iRun issue 06 2017

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2017 ISSUE 06

NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER Catching up with Christine Gauthier, survivor, on the eve of her Army Run race Photograph by Ian Woo


hristine Gauthier was 17 when she enlisted in the army, and she immediately found the vocation appealing. Although she originally wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps by joining the police force, the military quickly turned into her second home. “I felt like I wouldn’t have fit in anywhere else,” says Gauthier, who found her service career cut short after sustaining a spinal cord injury in 1989. Despite her injury, Gauthier continued to serve—and to hurt herself—until, relegated to a wheelchair, she finally had to give up military life and focus full-time on her rehabilitation, both mental and physical. “I get up with the purest intention that each day is going to get better,” says Gauthier, 47, who has found solace in physical activity. It’s also elevated her to new heights, competing both at the Invictus Games and the Rio Olympics, where she competed for her country in paddling. “I know how bad things can get so I enjoy the good times and choose to focus on what’s good as opposed to what’s wrong.”

Each year, Gauthier attends the Canada Army Run, enjoying both the atmosphere and the competition. She feels comfortable among the gathered members of the military and appreciates the response she receives from the civilian racers, volunteers and fans. She also likes putting her wounded body through its paces. To be sure, Gauthier—who is participating in this year’s Vimy Challenge, both the 5K and 10K events— isn’t just satisfied with completing her race. She aims to win. “I sustain pain regardless, but somehow the pain in my body, while still aching, feels better when my mind and my heart are sane and happy,” says Gauthier of her approach to hard training and competition. “Everybody has to find their own balance but, for me, being overcautious isn’t helpful. The body’s one thing and the mind is one thing and when I’m racing, I feel awesome.” This weekend will see the running world descend on Ottawa for the 10th annual Canada Army Run, an event in which 100% of the proceeds are distributed to charities supporting wounded soldiers. Gauthier is one such soldier and, while she doesn’t want to speak on behalf of anybody but herself, she has a few words of wisdom for the members of iRun Nation: “Stop being afraid.” “The more active you are, the more you try and do, the more you push and get out of your comfort zone, at least for me, is the most ‘cured’ I feel,” Gauthier says. “No matter what happens, my approach is to try things. At least then I will have gone and done it, and that will lead to something else, and on and on. For me, that’s the best way to live.” Living with injuries has taken a lot of getting used to but her lessons have inspired many other people to get healthy, run and take on new challenges. Personally, Gauthier doesn’t see herself as a hero. She feels uncomfortable wearing that cape, especially when it comes to accomplishments in sports. She says what makes a hero is how a person conducts themself in real life. “I know I’m a good person. I’m generous, I’m honest, but I don’t think those attributes are heroic, that’s something everyone should do,” she says. When asked to name who she finds heroic, Gauthier lists general Roméo Dallaire and Prince Harry, founder of the Invictus Games. “Not for his born title, but for the man he has become despite his title. He’s a hero for the soldier that he was and for what he’s decided to do for others,” she says. “It’s great to see that some people with great ‘powers’ use them for the benefit of others in need. A hero is someone who tries to do the right thing.” This weekend, Gauthier will be trying to do the right thing as she competes in the 5K and half-marathon races. She’ll have spaghetti the evening before race day, a smoothie for breakfast and remain calm when she rolls onto the starting line. Maybe it comes from her military bearing, but Gauthier knows how to respond to pressure. “I approach the day like any other. In fact, the more stress there is, the better I am,” she says. “I’ve gotten to the point where I love competition. I simply feel more alive when I’m active and, you know what, we’re all going to die soon enough, anyways. We all might as well try really living for as long as we’re here.”





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THE HEART IS A RUNNER’S MOST VALUABLE TOOL Ben Kaplan chases Tommy Des Brisay, whose championship races are among his least impressive accomplishments



ommy Des Brisay is an elite runner and the winner of the 2016 Canada Army Run half marathon. He has severe autism and says running and competitive racing have become part of his overall approach to health and wellness. He runs because it makes him feel better. “Exercise is my fate,” says Des Brisay, 25, who responds best to questions when asked to put his answers into the framework of a story. A lover of Disney films and the meditative, repetitive routine of running (sound familiar?), Des Brisay spoke accompanied by his parents with iRun via a YouTube video from his Ottawa home. Questions were posed via Skype by competitive racer and Des Brisay’s former training partner Jen Perrault.

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the HERO ISSUE “A hero is someone you can count on, who supports you,” he says in response to being told that other runners see him as a hero, given how he manages his autism in such an inspiring fashion. Des Brisay was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, and started running with his father when he was 14. He was non-verbal until he was seven—the Disney films helped—and though he’s endured his share of challenges, he remains positive. Neither he nor his family trade in self-pity. Charismatic, he smiles often, laughs freely and visibly enjoys the time he spends running, and with his family and friends. When Des Brisay crosses a finish line—often in first place—he maintains the runner’s courtesy code of congratulating the other runners filing in after him. “No matter how different we all are or may seem, we all share the same thing: a wish to be included, understood, embraced and be part of the group,” says Mary Ann Given, Des Brisay’s mother, who’s been a force in his development and in building “lookyus,” Des Brisay’s YouTube channel, which has more than 17

We all have a wish to be recognized, encouraged and to feel we have contributed and made a difference.

million channel views. “We all have a wish to be recognized, encouraged and to feel we have contributed and made a difference. To be respected for who we are, and given a chance to show what we are capable of,” Given says. “Tommy’s wants are no different than anyone’s—he wants to receive approval, to have friends and be loved.” As Des Brisay’s race legend builds, his love from the running community has blossomed. He represented Canada at the World Para Athletic Championships in London this summer and last year he won the Canada Army Run half-marathon with a time of 1:12:24 (two minutes off his PB). Des Brisay’s currently eyeing the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games and maintains his speed and endurance alongside his father, a former competitive runner who helps him communicate with other runners and follow instructions, and also report his injuries and drink water while on a race course or in training. Running can be dangerous for Des Brisay because his visual and communication skills are impaired by autism.

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017 The Santa Shuffle is coming to a town near you! With 41 locations across Canada this 5K Fun Run and 1K Elf Walk is the perfect event to enjoy with your family and friends. Don’t forget to raise pledges in support of your local Salvation Army. Help make a difference, one step at a time.



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Against the wind: Tommy Des Brisay competing at the World Para Athletic Championships in London, England, July 23, 2017.

It’s not surprising how Des Brisay—who lives with severe anxiety and OCD—continuously leaves jaws dropped on a race course. But what makes him so special is how he seems to manage his private world. Sometimes he’ll giggle to himself when out on a run, pretending to be The Jungle Book’s Mowgli running from Shere Khan while songs from Aladdin play in his head. “I just had a real smile,” says Des Brisay of his time in London, where he finished in eighth place in the 5,000 metre event, which cemented his reputation as one of the world’s quickest racers. “I run with ‘cartoon legs,’ which means, ‘I go fast.’” Des Brisay’s parents help me understand the world through his eyes. His father, Peter, is his son’s bridge to his training club, the Ottawa Lions, and works with Athletics Canada to arrange his elite running training, including warm weather camp in Chula Vista and altitude practice in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“I allow him to be himself and bring his own unique personality to his training program and workouts and enjoy my time with him and show him my pride in his accomplishments,” Peter says. “I shadow him and take a step back as much as possible to encourage his independence, acting as a safety net, but allowing him to take to lead as much as possible. I feel Tommy’s greatest gift is the fact that he really truly enjoys running and the process of training and working out.” His mother, Mary Ann, seconds this theme. “We’ve learned that often one’s greatest challenges are also one’s biggest strengths. Tommy was always driven to move and run, and especially prone to bolt and run when agitated, which posed great difficulties in many ways, such as personal safety and being accommodated in the school system,” she says. “It reached the point where we sought a trained autism service dog to help with safety. However, when given the opportunity to

his use natural urge to run in a positive way, Tommy became an elite runner after years of training—his natural abilities have become his best assets in this journey.” The journey has no doubt been arduous and Des Brisay isn’t necessarily out of the woods. Hardships may come, injuries, poor health and the challenges that each of us, in our own way, must face. But Des Brisay is thoughtful, sweet and sincere, and once again lacing up his shoes for the Canada Army Run half-marathon. He doesn’t keep track of his race times and is able, somehow, to smile, even when facing difficult odds. It’s no wonder this runner from Ottawa has taken the sports world by storm. “I feel stronger all the time,” Des Brisay says. “I’m going to be the first fastest runner in the world.” To us, whether or not he accomplishes that—and, knowing Des Brisay, he very well may—he’ll still be the runner who inspires us to find our own next finish lines.


So light it’ll feel barely there, yet durable enough to protect you from wind and rain. Nike Women’s Impossibly Light Running Jacket, $120,

With a slim fit that is flattering and great for ease of movement. Reebok Women’s Vizocity Jacket, $120,


As it gets a little brisker outside—isn’t autumn the most lovely season for running?—pull on one of these jackets that are perfectly light and comfortable, providing just enough coverage for the falling temps By Karen Kwan

This red-hot number features a water-repellent finish, but with its slim fit, you can easily wear it as a mid-layer when the weather gets colder. MEC Women’s Waxwing Hybrid Jacket, $135,


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Thermal stretch fabric in all the right places—a.k.a. across your back and under your arms—to keep you comfortably warm. Saucony Women’s Vitarun Jacket, $150,

Stand out from the sea of monochromatically dressed runners in this pretty print. Adidas by Stella McCartney Women’s Run Adizero Nature Print Jacket, $250,

Foldable into its zip-up chest pocket, this piece is perfect for runs on days where the weather wavers frequently. New Balance Women’s Lite Packable Jacket, $125,


RUNNERS MEC is your home base for races, informative clinics and pace-friendly run crews. Tune your 10K time or level up to an ultra trail run – with support and great gear every step of the way. /run-events 2–15K

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“IT WON’T BE PRETTY, BUT I’LL GIVE IT MY ALL” Krista DuChene reports from the road of her marathon comeback


oday is our children’s first day back to school. Back in late July and early August when I was injured and only cross-training, I knew that if I was fairly consistently running by the beginning of school I would have a decent chance at completing the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM). But I also knew I would have a lot of quality work to do with no room for setbacks. Marathon day is


2017 ISSUE 06

Oct. 22, which is six weeks and five days away. Believe me, every day I know how much time I have left. I’m continuing to train for approximately two hours and 40 minutes, six days per week, with the majority of my workload still coming from the elliptical, pool and bike. The running kilometres are coming along and I am pleased with some of my initial workouts, but I must remain patient, every day. I have been known to run a half-marathon at goal marathon pace one month before racing. If all goes smoothly, I can usually gain significant fitness in about four weeks. But I’m not expecting anything overly fantastic, rather “decent” is the word I’m using. On Sept. 17, I plan to compete in the Army Run half-marathon. It won’t be pretty, but I’ll give it my all. My goal between now and then is to stick to coach Dave’s plan with continued 100% trust while safely transitioning from soft to harder running surfaces. I completely realize that I may have to throw in the towel and call it a season if there is any sort of glitch, but I’m certainly not afraid to put my head down and get the ugly work done if that’s all it takes. It’s incredible how you can log hours of cross-training and feel in OK shape, but go for a simple run and feel gassed! But like I said in my “What I’ve Learned Running Marathons” in the recently published iRun

magazine: “I’ve never been more motivated than during a return to running after an injury or pregnancy.” I can’t help but repeat how excited I am to be attending the Canada Army Run. Not only will I be able to test my fitness in our nation’s capital, but also learn so much more about the people involved in this incredible weekend. As the website states: “Since 2008, through proceeds and the fundraising efforts of participants, Canada Army Run has contributed more than $2 million to Soldier On and the Support Our Troops fund for programs that help ill and injured soldiers and military families in need. On behalf of our men and women in uniform – who do so much to keep us safe at home and abroad – THANK YOU!” Wow, what an amazing fundraising outcome for an even more amazing cause. As part of the Canada Army Run’s 10th anniversary, the hope is to make it the largest contribution ever this year. I’m so honoured to be part of this. Hope to see some of you there! 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 third. Her website is



DE TOUT COEUR AVEC L’INSTITUT Médaillée olympique Joannie Rochette sur le réconfort qu’elle trouve en courant pour une cause


n décembre dernier, j’ai décidé de m’associer à la Fondation de l’Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal puisqu’elle voulait, avec mon aide, faire le lancement d’un nouveau projet autour de la course à pied. Ce nouveau concept est vraiment original et nous croyons que cela va permettre à la Fondation de l’Institut de se démarquer parmi le grand nombre de courses caritatives déjà en place. Depuis le lancement de Cours pour le Cœur, il y a maintenant 9 mois, c’est plus de 100 participants qui ont décidé d’associer la course de leur choix à la lutte contre les maladies cardiovasculaires. C’est plus de 50 000 $ qui seront injectés dans la recherche, la prévention, l’enseignement et l’amélioration continue des soins prodigués aux patients de l’Institut de Cardiologie. Ce n’est qu’un début puisque la Fondation et moi-même visons les 250 coureurs d’ici la fin 2018.


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Participer à Cours pour le Coeur est en quelque sorte un « trois dans un » dans le sens où l’on fait une activité physique bénéfique pour notre santé qui par le fait même permet d’amasser des fonds pour la Fondation de l’Institut et surtout de sensibiliser la population face aux maladies cardiovasculaires. Vous devriez lire les témoignages que nous recevons! Des pères qui courent pour leurs enfants, des amis qui courent pour des proches et des femmes qui courent pour leur conjoint, c’est vraiment touchant. Prendre l’engagement de courir pour une cause devient essentiellement l’élément déclencheur qui pousse le coureur à atteindre ses objectifs sportifs et même à les dépasser. Finalement, pour moi, courir pour un être cher est aussi une façon de vivre un deuil d’une manière plus positive. Pour d’autres, c’est une opportunité d’honorer. Au fil des années, ma conception de la

course à pied a légèrement évolué. Lorsque j’étais en entraînement, pour mes compétitions de patinage artistique, c’était une séance d’échauffement avant de sauter sur la glace. C’était aussi l’occasion parfaite pour faire le vide et visualiser les différents mouvements techniques que j’aurais à exécuter. Maintenant, c’est mon activité de choix pour garder la forme, me ressourcer et à l’occasion…c’est ma façon d’honorer Thérèse, ma mère qui m’a quittée il y a quelques années suite à un malaise cardiaque. Je profite tout de même de ces moments, avec moi-même, pour me libérer l’esprit et l’instant d’un moment oublier les petits tracas de la vie. Que ce soit pour un membre de votre famille, un ami ou tout simplement pour appuyer une cause qui vous tient à cœur, Cours pour le Cœur permet aux marcheurs, aux coureurs et aux adeptes de courses extrêmes de s’inscrire à la course de leur choix et de se faire rembourser leur frais d’inscription en échange d’une collecte de fonds. Cours pour le Cœur, c’est gagnant-gagnant, mais c’est surtout une façon simple et originale d’ajouter un sens à votre sport favori. Joannie Rochette, Médaillée olympique et porte-parole de Cours pour le Cœur



Courez pour le cœur! Courez gratuitement! Que vous soyez marcheurs ou coureurs, Cours pour le Cœur vous invite à participer à la course de votre choix et remboursera vos frais d’inscription. Cours pour le Cœur, c’est gagnant – gagnant : vous acceptez de recueillir des fonds auprès de vos proches au bénéfice de la Fondation de l’Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal et celle-ci s’engage à rembourser vos frais d’inscription. Rehaussez la valeur de votre défi sportif en luttant contre les maladies cardiovasculaires, 1re cause de mortalité au pays et dans le monde, et en aidant les milliers de Québécois qui sont traités chaque année à l’Institut.

En vous inscrivant à Cours pour le Cœur vous aurez immédiatement accès à : Une page de collecte de fonds personnalisée pour joindre vos proches; Des outils pour faciliter vos communications auprès de vos proches et produisant des reçus officiels électroniques; Des conseils pour parfaire votre entraînement.

Lorsque vous aurez recueilli 200 $ et plus : Le remboursement de vos frais d’inscription à la course de votre choix; Un bracelet d’identification lumineux « Who Am I » aux couleurs de la Fondation.

Lorsque vous aurez recueilli 500 $ et plus : En plus des avantages mentionnés, vous aurez droit à une analyse biomécanique de course chez Cycle Technique (valeur 100 $)!

Cours pour le Cœur est un programme exclusif de la Fondation de l’Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal, destiné aux amateurs de course qui souhaitent appuyer une institution de recherche sur la santé du cœur de calibre international. Pour plus d’information, communiquez avec Marie-Josée Carroll au 514 376-3330, poste 2451

iRun Parce que je peux! — Tara, Aurora





Pour inspirer ses enfants, Josée Racine fait l’engagement de courir



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Josée Racine avec sa soeur jumelle Valérie dans leur ville natale de Montréal.

Je me trouve lourde et j’ai mal. Malgré toutes les courses, chaque début de compétition est un stress et je dois me convaincre que tout ira bien et que les 21 kilomètres fileront rapidement. Je dois toujours me pousser, je dois me rappeler que l’important c’est de le faire pour moi… même si ça fait très mal. Mais je continue, toujours. Mon père m’a appris que je n’étais pas pressé. Je ne compte pas battre un record. Je cours pour me rendre à la fin, pour le sentiment d’après. Je cours pour la fierté, pour mes enfants, pour l’exemple ! Je suis si heureuse d’entendre ma fille demander de venir courir avec moi et ma jumelle. Régulièrement je vais chercher mes enfants à la garderie à la course avec mon chariot double. Je pars avec des collations, des jeux pour le parc puis une fois embarqués ils connaissent le fonctionnement : la plus grande distribue les collations, ils profitent du paysage pendant que je pousse à la course. Maintenant

ils ont 2 et 5 ans et je pense que cet été sera le dernier parce qu’ils commencent à être drôlement lourd !! C’est merveilleux de penser que mes enfants voient une mère courir même par les plus grands froids, même avec une poussette double, même après une journée de travail. J’aime penser qu’ils apprendront qu’aucune excuse n’existe pour éviter le sport et la mise en forme. J’ai lu quelque part que chaque joggeur devrait se porter bénévole à une course afin d’être, à son tour, une aide pour les autres. Et c’est ce que j’ai fait et que je refais puisqu’il est vrai que tant de gens ont pris le temps de me tendre de l’eau, une banane ou me donner des directions… à moi de le faire aussi ! Une autre chose, en fait, que mon père m’a appris… c’est de saluer les autres joggeurs. Puisque nous sommes une petite communauté… levez la main, souriez ou faites un signe de la tête… Encourageons-nous !


’ai commencé à courir il y a déjà presque 15 ans. À l’époque c’était principalement pour la perte de poids puis le temps a fait son œuvre et la course est devenue une habitude. Depuis la première course je cours au côté de ma jumelle. Ensemble nous avons fait une dizaine de demi-marathons en placotant tout le long des 21km. Que ce soit une petite sortie ou une distance, nous sommes ensemble pour courir. Parfois parce qu’elle est occupé ou absente à cause d’une blessure, je pars courir seule et le sentiment n’est pas le même. La solitude est plus présente. Été, automne, hiver ou printemps je porte les vêtements en conséquence et je sors. Beau temps mauvaise temps, et même enceinte j’ai couru ! J’ai fait un demi-marathon enceinte. Mon mari est de loin mon meilleur supporter !! Il est venu à toutes mes courses. Même si nous devions partir hors de Montréal, il a fait la route avec moi. Même avec un bébé, il est venu me voir. Même avec deux enfants, ils sont venus me voir. Jamais il ne m’a fait sentir coupable de partir courir. Il m’encourage et me supporte. Il me demande comment à été ma course et si je me sens bien. Il n’est pas joggeur, mais il me connaît comme coureuse depuis le début de notre relation et il en connaît l’importance pour moi. Je sais que plusieurs diront que courir leur donne le temps de réfléchir… mais moi, après toutes ces années, je ne trouve pas que courir me laisse la tête vide. Je trouve courir difficile.

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




Xodus ISO2

Peregrine 7, outsole

Peregrine 7

XODUS ISO2, outsole


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KERRI ANDREAS, XODUS ISO2 Most of my run club jumped on the trail running bandwagon this summer and I found myself signed up for the marathon relay at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Collingwood. Now, I don’t run a lot of trails, so I didn’t think getting a pair of trail shoes would be worth it. Don’t tell my team, but I probably wasted a minute or two stopping to scrape mud from my shoes so that I wouldn’t slip (I still slipped). I put these shoes to the test the morning after an aggressive tempo workout. My heavy legs made me nervous to attempt a technical trail, but I was pleasantly surprised. The PWR TRAC tread gripped even the most slippery sections, and the light, neutral shoe, with a roomy toebox, made the rocky terrain feel flat. The upper’s uses Saucony’s ISOFIT, a stretchy fabric that wraps your foot like a sock. No wonder these shoes are from Saucony’s RunAnywhere line—with a pair on your feet, you definitely can.

The 8 mm lugs on these shoes shed mud efficiently, keeping my feet light on the trail. No more mud-packed soles weighing you down—a great combination of comfort, performance and style. I love the wide toe box as it allows my feet to grip the ground and keeps me stable, even on tough terrain. Unlike many trail shoes, these don’t incorporate mesh into the uppers. This is a huge advantage for warmth—I’m looking at you, winter!— and moisture shedding. While they don’t claim to be waterproof, they withstand mud and splashes, keeping your toes toasty and dry. The toggle lacing system was also a pleasant surprise. I’m one of those runners who can’t be bothered to untie my shoes, and I think this toggle system was designed with me in mind. Finally, the 4 mm heel-to-toe offset, responsive cushioning and neutral pronation offer comfort without compromising the feel of the trail under your feet. And they’re all tied up with bright colours that really pop on the trail.

ALEX FLINT, THE TRAIL KING, KOA ST Trail running is often half soothing bliss and half perilous adventure. My shoes made the adventure feel blissful and perilous soothing. Designed for the roughest surfaces with 8 mm lugs, traction was never an issue, and the shoes know it— they proudly have "MUD" printed right on the side. Minimalist shoe fans will love these, with a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop and neutral pronation. As always, Saucony’s EVERUN topsole is a comfortable ride and the toe box fit my wide feet really well. Probably my favourite feature is the triathlon-style toggle lacing system. They’re quick to pull on and tighten and, almost as importantly, they’re easy to take off when you’re ready to put your feet up. Although the Koa ST isn’t the smallest or lightest trail shoe, the impressive tread, handy lacing system and comfortable ride make them worth every ounce. Whether you’re new to the trails and want to protect your feet from rocks or a seasoned ultra-runner with a foot-long beard, I recommend giving these Sauconys a spin.




ALYSSA CHEUNG, PEREGRINE 7 I ran through Crothers Woods, where the trail conditions were dry and solid. Being a regular in that area on two wheels, I was looking forward to getting to run it. My first reaction putting on the Peregrine 7s was how light it was. A rugged-looking shoe which provided the support they did, I was surprised at how comfortable they were. The shoe felt like a glove! I have feet on the wider side and the shoe felt good, with room for my toes to spread. The grips on the shoe did its job perfectly, no slipping on descents or climbs and my foot felt protected from the trail. The upper was also very breathable with an even distribution of lacing around the shoe. My feet felt locked down with no extra pressure points anywhere on my foot. Overall, it felt like an easy transition into the Saucony Peregrine 7 from my Saucony road shoes. Comfortable, stable and supportive.

Being a city-slicking road runner, there was only one place to look for guidance— trail king Alex Flint. We jaunted over to Toronto’s High Park, which boasts a short trail network. The first thing that jumps out at one new to trail shoes is the thick tread system. Along concrete, I felt shaky, but I wasn’t using the shoe for its intended purpose. On the trails, the story was different. Learning to adjust with the terrain, the shoe didn’t feel like an awkward pair of hiking boots. I was flowing down long descents without fear of going face first in the dirt and trusting my shoes. The grip was excellent and felt natural. Flint said the different styles of treads made each pair suited to different conditions. Mine, with smaller treads, were ideally suited to trails like those in High Park, which were less muddy and gravelly. For a trail shoe to feel so quickly comfortable and make unfamiliar surroundings feel manageable is the best endorsement I can give.

BEN KAPLAN, XODUS ISO 2 Kinda like taking an SUV on the 401: more shoe than I need, but a fun ride nevertheless. I’m in the backwoods of High Park swashbuckling through tree stumps and mud and the terrain feels as soft as a track. It’s a soft landing in a neutral shoe with enough padding to take me over a live volcano, and yet the ride doesn’t feel heavy or restrictive. Will I run over fire, through streams, across hot lava? Time will tell. But if I do, I have the shoes. The laces stay tied and, despite the sturdy composition, the shoe’s lighter than my six-year-old’s backpack. The trail run finishes up at a bar with vegan food and beautiful people, and the dark blue and red sneaker doesn’t embarrass me or my friends. To conclude, the Xodus has a rubber outsole and medium-thick treading, designed to repel rocks, muds and snakes. The upper, which is synthetic, wraps snugly to the ankle, like my sixyear-old on her first day of school.


ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, SPORTSTATS AND IRUN ARE TEAMING UP WITH CANADA’S BEST RACES TO PUT ON A SERIOUSLY FUN FINISHER’S AFTER-PARTY The first 100 guests receive a free pint of Legion Lager!! WHO You! The party is open to everyone: participants, their loved ones and anyone else who’s down for the cause WHAT The Official Canada Army Run after-party WHERE Royal Canadian Region Branch 351, 330 Kent Street, Ottawa WHEN Sunday, September 17. 1-4 p.m.


Darren’s ‘Courageous Hope’ Marathon Raising Funds for Sudbury’s Mental Health Needs Darren’s ‘Courageous Hope’ Marathon Raising Funds for Sudbury’s Mental Health Needs A Sudbury man, Darren Parker, who was inspired by a local youth mental health 5k fundraising initiative in his hometown last April has rallied around the cause to raise much-needed funds. Darren, 51, calls his campaign the “Courageous Hope” Marathon. He says “for a period of time I retreated and remained quiet and tucked away (from talking about mental health). I was inspired by the Team Unbreakable Spring Open and I am extremely motivated to once again engage openly.” The Sudbury 5k run was named after Team Unbreakable, a very successful run therapy and run wellness program operating in schools, hospitals, and family youth clinics in the Greater Toronto Area and several regional hubs. You can donate to Darren’s campaign by going to his fundraising site, click here. “My personal story has been impacted (either directly or indirectly) by mental illness, suicide, and addictive behaviors since I was 17 years old. I have lost several members of our family to suicide. I am in large part running this marathon in the fall (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon) for all of us who have been impacted one way or another by mental illness. I am running for the individual who feels lost and alone in the midst of a social world. I am running for the one who is contemplating harming themselves. I am running for those who turn to substance use as a means to cope with life’s realities. I am running for the surviving family members and friends of those who have succumbed to suicide. I am running for those who are no longer with us.” What originally started off with Darren running his first marathon, has morphed into something bigger. Friends and runners in Strava (social network for athletes) have formed the ‘Toronto Bound – STWM 2017’ group combining their efforts to “raise awareness and break stigma one kilometer at a time.” One of Darren’s motivating core values is that living a life with mental illness is a life worth living. He further describes this as “… one that requires courageous hope… to keep living our lives with passion and vibrancy.” For more information about Team Unbreakable and its umbrella charity CameronHelps to stay informed of their activities, click here.

WHY DO YOU RUN? Team UNBREAKABLE runners train together in a healthy and supportive environment to complete a 5km goal event and learn valuable coping skills for better mental health.

To learn more go to



PERSPECTIVE Celebrating 10 years of grit, Mark Sutcliffe raises his hat to a uniquely inspiring event


hen the athlete to your left is running on one leg; when there’s a veteran handcycling through the course somewhere ahead of you; when there are men and women slogging through in full uniform including heavy military backpacks; then you, the hobby runner testing yourself for your own self-fulfilment, certainly have no excuses. You’re going to stop, or complain about sore calves, when the guy who lost two limbs in Afghanistan keeps going? I don’t think so. There’s a member of the Canadian Armed Forces waiting with a set of dog tags for you at the finish line. All that’s expected of you is to meet him there. After all these people did for all of us, the least you can do is finish a 5K or half-marathon. That unparalleled form of inspiration is just part of the enduring appeal of the Canada Army Run, celebrating its 10th edition this year in Ottawa. You are surrounded by many people for whom the race is not even the most difficult thing they have done this week. Most races hand out water and sports drinks. The Army Run serves up a heaping dose of perspective for the runner with civilian, first-world problems. It’s an event that came along at just the right moment. In a period of relative peace before 2001, Canadians had a somewhat indifferent


2017 ISSUE 06

relationship with their military. We wore poppies each November to honour our heroes from 20th century wars, but many of us saw overt pride in the modern military as showy, jingoistic, overly patriotic and, in a word, American. We defined ourselves, with a bit of revisionist history, as a nation of peacekeepers, not warriors. We appreciated the Canadian Armed Forces but we didn’t make a big deal about it. All that changed when we began sending men and women to Afghanistan, some of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice. Suddenly, our Remembrance Day ceremonies were no longer about the distant past. By 2007, a year before the first Army Run, a stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario had been designated as the Highway of Heroes. When I ran in that first Army Run, I witnessed the inspiring surroundings, the powerful imagery of injured soldiers and military leaders running alongside the people they served. The cheers from the crowd and the stretches of silence each seemed to carry more weight and poignancy. It made the race an instant classic. Yes, there are lots of nice military touches, like the cannon in place of a starter’s pistol. But what stands out most is the camaraderie. At any

race there are words of encouragement passed between strangers, quick moments of support and solidarity. But here, over and over again, I have heard two words: Thank you. The Army Run has become a symbol of a deepening relationship between a country and its bravest servants, an outlet, an opportunity. Among so many races that offer a very similar experience in slightly different surroundings, the Army Run is unique. As a result, the race has been one of the fastest growing on the continent, known all over the country. When I’m at an expo in Toronto or Hamilton and I say I’m from Ottawa, one of the first responses is often a memory from the Army Run or the expression of a desire to run it. Members of the military will tell you that the chance to run with civilians means as much to them as it does to us, that the gratitude runs both ways. We can’t possibly understand the challenges faced by our men and women in uniform but at least, for a short time, we can travel the same road together.

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 to him on 1310 News and Rogers TV Ottawa FOLLOW him on Twitter: @_marksutcliffe SEE excerpts of his book:



“This book captures exactly why Boston is the most prestigious and most cherished race on the planet.” Bart Yasso, Chief Running Officer of Runner’s World


By the founder of iRun magazine and the author of Why I Run and Canada’s Magnificent Marathon. Lead sponsor

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. BUT WORTH IT. LONG ROAD TO BOSTON IS A must-read for anyone who dreams of running the Boston Marathon.

Presenting sponsors

September 23, 2017

Run Wild at the Toronto Zoo! Register to run or fundraise at Connect with the running community:


Let’s Go Toronto! • Registration now open Connect with the running community:

#STWM #runScotia


October 22, 2017

2017 National Marathon Championships

The greatest races are the ones that we all do together. Corporal Timothy Corcoran 27, Victoria, B.C. Cpl. Corcoran has an important job in the Canadian military—medic tending to our soldiers. “My great grandfather and great uncle were in the Second World War. I wanted to serve,” says Corcoran. “I’m proud to be in the Canadian military.” BMO was the first bank that Corcoran had an account with, and he enjoys his monthly breaks on mortgage payments. “It’s nice to know there’s a bank you can trust,” he says. “I like running outside and I like knowing that my money is safe.” Corporal Stuart Macneil 31, Esquimalt, B.C. “Mostly I like running for the adrenaline rush,” says Macneil. “There’s nothing like the Army Run—you see the guys in their wheelchairs and that’s all the inspiration you need.” Macneil was skeptical about BMO—he thought their free offer to servicemen was too good too be true—but he conducted his research. “I’ve been happy ever since.” These days Macneil mostly runs trails in Victoria, but he’s looking to return to the Army Run. “The community feeling is like nothing else out there in the world.”

Tina Wibe 61, Ottawa, Ont. For Wibe’s 35th anniversary as a BMO employee, she’s running the BMO Vancouver Marathon Relay with her family. “Through BMO I got connected to the Army Run and I’ve run ever since,” she says. Last year, Wibe helped recruit 60 runners and 150 volunteers for the Army Run. For her, the bank and the sport are about community and good health. “Part of it is the endorphins and part of it is that I love food and I love wine,” she says. “Running enables me to enjoy them both.” Tommy Des Brisay 25, Ottawa, Ont. Tommy represented Canada at the World Para Athletic Championships as a T20 runner. Last year, he won the half marathon at the Army Run. “One’s greatest challenges are one’s biggest strengths,” says Mary Ann Given, Tommy’s mom. The running, along with Tommy’s YouTube channel, “lookyus,” with 17-million channel views, inspires Canadians. Tommy, who banks with BMO, is the pride of his sport. “Running has given Tommy endless opportunities,” says Mary Ann. “A sense of personal pride, a chance to shine with his accomplishments.”

Proudly serving the Defence Community.

BMO Bank of Montreal is proud to be the Official Bank of the Canadian Defence Community and the Presenting Sponsor of the Canada Army Run. Through community involvement, sponsorships, and serving the unique banking needs of the community, BMO is here to help.


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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