More on the Canadian marathon championships, the Tokyo Olympic marathon might not be in Tokyo, Shalane Flanagan retires and more

Big's Backyard Ultra featured some CanCon, the NYC marathon is on Sunday and more!

Hello!

This issue is a bit of a grab bag: I have some links coming out of the Toronto marathon worth reading, a small NYC marathon preview, some running news worth knowing about (Shalane Flanagan retired! Maggie Guterl won the Big Backyard Ultra!) and some other stuff to listen to or ponder or check out.

It’s another one that might be too big for your email service provider, if that’s the case, the full issue is available online.

A huge welcome to all the subscribers who signed up post-Toronto. If you want to connect, drop me a line at runthenorthnews@gmail.com. I love getting feedback, hearing story ideas, being sent links I didn’t know about — if you want to share, send it along.

Let’s get to it!


The Toronto Waterfront Marathon: reflection, celebration and lessons

If you missed my Toronto Waterfront Marathon recap, you can check it out here. It was a great event, possibly the best Toronto Waterfront Marathon ever. Both the men’s and the women’s Canadian all-comers records were broken and we crowned two new Canadian marathon stars: Dayna Pidhoresky and Trevor Hofbauer.

Now that it’s been a week, a few more think pieces and interviews have come out of those results.

Trevor Hofbauer reflects on winning the Canadian marathon championships and booking his ticket to Tokyo

Everyone was shocked by Trevor Hofbauer’s 2:09. Except the man himself.

After winning Toronto, he wrote a post for his blog about how trusting yourself and keep showing up are the keys to success:

All those years ago, I made it my life’s mission to get to this point. There have been some ‘holy shit’ moments in the past to indicate the best is yet to come. The public has only seen the tip of the iceberg, the successful moments and wins. Between those moments was A LOT of struggle, sacrifice, tears, uncertainty, and hope that there will be more wins in the future. Other athletes share this and can relate. It can wear on an individual to put in the work, knowing you’re capable of more, and not see the results you expect. But after every moment, continue to show up and grind and show up and grind and cry and grind and show up until that day, that one day when the door you have been kicking at finally falls down.

Trevor’s #1 fan? His dad

The Windsor Star also had a great reflection piece on Trevor an Dayna’s big races. I especially liked this part about how Trevor’s dad has supported his running dreams:

“I made a goal seven years ago, even before I had a time that was respectable within my own community, that I wanted to be in this position right now,” said Hofbauer. “I put a lot of focus and time commitment towards that, to get better. I just started with a very simple every day goal just to improve. And if I could improve every day then I would eventually get to a point where maybe I would contend for a spot.”

And when the moment came on Sunday, he seized it. His father Andy, who had wondered aloud many years ago about his son’s discipline, was on hand to see it pay off in Toronto.

“My dad has always told me, from a young age, that I need to have a one-year, three-year, five-year plan kind of thing. When I was in school I wasn’t really motivated to be an architect or engineer or doctor so I didn’t really try. He was disappointed with that. He’d say you need to figure out your life, you need a five-year plan. Once I got into running I was like, ‘hey dad, I’ve got a five-year plan from here.’ He said are you nuts, you’re not going to make any money doing that, but I’m going to love and support you along the way.”

His father wasn’t kidding. On Sunday, as Hofbauer approached kilometre 41, Andy was actually standing in the middle of the course, yelling his son’s name, desperate for a better look.

Trevor was also on the Citius Mag podcast

The Citius Mag podcast is one of my favourite running podcasts. The host, Chris Chavez, knows his stuff, asks great questions and the last question of each episode is my favourite end-of-podcast question ever:

You have 25 shots from a basketball half-court. If you make one, you get $25 million dollars. If you miss them all, you go to jail for 25 years. Do you take the shots?

Everyone always has a very strong opinion about whether they’d take the shots. I went into it thinking, “Trevor DEFINITELY takes those shots.”

Listen to the episode to find out if I am right. The whole episode is worth it. Trevor talks about being unsponsored, how he went from a mediocre basketball player to Canada’s second best marathoner, how he changed his diet heading into his Toronto training cycle and more.

You can listen to the episode here.

Emily Setlack isn’t giving up her Olympic dream

The winners weren’t the only Canadians to have breakout races in Toronto. Both second-place finishers ⁠— Emily Setlack and Tristan Woodfine ⁠— knocked out huge PBs to surprise and impress.

Setlack in particular shaved six minutes off her PB to run 2:29:48 ⁠— only 18 seconds from the Olympic standard.

Athletics Illustrated spoke to Setlack after the race:

“I definitely had my eyes up trying to close on Dayna. At 30K, I could see her and I definitely thought I would catch her if I held pace and didn’t do anything stupid like throw in surges or uneven pacing. It felt like a risk and at the time I didn’t think it was a risk I needed to take, but I could see we were closing,” said Tallen-Setlack. “I was afraid I would bonk — she was about 400-500m ahead of me and I tried to focus on running steady to close the gap. I was a bit scared that I would hit the wall but it never came. My legs never felt heavy and didn’t feel like I was falling apart at any point in the race. If I could run the race again, I would be more aggressive at 30K and take the risk.  I do think I should have been hurting more than I was.”

Setlack has her eye on a fast spring marathon. She’ll possibly return to Rotterdam ⁠— that’s where she ran her first big breakthrough marathon last year, running 2:35 to drop 11 minutes from THAT personal best. Setlack got 17 minutes faster in the marathon in 2019. How much faster can she get?

One note: this article gets the Olympic marathon qualifying stuff wrong. If you want to know how it works, I got you.

Krista DuChene reflects on the Canadian Olympic marathon trials

Thrilled for you, Dayna! Absolutely a thrill to broadcast your win. 🇨🇦🇯🇵❤️
October 20, 2019

Krista DuChene skipped the Toronto Waterfront Marathon this year, opting to go for a fast time in Berlin. She ran 2:32:27 ⁠— her first sub-2:34 marathon since 2015. But she didn’t skip the Toronto fun entirely, she was a member of the broadcast team and wrote a lovely recap for iRun:

There was a lot to be said about many of these athletes in pre-race interviews and stories. Instead, the race was won by two individuals who had been quietly grinding the kilometres behind the scenes, on their own, going after their big dreams. It was won by two athletes without shoe/apparel sponsors who had not previously run within even 5 minutes of the standard. It was won by two Canadians who did not appear on the stage at the press conference (because the field was so deep and the stage could only fit so many people, a good problem to have). And it was won by each of them running 7 minute personal bests. Lastly, it was won by two people who had the race of their lives at the perfect time on the perfect day, earning them their biggest paycheque of $13,000.

Western University profiles Chris Balestrini

Chris Balestrini is a sub-elite who ran his second marathon at Toronto, running 2:19:40 to finish ninth Canadian and 22nd overall.

He’s also coaching at Western University, where he is studying for a double PhD and medical degree.

The Western University student newspaper profiled Chris ahead of his 42.2K debut:

A typical morning: Roll out of bed. Work out the kinks in his quads and calf muscles. Go for an ‘easy shakeout run’ of 8 kilometres. Grab some breakfast. Race to a lab meeting.

Yes, marathon runner Chris Balestrini does more before 8 a.m. than some of us do all day.

But he is not done.

He then attends classes or labs until 5 p.m. Helps coach the Mustang Cross-Country teams. Hits the road for a 90-minute run. Then hits the books before calling it a night.

In the world of elite running, his athletic regimen is pretty standard. For Balestrini, though, juggling marathoning with his PhD/MD studies is a bit more complex.

But fear not, he takes the workload in, ahem, stride.

“The key is maximizing the time I have for school and trying not to be distracted by it when I’m not at school,” he said. “Once you’re into a routine, it doesn’t seem there’s that much to balance.”

Running in Canada shares 5 takeaways from the race

Running in Canada was one of the few news outlets who got damn close with their predictions for how Toronto would go.

They wrote up a post sharing five takeaways from the race:

Fortune favours the bold

Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky went for it ⁠— and I mean went for it. If the commentators were correct, Pidhoresky went out a 2:22 pace and Hofbauer at 2:09 pace. Although this is a risky strategy, both succeeded. Those who went with Hofbauer struggled, but major kudos to Esselink in particular for going for it.

Often in Canadian running, we see runners go out timidly or conservatively ⁠— and I guess for the marathon, it is a sensible strategy. Outside of Pidhoresky and Hofbauer, this strategy has worked for other Canadian marathoners. In 2011, Reid Coolsaet went for it, ran with the East Africans and achieved the Olympic standard, and; had it not been for GI issues, would have probably broken the Canadian record.

Dayna Pidhoresky and Trevor Hofbauer called their shot

Dayna shared this great Facebook exchange between her and Trevor after the race. It’s from JUNE:


The NYC marathon is this weekend!

Sasha Gollish was supposed to run the NYC marathon, she was the only Canadian announced in the elite field. She dropped out after DNFing the world championship marathon. Without Sasha and Shalane, the storylines are wide open.

Here are five to follow.

1. Mary Keitany is the queen of NYC. Can she claim her crown once again?

Mary Keitany has won NYC four of the past five years. She lost in 2017 to Shalane Flanagan, only to reveal that she got her period for the first time in months the day before the race. But she redeemed herself last year, running 2:22:48, which is the second fastest time to win NYC ever.

Keitany has some competition this year if she wants to win her fifth NYC crown. 2019 Boston marathon champion Worknesh Degefa is in the field. The 28-year-old ran away from the competition at Boston for her first big win. Commentators were convinced she’d pay and instead she had one of the most impressive major win performances in years. Degefa boasts a 2:17:41 PB from the Dubai marathon in January. 2019 Tokyo marathon champion Ruta Aga is also in the field. Tokyo was the first major win for the 25-year-old, who boasts a personal best of 2:18:34 from the 2018 Berlin marathon.

Keitany is 37. When she’s at her best, she’s the best in the world. But the younger women are getting faster and have important world major experience under their belt. It could very much be a race on Sunday.

2. Will we see another sprint to the finish in the men’s race?

Last year’s men’s marathon was a stellar race for the final 5K. Hats off, gloves off, pure racing at it’s finest. The end result was the second, third and fourth fastest NYC finish times EVER. Lelisa Desisa crossed the line first last year, and he’s back. But so are the two who raced him to finish second and third: Shura Kitata and Geoffrey Kamworor. Any one of these men can win this one.

3. The battle of the American women is one to watch

The competition for the women’s American Olympic marathon team is going to be fierce. A surprising number of elite American women are toeing the line at NYC, given how close it is to the American Olympic trials:

  • Des Linden: the 2018 Boston marathon champion, who placed sixth at NYC in 2018, headlines the American women’s field. Linden has not yet committed to the 2020 Olympic trials. After Boston in 2018, she switched coaches and we expected to see something bigger come of that, but instead it was two solid and expected-for-Des results at NYC in 2018 and Boston in 2019. Will NYC in 2019 be any different?

  • Aliphine Tuliamak: Aliphine ran 2:26:50 in Rotterdam this year, then got injured. Rotterdam was a breakthrough for Aliphine, who is hella fast at shorter distances, but hasn’t mastered the marathon. NYC feels like she’s rushing back, but who knows how she’s feeling or how her training is going.

  • Kellyn Taylor: Taylor ran 2:24:28 at Grandma’s marathon in 2018. She had a rough day in Prague this year, but still crossed the line in 2:26:27, good enough for fourth place. She’s run NYC before but has yet to have a breakout race there. Is 2019 the year?

  • Roberta Groner: Roberta is a 41-year-old full-time nurse and mother of three who scored the Olympic standard in Rotterdam, placed sixth at the world championships in Doha and is looking to do well at NYC, in what would be impressive back-to-back marathons.

  • Sara Hall: Hall just ran 2:22:16 in Berlin, which was a huge personal best and the sixth fastest American women’s marathon time ever. Running NYC six weeks later seems crazy, but Sara WON the American 10-mile championships the week after Berlin. She knows her body best, so let’s see if this race-all-the-races approach works out for her.

  • Allie Kieffer: Allie went from being totally unknown to a running name in 2017, when she was the second American behind Shalane and fifth overall. She followed that up with a seventh place showing last year. But she’s changed coaches and is prone to injury, so it’s tough to say what she’ll do come race day this year.

I know I’m Canadian, but I am very excited for the U.S. Olympic trials. American marathoning is comparable to ours, just scaled up 10 times: we aren’t the fastest, but we’re persistent and tenacious. As a result, the storylines that emerge from U.S. and Canadian racing are some of the most fascinating.

4. Who will be the top Canadians?

The upside to races without Canadian elites is that random people get to earn the title of “top Canadian.” It’s usually sub-elites like Brittany Moran (top Canadian woman at Chicago in 2017) and Eric Bang (top Canadian in Chicago in 2019), who run borderline OTQ times. Winning, no matter how arbitrary, is fun. I almost won my hometown 10K once and I have every intention of returning to claim my victory. (The race is tiny as hell and I need to run like 46 minutes to do it). So if you’re reading this and have a shot of running like 2:20 (for men) and 2:45 (for women) in NYC, go for it.

I’ll give the top Canadians a shoutout next week.

5. NYC is the go-to marathon for celebs

One of my favourite things about the NYC marathon is how many celebrities run it: Katie Holmes, Kevin Hart, Karlie Kloss and Alicia Keys are all celebs who recently ran NYC.

Refiner29 has a rundown of some of the A-listers (OK, C- and D-listers) taking on 42.2 in NYC this weekend.


American legend Shalane Flanagan retires from competitive running

With happy tears I announce today that I am retiring from professional running.
From 2004 to 2019 I’ve given everything that’s within me to this sport and wow it’s been an incredible ride!
I’ve broken bones, torn tendons, and lost too many toenails to count. I've experienced otherworldly highs and abysmal lows. I've loved (and learned from) it all.
Over the last 15 years I found out what I was capable of, and it was more than I ever dreamed possible.
Now that all is said and done, I am most proud of the consistently high level of running I produced year after year. No matter what I accomplished the year before, it never got any easier. Each season, each race was hard, so hard. But this I know to be true: hard things are wonderful, beautiful, and give meaning to life.
I’ve loved having an intense sense of purpose. For 15 years I've woken up every day knowing I was exactly where I needed to be. The feeling of pressing the threshold of my mental and physical limits has been bliss. I've gone to bed with a giant tired smile on my face and woken up with the same smile. My obsession to put one foot in front of the other, as quickly as I can, has given me so much joy.

However, I have felt my North Star shifting, my passion and purpose is no longer about MY running; it's more and more about those around me.
All I’ve ever known, in my approach to anything, is going ALL IN. So I’m carrying this to coaching. I want to be consumed with serving others the way I have been consumed with being the best athlete I can be.
I am privileged to announce I am now a professional coach of the Nike Bowerman Track Club.
This amazing opportunity in front of me, to give back to the sport, that gave me so much, is not lost on me. I’ve pinched myself numerous times to make sure this is real. I am well aware that retirement for professional athletes can be an extremely hard transition. I am lucky, as I know already, that coaching will bring me as much joy and heartache that my own running career gave me.
I believe we are meant to inspire one another, we are meant to learn from one another. Sharing everything I’ve learned about and from running is what I’m meant to do now.(1/2)
October 21, 2019

Shalane Flanagan announced her retirement this week. Yeah, she’s American but she’s one of the most influential and inspirational runners out there, so this news deserves a mention.

Shalane’s had a stellar career

Over the course of her near 20-year career, Shalane went to the Olympic four times, winning silver in the 10,000 in 2008. She also won a world championship medal, claiming bronze as both an individual and a team at the 2011 cross-country world championships. And, probably most memorably, she won the 2017 New York City marathon, yelling “fuck yeah” up the final stretch and making me cry my face off.

The news of her retirement was broken on Shalane’s social media and by Women’s Running:

“I love running so much, but I don’t really want it to be my job anymore,” she said, during a phone interview with Women’s Running on October 15. “From the Rio Olympics on, I was running each race as if it were my last and I think that allowed me to maximize my performances. That mentality served me well, because otherwise I literally never would have had one of my greatest achievements —winning the New York City Marathon.”

She’s as astonished at her success as we all are:

“If you had said at the beginning of my career that I’d win a major marathon and have an Olympic medal and a world cross-country medal, I would have never believed it — because what’s the saying? You can’t be what you can’t see,” Flanagan said. “I have always wanted whatever I am doing to count for something and contribute to moving women’s distance running forward.”

But her real legacy will be how she lifts others up

But what’s more important is the community of elite women she’s fostered and inspired. Shalane has spent her entire career with the Bowerman Track Club. When she joined, she was the only woman. Now the team boasts Shelby Houlihan, Courtney Freichs, Amy Cragg, Marissa Hall and more — one of the strongest women’s teams out there.

(There are currently no Canadian women on the team, but Moh Ahmed represents the maple leaf on the men’s side at BTC.)

This desire to improve running for everyone will be her focus in the next stage of her career, as a coach for Bowerman and an occasional broadcast commentator.

The New York Times covered Shalane’s ability to make everyone around her better in 2017, calling it “the Shalane effect”:

Every single one of her training partners — 11 women in total — has made it to the Olympics while training with her, an extraordinary feat. Call it the Shalane Effect: You serve as a rocket booster for the careers of the women who work alongside you, while catapulting forward yourself.

“Shalane has pioneered a new brand of ‘team mom’ to these young up-and-comers, with the confidence not to tear others down to protect her place in the hierarchy,” said Lauren Fleshman, who became a professional runner in the early 2000s, around the same time Flanagan did. “Shalane’s legacy is in her role modeling, which women in every industry would like to see more of.”


Maggie Guterl wins Big’s Backyard Ultra, Canadian Dave Proctor placed third

Big’s Backyard Ultra took place the same weekend as the Toronto marathon — it wasn’t over by the time the last newsletter went out. The gruelling ultra race was conceived by none other than Gary Cantrell AKA Lazarus Lake, the mad genius behind the Barkley marathons.

What is Big’s Backyard Ultra?

Big’s Backyard Ultra is a last-person-standing-is-named-the-winner kind of race. There is a 6K loop in Lake’s backyard. You have one hour to complete it. At the top of the next hour, you go again. And again. And again. And again. If you can’t complete a loop within the time limit, you’re out.

Once there is only one runner left, that competitor has to successfully complete a final loop in order to be declared the winner. Everyone else gets a DNF. If the last runner does not complete that last loop, they also get a DNF.

Because of these rules, my headline is technically misleading. Officially, Dave Proctor was the second-last person to DNF.

Outside wrote a great article about the race in 2018:

Since most runners are able to complete a four-mile loop in under an hour with relative ease — and since the only thing that matters is how many loops one is willing to run — at Big’s Backyard, speed is less of an asset than sheer stubbornness. The race description on UltraSignup.com bears this out: Have you ever thought that you could not be beaten, if only the faster runners were unable to run away and leave you? This is your chance to find out. Every surviving runner will be tied for the lead, every hour. 

As if that didn’t sound sinister enough, every participant at Big’s must wear a tracking device around their ankle. The race also includes “jeerleaders,” spectators who are tasked with taunting runners by reminding them of their misery and telling them to give up. Apparently, Cantrell likes to get in on the fun. (I’m sure he’s a swell guy once you get to know him.)

Maggie Guterl is the first woman to win the race outright

The race has been going on since 2012. This was the first year a woman won outright. American Maggie Guterl completed 60 laps — that’s 402KM — to win. That’s running for more than two days.

Maggie is an ultrarunner from Durango, Colorado. The 39-year-old works as the athlete and events manager for Tailwind Nutrition, which is the fuel she used for Big’s Backyard Ultra. She’s consistently done well at the most extreme of ultras, finishing in the top 10 at Western States, placing second at the Georgia Death Race and was the second woman/seventh overall at Big’s Backyard Ultra last year, losing to Courtney Dauwalter, who placed second overall.

She’s tough as hell.

From Runner’s World:

With a three-women crew, Guterl only worried about completing each lap. She also played games to keep her spirits up, like guessing the Tailwind flavor when her crew handed her a fresh bottle. (Her favorite is lemon.)

She also would talk to herself on the trail to make sure she was focused on completing each loop.

“Whenever I felt slow, I would say ‘pace’ out loud to myself, whenever I started drifting off or felt distracted from the race, I would say ‘focus,’ and if I stumbled, I would say ‘footing,’” Guterl said. “I probably sounded like a crazy person saying these things to myself on the trail, but you can’t just think it. It helps to say it.”

Full results can be found here.

After Maggie’s win, Wired wrote a good article about the rise of the female ultra runner and tried to get at why women tend to do better than men when conditions are really, really tough:

There are reasons why women might present a formidable challenge in endurance sports. Some research suggests women’s muscles might be less fatiguable than men’s. Women tend to have more slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are better at longer-lasting tasks. Women can also access and use their stores of fat, which metabolize more slowly than carbohydrates, better than men. In short, the extremes of athletic capacity that men exhibit just aren't as vital in the ultra world. "Anything where speed and strength are a factor, the men will always be on top," says Cantrell. "What I like about the backyard ultra is it removes the speed and strength from the equation." Men and women can just battle it out.

Then there's the psychology of these grinding affairs. We could wax philosophical about how women are better at handling the emotions and hardship of endurance sport, but there’s not much research to back up those squishy ideas. There does seem to be, though, a truth about how women perceive their abilities and parcel out their power: A 2016 Journal of Sports Analytics study looked at the predictions that male and female participants in the 2013 Houston Marathon made for themselves, and found that “men consistently overestimate their abilities relative to women.” Men also, in general, started out too quick and cut their pace in the backends of races, while women stayed steadier across the distance.

Canadian Dave Proctor runs strong, technically places third

Dave Proctor made it 51 laps, which totals 336K.

The runner who finished second was New Zealand’s Will Hayward. After Proctor dropped out, Hayward and Maggie went at it for four more laps before Hayward dropped.

Proctor, an ultra runner from Calgary, is no stranger to weird endurance races. In May, he set the 12-hour and the 100-mile treadmill records records. He also holds the 24 hour and 48 hour Canadian road records.

He’s planning to break the record for fastest known time to run across Canada in May 2020.

He runs to raise awareness for rare diseases, including Rare Disease Foundation’s OutRun Rare initiative and Canada’s Rare Disease Foundation.

Proctor’s 10-year-old son has a rare genetic disease, so the cause is close to him.


Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathons getting moved to Sapporo, and what a mess that was and might still be

This news came out last week, but I left it out of the newsletter because of all of the Toronto stuff. It’s a good thing I did, because this went back and forth and was a total mess this week.

It was announced that the IOC intended to move the marathons and race walks from Tokyo and host them in Sapporo, because it’s 5-6 degrees cooler there. Sapporo is 800km north of Tokyo.

A timeline of various announcements

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the Olympic marathon was getting moved from Tokyo to Sapporo;

  • Sapporo’s local government said they weren’t covering any costs associated with this move;

  • Tokyo’s local organizing committee said that the move wasn’t final, and suggested the marathon start at 3 a.m. to handle concerns about heat. The city of Tokyo wasn’t consulted and wanted the marathon to be kept in Tokyo;

  • It was then believed that the final decision would be made after an IOC meeting in Tokyo taking place Oct. 30-Nov. 1;

  • Then the IOC was like NOPE, the decision to move to Sapporo was final;

  • Now people are like LOL, who is organizing and paying for it all?

It seems like a shitshow, with no one talking to each other and it’s unclear who will pay for the cost of making this major move only nine months out.

The women’s marathon is scheduled for Aug. 2 and the men’s marathon is scheduled for Aug. 9.

What does this all mean?

  • An entire international marathon needs to be planned from scratch in nine months. What will the route be? Where will athletes finish? Where will they stay? Who is paying for it? No one knows.

  • The Olympic experience, generally, good and bad, will extend beyond Tokyo. I know there’s a lot of problems with these major athletics events. There’s a lot of corruption. The athletes are rarely consulted or considered first. But I lived in Toronto in 2015 during the PanAm Games, and damn, that was a lot of fun. If they can figure this out in time, it could be something special for Sapporo.

The IOC is citing what they saw at Doha as a reason to move the races. From BBC:

“The IOC was shocked by what we saw in Doha in very similar conditions, in terms of temperature and humidity, to what's expected here in Tokyo,” said Coates.

“We didn't want Tokyo to be remembered for similar images as you will have seen in Doha in the marathon and in the race-walking events.”

In the women’s world championship race, almost half the field dropped out because of the conditions. Athletes’ safety and ability to perform at their best should be the #1 priority at all times. But then, why were the world championships held in Doha in the first place? Why was it not a consideration then? With the way this is all going down, it seems like it’s not the athlete’s safety that’s the #1 priority, but rather the optics that people care about athlete’s safety.

So what’s next?

No clue.

What does this mean for future summer Olympics in general? London in 2012 was hot. Rio in 2016 was hot. Tokyo 2020 was looking to be exceptional, but it’s not Doha. The world is heating up. Paris in the summer is hot. Los Angeles in the summer is hot. This is going to be a problem for the future of the sport in general. Climate change is changing everything, and we should be better prepared for this kind of stuff in the future.

(Also, we should figure out climate change. That would be great.)


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Andre De Grasse and Nia Ali are probably the fastest couple in the world

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse’s partner is American hurdler Nia Ali. The two dominated the world championships, with De Grasse taking home a silver in the 200m and a bronze in the 100m. Ali added gold to the family collection, winning the 100m hurdles.

The two have a daughter together, Yuri, who was born in June 2018. (Ali also has a son from a previous relationship.) Yuri got attention when both parents brought her down to track level to celebrate their victories.

CBC Sports did a video profile of the couple that’s worth watching, you can check it out below.

Aaron Brown & Brandon McBride discuss disappointing showing at worlds

At the world championships this summer (my recap of it all is here!), Brandon McBride failed to make the 800m final — but fellow Canadian Marco Arop did. Aaron Brown made both his finals — the 100m and the 200m — but failed to contend in either and was outshone by fellow Canadian Andre De Grasse, who medalled in both events.

Both McBride and Brown talked to CBC Sports this week about their disappointment and how they plan to use it to fuel their drive to Tokyo.

Brown:

“I was still second and pretty clear of the field [off the curve] but I panicked and that [created] an opening for Guliyev to get me at the finish [line],” said Brown, who clocked 20.20 seconds to secure the eighth and last spot for the final. “Had I stayed relaxed, I probably would have been under 20.10 and first or second going into the final. It's lessons learned.”

Brown's coach, former U.S. sprinter Dennis Mitchell, knew he was dejected and tried to pick up his spirits after the race.

“He said, 'We're not going to be sad, we're in the final. We've made a lot of progress [making two world finals] and we should celebrate that,’” Brown said. “I have to manage my emotions better in a semifinal and final.”

McBride:

“The final was the fast-paced race I had been training for and was comfortable running. I was in the best shape of my life,” said McBride, who ran 1:43.20 in July 2018 to break Gary Reed's Canadian record. “You have to make several moves in a slow and tactical race, I made the wrong ones and it cost me.

“It was a tough lesson but I now know what I need to do in order to be better.”

Eric Bang writes about his Chicago marathon

Consistency over time ⏩ Progression .

2:19:56 isn't the time I wanted but like it or not it is part of the process .

Although I didn’t get the result to show for it, I had a really great build that I am proud of. 👆 Link in profile for lessons learned
October 18, 2019

Eric Bang was the top Canadian at the Chicago marathon this year. He ran 2:19:56 — a few seconds off his personal best, and nearly a minute off that coveted sub 2:19 time. That’s the time you used to need to qualify for the Olympics and the time you still need to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials. I believe Bang has dual citizenship.

His post is about the interesting tension between going all-in on a goal and living a full live:

This experience really reiterates how important the mental aspect of this sport is. It doesn’t matter how fit you are. If you haven’t trained your mind to do it you won’t… 

“How bad do you want it?”

I answered this at the beginning of my build. I set parameters of how much of my life I would let this build consume and I set limits to how much I would invest in this build. 

This cycle was about finding a better balance. The reality is that this is a lifelong sport and I can’t go all in all the time. I didn’t get the balance quite right this time but I learned some things to help me finetune it for the next time around.

Reflecting on my build and my result I am happy. Although I wasn’t able to show it my result, I really feel that I improved. More importantly, I showed myself that improvement is possible without being a slave to the grind.

Bebe Rexha runs a lot in her new music video

I don’t know why running features so heavily in the video for Bebe Rexha’s You Can’t Stop the Girl — which is for the new Maleficent movie — but here you go.

A correction

I’ve been saying that Rory Linkletter is a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen. I’m not sure where I got that information, but it’s wrong. Linkletter is a Canadian citizen with permanent residency in the U.S.

This might be the most Canadian running costume ever?

The final kick


That’s it for this week!

Next week I’ll have a NYC recap and share whatever else comes my way I think you’d be into knowing about.

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