TORONTO MARATHON RECAP SPECIAL: Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky are going to the Tokyo Olympics!

The Toronto Waterfront Marathon delivered memorable performances and two Olympic standards.

Hello!

Lots of new subscribers since my last issue! Welcome. It’s heartwarming to know there are plenty of Canadian running nerds out there.

This issue is 100% Toronto Waterfront Marathon stuff. I’m saving everything else (including the fact the Tokyo Olympic marathon might not be held in Tokyo anymore… uh, what?) for next week.

It was a big day in Toronto, so let’s get to it! This one is definitely too big for most inboxes, so if it cuts off, just hit the link to read it online.


The Toronto Waterfront Marathon was one for the ages

The Toronto Waterfront marathon was the fastest edition yet: the men’s and women’s Canadian soil records were broken and both the top Canadians scored the Olympic standard and are going to Tokyo!

Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky are going to Tokyo

Canadian marathoners Trevor Hofbauer & Dayna Pidhoresky have qualified for #Tokyo2020
October 20, 2019

The biggest story of the weekend was that both the Canadian men’s and the Canadian women’s champions ran the Olympic standard and are going to Tokyo.

The race was billed at the Canadian Olympic marathon trials, with the winners getting Olympic berths. All that advertising came with a big asterisk — the Canadian champs still needed the Olympic standard (top five or 2:11:30/2:29:30) to be named to the team.

BUT THE ASTERISK DOESN’T MATTER IN THE END.

Why? Because the men’s champ, Trevor Hofbauer, threw down a 2:09:51 and the women’s champ, Dayna Pidhoresky, busted out 2:29:03.

Both runs are huge personal bests — they each ran PBs of almost seven minutes. Hofbauer’s previous best was 2:16:48 and Pidhoresky’s previous best was 2:36:08.

I crunched some numbers last week when it came to how runners get paid, so let’s do it again this week.

  • Hofbauer: Top Canadian + Olympic standard = $13,000

  • Pidhoresky: Top Canadian + Olympic standard = $13,000

Those $$ numbers don’t include any appearance fees or performance bonuses negotiated with the race. Both Hofbauer and Pidhoresky are unsponsored, so their stellar performances don’t next any cash from a shoe or apparel deal.

Hofbauer ran the 2:16 in Hamburg this year. He was originally eyeing a 2:13 finish at that race but battled illness during his buildup, so that 2:16 was never indicative of what he was capable of. Well, now we know.

He’s now Canada’s second 2:09 guy — AKA the second fastest Canadian ever — after Cam Levins, who set the Canadian marathon record of 2:09:25 in Toronto last year.

Hofbauer placed seventh overall.

“My training going into this was absolutely perfect and I couldn't have done it without the support of everybody back at home," Hofbauer told Athletics Canada (link via CBC Sports) after the race. "I knew there was the possibility of making the Olympic team today and I just left it all out here.”

Hofbauer runs without a watch. He started to experiment with effort-based running during a stint in Guelph, and kept it up when he decided to return to Calgary and train independently.

From Canadian Running:

“I’ve found training with a pace immediately dictates how your workout is going to go. I trained with pace and Strava for years. One day I was running with Eric Gillis [Olympian and one of Canada’s fastest-ever marathoners] in Guelph and he didn’t use pace on his watch so I took it off of mine as well. Removing pace was something that stuck.”

The runner, who’s now self coached, left Speed River and coach Dave Scott-Thomas last year in favour of moving home to Calgary and training himself. “When I went back to Calgary, I started using pace again as an indication of how I was doing. But I didn’t like it at all — it really got into my head. I started comparing previous training blocks to this training block. So I took it off again. I don’t use pace now, I just go off of time and effort. And that was how I ran today. I didn’t have to watch so when I felt good, I continued to push.”

W H A T 💥 JUST HAPPENED??? Still don’t fully understand what went on out there but I secured my spot on the Canadian Olympic team for the marathon for Tokyo 2020! Thank you so much for all the kind words and I’ll be sure to post about this amazing day when the dust has settled. So many people are part of this journey. Thanks for all the cheers out there Toronto — it was my day today and I am so thankful ❤️.
.
📸: @kimenp.rmt
October 20, 2019

Pidhoresky’s previous personal best was run in Ottawa in 2017. However, Pidhoresky always seemed like she was better than 2:36 and just couldn’t put it together in a race until now.

“I feel like I have had this performance in me for years. I’m in awe that it all came together when it mattered the most,” Pidhoresky said to Athletics Canada after the race. “Thinking about Josh, my husband and coach, thinking about how we did all this. The most disappointing thing is when things don’t come together, and I think about the team around me and I think let them down. I feel like today, it was for all of them who stayed by my side and believed in me.”

Pidhoresky placed 10th overall.

This means three women have qualified for Tokyo: Pidhoresky, Rachel Cliff and Lyndsay Tessier. If any more Canadian women score the standard by May 31, 2020, Athletics Canada will have to pick which two women will go to Tokyo alongside Pidhoresky.

Hofbauer is the first Canadian man to nab the standard. After the race, Cam Levins — who ran 2:15:01 to finish third Canadian and 12th overall — said it wasn’t his day but he was getting to Tokyo.

I updated my “How Canadian marathoners can go to the Olympics” primer to reflect the new performances. There are still several fast races, gold label races and world majors that Canadians can run to go for the standard.

I think we’ll see some big Canadian names lining up a Houston, Rotterdam and London in spring 2020.

May 31, 2020 is when the qualification period closes.

Philemon Rono scores his three-peat, runs course and Canadian soil record

The overall men’s race was a RACE. The top four finished 13 seconds apart.

Rono surged at the end to overtake Ethiopia’s Lemi Berhanu. Berhanu made a move to break from the pack with 5K left, but it was too soon. Rono chased him down and overtook him in the final stretch to win.

Rono crossed the finish line in 2:05:00, which is a new personal best, a new course record and a new Canadian soil record. All three of those records were previously 2:06:52, which was Rono’s 2017 Toronto winning time.

It’s the third time Rono has won this race, he also broke the tape in 2016 and 2017. 2018 was rough on him, he placed 9th in Toronto and DNFed Boston, but it appears he’s rebounded and is better than ever.

Rono trains with the GOAT Eliud Kipchoge under their coach Patrick Sang.

Now that I am obsessed with how much money runners make, let’s calculate what Rono took home:

  • #1 finish + course record + Canadian soil record = $80,000

This doesn’t include appearance fees or performance bonuses negotiated with the race or his sponsors.

Berhanu, who won the 2016 Boston Marathon, finished nine seconds back. Berhanu’s PB is 2:04:33, which he ran in Dubai in 2017. This was his first time running Toronto.

Filex Chemonges of Uganda came third in 2:05:12, which is a new Ugandan national record. Toronto was Chemonges’ first North American race.

Defending Toronto champion Benson Kipruto came fourth in 2:05:13.

The top four finishers all ran under the previous course record of 2:06:52.

Trevor Hofbauer was the only Canadian to crack the top 10, placing seventh.

Mexican running legend Juan Luis Barrios, who came to Toronto with the Olympic standard in mind, just missed it by running 2:11:52 and placing eighth. He still has time to go after sub 2:11:30 and there’s a chance he will qualify based on points, so all is not lost just yet.

Top 10 overall men:

  1. Philemon Rono (Kenya) 2:05:00

  2. Lemi Berhanu (Ethiopia) 2:05:09

  3. Filex Chemonges (Uganda) 2:05:12.01

  4. Benson Kipruto (Kenya) 2:05:13.08

  5. Silas Mwetich (Kenya) 2:06:59.04

  6. Abera Kuma (Ethiopia) 2:09:14.025

  7. Trevor Hofbauer (Canada) 2:09:51

  8. Juan Luis Barrios (Mexico) 2:11:52

  9. Enoch Nadler (USA) 2:13:04

  10. Juan Alberto Mena (Mexico) 2:13:08

Magdelyne Masai sets women’s course record and Canadian soil record

Unlike the men’s race, coming into Toronto, the women’s course record and the Canadian soil record were different. But Kenya’s Magdelyne Masai changed that, throwing down 2:22:16 to break the tape.

She came to Toronto with a 2:22 finish time mind. She walked away with a four-minute personal best.

Her previous best marathon was 2:26:04, which she ran in Hamburg in 2018.

The previous course record was 2:22:29, which was set by Mimi Belete last year.

Masai broke the Canadian soil record by ONE SECOND. The record was previously 2:22:17, which was set by Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka in Ottawa in 2018.

Masai’s husband, New Zealand runner Jake Robertson, ran Toronto in 2018. He placed fifth in 2:09:52. I think it’s a good sign that Masai signed up for Toronto after her husband ran the race, and I bet his course experience helped her prepare.

She also takes home $80,000: #1 finish + course record + Canadian soil record.

This doesn’t include appearance fees or performance bonuses negotiated with the race or her sponsors.

Both the top overall man and woman and the top Canadian man and Canadian woman took home equal paydays for equal performances. It’s nice to see financial payouts for performances work out equally for both men and women.

Ethiopia’s Biruktayit Eshetu placed second in 2:22:40. The time is a PB, she previously ran 2:23:28 in Houston at the beginning of the year.

Kenyan Betsy Saina was added to the Toronto elite field at the last minute. Saina was on the start line in Chicago just last week, but withdrew after running through the halfway mark in 1:11:11. She said she had food poisoning. The move to Toronto paid off, she ran 2:22:43 to nab third place. The time is a personal best for Saina, her previous best was 2:22:56 from the Paris 2018 marathon.

Pidhoresky was the only Canadian to crack the top 10, placing 10th.

Top 10 women overall:

  1. Magdelyne Masai (Kenya) 2:22:16

  2. Biruktayit Eshetu (Ethiopia) 2:22:40

  3. Betsy Saina (Kenya) 2:22:43

  4. Birke Debele (Ethiopia) 2:23:30

  5. Racheal Mutgaa (Kenya) 2:23:30

  6. Ruth Chebitok (Kenya) 2:24:13

  7. Shuko Genemo (Ethiopia) 2:24:28

  8. Etaferahu Temesgen (Ethiopia) 2:27:21

  9. Bekelech Gudeta (Ethiopia) 2:27:40

  10. Dayna Pidhoresky (Canada) 2:29:03

American Becky Wade, who was going for the Olympic standard, ran 2:33:03 to finish 12th.

Tristan Woodfine runs PB of 2:13:16 to claim second Canadian men’s spot

Tristan Woodfine ran a PB of 2:13:16 to place second, and 11th overall.

Woodfine has had a great 2019. He kicked it off by running a personal best in the marathon in Houston, running 2:15:19. In June, he won the Canadian half-marathon championship, running 1:04:46.

He further dropped his marathon PB by two minutes at Toronto.

According to this Athletics Illustrated interview, the 26-year-old is trained as a paramedic professionally, but has put pause on that career track to focus on his running. Meanwhile, he is working with his father as a carpenter in his hometown to pay the bills.

I didn’t include EITHER second place Canadian in my preview last week. I feel pretty dumb right now.

Woodfine does a lot of his training alone and isn’t on social media, which is partly why he’s flied under the radar despite a strong year.

Emily Setlack runs big PB to take second Canadian spot, misses Olympic standard by 18 seconds

Emily Setlack was the second Canadian woman across the line, surprising a lot of people.

She finished in 2:29:48, becoming the third fastest Canadian woman of 2019 and missing the Olympic standard by 18 seconds and placing 11th overall.

She had a great tune-up race at the Philadelphia rock & roll half-marathon, placing third overall and besting top American Jordan Hasay.

Setlack has made major strides in the marathon this year.

She ran her previous personal best of 2:35:44 at Rotterdam earlier this year. THAT personal best was by 11 minutes.

So that means Setlack got 17 minutes faster in the marathon in 2019.

Setlack is a strong trail runner and was the 2018 Canadian mountain running champion. She actually turned to trail running because she became too focused on her time when it came to performance, according to an interview with Canadian Running last year. Now that she’s overcome that and dominated the trail scene, it’s time to make waves on the roads.

Like Tristan Woodfine, Setlack isn’t active on social media and there aren’t a ton of interviews and profiles about her online. That, combined with the major leaps she’s made recently put her under the radar of most experts heading into today’s race. I didn’t even know she was in the elite field until the day before.

Defending champion Kinsey Middleton ran 2:34:36 to be the third Canadian woman, and 13th overall.

Rory Linkletter and Evan Esselink run OK debuts

Rory Linkletter and Evan Esselink both ran solid but nothing special debuts.

Linkletter is 23 years old and just graduated from Brigham Young University, where he was a six-time All American and was on the BYU team that podiumed twice at the NCAA cross-country championships.

Jumping up to the marathon right away was a bold and unusual move, but Linkletter thought the distance would play to his strength and be his best shot to make an Olympic team. There are a couple profiles later in this newsletter worth reading that get into this a bit more.

Linkletter was gunning for a 2:13ish finish time faded in the second half to run 2:16:42 to finish sixth Canadian and 16th overall.

He seemed happy with the result, and has a newfound respect for the distance.

Esselink ran 2:18:38 for seventh Canadian, 20th overall.

The 27-year-old’s PB in the half-marathon is 1:02:13, which happens to be the fourth fastest half-marathon ever run by a Canadian. He ran that in Houston this year. He also ran a big 10K PB at the lululemon 10K in Edmonton this summer.

Esselink, who is from Vancouver, trains with the British Columbia Endurance Project. He spent his NCAA career at Indiana University.

I expect both of them to get much faster as they gain more marathon experience.

Cam Levins, Reid Coolsaet and Dylan Wykes have off days

Cam Levins came into the race wanting to punch his ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He struggled at the end of the race and came away as the third Canadian, a 2:15:01 finish time and some work to do if he wants to return to the Olympics.

Reid Coolsaet’s goal for Toronto was a 2:13 or so finish time and to rack up some points towards his IAAF ranking. Coolsaet improved upon his finish time at Ottawa in the spring (which was 2:17:37), running 2:15:23 in Toronto, but conditions in Toronto were much more favourable. Coolsaet, who turned 40 earlier this year, did walk away with the Canadian marathon masters record. On Instagram, Coolsaet said he was “not disappointed":”

2:15:23 today at @towaterfront42k. 14th overall and 4th Canadian. Not disappointed with that result. I was on pace for 2:13 through 35km and would have been really happy with a 2:14. That’s the marathon, it can get ugly towards the end.
There is still time to donate to @connectingcountries through the @scotiabank charity challenge. Please consider donating to help build more toilets for school kids in Kenya. Link in bio. Thanks!
#runscotia
#teamNB
📷: @edison2176
October 21, 2019

Dylan Wykes was a bit more of a wild card. Wykes hasn’t run a marathon since 2012, when he represented Canada at the London 2012 Olympics. Before Toronto, he said he said he just wanted to finish, but admitted that top three and the Olympics were on his mind as stretch goals. Wykes finished in 2:22:50, which placed him 33rd overall and 15th Canadian, but it looked like he had a great time doing so despite the rough race.

You win some, you lose some. And sometimes you just need to dance 💃🏻 Not my day out there @towaterfront42k But tremendously grateful for the opportunity to line up again, for all the fans, the race organizers, the @mile2marathon Crew and most of all my family ❤️
October 20, 2019

Malindi Elmore DNS, Leslie Sexton DNF Toronto

After being one of the most-hyped about Canadians running Toronto, Malindi Elmore had to withdraw from the race, citing hamstring injury. She still has a chance to nab the Olympic standard. Depending on how severe the injury is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her at the start line of CIM or back at Houston, where she made her marathon debut at the beginning of the year.

“Love the moment you are in”. Good words to live by - even when the moments do not go exactly as planned.

My marathon build went better than planned....fitness, health and enjoyment all exceeded expectations.

Until last week, mid taper, my hamstring decided it needed a break. And no matter how much I tried to convinced it otherwise, it would not play nice.

So I am going to take the highs of this build and move positively forward for my next opportunity - after my old hammy gives me the green light again.

The best part of this experience was the community and team support. My health care team was A++ as I had quick access to the best doctors, physios and diagnostic resources a girl could ask for. And the love and support from friends and family has been so appreciated. Onward ...the journey is more important than the destination.
To all the racers this weekend - go run like the wind!
#marathontraining #goals #running #STWM
October 17, 2019

Leslie Sexton also scratched from the race. I can’t find any information about this online. The app only has her splits through 15K. Sportstats has nothing. She hasn’t posted on social media at all. If I learn more, I’ll share next week.

UPDATE: Leslie just had a rough day, no injuries to report.

Top 10 Canadian men overall

  1. Trevor Hofbauer (7th overall) 2:09:51

  2. Tristan Woodfine (11th overall) 2:13:16

  3. Cam Levins (12th overall) 2:15:01

  4. Reid Coolsaet (14th overall) 2:15:23

  5. Thomas Toth (15th overall) 2:16:28

  6. Rory Linkletter (16th overall) 2:16:42

  7. Evan Esselink (20th overall) 2:18:38

  8. Aaron Cooper (21st overall) 2:19:01

  9. Chris Balestrini (22nd overall) 2:19:40

  10. Kevin Coffey (24th overall) 2:20:22

Top 10 Canadian women overall

  1. Dayna Pidhoresky (10th overall) 2:29:03.

  2. Emily Setlack (11th overall) 2:29:48

  3. Kinsey Middleton (13th overall) 2:34:36

  4. Kate Bazeley (14th overall) 2:36:35

  5. Robyn Mildren (15th overall) 2:36:47

  6. Tarah Korir (17th overall) 2:42:05

  7. Melissa Paauwe (23rd overall) 2:46:33

  8. Kate Gustafson (25th overall) 2:48:56

  9. Alex Castonguay (31st overall) 2:52:05

  10. Becky Pieterson (33rd overall) 2:55:28

Toronto gets glowing reviews from Americans

Rory Linkletter runs with Arizona-based NAZ Elite. Because of this, several elite Americans were paying attention to Toronto this weekend.

It warmed my heart to see his coach, Ben Rosario, tweet about how much he was enjoying the city:

His teammate, 2:27 marathoner Stephanie Bruce, raved about the race coverage:

Even the Let’s Run message board was *gasp* impressed with the coverage.

We got something special here, and it’s great when the world takes notice.

Ben Preisner, Brittany Moran win the half-marathon

Ben Preisner won the men’s race in 1:03:08. It was Preisner’s second attempt at the distance — he won the Scotiabank Vancouver half-marathon this spring in 1:05:41.

Preisner, who is from Milton, Ont., ran for the University of Tulsa in college. He just graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. He represented Canada at the world cross-country championships, where he finished 77th.

He did a Q&A with Running in Canada earlier this year, where he stated he’d love to go to the Olympics but isn’t putting his engineering career on hold to chase that dream.

Preisner’s 1:03:08 in Toronto is the sixth fastest half-marathon ever by a Canadian man.

Brittany Moran won the woman’s half-marathon in 1:15:12. Moran is a run coach and chiropractor based in Toronto. She rarely runs half-marathons, but this performance was a three-minute personal best.

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.

Several Guinness World Records were set

22 Guinness World Records were attempted in Toronto, in both the marathon and half-marathon.

Here is a roundup of the successful attempts I could validate by the time I scheduled this newsletter on Sunday night.

UPDATE: Canadian Running has a roundup of all 14 successful records.

→ Joggler Michal Kapral, who just broke two records in the Maldives, returned to Toronto with a new record in mind: the fastest half-marathon completed while skipping (with no rope). He finished in 2:12:48, which is now an official world record.

→ American Melvin Nyairo set the world record for fastest half-marathon dressed as a fruit. He finished in 1:15:35. “Banana man” ran with the elite women for much of the start of the race, capturing the attention of several viewers on Twitter.

“I think you’re the top banana in the race”. Yes, I actually said that 😁. He ran a 1:15 half at STWM!
October 21, 2019

→ American Aysha Mirza broke the record for fastest half-marathon dressed as a cartoon character. Mirza, who was dressed as Princess Jasmine, ran 1:53:26.

→ The Netherlands’ Bruno Gustavo Macaneiro ran the fastest marathon dressed as a soccer player (complete with holding a soccer ball) in 3:28:34.

✔️ Guinness World Record
Fastest Marathon on a Football Kit 🔴⚫⚪ #JEC #Tricolor #Joinville
PS: I do not recommend a marathon on studded cleats to anybody
October 20, 2019

→ Mexico’s Diego Alcubierre broke the record for fastest marathoner dressed as a tennis plater. Alcubierre held a racquet for the entire race and finished in 3:05:30.

→ Canadian Joe Ajoy broke the record for the fastest marathon dressed as a quidditch player (yes, the sport in Harry Potter). Ajoy ran with a broom between his legs and finished in 4:02:#1. He set the half-marathon world record in the same costume in October.

→ American Jeff Mescal broke the record for fastest marathon dressed as a baseball player. Mescal carried a bat the entire race and finished in 2:56:36.

→ Canadian Charlie Molina broke the record for the fastest half-marathon in a martial arts suit. He finished just under the old record in 1:27:03.

Tigist Girma runs 2:19 in Amsterdam, which is relevant because she said Toronto wasn’t fast enough for her

Remember when Ethiopian runner Tigist Girma withdrew from Toronto because her husband said the course wasn’t fast enough for her?

Lots of eyebrows were raised because her PR was 2:26:34 and Toronto’s course record was 2:22:29. Several committed elites had faster PBs at the time. It seemed like a cocky, reckless move.

Well, she ran fast enough at Amsterdam to validate it. She ran a seven-minute PB to place second in 2:19:52.

Want to relive it all? You can watch the entire broadcast below


Elite bibs are often sexist and it annoys me

I was watching the Toronto Waterfront Marathon elite media go down on social media on Friday and noticed something:

So I did some research:

Chicago, London, New York: men start at #1, women start at #100.

Ottawa’s elite men had bibs starting at #1. The lowest elite woman bib I could find was #56.

Berlin does the same as Toronto, F for women, no gender signifier for men.

I get there’s a history of women not running as frequently as men and there not being digital tracking and wheelchair racers getting W so this is consistent with that and some races have special elite female only zones and and and…

I realize that just suggesting they put an M on the men’s bibs indicates the belief that gender is binary, but there are several options that don’t do this:

  • F for female, M for male, N for nonbinary. As long as any ID system is designed to be scaled for all gender identities, and proper consultation with the appropriate communities is done, some sort of letter signifier still works.

  • Dedicate numbers #1-#100 to elites and distribute them randomly, lottery style.

  • Rotate each year which gender starts with #1 and which starts with #100.

  • Let the elites pick their bib #s based on first-come first-served basis or based on PB, but make sure that men and women and nonbinary athletes rotate who goes first every year.

  • Do elites need bib #s at all anymore? They all wear bibs with their names on them anyway. I know at some point the cutoff would get unwieldy, but could the top, say 100 runners just go by names only?

I don’t know what the answer is, I’m not a race director. I should have reached out to learn more about how bib #s are handled and what is required on a bib before writing this rant. But it’s 2019. How hard it is to make sure your elite bibs aren’t sexist?


Profiles that came out after last week’s newsletter that are still worth reading

The downside of being a Monday newsletter is that a lot of relevant content can come out between when the newsletter goes out and when a race happens on Sunday, and then they are no longer relevant for the next newsletter.

Well, screw that. I’m rounding up the links I liked that were published to lead into the Toronto Waterfront Marathon from the week here!

The marathon WAS a puzzle for Dayna Pidhoresky (until Toronto, obviously)

The Manitoba Marathon published a Q&A with Dayna Pidhoresky. The Manitoba Marathon hosted the Canadian half-marathon championships in June and have been running Q&As with the elites ever since. Pidhoresky placed second at the half-marathon champs, behind Malindi Elmore.

How did you feel coming into Winnipeg knowing how competitive the field was for the Championship? Does it enter your head on race day, or is that all just chatter leading up to the event?

I knew Malindi was going to be a force and there were several other runners that I knew could run big races. That said, I was very focused on just running the best race I could. I think being in the situation where I knew I was asking a lot of my body to come back so fast after a marathon really dissipated all possible nerves going into the race. It was a Canadian Championship race but I knew it was just me against myself and hoping that put me in a podium position.

 You are known to run a good mix of distances in your training season. Do you have a favorite race distance? If so, why?

Hmmm, I think the half marathon is my favourite and the 10K would have to be a close second. I like the training of a half and the ability to race several of them a year. I’ve been going after my PB from 2011 and hope I can eventually come home with a shiny new one! For me the marathon has me feeling like I am bashing my head against the wall — it’s hard to get it right on that one day.

Is Rory Linkletter Canada’s next marathon star?

Canada Running Series ran a profile of Rory Linkletter, the 23-year-old Canadian (he has permanent residency in the U.S) who just made his marathon debut in Toronto:

Despite his relative youth and inexperience, Linkletter’s adjustment to marathon workouts has been smooth, even enjoyable.

“I’m having so much fun with it and am getting so excited for workouts that I am pestering my teammates,” he says. “I think that’s because of the environment I was in at BYU, being around guys like (sixth place finisher at 2012 Olympic marathon) Jared Ward and my coach (2:10 marathoner Ed Eyestone, who has competed and won in Toronto) who are so established in the distance.”

Linkletter has not increased his weekly mileage (he already hovers around 160K) in preparation for the marathon, but his race-specific workouts are now longer, more difficult, and require much recovery. Sometimes, he takes as much as four days of easy running between hard sessions, a luxury he did not have when training for the 10,000m. The difficulty of workouts has also led him to race sparingly in preparation for the Trials, which has added to the impossibility of predicting his finishing time.

It’s only with the help of comparison, Strava and Twitter that we can start answering the question on everybody’s minds: just how fast can Linkletter go?

Let’s Run also ran a profile of Linkletter ahead of the race. This one talked to his coach Ben Rosario and got more specific about his marathon buildup and what it was like transitioning so quickly from college runner to marathoner:

“He took some time off after the Canadian 10,000m Championships in June, and then we started building slowly in July,” Rosario explained.  “He ran the Pan Am Games 10,000 in August, and I would say after the Pan Am 10,000 things got very specific for the marathon.  So, very specific for the last eight weeks or so.”

Flagstaff, which sits at 2106 meters (7000 feet) of altitude, offers an enviable combination of trails, smooth paved roads, and a track at a lower altitude nearby in Sedona.  Linkletter did most of his marathon-specific work on Lake Mary Road, the legendary stretch of highway south of Flagstaff used by marathon champions like Ryan Hall and Shalane Flanagan to build up for their big races.

“I mean, really, all we’re doing is a lot more strength-based workouts,” Linkletter explained.  “Not spending a lot of time on the track, spending a lot of time out on Lake Mary Road running marathon-specific efforts for as long as is maintainable in training. You know, just trying to get as ready as possible for the distance, training the body to run hard on tired legs, fast on tired legs, and I feel like I’ve done a good job at that.”

I think Linkletter has it in him to be a great marathoner. It’ll just take a bit more time and more experience. But there’s no reason he can’t be a top contender for the 2024 Olympic team.

CORRECTION: I’ve been saying Linkletter is a dual Canada-U.S. citizen and that is incorrect. He’s a Canadian citizen with permanent resident status in the U.S.

Running changed Shane Dixon’s life, so he ran a marathon

So......this is really going to happen? 🥺 🎉2 more sleeps til the @towaterfront42k! 🎉

Full disclosure: Fear started to creep into my mind the past few days. I’m not sure if it’s the race, and/or other things going on at the moment, but, I’ve been restless. In addition to not having the best sleep, my appetite hasn’t been the greatest either (and, THAT says a lot! 😁)! As a result, my morale was a bit low as I headed to the race expo...but, that all changed once I arrived!
Once again, my fellow runners gave me the boost I needed! It was so awesome seeing so many familiar faces including @amy.hicks26 @dylan.day @nanceebee329 @michelletherunner @belovedrunner @kellysparkles & @onemileatatime26.2! And, it was also great to finally meet people like @irunningben @theaspielifeoflisa & @____g_______9 IRL too! Thanks to all of them for passing on their positive vibes, and, giving me the words of encouragement that I needed!! 🙏🏻 I’m so grateful to @oasiscanada for giving me the extra ‘nudge’ I needed to attempt my first Full Marathon! 🙌🏻 My belly is full of 🍝 & I’m looking forward to a long night of sleep!
Goodnight Insta-world, and, best of luck with your race preparations!

#shaneruns
#itsyourmoment #marathontraining #RunWithOasis #TOwaterfront42k
October 19, 2019

If you are someone who follows Canadian insta runners, you probably follow Shane Dixon. Canada Running Series profiled Dixon, a sales person and avid runner, before he ran Toronto as his 42.2K debut:

“When I was trapped in the sales world and ventured on this quest for happiness, I told myself I was never going to be stuck for years in one spot,” Shane Dixon explains. As Shane puts together the building blocks for his first marathon at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the thing that drives him and has made running such a fulfilling pursuit.

Since he started taking running seriously a little over five years ago, change has been a constant both in a personal sense and in all the accompanying experiences. For Shane, running has always meant new people, a new career, a new sense of confidence and level of fitness, and new distances.

Dixon finished Toronto in 5:03:40.

Rick Rayman has run every day for over 40 years, including every single Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Rick Rayman is 72 years old. He’s run every day for over 40 years and he’s one of only two people who have run every edition of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon since the race began in 1990. Canada Running Series profiled him as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations.

He’s the director of student life at the faculty of dentistry and has found a way to bring both these passions together:

Dr. Rayman admits that when it comes to his 40 year run streak and unbroken Toronto Waterfront Marathon streak, “It’s partly to do with ego and being among very few people who can do it, but it’s also to show that it can be done.”

Rick has no shortage of stories of running alongside runners who were struggling at races and suffering together because he knew they would regret giving up. Now, long past his days as a 2:40 marathoner, Dr. Rayman has taken on a role more akin to a cheerleader and running ambassador.

This year, he won’t be the only member of U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry on the course. For his 30th race in Toronto, he’ll bring along around 80 students known as Rayman’s Runners to run either the 5K, half marathon, or full marathon, all in support of the Princess Margaret Foundation.

“The first year, I think we had about 10 students participate and now it’s grown to almost a hundred,” Rick says proudly. “It’s about having fun, raising funds for a cause, and accomplishing something. Running can be crucial for wellness and students are taking that away.”

The one time I did a 30-day run streak, it almost broke me. I got a major injury a few months later and I’m convinced it’s connected. They aren’t for everyone. But if they are for you and you make it 40 years, I have nothing but mad respect.


Congratulations to all the Toronto Waterfront Marathon finishers! And if you ran a race somewhere else, congrats to you too.

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Thanks for much for reading and keep on running!