Gabriela Stafford breaks another Canadian record, Aaron Brown wins another 200 and more

Oh and Cam Levins is back from injury and is going to run the Lululemon 10K.

Gabriela Stafford breaks Canadian outdoor 5000 record

Gabriela Stafford broke her third Canadian record of the year at the Stockholm Diamond League meet on May 30. She ran 14:51.59 in the outdoor 5000, besting Courtney Babcock's record from 2003.

Gabriela set her other two national records in January: She set the indoor Canadian 5000 record, 14:57.45, at a meet in Scotland and the Canadian indoor mile record, 4:24.80, at a meet in Boston.

The race was Gabriela’s first-ever outdoor 5000. She spoke to Canadian Running after the race:

DeBues-Stafford knew that no one expected much of her in Stockholm. “I knew if things went well I could get the Canadian record, but no one was watching for me in that race. The 5,000m in Glasgow where I set the indoor record was essentially a time trial, all I had to do was chase Laura [Muir]. But the Diamond League is a more dynamic race, so it felt different. I wanted to run the best race I could and make sure the indoor 5,000m wasn’t a fluke.”

You can watch the race below — the video has hilarious elevator music instead of commentary, but I couldn’t find a version with English commentary that was embeddable:

Lyndsay Tessier and John W. Mason named to Canada’s world championship marathon team

Lyndsay Tessier, who is a 41-year-old school teacher who took up running eight years ago, will represent Canada in the marathon at the world track & field championships in Doha, Qatar. The meet takes place Sept. 28-Oct. 6, 2019.

Lyndsay had a breakout year in 2018, running 2:30:47 in Berlin to finish 12th overall. The performance is the 18th fastest marathon ever by a Canadian woman.

“The girl who joined her first Running Room clinic (must never again knock 10&1’s) in 2011 is still trying to process the magnitude and honour of this,” she wrote on her Instagram page.

Yep, in 2011, Lyndsay joined a local half-marathon clinic after enjoying a 5K with a friend. From there, she just got better and better.

iRun profiled Lyndsay back in 2017:

Lyndsay’s story could be that of so many middle and back of the pack runners who were drawn by the promise of a welcoming community and personal growth later in life.

Lyndsay believes her mindset hasn’t shifted from that of a recreational runner. “I love everything about running!” Lyndsay exclaims. Rather than competition, “It’s therapy, it’s confidence, and it’s peacefulness.”

John W. Mason was the other athlete named to the team this week. John ran 2:15:15 at the Rotterdam marathon earlier this year, making him the fastest male Canadian so far in 2019.

In 2017, John described himself as a “construction business owner, beef farmer and runner” to Canadian Running. He keeps a low profile and doesn’t give many interviews, but his Twitter is filled with photos that will make you want to go buy a farm.

The rest of the team will be selected in August. To, yes, run a marathon in September.

Cameron Levins is running Toronto Lululemon 10K

Cam Levins, the Canadian marathon record holder, announced he will be running the Toronto Lululemon 10K on June 15.

“I love going into Toronto really any chance I get and racing there. I have had such good experiences there in the past,” he said in the press release announcing his participation.

Cam was going to race the London marathon in April, but withdrew due to injury. “It’s frustrating to put all that work into my buildup and then have something else pop up quickly that limited my ability to be prepared,” he said in the same press statement.

“It is not difficult for me to look back and say that was the right decision to make but ultimately it’s still frustrating to miss out on a good race.”

The Lululemon 10K marks his second race of 2019. He ran the New York City half-Marathon on March 17. That was a rough race for him, he finished in 1:05:10, well off his personal best.

In October 2018, Cam marked a return to racing after a few years of injuries by running 2:09:25 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The time made him the fastest Canadian in the race and also broke Jerome Drayton’s 43-year-old Canadian marathon record by 44 seconds.

In the women’s field, it was announced that Leslie Sexton, Rachel Hannah and Sasha Gollish are all planning to toe the start line.

Aaron Brown wins second Diamond League 200

Aaron Brown won the 200 at the Diamond League meet in Stockholm with a season best time of 20.06. It was Aaron’s second Diamond League win of the year — he won the meet in Shanghai when he ran 20.07.

He’s currently ranked second in the world in the 200.

"I know I'm one of the best starters in the world in the 200 metres because of my 100-metre background, so these guys are really strong at the end so I made sure I put some distance on them at the beginning and then tried to hang on,” he told CBC Sports after the race.

Aaron did a neat video for CBC Sports where he broke down the 200 race. I can’t embed it here, but you can watch it on the CBC Player.

Athletics Canada names 2018 athletes of the year

Athletics Canada revealed the winners of the 13 awards they give out annually, recognizing Canada’s best track and field athletes and coaches.

Damian Warner wins athlete of the year, outstanding performance of the year & combined events athlete of the year

Decathlete Damian Warner took home three trophies. In 2018 he set the Canadian record in the decathlon, scoring 8,795 points at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge in Götzis. He won that meet. He came second at the indoor heptathlon at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. He set another Canadian record at that meet, scoring 6,343 points. He finished the year ranked second in the world in both the heptathlon and the decathlon.

And he’s just getting started. In 2019, he won the IAAF Combined Events Challenge again. At that meet, he ran 10.12 in the 100, the fastest time ever recorded by a decathlete. He should be a medal contender at the Tokyo 2020 games.

Off-track athlete of the year: Cameron Levins

Cameron Levins won the off-track athlete of the year award for his record-breaking marathon debut. I wrote about it earlier in this very newsletter, so I won’t recap it again here. Scroll up for details!

Track athlete of the year: Aaron Brown

Sprinter Aaron Brown took home the prize for track athlete of the year. He’s tearing up 2019, as I outlined above, but in 2018, he was the national champ in the 100 and the 200. He also scored silver medals in the 200 at the NACAC championships and the Commonwealth Games, and finished the year ranked 12th in the world in the event.

Ambulatory athlete of the year: Nathan Reich

I profiled Nathan Reich a few newsletters ago, when he broke his own world records in the 800 and 1500 in 2019. In 2018, he finished the year ranked first in the world in both events, set the Canadian and world records in both events and generally crushed all comers in the T38 category, which is designated for athletes with impaired mobility.

I linked to this National Post profile of Nate before, but it’s worth reading if you haven’t already.

Wheelchair athlete of the year: Brent Lakatos

(Twitter embeds work for photos but not videos, which is why it looks like Brent is special.)

Brent Lakatos won wheelchair athlete of the year. Brent dominated every distance from 400 to the marathon in 2018. He finished the year ranked first in the 800, 1500 and 5000 and second in the 400 and the marathon. He was the national champ in the 800 and 1500 and won gold at the Berlin marathon. He also podiumed three times at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix, in the 400, 800 and 5000.

Non-running event winners

I’m not going to recap the winners of non-running categories because this is a running newsletter, but here they are:

  • Field athlete of the year: Alysha Newman

  • Development coach of the year: Dave Mills

  • Canadian university athlete of the year: Sarah Mitton

  • U20 athlete of the year: Camryn Rogers

  • U18 athlete of the year: Myles Misener-Daley

You can learn more about all the winners at the Athletics Canada website.

Strides: Links I liked

Runner’s World middle-distance Canadian runner Justyn Knight and his morning routine. He gets up at 7:15am, has overnight oats for breakfast and hates foam rolling.

Oh and the Raptors are ruining his routine (I hear you, Justyn, I HEAR you.):

After breakfast, I’ll turn on ESPN or SportsCenter to catch up on whatever games I missed the day before. I try to go to bed most nights at 10 p.m., but since it’s NBA championship season, I’ve been up a little later than usual — especially if the Toronto Raptors are playing.

I’ve never been big on stretching or foam rolling, but if something is tight, I’ll stretch out in front of the TV. My favorite move is to lunge with one knee on the ground, then lean forward to stretch my hamstring. Around 8:15, I’ll leave the house to drive to practice, which is about 15 minutes away.

Citius magazine know exactly what kind of content I need in my life and suggests 100 (!) books all runners should read. It’s a decent list, and I’ll pick up a few and recommend the good ones here if you’d rather not work your way through all 100.

Stephen Andersen of the Running in Canada blog has an excellent recap of Ottawa race weekend:

I have made no bones about that I am a big fan of Reid and am desperately hoping he is able to qualify for his third Olympic games. These are positives and negatives to Reid’s chances coming out of Ottawa — the negatives are that he was unable to run the standard nor finish top five. However, his top eight position will give him a boost in the world rankings (added to his 10th from STWM last year) and should give him a shot with the fall marathon. His selection for the fall will be of great interest — will he look at Berlin? Toronto? Fukuoka? We shall see.

Dylan Wykes won the 10K at Ottawa race weekend, which doubled as the Canadian championships. After the race, Canadian Running profiled a what a week of training looks like for Dylan:

“Right now I’m running around 75 miles a week, six days a week. I always take one day completely off so that I can spend time with my family. It’s usually a Saturday or Sunday.”

In terms of the structure of his training, Wykes does two workouts a week which range between eight and 12 kilometres of hard running. “Right now the focus is on the half-marathon champs, which is in a couple of weeks. My workouts are anything from fartleks to tempo runs to straight up intervals. Always on paths, I never go to the track anymore.” Wykes has been coached by Richard Lee of the B.C. Endurance Project since 2010.

Reid Coolsaet recapped his Ottawa marathon performance on his personal blog. While the 2:17:37 finish time wasn’t what he was looking for, he found a lot of positives to take away from the performance:


Training went really well. It was my best build-up since 2016.

I felt comfortable running ~3:10/km early in the race. In the past I’ve been able to feel a pace and figure out if that pace was sustainable or not.

I got all my bottles and consumed more carbs than planned. I’ve never done that before.

Ottawa was a really fun race and the crowd support was amazing.

First Canadian came with a good payday. 8th overall paid as well and added some bonus points towards world ranking.

Recovery went well and I felt like going for a run on Wednesday (I didn’t, I’ll wait a few more days).

Canadian hurdler Sage Watson wrote about why she wears red lipstick when she competes:

So many thoughts ran through my head as I contemplated this bright red lipstick. “Am I bold enough to wear this?” “What will people think?” “Will I give the wrong impression?” It took me about 15 minutes of picking it up, putting it back, trying out other colours, then making a choice. I said to myself, “I love this colour. I want to wear it and I’m going to wear this I for myself, no one else.” I felt transformed, like I had gone from regular Sage to “race-ready Sage.” Who knew that a small tube of red lipstick could become armour? I continued wearing the red lipstick that year from NCAAs to Canadian trials to the 2016 Olympic Games. I had no idea that when I put on the red lipstick at the Olympics it would have such an impact. After racing the 400-metre hurdles at the 2016 Olympic Games, I received over 20,000 followers and thousands of messages. So many people were inspired by something so simple as lipstick, and, of course, some totally got the wrong message. It seems that the same bold choice that makes you seem confident can also sexualize you. 

The book to read this week

Louis Zamperini’s life was insane and inspiring. He became one of the world’s greatest runners, participating in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, before enlisting to fight in the Second World War. Then his Air Force bomber crashes in the Pacific Ocean, and he survives more than 40 days adrift at sea. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, which was turned into a movie by Angelina Jolie, is the ultimate story of survival and how running can make you tougher than you ever believed possible.

The final kick

If I bomb my marathon on June 16, I’m blaming the Raptors.

Me, Aaron Brown, Justyn Knight = the same.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading and keep on running. And if you have a friend who might like reading about running, please forward this to them!

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