish line. Last summer, Alissa St. Laurent did not only finish the Death Race, but won it. In the 15year history of the Grande Cache, Alta. event, she is the first woman to do that, needing fewer than 14 hours to dust the field. A week later, the 31-year-old was back training with her pals at the Fast Trax Run and Ski Shop in Edmonton. Having just completed one of the most grueling races in the world, she was not in peak form. The Death Race saps a lot from your legs, and it takes a while to get that bounce back. Gary Poliquin, who had been running with St. Laurent for more than two years at the time, recalled that they were set to do a run nicknamed the “roller coaster.” You can probably figure out why.


2016 ISSUE 03

Meet Alissa St Laurent: She works in an accounting office and beat every other racer — including the men — at the most treacherous trail race in Canada By Eric Koreen • Photographs by Dave Holland

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

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


“When we got there, there were a couple of mountain bikers that were there. They kind of looked around and said, ‘OK, we’ll go ahead,’ in their snotty way,” Poliquin remembers. “As soon as they said that I said, ‘Oh no, crap.’ The mountain bikers took off. I knew as soon as they made that comment, Alissa was going to go after them. “We caught the first cyclist after about five minutes and he was in shock. We caught the second cyclist about five minutes after. He knew she was chasing him. He was going, and finally she just booked it past him. And it was kind of like, ‘la, la, la.’ It was one of those competitive things where it was like, ‘Oh no, he had to make the comment.’” In a way, the anecdote is counter to who St. Laurent is. She has won her share of races, but is not in it for the victories. With the Death Race win, she became an advocate for the potential of women in endurance races (and in other athletic endeavours), a position she is excited to find herself in. However, she does not run for medals, titles or causes. St. Laurent, almost comically, considers herself an “average” athlete. She had no high school or college background as a runner; her specialty was trail hiking, something she got used to growing up around the mountains of southern Alberta. She took up long-distance running in 2011 — “I still remember my first double-digit run. I ran 14 kilometres,” she says with a laugh — but normal marathons did not scratch a relentless itch. She quickly made the switch to trail ultramarathons. The trail part was a no-brainer. Given where she grew up, she calls mountains and valleys “home.” Poliquin says St. Laurent seems to “regenerate” after she returns from one of her frequent trips to the mountains for training sessions. Getting used to the extra distance was a bigger hurdle. “You just can’t fathom that (distance),” St. Laurent says. “I get the same questions: ‘Do you do that all in one day at lunch?’ I felt the exact same way. It was like, ‘I don’t even know how that is physically possible.’ But then you start hitting these milestones. I did a 50K and it didn’t kill me. I was back at it the next day. “Slowly you start setting bigger goals and changing what’s normal for you. It added up quickly. I realized that I kind of liked [it] more — the bigger, longer distances. It didn’t seem like that much work to be out there for that many hours. It surprised me. It did.” That it does not seem like much work to her is key to her rapid success. Sandwiching her job at an accountant’s office, St. Laurent wakes up at 6 a.m. each morning for shorter


2016 ISSUE 03

runs. There is always more to do after work, too, with longer runs and cross-training to improve her strength, particularly in her core muscles. St. Laurent calls herself kind of “nerdy” about her strength and mobility work. “From that consistency,” says Jack Cook, the owner of Fast Trax, “the results always come.” They certainly have. In addition to winning the Death Race, St. Laurent was the top woman in the 100-mile Sinister 7 in July, and set the women’s course record in the Cascade Crest 100 Mile race later in the year in Oregon. She professes to loving the 100-mile distance, and it is a struggle for her to keep her ambition in check. “We were a little concerned this past fall. You need a break. The body needs to take a break,” Poliquin says. “It can’t function at high levels (that consistently). It was totally against her will. I think it was bronchitis. Mother Nature said, ‘OK, Alissa, I’m going to kick the snot out of you so you can’t run.’ It was the best thing for her.”

“I definitely have respect for that distance. It does take a lot out of you,” St. Laurent says. “I know I’m limited to how many of those I can fit into my year. I’m trying to gradually work up to it. I’m in it for the long haul. I don’t need to cram everything into one year.” Since a disappointing performance at the International Association of Ultramarathoners Trail World Championships in France in May, St. Laurent has been focusing on improving her downhill running, deemed to be the difference between her and the leaders in that race. Poliquin now estimates her downhills are as strong as her uphills, a worrisome proposition for her opponents. She will return to France in August to run a 166-kilometre race at Mont Blanc, the highest point in the Alps. It is where she struggled last year. “It terrifies me,” St. Laurent says. “I want to do and see things like that — things that scare me.”

iRun for no other reason than to lead by example for my son and wife. — Chris, Toronto


Get on the starting line today at

MAY #LoveEveryMoment #RunOttawa2016

28 - 29








2016 ISSUE 03

iRun to be as happy and healthy as I can be to see my children grow and be healthy. — Allison, Hamilton




To submit a photo, tag iRunNation an @ d use the hash tag #ShareMyR un on Twitter or Instagram!

The places, faces and shoelaces of the Canadian running scene


18 Very brief cutline


@TORONTOFITMOM iRun to be a good role model for my kids. — Angela, Milton



L’ENDROIT OÙ J’AIME COURIR Sarah Bergeron-Larouche écrit une lettre d’amour au Québec rural



tudiante en chiropratique à l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières et membre de l’équipe élite Salomon, je suis une amoureuse de la montagne et du « no man’s land » . J’ai découvert le trail running, il y a bientôt 4 ans, et ce fut le vrai coup de foudre ! En sentier c’est tout simplement naturel : j’ai de l’entrain, de la vivacité ; les pieds se placent instinctivement ; j’ai l’impression de voler ; je rentre dans la zone, c’est presque « animal »! Tout le monde a sa raison personnelle de courir et les motifs sont aussi variés et uniques qu’il y a de personnes qui courent. Pour moi, une partie de ma motivation vient du sentiment de satisfaction et d’accomplissement, mais principalement de la découverte. En fait, la course en sentier m’amène à des endroits où je n’ai jamais été, autant sur le plan physique que mental. J’ai la chance de courir dans les plus belles trails du Québec et ça me donne envie de découvrir les plus beaux paysages sur terre. Mentalement, le trail m’amène à des endroits uniques, où je me sens vivre le moment présent. En fait, le trail devient mon

iRun pour trouver Dieu. — Leanne, Mississauga

excuse pour explorer des lieux que je n’ose imaginer et que je ne découvrirais pas autrement qu’à la course. Les pensées de Bernd Heinrich, biologiste, professeur et écrivain, au sujet des motifs qui nous poussent à courir me semblent logiques et rationnelles: « Pour une raison quelconque, la course semble naturelle. Ça ce rapproche de ce que plusieurs autres animaux font. Lorsque vous regardez des gens prendre le départ d’une course, poursuivant leur rêve, c’est comme s’ils partaient à la chasse à l’antilope. La course est mouvement extrême et significatif parce que le mouvement c’est l’essence même de la vie. Dans le mode de vie moderne, nous ne sommes plus des chasseurs et nous sommes déconnectés de que nous avions auparavant à faire. Pourtant au fond de nous, nous serons toujours des coureurs. » J’aspire à me mesurer de grandes figures du trail running, mais je désire rester équilibrée. En fait, j’admets que jongler entre les études et l’entraînement est un défi perpétuel. D’autant plus que le doctorat en chiropratique est le programme universitaire le plus lourd au

Canada en nombre de cours et de crédits (245 crédits; une moyenne 25 crédits par session). Par ailleurs, j’accumule quelques frustrations car il n’existe par de programme supportant les étudiants-athlètes (même que je suis réprimandée pour des absences suite à des participations aux championnats du monde). Cependant, je suis extrêmement chanceuse car j’ai l’équipe Salomon qui me soutient dans mes aspirations! Essentiellement, peu importe le niveau de performance, je veux entretenir la passion, la partager avec les autres et la transmettre à la prochaine génération. Le trail running c’est une grande famille, des gens passionnés avec des valeurs qui me rejoignent. Je ne me suis jamais sentie autant chez moi qu’avec une gang de « trail runners ». Et heureusement, la course est populaire et le trail gagne de nouveaux adeptes à chaque année. Membre de l’équipe élite Salomon et étudiante en chiropratique à l’Université du Québec à TroisRivières, Sarah Bergeron-Larouche a représenté le Canada aux championnats du monde, en Grande Bretagne en 2015 et en Pologne en 2013.



11 21

Elle me garde consciente du privilège que j’ai d’être capable de courir


Elle m’aide à apprécier les gens autour de moi

Elle me donne des sensations extrêmes


Elle me permet de consacrer du temps à moi, et moi seule

10 9

Elle m’oblige à travailler fort pour mes accomplissements


Elle éveille ma créativité

Elle me permet de manger deux tranches de gâteaux au lieu d’une




Elle me garde en forme, physiquement et mentalement


Elle me permet de faire partie d’une communauté des coureurs inclusive et passionnée

Elle m’aide à structurer ma vie


Elle me permet de réfléchir quand j’en ai le plus besoin


Elle me force à me dépasser





Elle améliore la qualité de mon sommeil Elle est une excellente manière d’explorer de nouveaux endroits


Elle peut être sociable ou solitaire


Qu’elle soit plaisante ou pas, elle n’est jamais inutile


Elle m’apporte du silence, externe et interne Elle m’oblige à aimer et soigner mon corps tel qu’il est


Elle me permet d’admirer mes propres progrès, et non ceux des autres


Elle me rend exactement ce que je lui donne

2016 ISSUE 03

21 RAISONS POUR LESQUELLES J’AIME INCONDITIONNELLEMENT LA COURSE À PIED Par Celeste Botton Certes, il y a des jours où je la déteste, où elle me frustre et me fatigue. Mais la course à pied restera toujours une passion qui m’encourage à être la meilleure version de moi-même, qui me permet de forger mon mental et de me battre pour ce que je veux accomplir. Rien ne peut remplacer la sensation d’avoir réussi un objectif qui semblait auparavant impossible! Alors voici les raisons qui font de la course à pied, ma plus belle histoire d’amour. iRun Parce que je peux! — Tara, Aurora


Elle m’oblige à passer du temps dehors






ujourd’hui je ne te parle pas seulement de te mettre à la course à pied car se mettre en forme veut aussi dire qu’il faut aussi combiner la façon de te nourrir! Dans ta décision de te prendre en main – pour lequel je te félicite cela dit en passant –, tu es tout seul… à moins que tu aies décidé de participer à des ronds de joufflus anonymes, pis c’est ton choix, et je le respecte. Quand je dis que t’es tout seul, je veux te faire comprendre que tu n’as rien à prouver à personne, que tu n’es pas dans une course à celui ou celle qui arrivera à son poids santé le premier. Trouve ton rythme de bonnes actions pour toi-même ! Fais régulièrement un p’tit effort de plus que la veille. Pis trouve-toi des trucs pour rester motivé et prendre du plaisir ailleurs que dans la bouffe. Ben, pour toi la femme, que dirais-tu par exemple de te faire une p’tite manucure pendant que tu regardes la télé. C’est plutôt plaisant, avoue ! Pis c’est ben meilleur pour ta santé que de te gaver de cochonneries. Ça n’a pas d’importance le nombre de pouces que tu vas perdre autour de la taille cette semaine. C’qui compte, c’est que tu ne te sentes pas fru et que tu te fasses plaisir. C’est de même que tu pourras conserver tes nouvelles habitudes et dire définitivement adieux à ton ancienne garde-robe. Plutôt que de te focuser sur les choses dont tu te prives, imagine plutôt celles que tu vas avoir… tsé, cette satisfaction personnelle, ce sentiment d’estime de soi, cette confiance en soi, p’tite victoire après p’tite victoire, livre après livre, pis ta future nouvelle p’tite jupette ou pour toi monsieur, un beau short sexy ! Intégrer durablement de nouvelles habitudes dans son quotidien, ça prend 21 jours. Alors, ne lâche pas à la première tentation ou à la première excuse trouvée ! Ne va surtout pas augmenter tes portions en te disant que t’as le droit, parce que t’as fait du sport… pis que, parce que t’as fait du sport, t’as bien mérité une p’tite récompense ! Courir plus pour manger plus, c’est pas un dicton Gagnon pantoute. Tu crois vraiment que toute la graisse et le sucre que tu viens de manger, ça va partir de même ? Dis-toi ben une chose : va falloir que tu cours pendant 26 minutes à 10 km/h pour éliminer ta portion de frites si tu n’veux pas qu’elle finisse drette dans ton péteux ! Ça vaut-tu vraiment la peine ? Pis, cerise sur le sundae, si tu comptes aussi ton hamburger que t’as pris sans condiments pour te donner bonne conscience, va falloir que t’ajoutes 32 minutes de course. Pis, si t’as pas le goût de courir parce que t’as du mal à digérer, ben il va falloir que tu marches pendant 1 heure 15 pour tes frites et 1 heure 30 pour ton hamburger. Ah oui, j’oubliais, quand il y a le mot salade dans ton choix, ça n’veut pas dire que c’est pas calorique, tsé une salade César… OUBLIE ÇA, c’est pire qu’un Big Mac ! OUBLIE LA MALBOUFFE, MANGE MOINS ET DEPENSE-TOI PLUS. Y’a rien de sorcier là-dedans, bout d’ciarge. Bon j’me répète d’une page à l’autre, mais c’est pour que ton cerveau l’enregistre solide ! Chu d’même moé, un vrai gourou !

iRun pour être heureuse! — Julie, Hamilton

Geneviève Gagnon, reconnu pour Cours Toutoune, est une journaliste populaire. Son site Web est CoursToutoune. com.

Dimanche, Mai 1 Demi-Marathon International Oasis de Levis Quebec, Quebec Samedi, Mai 7 Courir a Notre Sante Fondation Saint-Jerome Mirabel, Quebec Dimanche, Mai 8 Defi Gerard-Cote St-Hyacinthe, Quebec Dimanche, Mai 15 Course MEC Montreal #2 Montreal, Quebec Dimanche, Mai 22 Marathon SSQ de Longueuil Longueuil, Quebec Dimanche, Mai 22 Tour de la Pointe Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec Lundi, Mai 23 Trail du Courer des Bois de Duchesnay Quebec, Quebec Dimanche, Juin 5 Course dete des Iles de Boucherville Îles-de-Boucherville, Quebec Dimanche, Juin 5 Les petits pieds des Bouts de Chou Témiscaming, Quebec Dimanche, Juin 12 Pharmaprix Course Pour Les Femmes Montreal, Quebec Samedi, Juillet 9 Cancer Crusade Run Baie d’Urfe, Quebec Samedi, Août 6 DemiMarathon de L’Isle-Aux-Coudres Isle-Aux-Coudres Dimanche, Août 14 La Valse des Coureurs Laval, Quebec Dimanche, Août 14 Demi-Marathon de Mont-Tremblant Mont-Tremblant, Quebec Dimanche, Août 21 Demi-Marathon Bonneville de Lachine Montreal, Quebec Dimanche, Août 28 Marathon SSQ Levis-Quebec Quebec, Quebec Vendredi, Septembre 16 Pure Protein Night Race Montreal, Quebec Dimanche, Septembre 24 Wakefield Moonlight River Wakefield, Quebec Dimanche, Octobre 16 Cedars Run for Ovarian Cancer Montreal, Quebec




See the film at *Results reflect EVERUN material compared to traditional EVA. For comparative, testing and product information please visit 2016 ISSUE 03 26

Breakthrough Construction

Proud Sponsor

83% Energy Return*


EVERYONE FALLS DOWN. A WINNER IS SOMEONE WHO GETS UP AGAIN. Krista DuChene on her bumps and bruises and how she always gets back in the race And they’re off: Krista DuChene, centre, in bib #1, at the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington.



’ve had disappointments. My parents died of cancer, two years apart. I’ve felt sporting pain. I was playing hockey for the University of Guelph and we lost in the national bronze medal game. I was two minutes shy of the standard for the 2012 Olympic Games; I suffered from heat exhaustion and consequently my first ever Did Not Finish (DNF) at the 2013 World Championships; I became the second, not the first, fastest Canadian marathoner in 2013; and I suffered from three broken bones (on separate occasions) in as many years (2013, 2014, 2015). I still have so much to be thankful for. Since recovering from my last injury, having already achieved my 2016 Olympic standard, the goal was to build strength and speed over the winter and be named to the 2016 Olympic Games team. I would then take a break before commencing my build for Rio. I had two great races in which I could peak for this goal: the World Half Marathon Championships in late March or the Around the Bay 30K Road Race in early April. The closer I got, the fitter I became and the

more I wanted to make the World Half Marathon team, mainly for the international experience in an Olympic year. I had three half marathons on the racing calendar. I ran a solid 1:14 in Houston in January. A month later I expected to run a 1:13 in Vancouver, but nasty wind resulted in a 1:16. It didn’t bother me because I knew that in another three weeks I’d be able to run a 1:12 in Burlington. I was ready to prove it, but unfortunately due to the accumulation of interrupted sleep, which can happen when you have three kids and a dog, I succumbed to a terrible head and chest virus before the race. Crossing the line on March 6, the final day to qualify for the World Half Marathon team, with another 1:16 was a huge disappointment. I congratulated the winner and desperately sought an Advil, which was the first time I took anything for pain since my 2014 stress fracture. I then shed a few tears alone. I failed at successfully balancing my parenting and athletic careers. I was faced with another disappointment. I’m not comparing a disappointing race to the loss of a loved one, but acknowledging our

feelings is therapeutic for dealing with life’s letdowns. Denial. At the 2013 World Championships I was stumbling in the extreme heat while wanting to continue racing. My body was done, but my mind was not. An ambulance ride with smelling salts from Russians who didn’t speak English brought me to reality. It was a DNF. Later I learned 23 other women also DNF. Anger. At the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM), I ran faster than the previous 28-year-old Canadian record of 2:28:36, but 32 seconds behind the woman who beat me to it that day. I was the second fastest, not the first. Bargaining. At the 2013 World Championships I asked myself, “If only I adjusted my pace to the conditions, how would I have fared?” What if, what if, what if? To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered that much. Depression. After breaking my foot and withdrawing from my 2015 fall marathon, I was upset. This trial ended up being far more difficult, emotionally, than when I broke my leg. I reminded myself that God’s plan is better than mine.

iRun because it is the only way I can spend time with my “run-crazed” wife. — Bryan, Hamilton

Acceptance. While walking to the 2013 STWM awards with Silvia Ruegger, the previous Canadian record holder, I opened up about how I was disappointed to come in second. She spoke words of encouragement that I have treasured since. “It takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle, well.” It is not all about me. So what did I do after running a race that would not earn me a spot on the 2016 national half marathon team? How did I deal with another disappointment? I looked back to how I coped before in order to look forward. I returned to my family. I moped on the couch and allowed some selfpity. I had about an hour to do this before pulling myself together for my daughter’s fifth birthday party. I was not going to ruin that. And then I moved on, deciding to get back up again. 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.


Jean-Paul Bédard is a featured contributor to Huffington Post and his book Running Into Yourself will be released mid-May.

DEAR JP: What three pieces of advice would you give to someone for remaining healthy and injuryfree as a distance runner? What has worked for you in this regard? Sincerely, Nancy B., On, On Twitter @Nanceebee329



2016 ISSUE 03

DEAR NANCY: Running, like anything precious, needs to be nurtured. My three pieces of advice: First, focus on ‘consistency,’ establish running habits that you can maintain over the long haul. Second, unless you’re competing for the podium, be careful with the speed work and hill training. These things take a huge toll on the body. And finally, maintaining a healthy diet is critical to sustaining a rewarding running practice. I’ll also add that nurturing relationships within the running community both online and in person is another guarantee that running will be with you for years. DEAR JP: Before your purpose and cause were public, how were you able to manage the need to prioritize running over life’s other obligations, and the associated internal conflict between your work and hobby? Sincerely, Sandie O DEAR SANDIE: I started running shortly after entering a treatment program for drug and alcohol addiction. In effect, running provided me the ‘structure’ and ‘accountability’ that had been so sorely lacking in my life. I quickly discovered that in addition to feeling much better physically, the more consistent I was in adhering to my running practice, the more ‘present’ I was in my life in general. Running reminds me that you get out of life what you put into it. I’m conscious of the fact that runners live in the “real world” too, but when it comes down to it, I don’t really buy into this whole “worklife balance” thing. Instead, I reframe this by asking, “How can I bring a balanced life to my work?” And for me, that balance is attained by nurturing my creative and emotional soul through running.

How do you handle fuelling during training, especially at the start of a training phase if you’re a little “soft” around the edges? Sincerely, Lanni Marchant On Twitter @LJM5252 DEAR LANNI: One of my fondest memories from last year’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon was getting a big hug from Lanni as she made her way towards the start line. Having just completed two marathons, I was trying to stop shivering waiting for my third and final marathon, and here was Lanni looking full of joy. When I don’t fuel properly, two things happen — become more prone to injury, and the lethargy starts to kick in, and thus my motivation disappears. The way I get around this is to eat many small meals throughout the day rather than three big meals. This allows me to fuel my body more consistently, and thereby avoid the nutritional peaks and valleys that come with energy crashes.

DEAR JP: I’m susceptible to vicious calf cramps after about 30km. I’ve tried everything — stretching regularly, diet, magnesium tablets, salt. I generally end my marathons by walking the last kilometre or so! Any ideas, longer training runs? Sincerely, Tommy G. On Twitter @TommyGibson3 DEAR TOMMY: One of the common culprits of calf cramps is dehydration brought on by extreme endurance and the subsequent muscle fatigue. This may account for your experiencing the cramping at the latter stages of a race. A few years back, I was

iRun because I have a fear of triathlons. — Rachel, Copetown

To ask JP a question, go to and click on the box labelled “Fire Away!”

experiencing a similar issue. In addition to maintaining a regular hydration regimen, I hit all the hydration stations along the course, even the ones in the first few kilometres. The stricter hydration protocol appears to have solved my issue. Another hint is to speed up your tempo the moment you sense a calf cramp coming on. This fluctuation in tempo is often enough to ‘trick’ the calf muscle out of going into full-on spasm. DEAR JP: Even with the dusting of snow on the ground, we’re still in a transition between winter and spring. When it comes to running attire, what do you wear to stay warm but not too warm? Sincerely, John C. On Twitter @johncomar DEAR JOHN: Being the hardy Canadian lad I am, I wear shorts on my runs until the temperature drops below -5 degrees Celsius (or -9 with the wind chill). If you’ve ever watched professional cyclists prepare for their descent down the Alps or Pyrenees, you’ll notice that many of them grab a folded up newspaper to shove down the front of their racing jersey to help block the wind. When the winds are particularly cold, I shove a plastic bag (the ones that the newspapers are delivered in work best) down the front of my shorts, between my running underwear and shorts. And ‘yes’, before you ask … I am aware of windbreak running underwear, but this low-tech solution does the trick. Another piece of advice: make sure you have a comfortable running vest in your running arsenal. I wear my vest when the temperature ranges from 3 degrees to -9. As long as you’re moving, you’ll stay nice and warm. And remember the old running mantra: “There is no such thing as bad weather … just bad clothing choices.” DEAR JP: I set a lofty goal to qualify for Boston, within the next few years. I’m not nearly fast enough yet. My first marathon in 2014 was a humble 4:27:05. I turned 39 today. What top bits of advice bubble up for you? Sincerely, Wendy R. On Instagram @wender_runs DEAR WENDY: First off … Happy Birthday! The only people who appreciate ‘getting on in years’ are runners waiting to move up into their next Boston qualifying age category! I’m headed back to Boston for my 13th time in April, and I was nutty enough to do it twice on the same day a few years ago. Here are a few suggestions: 1) Analyze your training plan, and eliminate any of those junk miles. You want every run to count — tempos, hills, long slow runs, and recovery runs. 2) Train with faster runners. The best way to get faster is to run faster. 3) Break down your ultimate goal (qualifying for Boston) by setting bench-

iRun because I am grateful that I can! — Shivonne, Hamilton

In the months leading up to your Triple Toronto Waterfront Marathon, what was your longest training run? Also, your longest training day, if different? Sincerely, Reid Coolsaet On Twitter @ReidCoolsaet DEAR REID: I’ve trained for many ultra marathons, but last year’s triple Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon required a slightly different approach. Typically, ultras are run on trails and softer terrain; however, training for a triple road marathon meant that the majority of my training needed to be on asphalt. Consequently, I was leaving myself more prone to injury and as a result I increased the number of massages every month in order to help break down the accumulation of scar tissue. The other concern I had was with the psychological toll of having to run the same course three consecutive times — and after the fact, I don’t think I adequately prepared myself for that reality. Leading up to the race, I ran the entire course on two consecutive Sundays, but for this year’s attempt to do a triple double (I’ll be running the course twice on Friday, twice on Saturday, and twice again on race day), I have been shortening the route of my long runs to 20 km, but running that same route two or three times. It’s utterly mind numbing, but I know it will pay dividends on race day. I have to admit that the most exciting part of all of this is trying to figure it out along the way! marks along the way. For instance, you might consider setting an intermediate goal of taking significant time off your half marathon PB. 4) Whatever you do, make life easier for yourself by targeting a fast and relatively flat marathon course on which you can nail that Boston Qualifier. I’m partial to the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Ottawa and Hamilton’s Road 2 Hope Marathon.

DEAR JP: Have you ever tried guiding a visually impaired or blind athlete? Sincerely, Brian M. DEAR BRIAN: In August of 2014, I had the privilege of running for 13 hours as guide runner for my dear friend,

Rhonda-Marie Avery on her Envisions Run. Rhonda is a legally blind endurance athlete who ran the Bruce Trail in Ontario from end to end. That’s 885 km in 20 days! The section that we ran together was particularly technical and challenging, and there were many occasions when it was hard to see the “beauty” in such a grueling experience. But at the end of the day, my feet caked in mud, calf muscles twitching from half-a-day of navigating slippery, steep terrain, my achy middle-aged body could not help but feel joyful and proud to be a part of such an epic quest. I expect that Rhonda thinks I was helping her on that leg of her journey, but to be completely honest, I was the one who received a gift that day.




2016 ISSUE 03

iRun because I love being active. — Elizabeth, Toronto



Jim Cuddy has been running for almost 40 years and no wonder he loves it — it’s how met his wife


lue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy is a lot of things: an 11-time Juno award-winner, member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and a lifetime runner, who was more interested in the places that his band’s tour would take him than losing himself in the drugs and alcohol one generally associates with a touring rock band. Ben Kaplan caught up with Cuddy before he performs at this summer’s Band on the Run half marathon.

iRUN: I’m a connoisseur of great running stories, but the one about how you met your wife might take the cake. CUDDY: I was at Queen’s in my last year and two days before Reading week, 1978, I’m on the track stretching and all of the sudden, this woman ran by me with an unbelievably rosy glow. iRUN: A rosy glow? CUDDY: I waited for her afterwards and she buzzed off quickly, but I found out where she lived and asked her for breakfast. She asked me to her formal and we’ve been together ever since. iRUN: So, who’s faster? CUDDY: I was very, very moderately into running and she was very into it — she was in the phys. ed program. I only ran with her to burn off sexual desire. iRUN: Assuming by now you’ve burned that off, are you still running at 60? CUDDY: Yeah, I’ve found the recipe perfectly suited to me: I’m a big proponent of the 5 to 10 km run. I run for one CD. iRUN: What CD? CUDDY: A Hayden record is perfect. Sometimes the Beatles or the Stones, Wilco, but a Hayden record is 55 minutes and that’s a good length for me. iRUN: All-time favourite running song? CUDDY: Ron Hynes, “Godspeed.” One of the

iRun so that I can experience the ending. — Mrs. D, Hamilton

top 10 songs I’ve ever heard. iRUN: How does running work into the life of a rock band? CUDDY: It was when we were first touring, say 1991, and by that time I’m tired of the stuff we do as a band — tired of drinking and I don’t do dope — so I bought some shoes. I was in the southern U.S. and often we’re in nowhereland and I have zero sense of direction, I’m always lost. iRUN: That’s how it started? CUDDY: That’s how I started: I leave from our hotel wherever I am and get myself seriously lost — for years that would determine the length of my run, just trying to figure out where the hell I am.

iRUN: Your shoes have probably seen some things. CUDDY: I look at my shoes and say, ‘You’ve been across the desert in Sicily and you’ve been in Africa,’ and that’s fantastic to me. The strangeness. I ran around the Taj Mahal. iRUN: That’s a cool approach to running, all the places it can take you. CUDDY: When I run, I want my head on a swivel. I run everywhere in the world and it’s just, yeah, I love looking around. Jim Cuddy plays Band on the Run on June 11 in Muskoka and the Harvest Picnic, with the Rheostatics, Jann Arden and the Cowboy Junkies, on August 27.

This month, we asked readers to send in their best Blue Rodeo playlists and Jim Cuddy took them out on a run. His favourite is one that mixes genres and tempos and accentuates Canadian artists. Here’s Craig Newman’s Blue Rodeo-influenced playlist, and don’t forget to send your playlist in to iRunNation next month! “Back When We Had Nothing,” Banners “I’m Yours,” Alessia Cara “Are You Ready,” Blue Rodeo “You Belong to Me,” Bryan Adams “That Sweater,” Scott Helman “Stitches,” Shawn Mendes “America’s Sweetheart,” Elle King “Lay Your Hands on Me,” Dolly Parton “When The World Breaks,” Marc Scibilia “New Morning Sun,” Blue Rodeo

“It’s All Going to Pot,” Willie Nelson & Merle Haggart “The Park Avenue Sobriety Test,” Joel Plaskett “1975 (Wish I Was There),” James Fox Higgins “Youth,” Troye Sivan “Kiss The Sky,” The Knocks feat. Wyclef Jean “Brand New,” Ben Rector “I Don’t Want to Break Your Heart,” Coeur de pirate feat. Allan Kingdom “Spirits,” The Strumbellas “Skyscraper Soul,” Jim Cuddy


Built to add comfort to your active lifestyle. Patented moisture control from the bottom - up protects your feet and keeps you moving. Presenting: IRONMAN速 VELOCITY PRO 32

2016 ISSUE 03



Ray Zahab on his life off the streets



funny thing occurred to me the other day as I was doing my best to run one of the snow-covered trails by my place and stay upright. Here I am, struggling to run on what’s left of the packed ice as winter melts away to spring when I could be out on the road logging the training hours … but I’m not. It seems these past years I’m rarely on the road, even for my speed work I am on the trails. I really like trail running. Scratch that — I love trail running. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy road running. I like the races, the Ottawa Marathon, Calgary, Manitoba, they’re awesome — but there’s something about being in the woods, running trails in all seasons and all conditions, that draws me in. Maybe it’s the fact that for me, the training is much more specific. It takes me at least a year to train for one of my running expeditions, and getting used to being on unstable terrain is critical. When I ran across the Gobi desert in 2013, half of it was completely cross-country on a gnarly mix of rocks and sand. Believe it or not, the trails in Gatineau Park where I live (and the training trips to the White Mountains) helped me negotiate that desert, and lots of others. It’s about more than race times or adventure. At the risk of sounding hokey, I just love the way you feel more connected to nature. I love the unpredictability of the woods! I’ve seen bears, deer, coyotes, snakes and all sorts of amazing wildlife while running in Gatineau Park. I love the early morning runs, right after the kids are off to school, where the forest is

iRun to be healthy and fit. — Rosemary, Toronto

King of the Hill: Ray Zahab extolling the virtues of healthy living in the Italian Alps.

extra quiet — almost meditative. The early morning runs when the air just feels so pure and oxygenated. I love the rare evening runs I still head out in late spring, when the sun is setting, and I come home purged of stress, and totally relaxed and renewed. Spring presents a whole new aspect to trail running. Once the trails are packed, they are like running on a low impact highway through the forest. The exact same trails I run in summer look and feel completely different in spring. It’s like being transported to a whole new world. And then there’s snowshoe running. Insanely difficult and challenging, but insanely fun, too! As a matter of fact I feel way stronger on my runs come spring after snowshoe workouts in the winter. My daughters, although still very young, have taken to trail running, too. My wife runs ultramarathons, so I guess you could say it’s a family affair. Weekends in the summer are the

best for finding our own mini-adventures on the single track, with the kids leading the way, choosing their final destination (usually snack oriented). How do I get started trail running? That’s the question I get asked most by people who want to come up to Gatineau Park, or anywhere else where a network of trails exist. I get it. I remember my first trail run, being uncertain about what may lurk in the woods. My answer is always the same. Start out with trails that are the most travelled, graduate to more challenging trails over time, and before you know it, you’ll be running in places and terrain you never thought you would. And that’s when you’ll fall in love with trail running, too. Ray Zahab is the founder of Impossible2Possible. An ultra marathoner, public speaker and author of Running for My Life, Zahab is the iRun Runner in Chief.




Be a part of the first course change in 30 years … come and run the course in reverse. REGISTER TODAY!



Get on the starting line today at

MAY #LoveEveryMoment #RunOttawa2016

28 - 29





A round of applause for the everyday runner — the people who don’t have as much speed as the winners but have every bit as much heart


y theory is this: It’s harder to run a fivehour marathon than a three-hour marathon. I’m not saying speeding up is easier than slowing down. This isn’t about the same runner doing a couple of marathons at different paces. It’s about who has the more formidable, exhausting, gut-roiling, leg-shattering challenge: the elite runners at the front of the pack or the troupers at the back. Yes, I’m in awe of the elite runners who test their own limits and those of all humanity, including Canadian stars Krista DuChene, Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet. They’re rock stars who work like fiends to earn astonishingly fast times.


2016 ISSUE 03

But I’m even more inspired by the heroes who cross the finish line when the Olympians have already showered and checked out of their hotels. Think about it for a second: If you and I are each going as hard as we can and you’re out there for two hours longer than I am, then you’ve put in a much greater effort. I’m eating food and watching TV, while you’re still valiantly throwing one foot in front of the other. In most cases, what separates a 2:30 from a 4:30 finishing time is not effort, but capacity. In fact, both runners may be running at the same level of exertion. To put it another way, do you think Stephen Hawking got a 99 on his

high school physics exam just because he worked harder than someone who got a 75? A lot of it comes down to simple genetics. Even if I trained full-time for a year, I doubt I could break three hours. But some people manage it in their first attempt. I have a dartboard in my basement with one or two of their pictures on it. When I trained for my first marathon with the goal of breaking 4:15,

challenging. It took some considerable commitment and effort to shorten my marathon time. But knocking off a 32 km run took a lot less time. On race day, the faster the marathon, the less daunting the task felt. I’m not saying it stopped being difficult and painful. I’ve never run a marathon that didn’t hurt in the final seven kilometres. But the toughest marathons were the slowest. That’s why my advice to anyone thinking about running a debut marathon is to try to get a bit faster at the half-marathon first. Shaving a bit of time off your long runs can make the leap a little bit smaller. Elite runners are a special breed, and there are countless lessons we can learn from them. But few of them know what it’s like to be on the course five hours after the gun has gone off, working with less talent, but every bit as much heart and desire. We all have our dreams. Some of us just have to stay out there a bit longer to achieve them.

Mark Sutcliffe is the founder of iRun and the author of Why I Run: The Remarkable Journey of the Ordinary Runner. DOWNLOAD the iRun Podcasts: LISTEN to iRun | The Running Show: FOLLOW him on Twitter: @_marksutcliffe SEE excerpts of his book:

iRun because I want to push the limits and be the best I can be. — Tanis, Paris


Good times: A pack in pursuit of their dreams at the Manitoba Marathon.

the long runs were deadly. I’d show up at a clinic at 8:30 a.m., listen to a quick motivational chat, and then watch the faster runners head out the door, one group at a time. When our pace group was finally dispatched, it was usually about 8:50. If we were doing 29 or 32 kilometres, with walk breaks every 10 minutes, it might be 12:30 by the time we finished. Half the day was gone. And that’s not counting the two-hour nap I would need when I got home. (Fortunately, I didn’t have kids at the time.) In that first marathon, the halfway point was within a stone’s throw of the finish line. I had just passed it when I heard the announcer shouting “Here they come!” as the elite runners drove the final few hundred metres. I still had 20 km ahead of me. Are you telling me those Kenyans worked harder than I did that day? The more I trained, the faster I ran. And the faster I ran, the less toll the training took. That’s not to say the long runs weren’t

MEC RACE SERIES Everything you need in a race – low entry fees, marked routes on roads or trails, timed results and bananas at the finish. Find start lines in cities across Canada, all year long.


Half marathon


Register online Register




Kevin Wong

Barrie Ottawa*

Burlington Montreal

Calgary* North Vancouver

Edmonton* Toronto*

Halifax Vancouver*

Kelowna Victoria

Langley* Winnipeg

London* Quebec City