The official magazine of iRunNation

THE LONG SCROLL

DR. TAM

Running the Recovery of Our Country

Dr. Theresa Tam talks to
Mark Sutcliffe about our
need for exercise, and Mark inspires her to pick back up her running shoes

There’s been no steadier voice in Canada than Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Health 
Officer, who has led us through the novel coronavirus crisis. While we’re not out of the woods 
yet, by any means, there’s been reasons for optimism, and Dr. Tam offers iRun readers this 
advice: “Keep running.” Sutcliffe talked to Dr. Tam from her office in Ottawa.


MS: Dr. Tam, thank you. What do runners need to do to keep safe?
TT:
Don’t let the good training and habits you’ve learned these last months go to waste. 
Keep going, and stay adapting as we learn more about COVID-19. I always tell my staff this 
pandemic is like a marathon—pace yourself, this is not a 100-metre dash.

 

MS: Is it safe to go running?
TT: Yes. Running outside is a good thing to do. Don’t go out when you’re sick or have 
symptoms, but if you feel fine, get some exercise. It’s important for physical and mental health.
 

MS: Share your best tips for how to run safely.
TT: Try and keep 2-metre space between yourself and another runner. Pick non-busy hours 
and routes for your runs. Avoid other people, particularly walkers.
 

MS: Can you run with a friend?
TT: Yes. Someone who is in your bubble. But keep listening to the public health advice. 
COVID-19 is changing all the time.
 

MS: Can you tell us about your own running?
TT:
I got into running somewhat accidentally. Work colleagues—avid runners—threw me in
 the bus one day when they decided to run. I went out of curiosity and found I was able to 
run further than I thought. You get hooked a little bit.

 

MS: So how did you get from there to a marathon?
TT: 
In running it is very easy to make progress, slowly. I found it very satisfying and a
 great alternative to the other exercises I was doing.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN LANG

THE CANADIAN WAY FORWARD FOR THE RACE ISSUE OF OUR TIME

The Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan plots a way forward for our country

Whether you came here ten years ago or 100 years ago, we’re all immigrants. Unless you’re Indigenous. Ever since I came to this portfolio, racism has been personal: how do we get everyone in our beautiful country to feel represented?
 

We all have the same story. We came to Canada for the opportunity to work hard and make the best life possible for our families.
 

We have made a lot of mistakes and we still, as a country, have a lot of work to do. But it starts with an honest conversation about racism, without becoming defensive. I know that when we talk about racism it gets very personal. That’s a good thing. I wear a turban. But when I listen to movements like Black Lives Matter I have to put myself in their position and that helps me understand. By doing that, I get a different perspective—I become educated—and I think, as a country, that’s what we have to do. It’s also called ‘empathy,’ and it allows all Canadians to understand what I go through, or what women go through. From there, we can have thorough discussions to find honest solutions. This is the way we can make change, together.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JUSTIN VAN LEEUWEN

HEATLH

RUNNING WHILE BLACK

HEALTH

Olympian Rosey Edeh addresses a global health crisis putting Black and Indigenous people at risk

A sunny Sunday afternoon in bucolic Brunswick, Georgia. 25 year-old Ahmaud Arbery sets off for a regular run through his neighbourhood. You know that run. A smooth jog, the pace, just enough to get your heart pumping faster, stronger, sending needed oxygen to your working muscles through blood rich veins. You have on a white t-shirt, like Ahmaud and long shorts, loose enough to let your arms and legs flow with ease allowing a rhythmic trot, yes, now you’ve got your flow on and all your cares have disappeared, your mind and body are one. Your jog takes you through familiar tree-lined streets. Like Ahmaud, you’re a former high school football speedster, so, you may pick up the pace from time to time during the run to challenge yourself. Every now and then you glance around during your run, admiring a bird perhaps or looking out for the odd automobile on your ‘easy like Sunday morning’ peaceful run.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN R. KENNEDY

Man Checks into Hospital, Thought He Was Dead. Walks a Virtual Marathon, Instead.

Sitting in the hospital I thought I was a goner.

On top of the lupus and blood clots, I have a rare blood disorder and I’m going through radiation. I have no immune system. And still, I’m pretty happy. I held my same pace for my entire 44 kilometres.

I want to stay alive. I find inspiration in my kids. I want to get back to racing. Sometimes, you want to give up or don’t feel like training, but every time when it’s over, it lifts your spirits. Every kilometre makes a difference.

Start with baby steps. And finish your race.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE OTTAWA HOSPITAL

GRATITUDE

When will racing return?

Ben Kaplan: So, outside of the PEI Marathon, when will Canada host its first large running race?

Lesley Quinlan Canada Army Run: Races may begin a return to a physical format by spring of 2021, but likely still smaller numbers and modified formats.
Kirsten Fleming Scotiabank Calgary Marathon: Runners safety is our creed and ethical code so we are making conservative decisions until there is certainty. There is no clear timeline for certainty—therefore no clear timeline for races.
Marianne Pelchat Quebec City Marathon: I like to think that we will be able to hold our event in October. Yes, I am a very optimistic person and at Gestev we have that saying “To the impossible all are bound” ( à l’impossible tous sont tenus)—although the real saying is “to the impossible no one is required (à l’impossible nul n’est tenu).
Charlotte Brookes Canada Running Series: We need to go one step at a time. If it’s not safe, we retrace our footsteps. It’s like returning to running after an injury.
Ian Fraser Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon: I think we will see micro events in the fall of 2020. I could see us doing events safely with less than 100 people and maybe a few more than that.

GRATITUDE

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CANADA RUNNING SERIES

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN ARMY

Ben Kaplan: Ian, you hinted at what we can look forward to. What will races look like when we return?

KF: Less 2019 bedazzle and more vintage 1980s and '90s style racing, but with future-forward 2021 safety that I can't even begin to list as we are still developing.
IF: We feel less certain about how we get participants from home to the start line and then from the finish line back home safely. I think the less complex part of this story is the actual race course itself and what happens out there.
MP: The “emballage” around a running event—kiosks, boutiques, sponsors activations, VIP area—will not happen for some time. Events will be taking a more “sport only” approach.
CB: We’ve been working so hard over the last few years to really enhance the event experience and provide people with more than just a start, course and finish line event. So do we want to put on an event before there’s a vaccine and require physical distancing measures?

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE FIRE FIGHTERS 10 MILE ROAD RACE

Ben Kaplan: That’s a good question. You think anything good will come out of this forced, sustained pause?

LQ: It’s brought the sport back to its roots.
CB: Indeed, plus its a fabulous opportunity for an almost complete re-set. And the virtual world is here to stay.
LQ: It’s our time to rebrand the running industry
IF: Our participants haven't gone anywhere. They didn't leave us to take up shuffleboard or frisbee golf. In fact, there are likely many new runners who we have never spoken to. It’s racings chance to think a little bigger, a little less traditional and to take some risk.
KF: Exactly. I believe the end of COVID-19 will be the beginning of another running boom.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE SSQ INSURANCE OF QUEBEC RACES

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF CANADA RUNNING SERIES

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE SCOTIABANK CALGARY MARATHON

GRATITUDE

PHOTOGRAPH BY JONATHAN DuCHENE

Krista DuChene reflects on her last four months

What I've Learned this Summer

Change is difficult. We resist living in a different way, particularly when it’s out of our control and comfort zone, and when we don’t know when we will return to normal, whatever that is. I’m fairly experienced when it comes to change and adjusting to life when pregnant or injured. Each baby and broken bone took me out of training and competing for the same amount of time. I knew what to expect and how to get back to my normal. While we do not know what life will look like when this pandemic is over, whenever it is over, I believe that we will be better for it. With each break I had, I came back stronger, recharged, rejuvenated, more appreciative and passionate about returning to competitive racing. We can all benefit when we allow change to change us. 

 

Routine is how we thrive. It makes us more efficient, creates structure and meaning to our day, helps us maintain good habits, and greatly benefits our mental well-being. When my morning starts with a quiet coffee, morning run, and recovery bowl of oatmeal, I feel good, normal, and like I’ve accomplished something. In fact, it’s the highlight of my day, which thankfully hasn’t changed during the pandemic. When schools were closed, our children quickly and successfully adjusted their routines, which I believe helped create a positive school-at-home experience. While there were some struggles with adjusting to a slower and different routine, the kids learned how to take initiative and succeed independently, which will benefit them later in life.

The simple arithmetic behind MATH Sport sneakers, one of the world’s great new running shoe brands

MATH Sport shoes have done what hasn’t happened since Bill Bowerman secured his wife’s waffle iron: he’s changed the running shoe game. Started by Mathieu Raymond, a Laval University graduate and former track star, Raymond knew what he was looking for because he tried everything else: a sneaker that would conform to the basic geometry of his foot. Customizing everything—from heel drop to midsole, tilt to shoelaces—MATH Sport shoes work effectively because, like every foot, every pair of MATH Sport sneakers are different. It’s a concept that seems perfectly suited to our age in which no two runners want the same Strava design, hydration choice or running shoe. Be yourself. Wear your own sneakers. Cut your own brand-new swath when you run.  

 

Headquarters of MATH Sport, based in Montreal after launching in Quebec City, have been an innovation hub since the company launched in 2016 and Raymond has since seen both his client-base and shoe designs grow. Available online where both men and women can build their dream shoe—something many of us are craving in these days of COVID-19, with extra time on our hands—MATH Sport has adapted their online offerings to handle additional traffic this summer. Every aspect of the custom-made MATH Sport sneaker can be built online. 

 

It’s an exciting time for a Canadian company built by a runner, for runners, with a modernist take on the running shoe dilemma. With so many new people out there running, it’s high-tide for a customized sneaker where one size doesn’t fit all. Whether you’re a marathon runner, beginner or someone who does their best work on the track, Mathieu Raymond wants to customize your sneakers. “The final goal,” he told CBC News, “is to be bigger than Nike.”

It’s Mathematics

ADVERTORIAL

This isn't how we imagined 2020. But this is what we have. Accept what the situation is and figure out how you can grow and progress. For me that means lowering volume and intensity. However, I'm running enough that when the time comes I can jump right back into full training. Hope for the best and stay safe.

REID COOLSAET, OLYMPIAN

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF REID COOLSAET

FROM THE FRONTLINES, WITH LOVE

A runner in Italy treating COVID patients keeps tabs on his sanity in his sneakers

Marco Nicolo came to Canada to further his career and training as a radiologist, feeling that opportunities were scarce in his native Italy. When he first showed up to a Tribe Fitness Saturday run, the distance between the hem of our running shorts and our kneecaps revealed our different origins before we even made introductions. He returned home to Italy in 2016, just in time for the onset of COVID-19. Ravi Singh caught up with his friend.


RS: Where in Italy are you? Do you know how many patients came through your hospital compared to the rest of the country?
MN: I’m in Brescia, which is one hour from Milan, located in the region of Lombardy. Lombardy was the hardest hit for COVID. In my hospital, we had 900 cases come through.

 

RS: In the treatment process, what was your responsibility at the height of the pandemic?
MN:
We did 80 to 100 portable chest x-rays per day, compared to 15 or 20 that we might do before the pandemic. Staff had to be doubled. We only had one tech before and now we work pairs. One was the “dirty technician” who handled the patient while equipped with PPE and the other was the “clean tech” who just touched the machine and set up the exam. That would help avoid cross-contamination.

 

RS: At the height of the pandemic, what did your typical day look like?
MN: During the week from Monday to Friday we had normal shifts of 8 hours, but for the weekends we had 12 hours during the day and night. Usually, our hospital has 13 ICU beds, but that more than doubled to 30. Starting from May 1st, every time we entered the hospital we had our temperatures checked. If we showed fever like temperatures, we were sent home.

 

RS: How long did you go without running? How did you take care of yourself at that time?
MN: Last run was on March 8th. Ran again on May 4th. I wasn’t allowed to go out unless it was work. We could be active but only within 200m of our houses.

HEALTH

PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARCO NICOLO

Life during COVID -19 and our current social climate has been an emotional rollercoaster. Running needs to be about movement and freeing my mind. I haven't been concerned with PB's, just finding the pace that speaks to my current emotional state. As a black female recreational distance runner, one of very few, and with the recent societal revelation of racism, I've relied even more on this type of run because outside my running world I'm having heavy deep discussions, embracing anti-racism allies (both new and old) and finally being able to speak and feel heard.

Meaux Redhead IG: @sincerelymeaux

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HEALTH

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1. I’ve been able to run more since my husband and I are both laid off. It has helped me with mental health and has made me more confident. With COVID going on, stuck inside with the kids all day, running gets me out and I am noticing a difference in my body. After having two kids I did not feel the best. But now I am feeling great.

Aliah Jane Harrinton IG: @aliah_jay_xo

2. Social distancing is destroying my PB goals. Connections with my running group are what fueled the goals, spiritually and literally. Runs followed by brunch are a staple of both my social and running lives. This temporary drift away from running has moved me closer to other activities which I had jettisoned in the name of speed over the past year or so, including donating blood.  Since my running has gone down, I have made some new PBs: two donations since March 26. My next one coincides with my birthday. I’ve got to keep the streak going before I get into another age category. 

Mark Gardner IG: @tribetomark

3. Living in Calgary, I've had to make some adjustments during the pandemic. Self-motivation and personal goals are even more important now. I've tried to go easier on myself if I don't quite hit my paces. I’ve also done my best to physical distance from others who are running, biking, and walking outside. Sometimes this feels isolating, but it’s nice when other runners wave in solidarity as I pass. After years of applying, I was accepted into two of the World Marathon Majors this year. I look forward to when we can all run together again!

Crystal Ellis IG: @crystalrunsfree

4. Living in downtown Toronto has its challenges as a runner these days. For me, running in the city means I’m far more conscious of everything around me. I've streamlined my routine to allow me to run door to door without touching anything, except my door. But running during COVID-19 has also led to some discovery. Recently the city has closed off some streets during the weekends. One of the closures leads to the base of a steep thoroughfare with lush greenery, and whenever I drive it I say out loud, “Man, I’ve got to run this road.”
Stacey Munro IG: @stacemunro

The incident of George Floyd, killed in Minnesota by police due to racism, is an example of what happens all over the world. I have experienced smaller versions of racism myself. There was a young white lady who found herself alone with me inside a lift at Union Station in Toronto. She screamed in fright. Fortunately, for me, other people entered the lift and she finally felt secure. How did I feel? It kept me thinking, perhaps what fuels racism more than hatred is ignorance, what some people are being told about the other race when they’re young. They have no choice but to grow up with hatred. Anywhere in the world can feel like home if everyone cared for a stranger regardless of their race and background. It is my plea to all runners across the world that we all see each other as one family. Let it begin with each of us, today.

JUSTIN LAGAT, KENYA

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF JUSTIN LAGAT

LIVE THROUGH THIS

HEALTH

A message from Geoff Reid, a runner who survived COVID-19

My wife Amy is an epidemiologist. The kids are 10 months and our son turned four in March. We weren’t oblivious to COVID-19. We were doing social-distancing in early March. One Saturday, I awoke feeling groggy. I deteriorated from there. By Wednesday morning, I wasn’t able to work. Really, really run down. 

Is it COVID? I didn’t know at the time. You’re feeling scared. None of us were feeling well, except our son, who was asymptomatic. By Thursday, I was bedridden. Couldn’t move. I still didn’t believe it was COVID, but we FaceTimed with doctor friends who said: You look bad. 
 

At the time, access to testing was still limited. We called an ambulance that Thursday night and the dispatch was reluctant to send an ambulance for me – I was neither delirious nor unconscious. (It was late in the night and wasn’t practical to pile the kids in the car; Amy was feeling shitty herself). At the time, they were understandably trying to keep people out of the hospitals. They said I didn’t absolutely need to come in. 

PHOTOS COURTESY OF GEOFF REID

HEALTH

Running during the pandemic for me is an outlet for my self-care. It’s taking time to disconnect, enjoy the outdoors and my community, and put attention to my mental and physical health. 

Heather Gardner IG: @catchingheather

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5. Since March 13, 2020 I have been in quarantine and if I did not have a treadmill I would have likely gone crazy by now. Some people hate running on a treadmill but for me it has been my saving grace. I plan it into my day like I would if I was working. Running has kept me sane but my 50K treadmill ultra has been a little insane. Since quarantine started I’ve also lost 14lbs because of running! No quarantine 15 for me! During this time, I’ve run three virtual races. I’m happy for the run community because it’s been a source of positivity through these tough times.  
Dawn Desarmeau IG: @inkdgir55

6. Running during COVID-19 has been bittersweet. Running has helped me maintain a feeling of control and mental clarity. It continues to be my therapy. On the other hand, I miss my running friend. We do our best to keep up with each other in running challenges (#teamchickswithkicks #calendarclub) but, in the meantime, we’ll continue to cheer each other on (from a safe distance) during virtual runs and champion each other during this time.

Bar Clem IG: @runningclementime
 

7. Running during COVID times has brought the running community closer together. We organize virtual runs, create challenges that athletes from all over the world can participate in and socialize via video chat. We are no longer restricted by our geographical boundaries.

Hufsa Mashtaq IG: @runninggirl_huffopuffo

8. Running during COVID is a great time to try new things. I’ve taken up stroller running with my eight-month-old daughter. Without anything to compare the paces to, I can run by effort, get a great workout, and do childcare all at once. It’s the first time I’ve taken an extended break from marathon training in three years and I’m using the time to enjoy an unstructured approach. While we can’t run together, the friendly "runner’s wave” is a great way to feel a bit of social connection that makes every run better!

Richard Kuchinsky IG: @rkuchinsky

GRATITUDE

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BEER MILE WORLD CLASSIC

THE

VIRTUAL

BEER MILE

If you like running and beer, perhaps now is your chance to be crowned world champion

The Beer Mile World Classic, the world's premier drinking race, will be run virtually this year. Originally planned as a live event in Manchester, England on July 4th, this year's event will feature a variety of worldwide solo events with one of the world's largest prize purses of any running global running event this year. World Classic co-founder, John Markell stated: "In the past, we've allocated most of our budget into travel for our athletes. This year, without travel costs, we were able to give more prize money to the athletes. The $8,000 we are offering is one of the world's biggest prize purses this summer."


The top performances will be presented, head to head, with a professional announcing crew providing color commentary. Since anyone can submit their race, this year's virtual format is a great opportunity for athletes to get on the radar for future World Classic events. Meet director Nick MacFalls said: "We put a high priority on bringing the world's beer-milers together, in person. This is one of the world's truly great sporting communities. Cancelling the live event was disappointing, but this year's format is exciting, too. We still get to crown World Champions. In a sense, it's a nod to the sport's roots with small groups getting together."


The United States won last year's Kingston and Queens Cups. There are opportunities this year for new athletes to make their mark. MacFalls stated, "On the women's side, several top athletes are injured or recovering. There is a real opportunity to win some money and become eligible for future national teams. On the Men's side, Lewis Kent and Corey Bellemore are injured. They are out. Some new athletes will need to step up to fill the void if Canada hopes to secure their third Kingston Cup. On the individual side, 2019 World Classic Runner-up Katie Anderson and Phil Parrot Migas look to be Canada's best hopes to reach the podium."

WHY I RUN

JASON BATEMAN, PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARMCHAIR EXPERT

The novel coronavirus changed everything. For Mark Sutcliffe, it was time to plug in

Hearing Things

What were your goals for 2020? Run a destination marathon? Go to the gym every morning before work? Take a yoga class? Travel to Europe? Visit more museums? Spend less time in front of your computer?
 

Yeah, the world had other plans for you this year. But if, like me, you’re lucky enough to have escaped the direct path of our global pandemic, you adapt. You simplify. You prioritize. You capitalize on the sudden, enforced clarity. You set different goals.
 

Aside from my share of home schooling and constant Zoom meetings, the coronavirus crisis has spawned two big changes in my life. The first was an expensive impulse buy, purchasing a cottage like I was scooping up a pack of gum in the checkout line (what else are we going to do this summer?). The second is that somehow, I’ve become addicted to podcasts.

HEALTH

5 tips for acing your virtual racing

This summer, the races are online. Here’s how to run your best race.

As a runner, we participate in races for a variety of reasons. For fun, for fitness, for competition, for swag. With mass participation races not on the table for the foreseeable future, the challenge remains for runners to find their opportunity to still get the race experience. Virtual races or time trials are a great way to do this, safely.
 

So what is a virtual race? A virtual race is a race that runners complete by themselves, at time of their choice. Most virtual runs encourage you to choose your own course (or complete the run on a treadmill) as long as it is the same total distance as the race you are registered for. The Ottawa Marathon, Vancouver Marathon, Tennessee 1000K, Calgary Marathon, and Sportstats Virtual Triathlon are all hosting variations of the virtual run, and if you have a favourite race, check out their website and see how you can participate.
 

It’s just you against the clock! When my goal race, the Boston Marathon, was deferred until September I created my own virtual race, the BOSTORONTO Marathon to race 42.2Km solo. Even a distance that far can be done on your own. This month, Virtual Run Canada launched Great Lakes, Slow Mile Challenge and virtual Pride Runs, and Canada Running Series, the country’s largest race series, will also host virtual events in Vancouver and Montreal.

 

Here’s my tips for a successful virtual race:

Course.

1

Find a course that is safe and be sure to check the conditions prior to “race” day. A course with the ability to stay appropriately physically distant from other pedestrians and runners and out of traffic is key. Like a typical road race familiarize yourself with the course—road conditions, elevation and turn—in advance.

Support.

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Find a course that is safe and be sure to check the conditions prior to “race” day. A course with the ability to stay appropriately physically distant from other pedestrians and runners and out of traffic is key. Like a typical road race familiarize yourself with the course—road conditions, elevation and turn—in advance.

For me, running during the pandemic means running for the sake of it. At one point, I only ran for the sake of competing and socializing. But with all races and running socials cancelled, I had to discover the pleasure of running itself. My little one helps me a lot because she does not care at all about winning or personal bests. She just enjoys the feeling of moving as fast as her little legs can carry her. Karin Femi IG: @karinfemi

Be social, solo.

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Post about your run in advance on social media. Many virtual runs provide digital badges and hashtags you can use to help promote your effort and engage with other runners. Post a photo of your race kit lay down the night before the race and tag the race.

Cheers.

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Have friends send you virtual cheers. They can send a photo of themselves with a sign or record a video message for you before or after the race to help you get that “race day feel.”

Race!

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To get the full race experience, treat your virtual race like a real race. Set a date and time in advance to start. Follow your usual pre-race routine, including meals, stretching and warm up. Before starting give yourself a countdown (no need for an air-horn!) and then go!

Let's all run — separate, but together!

ADVERTORIAL

Virtual runs are a fantastic way to keep motivated and achieve goals, but it's also about community and well-being. That's why VR PRO Races, the team behind one of Ontario's most popular running races the Chilly Half Marathon, has put together an amazing virtual running lineup this summer including a fundraising run for two local hospitals, a Canada Day celebratory event, and a virtual edition of the ever-popular Butter Tart Race. And everybody loves butter tarts. VR PRO has also created an incredible Facebook group to share stories, celebrate successes, and offer that sense of community we've been missing lately.

Join VR PRO Races on Facebook. We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, check out the full roster of awesome virtual events below!

The COVID-19 Run For The Hospitals

Help Support Our Hospitals!


VR PRO is giving $15 from each entry to either Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington or St. Joseph's Healthcare in London, Ontario. Choose from a 5K, 10K, or NEW Virtual Half Marathon.

Each participant receives a beautiful and unique finisher medal, a CLIF gift pack (valued at over $10.00), plus a custom imprinted face mask and race bib! 

 

A limited number of spots are available. Register early!

VR PRO’s First-Ever Virtual Race Event Is Back!

VR PRO is once again offering the Virtual Canada Day 5K & NEW 10K Race that can be run between June 1 and August 15. These virtual events include all of the amenities of the live event! If you pre-registered for the live event and would like to transfer your entry to the Virtual Canada Day 5K & NEW 10K, contact Kelly Arnott to make the switch. Virtual race kits began being mailed out and delivered in May.  So now we will be able to race together…wherever you are!​

Canada Day Virtual Races limited to 850 total - Register early!

No other finish is quite as sweet!

 

The Virtual Butter Tart 5K is back with a NEW 10K! Races include a T-shirt, Medal, Race Bib, and a Butter Tart - all delivered right to your door! The Virtual Butter Tart Races may be completed any time between July 1 and August 30. 

 

Last year’s Virtual Butter Tart Race sold out right away, so register early!

The Last Word

PHOTO COURTESY OF JAROSLAW PACHOCKI

GRATITUDE

A Blessing for the Summer of Our Discontent

When we watched the fireworks on New Year’s Eve nobody thought that 2020 would go into the history books the way that it is happening. In the midst of it all we might have felt afraid, alone or disoriented by the shadows hanging over our world. The COVID-19 pandemic took away some of our loved ones, jobs and income, social relations and plans that we were so looking forward to. The time of social unrest and protests has brought forward the issues that our society still didn’t reconcile with, such as racial injustice and inequality. In times of darkness we always have to strive to seek hope and light.


Runners have seen the COVID-19 pandemic change the way we race. Virtual races have become a reality. I ask myself, “Are we ever going to run races again?” There is nothing like the energy felt at the start line, when you are about to hit the road into the unknown, running a race—life has become a marathon. I believe the current circumstances can create opportunities, rather than being seen only as hardships. It’s like “hitting the wall” during the race—when you feel overwhelmed by physical exhaustion, doubts and mental struggles. But you know that, in order to finish the race, you have to “push” through it. In those moments, what was always helpful for me, was visualizing the finish line.
 

I believe there is a “finish line” in this current crisis. I believe the country will be unified again. I believe we will find a vaccine. I believe we will run races again. And we will do all of these things, together, with a greater appreciation and gratitude. Because there is no way of going back to normal; there is only the way to move forward.
 

Fr. Jarek Pachocki OMI
St. Patrick Parish - Hamilton, ON

Inside the ambitions of Decathlon, which promotes accessibility in sport

Global Sports Powerhouse Expands Across Canada

ADVERTORIAL

The 44-year-old super sports store started in Lyon, France, and worldwide now, has more than 90,000 teammates, their word for employees. With four shops in Quebec, and one in Ottawa, the vertically-integrated sports brand—they make all the products they sell—is opening pop-up stores this summer in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Burlington, Ontario, and wants to expand its simple ethos: make sports affordable, accessible, and inclusive. 

 

“Our mission isn’t selling sports gear,” says Jaylone Lee, Decathlon’s chief marketing and communications officer. “It’s making sports accessible to everyone.” 

 

Catering to over 65 sports, and producing their own line of running and walking gear—including shoes—Decathlon is globally known for products like their 2-Seconds camping tent, easyset badminton net, and the local communities they promote from their stores. Decathlon offers a range of free and paid classes and intentionally keeps their prices as low as possible to promote their mission: to sustainably make the pleasures and benefits of sports accessible to the many.  

 

“Our prices don’t equate to our quality because we can operate with tighter margins in an effort to get as many people participating in sports as we can,” says Lee. “To that effect, COVID-19 hasn’t stopped our expansion across Canada. We want to connect with many communities and our plan is 100% to continue to grow.” 

 

iRun is beginning a year-long partnership with Decathlon and in the coming weeks, we’ll be testing their gear (especially from their “Kalenji,” or running line). For now, check them out online at decathlon.ca and tune into iRun for news on this exciting, and growing, new sports brand.