issue01 2017

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THE FUTURE IS Lanni Marchant breaks down barriers and records in her quest to remake her sport


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2017 ISSUE 01


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EDITOR AT LARGE Karen Kwan RUNNER IN CHIEF Ray Zahab ASSISTANT EDITOR Priya Ramanujam STAFF WRITER Ravi Singh 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





ILLUSTRATOR Chloe Cushman STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Colin Medley iRun is a publication of Sportstats World CEO Marc Roy Canada Post Publications PM42950018 Sportstats 155 Colonnade Rd. #18 Ottawa, ON K2E 7K1 (Canada) 613.260.0994

THE FUTURE IS Lanni Marchant breaks down barriers and records in her quest to remake her sport

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WOMEN WHO Cory Freedman

Kelly Arnott

Dayna Chicoine

Susan Marsh

Caroline Kromlov


Chantal Lachance

Kirsten Fleming

Charlotte Brookes

Chantal D’Agostino


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October 22, 2017

2017 National Marathon Championships




irsten Fleming was at a Running USA conference two years ago when it first occurred to her. The executive director of the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon was attending an all-female panel when the moderators asked every race director in the room to stand up. The moderators then asked participants to sit down if their team was composed of less than 20 per cent women. Then 50 per cent. And so on. The point of the exercise was to highlight how men still dominate the industry. But Fleming noticed something intriguing when it was over. “I looked around the room and it was actually Canadian race directors that were still standing,” she says. The country is flush with female race directors and women in top race leadership positions. Ladies run the show or help to do so at several major road races across the country, from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon to Toronto, Hamilton and rural Nova Scotia. Fleming’s team has five women and one man. “I have never known anything else besides my female team,” says Fleming. But it wasn’t always this way. When Cory Freedman directed her first race for the YMCA in 1989, there were few other women in her position. “At the beginning there were so few of us we became fast friends with each other,” the 52-year-old says. The longtime triathlete and runner now has her own event management company called MAX VO2, which puts on the Toronto Women’s Run Series and the Sporting Life 10K. “Over the years what I’ve seen is that more and more women are the race directors as the sport continues to grow,” she says. In 2005, Mary Wittenberg made history as the first female director of a major international marathon when she was named president and chief executive of the New York Road Runners. Even three years later, when Susan Marsh started working in the industry, the marketing director at Run Ottawa still wasn’t aware of a lot of other women in positions like hers. And the 48-year-old, who has a background in competitive sports, wants to see more. “Running stats prove that women are leading the charge, so it would be great to have more women in leadership roles, it could make a difference.” The trend follows the huge influx of women in running over the past couple of decades, but Freedman also thinks it has to do with how races have changed. Organizing one used to be simpler. You blocked off a road, added pylons and printed out some shirts. Men traditionally took on these logistics-heavy jobs. But a race is now an experience. Handling one also includes marketing, fundraising, enrolling volunteers, bringing on sponsors, juggling staff, general relationship-building — all skills that Freedman thinks women possess in spades. “I think as the business has expanded, the roles and the expertise

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To serve and protect: Anna Lewis is the new race director of the 123-year-old Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton.


needed to lead the races has grown, and a lot of the time, it’s the women who are doing all of that.” Freedman says many of these women cut their teeth in fundraising, marketing and event planning and have the right kinds of skills. “I also feel that women understand and appreciate the various reasons why someone wants to participate in a race, volunteer, fundraise or sponsor a race.” Anna Lewis is one. The new director of the 123-year-old Around the Bay in Hamilton took over from Mike Zajczenko last year after he’d run the show for nearly 20 years. She previously worked as the director of special events and community partnerships at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation, which is the race’s charity partner. The 42-year-old had worked closely with the race organizers for more than a decade and started running because of Around the Bay. “So it was a really good fit because I shared the same goals and vision,” she says. Michelle Kempton, who organizes the Maritime Race Weekend, thinks many of the women in these positions are well-suited to such a demanding gig because they were already working their butts off in previous careers. “These women are already at the top of their game,” she says. Kempton, 43, created her pirate-themed



Nova Scotia event five years ago, leaving a senior IT job she no longer loved for a frenzy of designing medals, ordering T-shirts, writing letters, and meetings with officials. Skills from her previous career translated perfectly to managing a race. “Basically you’re an event organizer,” she says. “The fact that I’m a runner is a bonus.” Fleming thinks the societal push towards finding satisfying work has something to do with the trend in Canada. “You’re constantly being pulled to find something you love, do something you love, and there’s so many more women runners, that it seems only natural that they would have sought out jobs in the industry.” All of these women say they’ve been well supported by their male colleagues, but have other reasons they worried they wouldn’t be taken seriously. You’d expect that Charlotte Brookes, the daughter of Canadian industry veteran Alan








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Brookes, would hear some grumbling after she started working for Canada Running Series in 2005, when she was in her early 20s. “I think the gender thing probably didn’t play a huge role in people’s perception of me — probably not as much as the nepotism or the age,” she says. She’s been involved in the Canadian running industry since childhood, helping out at expos. “I was a little entrepreneur and workaholic at the age of five.” But she worked hard to prove herself, and at age 32, is now the event director for Canada Running Series, which runs events like the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. She handles the race-day command centres and oversees the division that handles volunteers, charities and participant services. She feels she brings a sense of calm and pragmatism to the often chaotic command centres. “Naturally, we [women] are a lot more organized,” she says. Kempton didn’t worry that she’d be judged on her gender either. She was more concerned about the fact that she was a curvy, middleto-back-of-the-pack runner who only took up the sport three years beforehand. But the 43-year-old has a unique insight into what the average female runner wants, particularly gear that fits them and is tailored to their figures. “As a plus-size woman, when I do a race, and they only go up to size large, I don’t get a shirt,” she says. Fleming, like Brookes, also worried that people would focus on her age. The former broadcast journalist started working at the Calgary Marathon doing media contract work, and in 2012, became the executive director. She’s now 34. “The first year [in 2012] my motto was ‘fake it ‘til you make it,’ the second year, was sort of still faking it—but making it, too.” It is a tough gig — both Fleming and Brookes say they don’t have as much time to run as they used to, and Kempton says she relies on her husband to take care of their twins when she’s on the road. The frenzy of race day can also be overwhelming — she jokes that she doesn’t eat until all the events are over. However, Lewis says she loves the flexibility and work-life balance the job provides. “I’m able to pick up my kids from school, I’m able to participate as a parent volunteer at school, I’m just more available to them,” she says. There are two big stereotypes about how powerful women treat each other — that they’re catty, and that they love to work together. These ladies believe only the latter applies. Kempton has developed friendships with many of the other female race directors. “I think there’s a sort of sisterhood among female race directors, that we lean on each other.” They also help out at each other’s races and share ideas and best practices. “Michelle would pick up Tim Hortons with me on race day at 3 a.m.,” says Brookes.


Ottawa marketing director Marsh doesn’t really like to talk gender. “Once we start highlighting an issue, it really deflects from the team atmosphere,” she says. While it may seem like women are outdoing men in the industry, Marsh says it wasn’t too long ago that women were excluded from major competitions. The Olympic Games didn’t have a women’s marathon event until 1984. “We weren’t looked at as worthy of competition, because it may damage us in some capacity.” When Brookes was in her early 20s, she went out for drinks with a group after a race expo. An American male race director was making some off-colour comments. She told him to cut it out. His response? “You’re living in a man’s world now, Charlotte, you better get used to it.” That statement isn’t accurate anymore.

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THE FUTURE IS FEMALE Lanni Marchant is arguably the most popular Canadian runner since Terry Fox. Amy Friel talks to the 32 year old on how she’s pulling no punches as she’s changing the sport. Photography by Kevin Van Paassen

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anni Marchant’s marathon legacy was born a daydream. It was 1996, an early morning in the high heat of summer. On the television set in the Marchant family home played a live broadcast of the Atlanta Games; Ethiopia, Russia, Germany, and Japan, locked in a contentious battle for gold. Women’s marathoning was still in its infancy, having gained inclusion on the Olympic program little more than a decade before. But the race showed no shortage of competitive depth. These women, the broadcaster explained, were running faster for twenty-six miles than most human beings, male or female, could run for even one. It was a passing remark, but it seized upon the imagination of the then-12-year-old Marchant. Where other viewers might have seen trivia, she saw a challenge. “I remember hearing that and thinking, oh no, I can do that,” she recalls, laughing a little at the memory. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I was still a figure skater at the time — I didn’t even know how far a mile was.” It would be years before Marchant would make the leap to distance running, and longer still before her transition from runner to marathoner would end a decades-long Olympic drought for Canada, shattering a 28-year-old national record in the process. It would be years before the athlete, unwilling to capitulate in the face of rigorous and often arbitrary qualification standards, would echo the headstrong words of her 12-year-old self to race directors, coaches, and competitors alike: “I can do that.” Marchant’s mythology is as much a story of athletic endeavour as it is of grassroots advocacy. A criminal defence lawyer by training, the Canadian record holder cemented her reputation as something of a firebrand, after she famously waged a number of high-profile battles with Athletics Canada, her governing body. Her hardfought journey from underdog to Olympian has


2017 ISSUE 01

been both tumultuous and controversial, and one that has left her with no regrets. “I somehow got this reputation for poking bears,” she says. “But I’m happy I did it, because nobody was doing it before. I don’t mean that to be disrespectful to the women that came before me, but they’d file their appeals, and they’d be told no, and they’d go away. And I think with Krista [DuChene] and I — we didn’t go away.” The top female marathoners in a country with notoriously exacting Olympic standards, Marchant and DuChene launched an ambitious bid for inclusion on the London 2012 team. After running to breakthrough personal best times at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon, Marchant publicly launched an appeal on behalf of the pair, now well within the IAAF standard for Olympic qualification. She gave interviews, her characteristic frankness cultivating strong public support for her cause. Overnight, a #LetLanniRun campaign took over the Twitter feed of every road race junkie in the country. Her appeal for inclusion was denied, but for the then-28-year-old marathoner, the fight was far from over; Lanni Marchant had no intention of going away quietly. “When I was coming up in this sport, it was almost as if we as women had to ask permission to chase these standards, or to be as good as we wanted to be,” she recalls. “Now, we’re demanding it. We’re not asking for permission; we’re demanding our spot. And it’s been really cool to see that change.” In the four years since Marchant’s appeal, a groundswell of female elite distance runners has reshaped the face of the marathon in Canada. The Canadian Championships, held at the Toronto Marathon this past October, represented the deepest and most competitive women’s field in Canadian history, while breakout performances from heavy-hitters like Dayna Pidhoresky, Leslie Sexton, Tarah Korir, and Erin Burrett have transformed the discipline, moving from thin-on-the-ground to a critical mass of contenders within a single Olympic cycle. For Pan Am Games bronze medallist Rachel

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Hannah, who clocked a blistering 2:33:30 debut marathon in 2015 (the second-fastest debut in Canadian history), the trail blazed by Marchant and DuChene has proven invaluable for her own development as an Olympic hopeful. “The performances of Canadian women like Lanni and Krista coming earlier along the path were absolutely an inspiration,” she says. “They have made the task possible, something very real, that a post-collegiate Canadian distance runner can pursue running beyond school days, and keep going.” For Marchant, who ultimately earned her place at the 2016 Rio Games in both the marathon and the 10,000m (an historic double-event, completed much to the displeasure of Athletics Canada), the fight for inclusion has never quite felt finished. The battles which have served to define her career have also cemented her status as a role model for many Canadian women, a position that at times still feels foreign to her. “I don’t always see myself as the strongest or the toughest,” she says. “I didn’t really set out to have this role. I just wanted to run, and run well.” With a recent seventh-place finish and Canadian course record at the New York City Marathon under her belt, few could accuse her of anything less. Yet for all her fierceness and competitive zeal, Marchant seems oddly excited by the idea of relinquishing what is arguably her most famous accolade — the 2:28:00 national marathon record she set in Toronto in 2013. “I hope the record doesn’t stand for another 28 years,” she says. “I don’t see it lasting through to the next Olympic cycle at all. I think if I don’t knock it down, someone else is going to. We have too much talent now in Canada for it to last that much longer.” But while the list of athletes looking to better her mark grows steadily longer, Lanni Marchant shows little sign of slowing down. In either case, one thing seems unambiguously clear: in the world of Canadian distance running — for both men and women — Lanni Marchant has changed the sport.

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TRAIN LIKELANNI WEEK 1 (SEPT. 4 – 10) Sun. Sept. 4 14 – 16 miles easy run + strength + strides Mon. Sept. 5 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: warm up, 1 x 1000, 5-7 x Windermere, 1 x 1000, cool down Tue. Sept. 6 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 6–7 mi. easy + strength + strides Wed. Sept. 7 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: warm up, 8 x 1K parlaaf style, cool down Thu. Sept. 8 AM: 6–8 mi. easy run PM: travel to Tennessee Fri. Sept. 9 AM: 4–5 mi. easy PM: 5–6 mi. easy + strides Sat. Sept. 10 2 mi. easy, 60 minute fartlek of 2:00 hard, 1:00 easy, 2 miles easy WEEK 2 (SEPT. 11 – 17) Sun. Sept. 11 16 – 18 miles easy + strength + strides Mon. Sept. 12 AM: 5 – 6 mi. easy PM: 8 mi. easy + strides Tue. Sept. 13 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: Brazilian #1 (see notes) Wed. Sept. 14 AM: 8 mi. easy PM: 6 mi. easy + strength + strides Thu. Sept. 15 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. warm up, 5–6 x 1 mile @ 5:20-5:30 w 400m jog rest, 3 mi. cool down Fri. Sept. 16 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 5 mi. easy + strides Sat. Sept. 17 8 mi. run (2 mi. easy, 2 mi. moderate, 2 mi. hard, 2 mi. easy) WEEK 3 (SEPT. 18 – 24) Sun. Sept. 18 17 – 18 miles easy + strength + strides Mon. Sept. 19 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 8 mi. easy + strides Tue. Sept. 20 AM: 5 - 6 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. easy, Brazilian #2 (see notes), 3 mi. easy Wed. Sept. 21 AM: 8 mi. easy PM: 7 mi. easy + strength + strides Thu. Sept. 22 AM: 5-6 mi. easy PM: 2 mi. warm up, 2 x (8x400 @ 80%), 200m jog rest, 400m jog between sets, 2 mi. cool down Fri. Sept. 23 AM: travel to Kitchener? PM: shake out jog Sat. Sept. 24 Kenya Kids Foundation run (not race) ½ marathon WEEK 4 (SEPT. 25 – OCT. 1) IN LONDON Sun. Sept. 25 10 – 12 mi. easy run + strength + strides Mon. Sept. 26 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 8 mi. easy + strides Tue. Sept. 27 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. warm up, Brazilian #3 (see notes), 3 mi. easy Wed. Sept. 28 AM: 9 mi. easy + strides PM: 6 mi. easy + strides Thu. Sept. 29 AM: 4 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. easy, 8 x 1000 @ race pace (3:28 = 2:26) w 400m jog rest, 3 mi. easy + strides Fri. Sept. 30 18 – 20 mi. easy run + travel to Flagstaff (ugh!) Sat. Oct. 1 5 – 6 mi. shake out run WEEK 5 (OCT. 2 – 8) Sun. Oct. 2 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 6 – 7 mi. easy Mon. Oct. 3 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 8 mi. easy + strength + strides Tue. Oct. 4 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. easy, 3 sets of 1 x 800, 2 x 400, 4 x 200 @ marathon race pace, 2:00 rest & full recovery between sets, 3 mi. easy Wed. Oct. 5 AM: 8 mi. easy PM: 6 mi. easy + strides Thu. Oct. 6 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. easy, Brazilian #4 (see notes), 3 mi. easy Fri. Oct. 7 AM: 6 mi. easy 18

2017 ISSUE 01


PM: 4 mi. easy + strides 10 mi. steady state @ 3:30/ km

WEEK 6 (OCT. 9 – 15) Sun. Oct. 9 18 – 20 mi. EASY + strength + strides Mon. Oct. 10 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 5 mi. easy + strides Tue. Oct. 11 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: 3 mi. warm up, 5 x 200, 3 x 1000, 5 x 200 @ 80%, 200m jog rests between 200’s, 400m between K’s, 3 mi easy Wed. Oct. 12 AM: 8 mi. easy run PM: 7 mi. easy + strides Thu. Oct. 13 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 2 mi. warm up, 3 x (5 x 400 @ 77-78 sec), 200m jog rest, 400m jog between sets, 2 mi. cool down Fri. Oct. 14 AM: recovery day!!! You deserve the day off! Sat. Oct. 15 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 7 mi. easy + strides WEEK 7 (OCT. 16 – 22) Sun. Oct. 16 22 mi. (18 easy, last 4 mi. at race pace) Mon. Oct. 17 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 7 – 8 mi. easy + strength + strides Tue. Oct. 18 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: 2 mi. easy, 6 x 1 mile @ race pace or better, 4:00 rests, 2 mi. easy + strides Wed. Oct. 19 AM: 8-9 mi. easy PM: 6 mi. easy + strides Thu. Oct. 20 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 8 mi. increase pace run + strides + accels Fri. Oct. 21 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 6 mi. easy + strides Sat. Oct. 22 3 mi. warm up, 3 sets of 1 x 800, 2 x 400, 4 x 200 at race pace – 2:00 rests, full recovery between sets – 3 mi. cool down WEEK 8 (OCT. 23 – 29) Sun. Oct. 23 16 – 17 mi. easy run + strength + strides Mon. Oct. 24 AM: 4 mi. easy PM: 7 mi. easy + strides Tue. Oct. 25 AM: 4 mi. easy PM: 2 mi. easy, 6 x 1000 @ race pace, 3:30 rests, 2 mi. easy + strides Wed. Oct. 26 AM: 8 mi. easy PM: 7 mi. easy + strides Thu. Oct. 27 AM: 4 mi. easy PM: 2 mi. easy, 2 x 200, 10 x 400, 2 x 200 @ 80%, 200m jog rests, 400m between sets, 2 mi. cool down Fri. Oct. 28 AM: 10 mi. easy + strides PM: rest! Sat. Oct. 29 AM: 6 mi. easy PM: 5 mi. easy + strides WEEK 9 (OCT. 30 – NOV. 5) Sun. Oct. 30 14 – 15 mi. easy + strides Mon. Oct. 31 AM: 5 mi. easy PM: 5 mi. easy + strides Tue. Nov. 1 AM: 4 mi. easy PM: 2 mi. easy, inverse pyramid: 800h/ 200e; 600h/ 200e; 400h/ 200e; 600h/ 200e; 800h/ 200e; 2 mi. easy + strides Wed. Nov. 2 AM: 4 mi. easy PM: 6 mi. easy + strides Thu. Nov. 3 6-7 mi. easy + travel to New York Fri. Nov. 4 tour course and run 1st 4 mi. and last 4 mi. + strides Sat. Nov. 5 3-4 mi. easy + strides Sun. Nov. 6 NYC marathon

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Lanni Marchant deconstructs gender as a feminist in front of the camera



learned something unpleasant when I was asked to speak to the Canadian government about women in sport. My arguments, well received by government officials, were dismissed by some because I didn’t wear enough clothing when I became the fastest Canadian woman to ever run a marathon. Can’t I be feminine, including sexy, and be an advocate? Above I mimicked the cover from the March 2009 iRun, featuring Adam van Koeverden half naked — sorry, shirtless, fondling his runners. Did van Koeverden have to think about whether his picture was too sexy? Did he worry that it would undermine his role as a strong athlete, an advocate, or a feminist? I can’t answer that. But I know I have to and that’s BS. Apparently female bodies are more sexual than males, so my shot isn’t on this issue’s cover. A man showing skin is OK. My picture is not appropriate for the “future is female” edition; the aim of which is to speak out against the

double standards women face. I’m not shirtless — I’m half naked. We chose a different “look” for my cover — powerful, not playful — because being too playful might mean I’m not taken seriously. Being playful may even come across as flirty or sexy and not send the right message. But what is that message? The “future is female” but, please be careful not to be too feminine. Be strong, but please do not be too confident. Be a role model, but cover up. Be you ... but not really. During the cover shoot we paused because — according to the men in the room — the images were becoming too sexual. I was fully clothed. Was kicking my legs out on a chair too lighthearted to depict a powerful woman? Was me standing with my hand on my hip too simple to convey strong? Was me staring at the camera too sexy? It’s easier to set Canadian records than to take a stupid photograph. Sex and skin sells (see: March 2009, van Kayak). Does my

advocacy no longer mean as much if you think I’m sexy? If I’m sexy, does that make me a sell-out? Does a guy have to think these same thoughts or is his sexiness powerful and masculine? Male athletes receive unwanted attention for how they look with their shirts off. Are they told to shut up if they complain? Would a male face backlash if he said, See me as an athlete? Or would people agree that — no matter how many magazine shoots he’s done half naked — he’s an athlete and should be appreciated as such? Women deserve — and I demand — the same latitudes. When a man is asked to take his shirt off, does he think: Can I be a role model if I’m shirtless? Are my messages worth less in less clothes? Does Mr. Kayak’s sexy cover mean he’s no longer a good feminist? Sorry Adam, your intentions might be pure but we have stricter standards. Feminism requires that you wear a shirt. I deal with these thoughts daily.

I’ll receive backlash for writing this. Cowards online will tell me what I’m supposed to do with my body and male friends will mansplain why I’m wrong and how they too share in this experience. They might have received cat calls. Try being a 13-year-old girl knowing it’s going to happen for the rest of your life. I argued with iRun about the cover, and I lost. But I demand to write this. This conversation is important. I am an athlete. I am an advocate. I am a woman. I have to be me.




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The Calgary Marathon is bringing a runner from every province/territory to Alberta to be part of the race of the Sesquicentennial “150th Anniversary of Canada!” Visit click the “Calgary Marathon 150th Box” to learn more and to apply!

Deadline is December 15th! WOW! We have heard from hundreds of runners from Edmundston, New Brunswisk to Prince Rupert, British Columbia! There are some incredibly proud Canadian runners with extraordinary stories. “Last year, John underwent treatment for throat cancer. Nine months later and after brutal treatment he was free of any cancer and celebrated by running the Havana Marathon in Cuba in November of 2015. In May of 2016, John did a sole cancer fund raising by running 100 km of the Galloping Goose trail on Vancouver Island. John demonstrates many of our Canadian values including courage, fitness, determination and charity. He would make an excellent flag bearer representing Ontario and the rest of Canada at the Calgary Marathon.” Walter from Ottawa “My father spreads the love of running everywhere he goes. He started running about 10 years ago. At first, he was hardly able to finish a 1k run. He runs with passion, pleasure, perseverance and bravery and is actively involved in our small community in NB. He helps people to start running by teaching them how to surpass themselves while keeping in mind the ‘smile pace.’ ” Noel from Gatineau, Quebec

Finish Strong, Proud & Free at the 2017 Scotiabank Calgary Marathon, “Canada’s Marathon”




t the Rio Olympics, an exciting fact began to emerge: Canadian women were kicking ass! Over half of Team Canada was women, and the female medal count was the highest ever. Yet despite 2016 being the “year of the woman,” coverage of the Olympics remained rooted in the dark ages, with male reporters favouring stories about female athletes’ bodies and relationship to their male teammates over their achievements. This was disheartening, but not surprising. Glance at the cover of most female-oriented “health and fitness” magazines and you’ll find articles like, “How to get a flatter tummy almost instantly.” The danger here lies in the association between how you look (low body fat and muscular, while retaining an air of femininity) and what it means to be “fit” and “healthy.” Never mind setting unattainable ideals for girls and women; what’s most concerning about this focus on the female body is its detraction from a woman’s character and accomplishments. To be clear, I don’t believe that this is solely a female issue; there are pressures placed on men to adhere to a stereotypically ‘masculine’ body type. However, the extent to which women’s bodies get scrutinized, dissected and judged is relentless, as is the evaluation of a woman’s worth based upon her appearance. I’ve experienced this many times, and there seems to be a strange implication that it’s acceptable to judge elite female runners because a) we’re often in the public spotlight, and b) our competition uniforms consist essentially of a two-piece bathing suit. It’s as if competing in tight and minimal clothing is implied consent for our appearance to be picked apart, commented on and criticized, and that being public figures makes us immune from the sometimes hostile judgement of strangers. My friends and I often feel as though we’re walking a fine line between adhering to pressures around the embodiment of perfection, and not wanting to represent the unrealistic body standards perpetuated by the media. I don’t like my appearance being critiqued any more than the rest of the world. My body looks the way it does not as a result of wanting to appear a certain way, but because I’ve scien-

MY BODY, MY BUSINESS, BACK OFF Kate Van Buskirk, bronze medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, weighs in on the Rio Olympics, women’s magazines and how a love of running trumps negativity in the end

Body shots: Van Buskirk at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow; Van Buskirk at her home in Toronto.

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tifically sculpted it in order to maximize its potential; function over form. That said, I think that there can be an appreciation of both the form and function, without the corresponding sexualisation. Women can and should be proud of their bodies on their own terms without worrying that expressions ­­ of self-appreciation will be construed as attention-seeking, or permission to be scrutinized. When I choose to post photos of myself running in briefs and a sports bra, I do so with pride because I know how hard I’ve worked to feel good in my body, and I like the way that it looks as a result. Wouldn’t it be awesome if girls were encouraged to feel good instead of being bombarded with messaging that reinforces their worth and desirability as being inextricably linked to their waist or cup size, or ‘flat bellies’? This fall, I came across a tweet by Women’s Health that irked me into action. The tweet featured a cropped photo of a woman bending forward with a caption that read “How to rid yourself of belly pooch forever.” Not only was the model in the least flattering position possible, she appeared to me to have a lower than average amount of belly fat. I snapped a shot of myself in the same position and wrote: “Hey @womenshealthmag, every normal person has belly rolls when they bend forward, even elite runners w 14% body fat.” My reply garnered 172 retweets, 573 likes and dozens of comments. This response was encouraging and I was proud to showcase my own “belly pooch” on social media. But no one’s immune from criticism and I admit that my selfies decrease when I’m in my heaviest, noncompetitive months of the year. It’s something I’m working on. At the end of the day, I don’t run to look a certain way, or solely with the goal of winning races. I run because I freaking love it. I love the feeling of my body in motion; of becoming stronger and faster; of challenging myself. I love the endorphin rush, the sense of accomplishment, the connection to my community and to a primal part of my humanity. In essence, I run to feel good. My wish would be for every woman to experience this type of joy and empowerment, and to find beauty in her body’s abilities.



Leading the way: Lanni Marchant, Dorcas Wasike and Tarah Korir training in Kenya, where the author runs Kenyan Kids Foundation.



e all have our own reasons for running. My motivation has evolved over the years. It was at my first cross country race in grade seven that I experienced the thrill of earning a medal. During high school I joined the Tri-City track club. The close friendships I developed here motivated me to attend practices regularly. At the University of Louisville, my team became my “family” away from home. I now share my running and my life with one of those teammates, Kenyan runner Wesley Korir. We live in Kenya with our two young children. Our motivation now is to use our running talents to improve the lives of impoverished families in Kenya. Wesley and I co-founded charitable foundations in both the U.S. and Canada. Kenyan Kids Foundation began by providing scholarships to impoverished students to pay the fees required for high school in Kenya. Some of the students receiving scholarships attend the Transcend Running Academy, which helps talented athletes develop athletic, academic and leadership skills. We are


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excited that all three of the students in the Academy’s first graduating class received full scholarships to colleges in the U.S. and are now successful freshmen athletes. It is our hope that someday they will return to Kenya, having developed the leadership skills and motivation to help others. Our preschool program in rural Kenya helps develop literacy skills in young children so that they are more successful in school. This program is supported by sales of my children’s book, Grandma and Gogo. This book celebrates the differences and similarities between Canada and Kenya through the eyes of my young daughter. We also support a cooperative dairy development project that gives small dairy farmers the opportunity to improve their milk production. By earning more income, these farm families can afford to pay the school fees for their own children, and as a result, feel a sense of empowerment. Running now provides Wesley and I with the opportunity to share our vision and raise funds in North America to support our projects in Kenya. Each September, Kenyan

Kids Foundation Canada hosts an annual Harvest Half Marathon on the gravel roads near Waterloo, Ontario, where Wesley and I enjoy training when we are in Canada. Krista and Lanni have supported this event by being guest speakers at our pre-race pasta dinner. This October, we entered a charity fundraising team in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. We were delighted to have the support of a number of elite athletes, including Krista and Rachel. They were joined in our fundraising efforts by friends and family, including my sister Amber (our top fundraiser!), my mother, aunt and my 91-yearold grandpa, who managed to complete his 5 km “run” in just under one hour. Running has certainly made a difference in my life and allowed me to make a difference in the lives of others. I encourage you to use your talents, running or otherwise, to help changes lives, including your own. Tarah Korir is an elite marathon runner who ran 1:12:04 in the World Half Marathon Championships.

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Tarah Korir on the implicit pleasures of running for someone other than ourselves



THERE ARE NO PHYSIOLOGICAL REASONS WHY WOMEN CANNOT RUN THE SAME DISTANCES MEN. Men have an advantage over women when racing shorter distances due to their higher levels of testosterone, muscle mass, and lower body fat percentages. The only relevant physiological difference between male and female distance runners is that women are slower than men by approximately 10%. Being slower over a given distance does not make women less capable of completing that distance.

ers in Canada. Statistics indicate—clearly—that women have an interest in distance running.


UNEQUAL CROSS COUNTRY DISTANCES NEED TO BE REVISED TO REFLECT THE PROGRESS WOMEN HAVE MADE. Until 1984, the 1500m was the longest event women could contest at the Olympic Games. Women have


LONG DISTANCE RUNNING IS MORE POPULAR THAN EVER AMONG WOMEN. From 2009 to 2014, marathon participation among women worldwide increased by 26.9%. During the same period, women made up 44% of marathon finish-



racing longer distances.


EQUAL CROSS COUNTRY DISTANCES OFFER BETTER LONG DISTANCE DEVELOPMENT FOR WOMEN. Providing women with the opportunity to race longer distances will help in the development of runners who compete at distances 10k and longer as post-collegiate run-

AND ENDURANCE For middle distance specialists, longer cross country distances can seem daunting. Yet many coaches encourage their male middle distance athletes to race 8-10k cross country to become stronger runners. 1500m Olympian Charles PhilibertThiboutot has raced at the Canadian Cross Country Championships every year since 2013,



MEN AND WOMEN RUN THE SAME DISTANCES ON ALL OTHER SURFACES. We don’t race the 1350m instead of the 1500m, or a 38k marathon instead of 42.2k. If men and women are equally capable of racing the same distances on the roads, the same is true for cross country.

AND SELF-WORTH AMONG GIRLS. When girls cross country distances are shorter than those of boys, the implication is that girls are less capable. By offering girls separate races with equal distances, we send them the message that they’re capable of running long distances.

Leslie Sexton breaks down the sexist regulations of cross country running where women are still not permitted to run the same distance as men fought to compete in long distance events and been successful. The women’s marathon was added to the Olympic Games in 1984, and the 10,000m was added in 1988. Cross country needs to update its women’s distances to reflect the progress we’ve made.



OFFER EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR GIRLS AND WOMEN TO TRY LONGER DISTANCES. Boys have more opportunities to try longer distances during their formative years than girls do because they get to run longer in cross country. The status quo limits girls’ options and development. If cross country distances were equalized, girls would have the same choices and opportunities to try

ners. When the women’s championship distance only increases from 5k in high school to 6k in university, women miss out on the opportunity to experience the training required to prepare for longer events.



and Corey Bellemore, the 2015 Canadian 800m champion, recently won the Ontario University Cross Country Championships. Female middle distance runners can also train for and race longer distances and thus benefit from their improved endurance when they shift back to middle distances.



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TO RUN LONGER DISTANCES CAN HELP TO BUILD LIFELONG RUNNERS AND CONTINUE TO IMPROVE WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN THE SPORT. For post-collegiate runners who are not contenders to make national teams, there are better competitive opportunities in long distance road racing than there are on the track. To maximize female postcollegiate participation in competitive running, coaches should prepare women to train like long distance runners. By preparing women to race longer distances in school, more women can successfully make the transition to road racing and stay involved in Athletics as lifelong competitive runners.


WOMEN IN DISTANCE RUNNING ARE TOUGH. Girls aren’t getting involved in this sport because they think it will be easy. They are running cross country to challenge themselves and test their limits. Why not offer women the same challenge of running longer that we present to the men? I, for one, think girls and young women are ready to rise to the occasion. Leslie Sexton, based in London, Ontario, is one of Canada’s top 5,000 and 10,000m runners.




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Project Love Run

How Filsan Abdiaman intends on rescuing women from a broken heart, one run at a time



or the longest time, I was searching for love everywhere but from within. This led to bad decisions. I did not know how to love myself and I was going about searching for love not knowing that self-love is all I ever needed. I never prioritized fitness, let alone running, in my life. However after a bad breakup, now three years ago, I hit rock bottom and my negative actions resulted in a health scare. During my darkest times, loving myself was not easy. I felt inadequate and at fault for the breakup and my downward spiral. Suffering from anxiety attacks and depression, at first I sought comfort in an unhealthy lifestyle of comfort foods, seeking an escape. I chose to run away from the painful feelings of shame and disgust. After much struggle, however, I mustered the strength to make a change. Thus in the fall of 2013, running came into my life. I ran and regained my insight. Taking the world in made me realize my worth and helped heal my soul — I came to terms with the breakup. Running brought me face to face with my raw emotions. From personal experiences, some of the challenges I believe women will face not knowing how to love includes: depression, social anxiety, insecurity and low self-esteem, unhealthy eating habits/disorders. After my last race, I came up with “Project Love Run.” This is about merging my two life objectives, running and empowering women. I want to offer women a safe space to talk about matters of the heart. With the launch of this issue of iRun, we’re starting a monthly run-to-brunch, where women can run and share stories, offer advice, listen and learn from each other. We will be

providing the setting for women to meet new people who they can connect with and relate to, sharing running as common ground. The runs for now are in Toronto, though soon to expand across the country as Project Love Run combines short and sweet runs, followed by brunch at a healthy eatery. We’re forming healthy habits as a means to overcome life stresses related to heartache. As a single woman, part of my struggle was tied to the complications that came from the advances in social media and dating apps. I’d go on a few dates with a guy, believing that things were working out, only to be blindsided and told that whatever “worked” was no longer “working,” as there was someone else, a “past fling,” and they had to resolve the “what-ifs” of their relationship before he could move on to someone else. I have also

encountered quite a few guys with an aversion towards commitment, often saying “I just got out of a long-term relationship” as soon as we met. With such experiences, it’s easy to slip into the mentality that makes you believe it’s your fault for the way things end. As a personal trainer, I work with young women that are dating and experiencing challenges as a result of this. I see how their insecurities can make them believe that they’re at fault. Any insecurity one has might make her believe that she’s to blame for not measuring up, when in reality, there’s nothing wrong with the individual. After countless runs and time spent running alone, I learned that I am not to blame. It was a hard lesson after spending the majority of last year “marathon dating” and ending up disappointed. It was a lesson worth learning nonetheless, and I have running to thank for making me realize that I am valuable. Project Love Run will remind women of their worth — make them feel strong-loved. It’s a reminder that each one of us is valuable and worthy of love at a time when romance can leave women feeling otherwise. You have value. You have power. You have beauty. And whenever I forget those simple truths, I put on my sneakers and remind myself again. Filsan Abdiaman is launching her first Project Love Run event in Toronto at 11 a.m. on December 17. If you’re a runner outside the GTA and have an interest in launching a chapter, please email Ben Kaplan at For more information, and for updates on future runs, see

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Forget about “Superfoods,” says Rachel Hannah, dietitian and Pan Am Games super star, get back to the basics of healthy eating and focus on key nutrients essential to optimal athletic performance ran for Georgia State on an athletic scholarship while completing my undergraduate degree in nutrition. It was the best education related decision I ever made. During my early years at GSU, I had a period of time where training and racing felt more difficult than usual due to extremely low energy levels and shortness of breath. My races reflected this. I had a wake up moment during an indoor 3 km, when I dropped out; I felt such low energy that I couldn’t take another step. Fast forward to my marathon career — at 3 km, you are just getting warmed up! I discovered I had iron deficiency anemia. I started on an iron supplement and had my bloodwork done routinely (every 3-4 months). I also started incorporating more iron into my diet along with ways to enhance absorption. One more reason to eat your brightly coloured vegetables for vitamin C! I supplement with iron to keep my levels at an optimal level. IRON WOMAN Iron is an important mineral that carries oxygen to all parts of your body. It’s key to keep your red blood cells efficiently transporting oxygen to your muscles. Endurance runners and females in particular, require more due to the extremely high activity levels and resulting daily losses of iron. Vegetarian athletes require almost double the amount compared with non-vegetarians. Even a mild anemia can impact athletic performance since it reduces maximum oxygen uptake, aerobic efficiency and endurance and produces a general feeling of tiredness. IRON DEFICIENCY ANEMIA Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia. It’s a condition in which the blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells, and is most common in female and endurance athletes.


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Symptoms can include: extreme fatigue, weakness, pale skin, breathlessness, brittle nails and impaired aerobic and endurance capacity. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and have never had your blood work done, see your doctor right away. The extent of iron depletion is determined by looking at markers such as storage iron, transport iron and red blood cells. Discovering a potential deficiency can have significant, immediate benefits on your training (and overall sense of well being). GOOD FOOD SOURCES OF IRON Our body has no way to generate its own supply of iron, so it must be obtained from the diet. Some sources include dried beans, peas, fish and poultry. For a complete list of the best food sources of iron, see SUPPLEMENTS Speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before starting on an iron supplement. There is no indication to take iron supplements in the absence of iron deficiency and if taken when not needed, it could lead to iron overload. Remember to pair your iron supplement with vitamin C and vitamin A to enhance absorption, and avoid calcium rich foods and coffee, tea and red wine within approximately 90 minutes of taking it. I use a liquid supplement called Iron Vital F by Naka. It has improved my ferritin levels significantly. UNIQUE IRON RICH FOODS TO TRY Two of my favourite iron rich foods are pumpkin seed protein powder and teff. 1 serving (1 ½ tbsp – 15 g) of pumpkin seed protein powder provides 15% DV of iron. It mixes well in any dish since it doesn’t have a distinct flavour. I often have it as part of my post workout recovery snack (mixed in a smoothie or with yogurt) or in

my cereal in the morning. Teff is grown in Ethiopia and is used to make injera (the sourdough flatbread). It’s high in iron (1 cup cooked – 5 mg of iron), protein and fibre, plus it tastes great and is safe for those avoiding gluten. Try having it instead of oatmeal. I cook it on the stove in a pot. Boil 3 cups of water with a pinch of salt and mix in 1 cup of teff. Reduce heat until all the water absorbs. PARTING WORDS Attention to the details of your diet can make a significant difference in obtaining the benefits of your training. You work hard to improve, so do all you can to eat as healthy as possible to nourish your body. Be mindful of how much iron you are getting from your diet on a regular basis, and strive to include more if you are falling short of the recommended amounts. Rachel Hannah is a dietitian and elite marathon runner, who earned bronze at the Pan Am Games. She won the Canadian Cross Country Championships in 2014.

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hen I think about all the women and Marathon Moms, it makes me smile or tear up when I hear about the impact I’ve made in their lives. I was told that I have Marathon Mom groups all over Canada, from the east to the west coasts. They introduce themselves to me, mention me in their blogs, cheer for me at races in which they too are competing, and give me joy when requesting a selfie. They make me proud when I learn about their accomplishments, whether getting a run in on a hectic day or racing a personal best. I’m inspired by their ability to successfully juggle various balls in the air. I have lots of great women in my life, many are my friends and my competitors. Lanni Marchant is obviously my biggest rival but I know we both feel we are better for it. We’re different. While I do travel for big races, I more often stay closer to home for training and smaller, local events. Lanni is a frequent flyer who can somehow manage to easily live out of her pink carry-on suitcase. But we’re also similar. We’re from large families and both spent hours at the rink in our younger years with her figure skating and my hockey background. We will always share the history of becoming the two fastest Canadian marathoners at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon after 28 years, and the first two to represent Canada in the Olympic marathon after 20 years. Rachel Hannah is a woman I have enjoyed seeing gracefully rise to the elite level. She has faithfully plugged away, often not winning podium spots, but look at her now! I’m honoured that Rachel has said that she looks up to me, but knowing she can tuck into my back pocket then later fly by for the win, like she did at the 2014 Yonge Street 10 km, is something I was very aware of in executing my game plan to secure my 2016 National Marathon title. It’s business when we get on the line! Leslie Sexton is a woman I admire for her training routine. She’s not afraid of high mileage and I admire that she’s vocal about such issues as women’s cross country race distances and our federation. Tarah Korir and I share three very strong bonds. We are wives, Christians, and moms. We know our gift is something that can be used for the greater good of others. Dayna Pidhoresky is the person I likely keep in touch with the most throughout the year. I sometimes hesitate to give advice, but I think Dayna appreciates the mom in me when I sim-

ALL IN TOGETHER Krista DuChene shouts out her rivals and finds a spirit of camaraderie that permeates the very best of what we all love of our sport ply want the best for her. I recently completed my 13th marathon when Dayna completed her first. Like many, she suffered near the end, but I told her that like childbirth, her second would never be as bad as her first! Erin Burrett and I roomed together for the 2014 Canadian Championships where I was aiming to defend my title. I had a pain in my leg. Erin was a good roommate. She listened. And she understood that I was in a tough position, deciding whether to race or not. Obviously, I made the wrong choice, which resulted in a complete fracture of my femur, but I was encouraged by Erin’s kind messages afterwards. Erin’s 2015 marathon debut in 2:39 in Victoria has greatly contributed to the rise in our sport. I never rule her out when we get on the line. Natasha Wodak and I have competed

against each other for years. We roomed together at the Olympic Games, a lifetime event that we’ll cherish always. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and with her 2:35 marathon debut, should she focus on the marathon, I’ll have another talented Canadian woman to face! I’m thankful for each and every one of these women in helping me succeed. It’s exciting to be part of this Canadian women’s marathon movement. And even more exciting to see what is yet to come. 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 KristaDuChene

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MY BETTER HALF After dedicating long hours to the marathon, the founder of iRun gives his wife a round of applause


re you a runner too? It’s a question my wife, Ginny, has been asked a thousand times. It’s the endurance test she faces as a direct result of all of mine. It’s no secret that I run. I can’t shut up about it, after all. I talk about it, write columns about it, I just published another book about it. It’s become part of who I am. So when my wife and I are at a dinner party or we just happen to bump into some acquaintances at the mall, the subject usually comes up. How’s the running going, Mark? Are you training for another marathon? The next inquisitive leap is almost inevitable. At roughly the same point in every conversation, someone will turn to Ginny. Do you run as well? Ginny will answer in her usual patient, selfdeprecating way. Yes, she will say, but not quite like Mark. I don’t run as often or as far as he does. Do you run together, someone will ask. No, I don’t run at the same pace as Mark. And of course that wouldn’t work anyway, since someone would have to watch our kids. Then the subject often shifts to how she looks too young to be the mother of three children. But just imagine how


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often the question arose at my book launch a few weeks ago in Ottawa. As I signed copies and accepted congratulations from friends and supporters, Ginny was the dutiful spouse, greeting people and thanking them for attending. You must be a runner too? Have you run Boston? No, I don’t run marathons, just half-marathons. “Just half-marathons.” A half-marathon really shouldn’t be thought of as half of anything; it’s a 21.1-kilometre race, a race of its own. It’s a greater distance than all but a tiny percentage of people will ever travel on foot. In fact, it’s farther than most people drive to work. And Ginny has done it seven times. We actually did run

together for her first. I thought I would be a supportive husband if I accompanied her, took a few pictures, got her water when she needed it and encouraged her every step of the way. But I think she would have rather done it on her own, without the obligation to interact with me or the pressure to meet anyone’s expectations but her own. Having your marathoner/author husband bouncing alongside you finding meaning in every

step when you’re just trying to get through the next kilometre can be distracting, perhaps even annoying, rather than helpful. So for her second halfmarathon, I stayed on the sidelines. But Ginny did have some company for the run: she was in the early stages of pregnancy. She ran her next race exactly one year after our son was born, training often with a stroller. Two years later, she ran her fourth halfmarathon, this time nine

months after our daughter was born. Those were not “just” half-marathons, obviously. Something I will never experience is the challenge of getting back to running after carrying a baby around for nine months, then squeezing the little darling out and being on call for constant feedings at all hours of the night. Even so, running has never become for Ginny the obsession that it is for me. She has a well-rounded approach to fitness, just as happy to do a boot camp or a yoga class as go for a run. But, to answer the question: Yes, she runs. And while we never run together, we have shared every step of so many journeys, including all of our races and the greatest and most satisfying longdistance events of all time: marriage and parenthood. When I’m in the final stages of a marathon, I always think of myself as running to her. And when she is approaching the finish line herself, I am her biggest fan.

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 iRun | The Running Show: FOLLOW him on Twitter: @_marksutcliffe SEE excerpts of his book:

“The book should be in every runner’s Christmas stocking, and should be read by runners and non-runners alike.” On Amazon, early reviews from readers in the United States and Canada have given Long Road to Boston: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Marathon five stars:

“I have read a lot of books about the Boston Marathon, but this one really spoke to me more than any other. Once I started reading it, I wasn’t able to put it down.” “If you buy one only book on Boston this is the best on the market.” “(This) story is a testament to why Boston means so much to runners and inspires readers to believe that nothing is impossible. Great book.”


Long Road to Boston combines the history of the world’s most coveted marathon with the personal journey of one ordinary runner who seeks to fulfill his ultimate amateur athletic quest. Tracing back to the marathon’s roots in Greek mythology and sharing the stories of the many colourful and inspiring characters who have crossed Boston’s finish line, the book explores why modern runners challenge themselves with such ambitious goals and revels in the reward of a lifelong dream fulfilled. Lead sponsor


iRun founder and columnist Mark Sutcliffe has interviewed hundreds of runners who have chased Boston, and over the course of more than five years and more than a dozen marathons, he too closed in on his qualifying time, failing several times before finally earning a spot in the 2015 race.

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EVELYN SCHMIDT-MUGARURA, 34, OTTAWA By ignoring some advice (if you’re overweight, don’t run) and seeking out positive (and body positive) role models. By persevering: getting up early to run and going through with a run even if it’s shorter than planned. With the support of my husband and daughter, who encourage me, push me out the door, come to all my races as a support crew, I have run 6 half marathons, a full marathon and a variety of 5Ks. I am a runner! And #IWontCompromise

JULIE MCGUIRE, 29, OTTAWA I decided to run my first marathon. Two months into training, my boss, a close family friend, passed away. The dental office shut down, my career was in limbo. I kept training—it was the only thing that I had control over. I completed the Ottawa Marathon in May of 2016—my first marathon. I will not compromise.. When obstacles come, I jump over them. I’m a marathon runner on the road, but a hurdler in life.

JEANNA MCCULLEY, 42, NEW WESTMINSTER, BC After a long battle, I had life or death surgery for Crohn’s disease. Through nutrition and self care I was in remission and off all meds within a year and a half. My five year celebration—I ran a half marathon!!! I don’t look like your typical runner either, but it gives me happiness and peace of mind so I keep on keeping on!! I am now 10 years in remission. The power of the mind is amazing!!!

Penningtons and iRun joined forces this fall to ask women what #iwontcompromise means to them. The responses, we think, will inspire. Thank you to everyone who participated in this contest, and may everyone have a safe and happy, active holiday season. Don’t ever let anyone tell you your limitations. For more information,

NADIA BURRELI, 45, LAVAL, QUEBEC I have a rare condition called SAPHO. Sometimes I don’t even feel like getting out of bed, let alone run. I’ve decided, pain or no pain, I need to run. I feel better when I exercise. I come back better. I need to feel in control of my life, feel alive and powerful. I have two options: be a victim or fight until the bitter end. I chose to fight.

SANDI SWAN, 40, KITCHENER, ONTARIO I’ve battled Chronic Kidney Disease for 13 years. I started running four years ago. Running clears my mind. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and things were great until the kidney issue—I volunteer while I’m down. Down but not out. Running gives me the ability to see things lighter. I have overcome.

NANCY GIRARD, 36, GATINEAU, QUEBEC My family knows that running makes me happy and keeps me sane so they let me have my hour a day. There’s a saying that goes “happy wife, happy life, happy mom, happy home”!! I will not let excuses stop me from running. I know who I am. And I run.


SHOW YOUR PASSION AT PENTATHLON DES NEIGES Does the thought of powering through white powder on a cold, crisp winter’s morning get you up and running? Maybe not exactly, but including the Pentathlon des Neiges as your mid-winter goal race is one way you can embrace the winter chill and try one of the five winter sports that are a part of this unique event. Let’s face it, winter might not be your favourite running season, but that’s no reason to hang up your kicks at the sight of the first snowflake. We sat down with Pentathlon des Neiges general manager Francois Calletta to find out why this event is attracting everyone from elite athletes to young families, and everyone in between.

iRUN: What exactly is a pentathlon? FRANCOIS CALLETTA: It’s a unique multi-sport event that includes a run, bike, skate, ski and snowshoe component. Similar to a triathlon, you participate in each leg on a continuous timed basis. Participants can compete as a solo athlete or as part of a team, but there really is no other event of its kind anywhere in the world. iRUN: How is Pentathlon des Neiges so different from other winter sporting events? FC: This event takes place on the PDN-IRUN-8.375x5.375_prodF.pdf


Plains of Abraham in historical, downtown Quebec City, which is pretty incredible. Originally, there was no skating on the Plains of Abraham, but we were able to build an artificial ice skating oval here that’s became quite popular and is open for four months, including during the Quebec City Winter Carnival. iRUN: Who can participate in a pentathlon? FC: Last year, we had 5,800 participants and we should be over 6,000 this year. Most people are part of a relay team of some kind, 2016-11-23

either they take part in one of the five sports or they have a partner with whom they alternate different legs of the event. Everyone knows someone who is involved in some way. iRUN: How can athletes, and wannabe athletes, prepare? FC: Along with Mountain Equipment Co-op we offer 23 free training sessions. But the most important part is having fun with your family and friends. When you’re living in Quebec, especially Quebec City, if you don’t embrace winter it can be a really

long, tough season. iRUN: Is this an event that children and youth can be apart of too? FC: Absolutely. Last year we had 1,700 kids participating from both elementary and secondary schools. There is an invitational tournament between schools where they compete to win a Quebec Student Sports Network banner they can hang at their schools. It has become a classic event. For us, the biggest reward is seeing the children and the schools participating.




Marie-Lyne Pelletier, 34 semaines de grossesse, court quand même pendant l’hiver.

Une grossesse, arrêter ou continuer de courir? Chantal Crevier aborde une préoccupation majeure en réfléchissant sur sa vie



oupi, je suis enceinte ! Pour la femme sportive, les questions commencent. Doit-on arrêter ou continuer nos activités, nos entrainements. Mes journées se poursuivront comme à l’habitude ou se modifieront. Bien mesdames seule l’avenir le dira. La majorité des femmes continuent leur entrainement durant leur grossesse et tout va bien. ‘’La grossesse n’est pas une maladie. On peut continuer nos entrainements, mais de façon récréative et non de façon compétitive.’’, mentionne le Dr. Lyne Couture. L’activité physique fait du bien au corps et à l’esprit. Malgré les désagréments que peut provoquer une grossesse, la continuation du sport est bénéfique au changement que le corps subit. Selon le Dr. Couture ‘’La grossesse et l’accouchement se pas-

seront beaucoup mieux si l’on est en forme physiquement. ‘’ Souvent comme dit mon amie Isabelle ‘’ La douleur était tolérable et le bienfait que m’apportait la course était plus grand que les inconvénients. Profiter du grand air, admirer le fleuve, regarder le paysage changer (été, automne et hiver) et réfléchir à ce que ma vie allait devenir me faisait un bien fou.’’ Ce fût différent pour moi. J’ai du arrêté toute activité physique durant ma première grossesse à cause d’étourdissement, j’étais constamment sur un bateau. Ouf, les vagues étaient fortes. Après l’arrivée du bébé, mon énergie est revenue malgré le sommeil manquant. Alors durant cette période, je courais pour le plaisir de sortir de la maison, je marchais plus que je courais. Je n’étais

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pas une athlète en soit mais simplement une nouvelle maman qui apprivoisait sa nouvelle vie. J’ai recommencé à courir entre ma deuxième et troisième grossesse à un rythme lent et avec des sorties peu fréquente. Les sorties étaient difficiles, j’étais fatigué car je dormais peu. Entre l’allaitement du bébé et les cauchemars de l’enfant, les nuits étaient courtes. Alors je marchais ou je courais tout en poussant la poussette avec énergie ou fatigue mais j’étais bien. Puis la troisième grossesse est arrivée. J’ai continué mon rythme. La poussette, qui pesait une tonne selon mon échelle, me rendait la course ou la marche difficile. Au fur et à mesure que mon ventre grossissait, mes pieds ralentissaient. Seulement quelques jours après l’accouchement de cette troisième mignonne petite fille, j’ai repris l’entrainement. Tout, s’étant tellement bien passé. Ça été agréable, mon corps et mon esprit étaient prêts. Je me revois encore… mettre ma fille de 5 ans dans l’autobus scolaire pour sa première journée d’école. En pyjama et soulier de course au pied, je suis partie au pas de course sans m’arrêter et surtout sans rien pousser. Par contre pour certaines femmes, ce n’est pas aussi facile. Comme Isabelle dit :‘’C’est à la 8e semaines post accouchement que j’ai décidé de reprendre la course. Quel moment décourageant. J’avais l’impression de n’avoir jamais couru de ma vie. ‘’. De mon côté, j’étais tellement contente de pouvoir m’évader seule. Une nouvelle étape dans ma vie de maman. Je reprenais le contrôle de mes pieds. Je retrouvais la forme et même plus. Depuis ce temps, j’ai amélioré mes performances. Le bien être physique et psychologique que le sport apporte permet de faire le point ou de faire le vide. L’important durant cette période de la vie d’une femme, c’est de bouger, comme dit le Dr. Couture. Même si la position de course change, que les hanches s’élargissent ou encore que le moral est à plat. Bouger, s’activer, s’oxygéner en courant, en sautant ou en dansant reste le meilleur bonbon pour le corps et l’âme. Alors bougeons mesdames !



Silvia Ruegger recounts her journey from Canadian Olympian to children’s activist and tells the tale of how women’s running caught its stride


try concessions. At the 1984 Olympics, our desire was to inspire all women to believe that they could run regardless of age, background, ethnicity or talent. It’s the journey that changes how girls see what they’re capable of: courage, perseverance, resiliency, determination. As my mom shone the light for me, I work with Start2Finish to do that for others. Mothers, daughters and grandmothers, neighbours and co-workers are inspiring each other to engage in this journey together. I tip my hat towards the future of women’s running in which we all say: Yes I can.


ugust 5th 1984, the site of the start of the Women’s Olympic Marathon was pregnant with hope; the steps these 50 women would take from Santa Monica College to the Olympic Stadium 26.2 miles away were progress for women. Prior to 1984, the furthest running event for women at the Olympic Games was 1500 meters — the equivalent of 3 ¾ laps of a high school track. I was often the lone participant in cross country events from my high school. Growing up in the country, my mom drove the car behind me at 6:00 a.m. with the headlights on, creating a path for me to run on those dark coun-


2017 ISSUE 01

The important features you need (wind- and waterproof, breathable lining, and zipper pockets) in a playful print. Saucony Nomad Jacket in ViziPro Pink, $149.99.



The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon is May 7, 2017 and it’s the event of the year: a fast downhill course, excellent volunteers and a scenic route of gorgeous Toronto. Don’t believe us? Here’s a look at the numbers behind Canada’s #1 race for a personal best.



Number of free massages at the finish line

Number of water cups used





Number of people with little Toronto Marathon running man tattoos

567 Number of Americans at the race in 2016





Number of Goodlife members in Canada

Estimated number of Americans, post-Trump, anticipated in 2017 (the number of Americans that crashed Canada’s immigration website)


Average temperature on May 7

9,300 Number of bananas served in 2016

Age of David PatchellEvans, Goodlife CEO, who still runs everyday

63 Age of his Olympian wife, Silken Laumann


Number of Clif Bars consumed at the finish line

12,000 Weight of the medal




20,000 Number of people at the Expo

ts ing from firs n io h s u C s u o Continu

tep to l ast

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