Burlington Good Friday Road Race

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” Dr. George Sheehan

I missed running this great race put on my the Burlington Runners Club today due to a sinus infection.

The Good Friday Road Race has a lot of great memories for me…it’s where I met one of my best running buddies – Michael, who has become a good friend. It was my longest distance ever run way back in 1999. It was a race that our small running group would do each year and last year a quartet of us from the Run For Roy group ran 5K each in the two man relay. It was merely an excuse to get together to reconnect and then go out for breakfast after. Breakfast turned into afternoon wine on my friend’s deck. For me that has always been at the heart of my running – friendships!

So for those of you who got out there today, way to go!! You can check out the results on http://www.burlingtonrunners.com

And they're off....

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Your Mind & Running

“I want to test my personal limits by showing others what is possible if you put your mind to it.” Rick Ball, amputee runner

The mind is a powerful thing and there is a powerful connection between the mind and long distance running. I’ve been told, I’ve read and I’ve heard that running is 90% mental and 10% body.

When I googled the mind and running, I found a zillion articles.

Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Lore of Running, has long argued that it is the brain that allows or limits endurance performance rather than the body. His “central governor” theory postulates that “the brain is there to look after you and to make sure whatever you do, you do it safely,” as he puts it.


Neuroscientists at Cambridge University have shown that running stimulates the brain to grow fresh grey matter and it has a big impact on mental ability.


The Finish Line

A big congrats to Derek Nakluski on his Around The Bay victory last Sunday. It marked the first time in 15 years that a Canadian has won the event. I wonder how much a strong mind set or visualization played a role in Derek’s win? For compete results on Around The Bay, click here.

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The Bay!

Coming up this Sunday, March 27 in Hamilton, Ontario, is North America’s oldest running race – Around The Bay. Yes, it’s older than the Boston Marathon by three years.

As we are in the midst of yet another snow storm, I’m sure the runners who have endured months of training for this race are happy that the snow is hitting the Hamilton area today and the long range forecast looks clear with a high of 0 for Sunday’s races.

There’s something for everyone at ATB. There’s a 5K run, a 30K relay (each person runs 10K…that’s not too bad!), there’s a 30K walk and not for the faint of heart, there’s the 30K run. Funds from the race benefit St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

I’ve run Around The Bay on two occasions. It’s the race runners love to hate….but it is an exceptional race from the pasta dinner to the expo right to the beer after the finish! It’s all good!

The past few years I’ve been on the sidelines and I head down to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlingon, where the runners have about 5 km to go to offer support and cheer them on. Little do some of them know, they still have the Valley Inn Rd. Hill to climb! It’s good to experience the race from a runner’s perspective and a person on the sidelines. Makes one appreciate both!

Created by Billy Carroll who owned the Hamilton Herald Newspaper, the inaugural edition of “The Bay” was run on Christmas Day in 1894. This race has established Hamilton as a running mecca for long distance runners. The list of winners for this event reads like a “who’s who” of runners including the infamous Tommy Longboat from Caledonia, Ontario who crossed the finish line first in 1906.

The closest finish for ATB was in 1997 when Paul Mbuga of Kenya beat two other runners by a mere footstep in a time of 1:35:35.

In 2006, the race finish was moved indoors to Copps Coliseum and now friends and family can watch their beloved runners in comfort.

If you’re not running it, you can still check out the runners expo on Friday or Saturday and you can also grab a seat in Copps on Sunday and help cheer on those that are running!

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Wanted: Race Reviews

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve published a running calendar for the past four years. The calendar features some really great races in Ontario along with photos of the previous year’s races and an inspirational quote each month.

I would love to hear reviews from the people who ran these races. This will help me to gather valuable feedback and suggestions for my 2012 calendar.

So, if you ran the Robbie Burns Run, the YMCA Run in Peterborough and /or the Annual Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5 K Run, I would love to hear the good, the bad and the ugly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

For those of you who don’t have the calendar and are curious to see what it looks like, click here.

Producing the calendar is a labour of love and a way to channel my love for running as I’m not able to run the really long distances any more (marathons, etc.) And so I have all this extra time where once upon a time I was training for Around The Bay, The Country Music Marathon, the Iroquois Trail Run, etc.

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Marathon By The Sea

I was in Saint John for a conference last weekend and had the good fortune of being toured around on Sunday afternoon by some friends who reside there. They always ask me how my running is going and suggested I consider the Saint John Marathon as a race to do this year.

About an hour after that conversation, we were driving on the road alongside the harbour front and there was this roller blader skating full speed coming towards us. You could see that he was very lean and fit and was obviously training for something! My friend says, “That’s Chris Brake, the marathoner. He’s won a ton of marathons down here including the Marathon By The Sea.” I guess he was cross training and I think that was definitely a sign that I should seriously consider this race!

When I got home I decided to do a little bit of research on Chris. One of the most talented runners in Atlantic Canada, Brake did cartwheels once as he crossed the finish line at the New Brunswick Marathon, which he has won seven times. In a promotion once at Exhibition Park Raceway, he outran a harness horse.

In 2009, he made a rare sweep of the three major fall marathons in New Brunswick. Chris first won the Marathon by the Sea in late September in 2:40. Then 3 weeks later, he ran a course record 2:32 at the KV Challenge Marathon. Just a week after that, Chris ran another course record at the Legs for Literacy Marathon in Moncton finishing in 2:42. Chris’s time at the KV Challenge Marathon presently ranks him as the #2 marathoner in Atlantic Canada behind Rami Bardeesy of Halifax and in the top 30 nationally!!

Chris is training for the Canadian Marathon in Ottawa in May!

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St Paddy’s Day Races Just Around The Corner!

With St Paddy’s Day coming up, there are some really cool races this weekend.
First up on Saturday is the Slainte St Patrick’s Day 5Km run in Hamilton. It’s a downhill course that starts at a sensible 1 p.m. in the afternoon and ends at the Slainte Irish Pub where beer and Irish stew are served and entertainment is provided by a live Irish Band. If you register by March 12, you’ll also receive a free t-shirt. Check out the Running Room to register.

Then on Sunday, you can hit T.O. for the Achilles St Patrick’s Day 5K Run/Walk. The course meanders through downtown Toronto and starts and ends at the Steam Whistle Brewing, The Roundhouse near the CN Tower.
There will be Irish chili and ice-cold Steam Whistle pilsner after the run and runners are encouraged to dress in their St. Patrick’s Day best!

The run benefits Achilles Canada, a non-profit organization that provides people with various disabilities an opportunity to receive the physical, psychological, and communal benefits of running. The club offers training and support by able-bodied members to its Achilles athletes of all ability levels.

Hey,click here to check it out!

Congrats to all who braved the elements for the Burlington Chili Half and Frosty 5K on Sunday! You can check out all of the results at vrpro.ca

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Favourite Races…

I’m a member of a few running groups on Linkedin. Running In Business posed a question this week.

What is your favorite running race and why. The responses have been really interesting to read and here’s a snippet of them:

• Favorite race all time is Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. Great course, great crowd support the entire way and the whole town rallies around the event.

What keeps me motivated is that running allows me to push myself to see what I am capable of, which I find helps me to translate that to other areas of my life.

• 10k in Philippsburg Germany, called Festungslauf – only around 300 competitors and they are ALL fast runners. My uncle wins it every year and I feel honoured to take part in the same race as he does and wins…. especially as I am from the UK and travel all this way, just to do that.

• My fave run is the Oak Barrel Half Marathon (www.oakbarrelhalf.com) in Lynchburg, TN., aka. Jack Daniel’s country. The down-home feel, beautiful scenery throughout the countryside, wooden finishers medal, cool shirts and small size make it awesome.

• Well, I think the Comrades in South Africa has been the most amazing race of my career of 53 marathons around the world with my husband. We ran the ‘up’ in 2008 and returned to run the ‘down’ in 2009. They say it is a life-changing experience and it was. Incredible people on the course and beside it. Children dive for your discarded clothes, half finished drinks and any handouts of food you can pass them. We were treated as heroes as we arrived at the finish. Would love to go back again, but the training for the event is a challenge in itself!

• Also honourable mentions to all of the Rock N Roll Marathons and the Country Music Marathon in Nashville!

Peterborough YMCA Half Marathon last Sunday…

Heard via the running grapevine that it was a great event. 501 runners finished the half marathon. The winner was BJ Cuncliffe from Courtice, ON who falls in the male 15-19 age group. He broke the tape in 1:15 for a 3:34 km pace! The first woman to cross the finish line was Jutta Merilainen from Batawa who was in the 35-39 year category. Her time was 1:22.21 (one hour, 22 minutes, 21 seconds)
Congrats to all who took part!

Great races this weekend on the running calendar…The Chili Half Marathon and Frosty 5K takes place on Sunday, March 6 in Burlington. Lots of great post race refreshments afterwards.

There is a Guelph Y fun run also on Sunday if the shorter distance is more to your liking!

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