Aug. 6: Reid Coolsaet, Dylan Wykes, Rob Watson and Juan Luis Barrios are running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Some local races shone recently, some big names have committed to fall races and some random links worth your time make up today's newsletter.


I hope you all enjoyed the August long weekend.

The PanAm Games are on right now ⁠— the track events began today. You can meet all the Canadian team members in this newsletter. The Games run until Aug. 11. I’ll have a recap next week!

There’s definitely some more Michael Woods content below. More elites were added to the Toronto Waterfront Marathon field. And I included some links about random stuff I’ve read recently and think you will enjoy too!

Reid Coolsaet, Dylan Wykes and Rob Watson running Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Three more Canadian elites have announced they are running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 20: Reid Coolsaet, Dylan Wykes and Rob Watson.

Coolsaet is looking for a spot on the Olympic team. It would be the third time Coolsaet, who turned 40 in July, would represent Canada at the Olympics in the marathon ⁠— he previously did it in 2012 and 2016.

For 2020, that means running sub 2:11:30 or finishing top 5 or running well and crossing his fingers he qualifies through world rankings. (I explain the qualifying process all here).

Coolsaet knows his fastest days are behind him, but believes he has what it takes to stay competitive and make his third team.

“I know what it takes to run the level I need to run to potentially qualify for the Olympics,” he told Canada Running Series in a press release (which I got via email). “Although I don’t want to get hurt, I don’t want to sell myself short and think ‘what if?’ I am going to be smart about my training and listen to my body.”

He thinks 2:12:30 should be enough to qualify through the IAAF ranking system.

Wykes represented Canada in the marathon in 2012 and holds the fourth-fastest marathon time ever run by a Canadian.

Wykes, who is now 36, basically retired from elite running after he didn’t make the team in 2016, But ever since he moved to Ottawa for his wife’s job (she’s a prof at Carleton University), Wykes has shown a return to top form: he placed third at Around the Bay 30K in March and won the Canadian 10K road championships in May.

Making the Tokyo team is at the back of Wykes’s mind, but he knows there’s a lot of competition out there and is focusing on enjoying the process. “I am trying to see things less ‘big picture’ and trying to focus on staying healthy and getting to the finish line in Toronto,” he said in the Canada Running Series press release. “If Cam Levins is on his game he’s in a different stratosphere. But I guess guys like Tristan Woodfine, Reid, Trevor Hofbauer, these kind of guys, if I am going well, I will mix it up with them. That is kind of what I am most excited about.”

Watson wants to run sub 2:20 and have a good time:

Watson never made the Olympic team, despite several valiant attempts. His personal best at the distance is 2:13:29, which he ran in Toronto in 2013.

He also pretty much retired recently, but has found his passion for running again after several strong performances and attempting trail running for the first time and through committing more fully to coaching with Mile2Marathon, which he does alongside Wykes and several other elite and sub-elite Canadian runners.

“Running is no longer all-encompassing. Up until 2016, it was all about my running. I was living and breathing it. Now running is something I really enjoy,” Watson said in the same release. “I still like working hard and challenging myself. I am putting in the work but not at the same scale as I was before. I am no longer trying to run 2:12 – 2:13 marathons, I am looking to run under 2:20 one more time. I feel I can do that.”

The men are joining Cam Levins, defending Canadian champion and national marathoner record holder, on the start line, making this edition of Toronto Waterfront Marathon one of the most stacked Canadian fields in a long time.

On the women’s side, so far Canadians Kinsey Middleton and Malindi Elmore have announced they are running Toronto.

It’s nice to see Canada developing a quasi-trials-like race.

The top Canadian gets an automatic berth on the Tokyo team, providing they qualify. The rest of the team will be chosen by Athletics Canada (we can send three athletes in total) from all qualified athletes, so there’s incentive to run well in Toronto even if you aren’t the top Canadian. There is also a lot of bonus prize money on the line for Canadian performances.

Mexican elite Juan Luis Barrios running Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Canadian field wasn’t the only Toronto Waterfront marathon announcement this week: Mexican runner Juan Luis Barrios also revealed he’s running Canada’s marquee fall marathon.

Barrios has previously represented Mexico at two prior Olympics: he ran the 5,000m in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012. He moved up to the marathon in 2011.

Barrios ran 2:10:55, below the Olympic standard, in 2018 in Tokyo and believes he can do it again. He just missed the qualifying standard at the Los Angeles marathon in March, running 2:12:00.

He chose Toronto because he feels it’s his best shot at getting the Olympic standard, thanks to the Gold Label (top five auto qualify, regardless of time), elite field (top seven ran under the standard last year) and weather (hey, it’s Canada!), according to Christopher Kelsall at Athletics Illustrated.

Toronto is also where Barrios won gold in the 5,000m at the 2015 PanAm Games.

A nice bonus is that Toronto attracts a large Mexican contingent every year ⁠— race director Alan Brookes believes 700 Mexican runners will be at race weekend in 2019. This is in part thanks to Brookes’s work to create that connection — he travels to Mexico for races and was there for this announcement, the expo has Spanish-language support and there will be Spanish and Latinx community activations along the route — and in part because, well, the United States isn’t exactly welcoming to Latin Americans right now.

Brittany Moran, Krista DuChene among winners at Toronto’s Beaches Jazz Run

Absolutely loved my first @brc_running_events race today at the Jazz Fest Run 🎷🏃🏼‍♀️! Thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors. .
I am loving this new perspective I have with running. 🏃🏼‍♀️ It is amazing what you can do when you do not put so much pressure on yourself and rather embrace and be grateful for the opportunity. 🎉🙌🏻. It has taken a long time to get to this place but I am loving it!💗
Side note my mantra in the last 2k— ‘do it for the women’! 😉🏃🏼‍♀️
Not a PB but pretty damn close.
FIRST person across the line!💪🏼
📷 @mimz42.2
#StrideWise #stridewiserunning #nikerunning #niketoronto #brc #beachesrunclub #blacktoe #girlpower #badassladygang
July 28, 2019

The Beaches Jazz Run took place in Toronto on July 28. The annual event has a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. It’s a nice local race that attracts high quality talent (ahem, Krista DuChene).

My favourite thing about this year’s race is that the 5K was won by a woman outright. Local chiropractor, run coach and sub-elite runner Brittany Moran ran 16:59 to break the tape.

Moran’s marathon PB is 2:40:46 and she was the top Canadian in Chicago in 2017. If you follow her on social media, you’ll know she’s been on the injury comeback tour for quite some time, so it’s nice to see her back in top form.

The top male runner was Selva Yogarajah, who placed second overall in 17:25.

The 10K was won by Jake Carroll in 32:37 and “marathon mom” and elite masters runner Krista DuChene in 35 flat.

DuChene — who represented Canada in the Olympics marathon in 2016 — has yet to announce a fall marathon, but I’d be very surprised if she isn’t on the Toronto Waterfront marathon start line on Oct. 20. She loves that race.

The half-marathon was won by Ben Gustafson in 1:12:28 and Magali Chestalain in 1:25:27.

The Beaches Jazz Run is organized by the Toronto Beaches Runners Club. Their next race is Shakespeare Runs the Night on Aug. 17. I ran the 30K last year as a training run for Chicago and had a great time.

Anne Johnston, Colin Fewer win Tely 10 in St. John’s

Another A+ local race took place on July 28: the Tely 10 in St. John’s, NL.

The women’s course record was broken by Anne Johnston, who ran the 10-mile race in 54:24. The previous course record was 55:34, set by Kate Bazeley in 2016.

It was the fourth time Johnston has won the race, but the 54:24 time marked a three-minute personal best for the St. John’s-based runner.

"I had a real consistent year of training," she told CBC Newfoundland. "Lots of miles, lots of hard work in the winter," 

Johnston was the second Canadian woman at Boston 2019, where she finished in 2:43:02. It was only her second attempt at 42.2: she ran Toronto previously to qualify for Boston.

Colin Fewer won the men’s race in 49:54. It was the 12th time the Paradise, N.L., runner won the Tely 10, and his fourth win in a row. His 2019 winning time was a full minute faster than his 2018 winning time.

Fewer, at 41 years old, is now a competitive masters runner. He won the masters category in the Houston half-marathon in January, running 1:07:09. In 2018, he missed the Canadian masters half-marathon record by 18 seconds.

Wheelchair athlete Brent Lakatos opens up about dominant career

Brent Lakatos is one of the most dominant and versatile wheelchair racers in the world — he’s competitive in every distance from the 100m to the marathon. He won the Berlin marathon in 2018 and at the world championships in 2017, he won the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m.

A freak accident when he was six years old paralyzed him and he turned to wheelchair racing at 16. But he wasn’t good right away. In fact, he was pretty mediocre at sprinting until he added longer distances to his competitive career.

In a first-person piece for CBC Sports, Lakatos writes about how he made the transition from sprint to distance and how he manages to balance it all now:

Experimenting can be scary. When you are really good at something, it is hard to commit to trying something different because there will always be a transitional period when you are not so good.  You tell yourself all the standard clichés: sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward; it’s about progress, not perfection.

But the reality is that you spend a lot of time wondering if the investment will pay off. There were no guarantees. Not only was I unsure if I would be competitive at the longer races, I was worried my competitors would catch up to me in the sprints because I wasn’t able to focus as much on them. So, what do you do? Do you risk it all, or do you play it safe?

Pro cyclist and sub 4 miler Michael Woods to try Ironman after cycling career ends

Apparently Run the North has become the Michael Woods superfan newsletter.

I’m writing about him this week because when he was doing the post Tour de France media rounds, he told Canadian Cycling he seems himself giving the Ironman a go:

“I don’t want to just ‘tri,'” says Woods. “I actually want to invest myself into it and see if I can go and be competitive at the Ironman discipline.”

Below is a cute video that Woods’s cycling team, Education First (EF) put together about their team and the Woods family during the Tour de France:

Matt Hughes leaves Bowerman Track Club, returns to Canada

The Canadian steeplechase champion Matt Hughes announced recently that he was leaving the esteemed Bowerman Track Club (which boasts members like Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg) to return to Canada.

He’s now going to train in Toronto and be coached by Dave Reid.

Often when things aren’t going the way we want them to go, we just wait for things to change, hoping for better outcomes the “next time” around. It’s hard to look at yourself critically and honestly, and admit that YOU need to make a change instead of waiting for the change to come to you. It’s risky, it’s scary, it’s humbling.
For the past year, the sport that has given me so much joy over my lifetime, the sport I am lucky enough to call my “job,” had simply become that: a job, a chore. I found myself going through the motions instead of approaching training with passion. Simply, I’ve realized after a lot of reflection, I fell out of love with running, losing the fire to compete. I found myself seeking happiness through performances, thinking that running fast or winning a certain race would ultimately make me happy, but I’ve learned that’s not the way it works. In running and in life, you need to find happiness in the daily process, whether that’s training or just living, before you can enjoy the end result.

For these reasons, I’ve made the difficult decision to leave the Bowerman Track Club.
My main priority is to continue competing this summer, but with a focus on trying to find happiness again - getting back to enjoying the everyday routine and joys of being a professional runner. ‪To Jerry, Pascal, Alistair, and the Bowerman men and women - I can’t thank you enough for welcoming me in four years ago. I loved my time in the group - Bowerman was a family to Madie and I, and always will be. We’ll be rooting for you!
Thank you everyone for your love and support. I can’t wait to compete for my sixth 🇨🇦 title on Thursday in preparation for the rest of the season ahead! Finally...if you’re struggling to find happiness, don’t be afraid to take control of your own destiny to make the changes needed in your life.
July 23, 2019

Hughes, who is originally from Oshawa, Ont., went to university at the University of Louisville. There, he was a two-time NCAA steeplechase champion. After graduation, he joined Bowerman, and would go on to set the Canadian steeplechase record and compete for Canada in the 2016 Olympics.

According to Canadian Running, there are two big reasons Hughes left. First, his fiancee has to leave the U.S. and staying behind in Portland was tough on him. Second, Bowerman is a very large, very accomplished group and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle:

“The group is so big and successful that you could start to feel a little disconnected. It’ll be nice to have Dave’s full attention going forward, so that he can help me be successful and I can start enjoying the process again.”

Up next for Hughes are the world championships, which take place in Doha, Qatar from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6.

Local running shops get love from Runner’s World and iRun

Both iRun magazine and Runner’s World have written articles recently about the value of local running stores.

The iRun piece, which was written by Sasha Gollish and sponsored by New Balance, focuses on running shops owned by women:

Across the country, women like Maya at BlackToe Running, Erin Pinder of Runner’s Soul, Vanda Borean of Rackets and Runners, Jennifer Estabrooks of Soles in Motion, Solana Green of Capra Running Co., Lynn Bourque of The Runner’s Shop, pictured below, and many other women across the country are showing our children they can build anything by chasing their passion and building the communities of their dreams. Vicky Siemon, another fierce female and account manager with New Balance Canada — who sponsor the BlackToe Running race team — reminds us that these women are improving our sport. “These women continue to pave the way for female runners by instilling confidence, fostering a supportive environment, providing thoughtful training programs and building meaningful relationships and support systems within their communities,” Siemon says. “A lot of women don’t know they’re runners until they’re runners, and we have store owners like Maya and Lynn to thank for that.”

The Runner’s World piece was written by Taylor Dutch and looks at how you’re going to learn a lot more about the product you’re shopping for if you go to a local store than if you buy online. You’re also going to be ale to find community:

For those who run in the Orange County, California, area, A Snail’s Pace offers that connection with the “Academy” group. The shop, a fixture in Southern California since 1979, has stood the test of time by giving back to various training groups with the initiative of team nights for local programs.

And if you’re new or just trying to find some people to chat with on your run, the local store is an instant meeting spot. Fleet Feet in Austin, Texas, one of 177 locations around the country founded with a locally owned and operated model, hosts multiple free run groups, and partners with clubs in the community for free workouts.

“We’ve been fortunate to dig our heels in a community that’s healthy and that’s moving,” says local operating partner Ari Perez.

Strides: Links to read

Been a while since I did this, but here’s a round-up of links worth reading about running without any real CanCon connection.

Outside published a comic by Anne-Laure White and Aude White about what it’s like to be a woman about to pass a man on a running trail. I’m not even fast and this happens all. the. time.

Also in Outside, Alex Hutchinson (Canadian alert!) wrote about how improving your self-talk can improve your athletic performance. The trick? Talk to yourself in second person.

→ Another way to improve your performance? According to Brad Stulberg (again in Outside), you should have a mantra.

Eliud Kipchoge is currently preparing to attempt to break 2:00 in the marathon again. On the website dedicated to the project, his long-time coach Patrick Sang, opened up about coaching the greatest marathoner of all time:

The Eliud I first started coaching was a lot different to the Eliud we know today. Back then he was an athlete who had the potential to grow in the right way, if guided well. Today Eliud is a champion, an athlete who has achieved so much in sport and a person who holds values that every one of us should aspire to.

In some ways the roles have actually reversed now. I was a role model to Eliud for many years and played the role of teacher because, for many years, it was possible to teach him something new. But at some point, about three years ago, those roles somehow swapped around and it was me who became the student and Eliud the teacher. He is now teaching me things and I am learning from him.

I think we can all learn from him, the way he lives his life and the values he holds.

Eliud believes in discipline, in patience, in humility – he fundamentally believes that however much you earn, whatever you have achieved, you must remain humble and that is certainly not easy. I have seen athletes who have had some success in their careers and who have been influenced in a negative way by the money they have earned as a product of that success. But not Eliud. Eliud hasn’t changed.

Sinead Driver is an Irish-Australian masters marathon runner who is breaking out later in life (not unlike Canada’s Lyndsay Tessier and Malindi Elmore and American Roberta Groner). Driver wrote a piece for Player’s Voice in Australia (Found this link via the excellent newsletter Fast Women):

I have represented Australia three times at World Championships and just recently ran my eighth marathon in London.

This was my best marathon to date and one that I’m very proud of. I was up against some of the best women in the world, placed seventh and clocked a personal best time of 2:24:11.  

Without hesitation, I can say that I’ve learned something new from every marathon. It’s a race like no other.

It’s as much a mental game as physical and you must give it everything to succeed. Even then, there are no guarantees.

You can be the fittest you’ve ever been, but there are so many factors that impact the outcome, often your time doesn’t reflect this. This is why I both love and hate the marathon.

Scott Fauble, one of two American men who have the Olympic marathon standard, co-wrote a book with his coach Ben Rosario last year about his training cycle for the 2018 New York City marathon. Now that training for this year’s NYC is under way, Podium Running ran an excerpt. I loved this book and it’s worth reading:

For the last few years, all of my seasons have kind of started the same way. They’ve gone:

1) Scott is getting back into it, workouts aren’t going that great.

2) Scott is back into training, workouts still aren’t going that great.

3) Scott rips two or three workouts, Scott is in shape.

4) Scott goes to a race, it goes well.

As it stands now, I am somewhere in between step two and step three. Which is to say that it certainly seems like I should be in good shape, or at least flirting with good shape. The mileage has been good, and I’ve had some solid workouts in the last few weeks. They’ve even been the type of workouts that usually lead to the transition from step two to step three. But, it seems like there’s a disconnect between what is and what should be. I should have had a couple of days by now, or even just one day, where everything clicks and I can shift into a big gear and really do something impressive, but that hasn’t happened. I was hoping that Wednesday would be that day. It was a workout that generally comes pretty easily to me. When I got out on Lake Mary Road, however, I felt like I was forcing it. I was tense and I really had to fight to try to hit the pace.

Kelyn Soong wrote about the road to becoming a professional runner for Washington City Paper:

Will Crocker ran his fastest time in the 1,500 meters (three minutes, 41.44 seconds) while competing for the District Track Club, which launched in January of 2016 from the efforts of Brumlik, long-time track coach Drew Mearns, and two-time Olympian Matt Centrowitz, the former American University cross-country and track and field coach.

Crocker joined the team in January 2017 after finishing his eligibility at the University of Missouri, where he holds the school record in the 1,500-meter race (3:41.89). Crocker says he was good enough to keep running, but “just not good enough for a team, an elite sponsored group.”

District Track Club, which at the time did not have a sponsor, was one of the few clubs willing to give Crocker an opportunity. While in the D.C. area, he worked at Potomac River Running and lived in a four-bedroom house in Arlington with five other runners. The club paid for his housing.

Crocker looks back fondly on this time, but calls it “definitely a struggle.” He lived in the basement lounge in a small room inside the utility closet next to the water heater and furnace. He put up plywood in front of both and threw carpet on the ground to make his bedroom slightly more livable. The “room” did not have a closet. He would sleep in one of the bedrooms when his roommates were out of town—with their knowledge, of course.

Farnham Street blog had a decent post about the difference between habits and goals (pretty sure I got this link from the worthwhile Morning Shakeout newsletter):

Goals have an endpoint. This is why many people revert to their previous state after achieving a certain goal. People run marathons, then stop exercising altogether afterward. Or they make a certain amount of money, then fall into debt soon after. Others reach a goal weight, only to spoil their progress by overeating to celebrate.

Goals rely on factors which we do not always have control over. It’s an unavoidable fact that reaching a goal is not always possible, regardless of effort. An injury might derail a fitness goal. An unexpected expense might sabotage a financial goal. A family tragedy might impede a creative-output goal. When we set a goal, we are attempting to transform what is usually a heuristic process into an algorithmic one.

The final kick

That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading and, as always, keep on running.

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