1/21: Houston was hot despite cold temps, Cam's running London, Krista's running Boston and what the hell is this?
|Jan 21|| 2|
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Who am I? I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner living in Toronto. My numbers are nothing special. I’ve run seven marathons, a few dozen half marathons. But I spend hours and hours and hours reading about runners of all backgrounds — elites to sub-elites to people chasing BQs to back-of-the-packers. I love nothing more than Googling “2018 Chicago marathon recap” and reading the blog of some stranger who overcame so much to run their first/second/eleventh marathon. It’s very uplifting, you should try it.
What is this newsletter then? I decided to put this, uh, hobby to use by rounding up what I read and like here in this newsletter. It’ll be a mix of links and commentary, with a Canadian focus.
I’ll probably end up focusing on road racing and marathoning and the human side of the sport as opposed to track & field and hard numbers/performance stuff. That’s just my jam, telling you now.
If you have feedback, a feature you want to see or want to just tell me I am wasting my time, please email me and let me know. I want this to be fun for everyone.
Just like running. Ha!
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Houston, we had a race
The first big race of the year, the Houston marathon and half marathon, was on Sunday. It was a great day for racing, and people came to run.
In the marathon, we had two big Canadian debuts!
Malindi Elmore, a middle-distance runner turned triathlete, was the top female Canadian, running 2:32:11. (She’s technically run a marathon as part of her Ironman racing, but this was her first true marathon.) Elmore is 38 years old and represented Canada in the 2004 Olympics, running the 1500. She then became a professional triathlete, running the third fastest time at the Ironman distance by a Canadian woman. This 2016 profile of her turn to tris is great. Basically, she’s a beast and now that she’s put her hat in the marathon ring, watch out.
Sasha Gollish, also a former middle-distance runner, gave her first go at the distance in Berlin, but ended up DNFing with an injury. Houston proved to be far better. Gollish finished 2:32:54. Gollish is one of a few athletes who writes regularly for iRun. She published a piece looking forward to 2019 just before Houston. So far her year is off to a great start.
Both these runs put Elmore and Gollish in the conversation for top Canadian women — and shows that Canadian marathoning is getting deeper every day.
On the men’s side, Tristan Woodfine was the top Canadian, running a huge PB of 2:15:16. His previous best time was 2:18:55, which he set last year in Ottawa.
In the half-marathon:
Natasha Wodak ran a PB of 1:10:33, PBing by 47 seconds (her previous PB was 1:11:20., set in 2015) and was only 25 seconds off Rachel Cliff’s Canadian record.
Lyndsay Tessier, who had a huge breakthrough in the marathon in Berlin, ran 1:13:54, besting her previous PB by 35 seconds.
Dayna Pidhoresky ran 1:12:59, only seconds off her own personal best.
Evan Esselink was the top Canadian male, running 1:02:17, a big PB for him. His previous best was 1:04:05, set last year in the same race.
Trevor Hofbauer, the 2017 Canadian marathon champ, had a rough day, running 01:10:11. His half PB, 1:04:28, is from Philadelphia in 2015.
Canadian elite long-distance running is stepping up. Canadian Running did a great job recapping all the CanCon at Houston:
In non-Canadian news, Kenyan Albert Korir (2:10:02) and Ethopian Biruktayit Degefa (2:23:28) won the marathons, and Kenyan Brigid Kosgei (1:05:50) and Ethopian Shura Kitata (1:00:11) were the half champions. Kosgei’s time is a course record is the fastest half-marathon run by a women on North American soil ever. She’s running the London marathon in what is a super stacked elite field.
Outside magazine has a great article about Jim Walmsley, one of America’s greatest ultra runners, running the half — and why it’s good for the sport overall. The article came out before the race, but it’s still worth a read. Walmsley ran 64 flat in Houston. He publicly stated his goal was sub 64, which would qualify him for the American Olympic marathon trials. Well, 64 flat means he’s in. The American Olympic marathon trials are going to be awesome.
Cam Levins is running London
When the London Marathon announced their elite field, he was just a bullet point. And that makes sense on a global scale — the men’s elite field in London is possibly one of the most stacked ever. But reigning Canadian marathon champion Cam Levins — who made a triumphant comeback when he crushed the 40-year-old Canadian record at STWM last year running 2:09:25 — is lining up for his second marathon at London on April 28. Does he have it in him to go even faster? I think so.
Krista DuChene is headed back to Boston
Boston Marathon JH@jhboston26NEWS: Announcing the 2019 #BostonMarathon @johnhancockusa Open Team 9 Boston Champions; 21 @WMMajors winners, 120+ international marathons won, 4 @iaaf World Championships Marathon gold medalist + so many more accomplishments. Welcome to Boston! https://t.co/xLvt3OGdey
Canadians marathon mom Krista DuChene is returning to Boston after shocking the running world (and herself) when she placed third last year in the most horrid conditions we’ve seen at a major marathon possibly ever.
Canadians joining Krista in the Boston elite field are wheelchair racers Joshua Cassidy, who won Boston back in 2012 with the fastest wheelchair time ever recorded at the time; Tristan Smyth, who raced his first marathon at the Commonwealth Games last year; and veteran Diane Roy.
The Boston marathon is April 15, 2019.
New path to the Olympic marathon?
How did it work before, you ask? A Canadian runner had to run a specific time to make the Olympic team during the qualifying window, but where they did it didn’t matter, and wining the national championship at STWM was irrelevant when it came to the Olympics if you didn’t hit the Canadian standard. The Canadian standards for the 2016 Olympics 2:12:50 (male) 2:29:59 (female). Be one of the fastest three runners to hit the Canadian standard, you’re on the team.
It’s unclear what new “standard” the language above is referring to, but it could mean that the STWM winner only has to hit the more generous IAAF standard, or possibly a new one altogether.
Gabriela Stafford breaks 5K indoor record
This is oldish, as she ran the race on Jan. 5, but this newsletter is here, so here you go! Gabriela Stafford ran 14:57.45 in the 5000 at Glasgow Athletics Association Miler Meet, breaking the Canadian record by almost 30 seconds. It was Stafford’s debut at this distance. Stafford is training now in Glasgow (when she’s not home in Toronto for school, she attends the University of Toronto and should graduate this year) so she can train with Scottish runner Laura Muir and Laura’s coach.
Allie Kieffer is running Around the Bay
In this Instagram post, American runner Allie Kieffer revealed her spring race schedule:
Pacific Pursuit 10K Feb 17th, Atlanta
Road to Gold: An Atlanta 2020 Test Event March 2nd, Atlanta
Around The Bay 30K March 31st, Ontario
London Marathon April 28th, UK
This wouldn’t be the first time Kieffer has come to Canada to run a tune-up race: in 2018, she ran (and won!) the Scotiabank Toronto Half-Marathon as a tune-up for the New York City marathon.
All six world marathon majors to celebrate 60
I was obsessed with this story about Canadian Paula Rochman — a lawyer who lives in Toronto — who ran all six world marathon majors in 2018 — Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York — to celebrate turning 60. The best part? NYC was on her actual birthday and her kids came out to run with her and celebrate.
She’s a badass and I want to be her when I grow up.
Canadian spring marathon schedule
Thinking about running a spring marathon in this great country of ours? Here are your options:
April 28: Waterloo Marathon (Ont.)
May 5: Mississauga Marathon (Ont.)
May 5: Toronto Marathon (Ont.)
May 5: BMO Vancouver Marathon (B.C.)
May 12: Scotiabank Fredericton Marathon (N.B.)
May 19: Marathon SSQ de Longueuil (Que.)
May 19: Woody’s RV World Marathon in Red Deer (Alta.)
May 26: Scotiabank Calgary Marathon (Alta.)
May 26: Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon (Ont.)
May 26: Saskatchewan Marathon (Sask.)
June 9: Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon (N.S.)
June 16: Manitoba Marathon (Man.)
June 16: Banff Marathon (Alta.)
Strides: Links I liked and think you will too
Stephen Andersen asks 15 burning questions about running in Canada in 2019. His blog is only a few months old, but so far it’s excellent.
This Instagram is cool: every Monday and Thursday, @runnersofthesix profiles a different runner from Toronto.
This is old, but I loved it and think you will too: sub-elite Eric Bang shares the bittersweet experience of running a great race at the Chicago marathon in 2018 — but missing his American Olympic trials qualifying time (Bang holds dual Canadian and American citizenship) by three seconds.
I love a good running book and Runner’s World has rounded up nine books to watch for in 2019. I am most excited for 26 Marathons by Meb Keflezighi with Scott Douglas (BECAUSE MEB) and The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn.
Sports Illustrated released their annual list of fittest 50 athletes for 2018 and a whole bunch of runners made the list. A pair of Canadians from other sports landed on the list too: hockey player Connor McDavid (#20 on the men’s list) and bobsledder Kaillie Humphries (#17 on the women’s list).
The 2019 NYC marathon lottery window is currently open. You have until Feb. 14 to throw your name in to give yourself a chance to run the world’s biggest marathon.
Speaking of NYC, Norway’s Runar Gundersen has run the NYC marathon every year for the past 40 years — since 1978. He has a great essay about why he keeps coming back on the NYC marathon site.
This story about a Garmin watch outing a hitman for MURDER is CRAZY. Lesson? Don’t wear your Garmin if you plan on being a MURDERER.
That’s it for the very first issue of Run the North! It was a big one! Thanks for reading!