Suntrust National Half Marathon & Monument Avenue 10k

1 04 2011

 Hello all,

    Long time no see, eh!  I felt the need to write about my experiences in the past week and present as they have been memorable. Shall I start with the National Suntrust Half Marathon in Washington, D.C.? When scheduling to run this race a few months ago,  I set in my mind that a course such as this would be challenging with its many uphills,downhills, and tight turns. I felt the benefit of running in Washington was that it would make the Canadian Half Championships course feel like a pancake a few weeks later.  Last year I finished 4th and hope to improve upon that finish this year.

The field included last years champion and course record holder Mark Fruin(in 1:05low), Gurrmessa Mergessa (1:03 half), and several other Ethiopian runner from the Washington area.  Knowing this course would not produce a blistering time, I focused mainly on staying with the leaders. I was hoping that the leaders would stay in a group as long as possible, but it split up a mile into the race with 3 Ethiopian runners pushing the pace, and Fruin beside me with a few others. I decided to not play it conservatively and chase after the Ethiopian runners up ahead and risk hitting the wall a bit early. The move paid off and by 4 miles I was on my own and chasing the leader Gurmessa Mergessa. The hills seemed to unfaze me, and I felt strong. Despite closing the gap to 9 seconds I could not catch Gurmessa. I came in as the runner-up (2nd place) in a time of 1:07.25. This was right around my goal time for the race, and the placing exceeded my expectations.

This finish, and the mental toughness I had at all times during the race leads me to believe 1:05 is in grasps on a flatter faster course in Montreal on April 18th.  The course took its toll on my body though, and I have needed everyday possible to recover from the tight turns, up hills, and downhills, before racing the Monument Avenue 10k tomorrow morning.

Washington Suntrust National Half Marathon splits

first 10km: 32:01  last 10km: 31:53     Average: 31:57/10km pace   15:58/5km pace  = 1:07.25

Race Coverage: Video

Monument avenue 10k

If you havent heard of this race, kindly remove your hands from your ears, and remove your body from the cave your living in haha…jokes…but in all seriousness (very serious face on)…there are 42,000 runners in the race and it takes place on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. It is also very competitive with the Likes of Abdi Abdirahman, Dan Browne, Alene Reta, etc etc having run the race. The winner is usually in the time frame of 28 mid and the course has hosted the USA Championships.

With such as astonishing amount of elites, I can say I was honoured and shocked when elite athlete co-ordinator and late great runner Thom Suddeth asked me to join Ethiopian runner Abiyot Endale in speaking at Echo lake Elementary school at an assembly about running. I jumped on the opportunity, and this morning we spoke to the school about running. It went well, and the experience was wonderful.

The race is at 8:30am tomorrow, and I seek to improve upon my 2010 Canadian 10k Championships personal best of 30:36. Surely, I will update my readers on the result.

National Suntrust Half Marathon

Echo Lake Elementary School

Just after speaking at Echo Lake


Casablanca Classic 8km (Preview)

2 11 2010

November 13th (less than 2 weeks from now) the Casablanca Classic 8k will be held in Grimsby, Ontario. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a flat course, good competition, and a well-organized event. In the past 2 years I have come to rely on race director Jerry Frieson’s Subaru Series to try to blast off some quick efforts.

This year’s race will offer a truly exciting display with one of Canada’s best “ever” distance runners Reid Coolsaet, previous Series Champion Joesphat Ongari, and current series leader Derek Nakluski. These competitors are just a  few among many elites racing at this year’s event.

Not to be over shadowed by the big names at this years event, I will also be racing and looking to disappoint the competition.  

Race Website

Last years results


Halloween Haunting 10km

1 11 2010

On October 31st I raced at the Halloween haunting 10km in London, Ontario. The Halloween Haunting is one of several races that make up the London Runners Choice Honda Series. The race came at a point in my season where I really felt I needed to compete. I wanted to be 100% sure that when I enter into some bigger races in the upcoming weeks that no rust remain. Knowing that the course record was only 30:25 by Ryan Mackenzie, who to my knowledge has run 13:30 for 5k, I didn’t expect a blazing time from the running gods on a rolling Springbank course. 

What the race did offer though was some excellent competition from the Canadian 10km Champion Rob Watson, Scotiabank Half Marathon and Niagara Half Marathon Champion Dagim Yesthela, fellow Saucony teammate Cleve Thorson, and a few other Guelph based lads. Anyways; I certainly did knock off some rust with an opening km of 2:56.  3km into the race I was running with Rob Watson and Dagim Yesthela. We ran a split of 8:54. At 5km, Watson had moved well aheadof the competition and I was stuck in no mans land. This was the case from 4km to 10km, which may be a good explanation for a slower 2nd half on my part.

I went through 5km in 15:04 and finished the race in 2nd place in 30:41 just 16secs off Mckenzies course record. 30:41 was also the 3rd fastest time ran on this Springbank course. Watson smashed the course record in a disgusting final time of 29:47. I am looking forward to the Casablanca 8km where I can finally see a quick time on paper worthy of my current fitness level.

* The womans race was also very competitive and Lauren King’s course record was beat by Lanni Marchant. Congrats to Stephaney Fay on her season best time of 39:46. Looking forward to reading the new blog (on my blog roll)

Race Results:

Previous Race Results:

Race Pictures:

Stratford 10km Results

3 10 2010


 Last year I entered the Stratford Festival 10km not knowing too much about it. I discovered that the course was quite hilly and challenging, the prize money was excellent, and it is an all around fun event close to home. This year was the same with all but one exception; the level of competition had increased in both the womans and mens fields (prize money seems to have that effect).

This year the top three Stratford Festival 10km finishers were as such; in 1st was Derek Snider who was coming off an impressive victory a couple of weeks back at the Vic Mathews Cross Country race in Guelph where he finished well ahead of fellow Guelph runners Kyle Boorsma and Alex Genest. In 2nd place was yours truly, just 3 seconds back,which resulted from a fast last km by Snider. In 3rd place was the 2008 Canadian Marathon Champion and World Championship Marathon Competitor Gitah Macharia.

This year’s race unfolded as such. Snider and Macharia took out the first km with confidence in 2:56, After which Snider joked ” anyone up for 29mins today?” I responded with “arg” haha. Up until 6km Snider and Macharia led the race with myself floating about 5 metres behind. At around 6km, I felt the pace settle and this allowed me catch up and briefly pass my competitors. at 7km we faced a rather large hill, which proved to be a bit much on the day for Macharia as he fell off the pace soon after.

Now, Snider and I were left together and running on cruise control expecting a fast and hilly finish. As a side note, I believe an earlier injection of pace (7-8km) would have been the wisest tactic on my part. That said though, Snider made the first move at 9km. I caught up again after this move, but at 9.5km he made his final decisive move to cross the finish line in 30:54 (3 secs off course record and $250 bonus). I crossed the line in 30:57 (6 secs off course record & 21 secs faster than last year).

I was pleased with this, my first race in 3 months, and know that this race paves the way for an impressive run in my upcoming races. My next race will be the Canadian 10km Championships/Toronto Zoo Run on October 16th. I hope to improve on last year’s 7th place finish.

2010 Stratford Festival Results will be posted here or


*Congratulations goes out to the following individuals*

 Jason Smith in the 3.5km race and Stephaney Fay in the 10km who both seem to be getting into fine form.

Derek Nakluski who won the Waterloo Open in decisive fashion. 



more  fantastic race pics by Mark Dewan:

Canadian Half Marathon Championships

21 04 2010

This weekend (April 18th) was the Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Montreal, Quebec. The host race was the Banque Scotia 21k organized through the Canada Running Series.

I arrived in Montreal by train on Friday the 16th and stayed at the Delta hotel in Downtown Montreal. It had been 4 degrees and freezing rain when I had arrived.  I figured that at least the weather in Montreal was being upfront in telling the competitors that they were in for a tough one this weekend. My roommate was Rejean Chiasson. I had never met him before. When he strolled into our hotel room later that night I was watching the music video SheWolf by Shakira. He pretended not to notice, so I knew he was a good guy right away for not judging me haha.

The race started at 10am and by that time it had started raining. The rain got progressively harder as the km’s passed by. The course had mud patches from the rain, and it made the many sharp turns rather tricky. The course was flat and along the water(windy). Yet, I would say if it wasn’t  for the rain and it’s effect on the course, one could run decently fast.

Matt Loiselle went out like a man on a mission leaving his competitors as a distant memory. Ongari and Baghdad followed, but a few seconds behind. Perhaps lacking the necessary half marathon experience, I felt more comfortable tucking behind the womans champion Mary Davies for the first km haha. As I started to gain confidence and comfort I found myself in a pack with 3 other runners; two I recognized as Chiasson and Osaduik. I went to the front for several km’s trying to push our group closer to Baghdad. As I started to make a move our group was instructed to run in the wrong direction by a course volunteer.  Because I had just made a bit of a move before our wrong turn I found myself a good distance behind the group as we veered back on course.

Taking a wrong turn and falling behind the pack was a big mental and physical test. It had occurred around 8km in. Although there was lots of time to catch back up, I didn’t want to expend too much energy getting back with the group. I was pretty pissed off to. I forced myself to calm down and focus on slowly and methodically making my way back to the group. By 10km I had made my way back into the pack, but wasn’t sure how much energy I had expended to do so.

With  5 km’s left in the race the pace had once again quickened and the rain had really started to come down. This is when I noticed the toll of the earlier km’s. My last 5k  was ugly. None the less I ended up finishing as the 4th Canadian and 7th overall in a personal best time of 1:06.34.

The race and weekend was a lot of fun and an experience I would recommend to everyone. The Canadian Running Series certainly knows how to run a good race.  Although I was somewhat happy with my performance (considering the gauntlet of a race as my uncle put it) I think I am in shape to run much faster than the day had shown.

Not sure whats next, need some time to train (def more mileage) and recover, than perhaps the Ontario 10km Championships in London where I am hoping for a solid field.

Canadian Half Marathon Results

Banque Scotia 21k Website

Men Half Marathon:
1. Matt Loiselle, 1:05:07
2. Steve Osaduik, 1:06:05
3. Rejean Chiasson, 1:06:13
4. Adam Hortian, 1:06:34
5. Matt Clout, 1:08:29
Women Half Marathon:
1. EmilyTallen, 1:15:41
2. Krista DuChene, 1:15:55
3. Marilyn Arsenault, 1:16:37
4. Kristina Rody, 1:17:12
5. Chantelle Wilder, 1:18:41

London Downtown 5k & Harry’s Spring Runoff

21 04 2010

2 weeks ago I tried to pull off a weekend double of 5k & 8k. The attempt started in London at the Downtown 5k, and ended with an 8k at the Harry’s Spring Run Off in Toronto. The goal was to try to cruise the 5k on Friday and run quicker on Saturday.

Friday’s race went well in that I won the race in an effort that coincided with the plan. I ran 15:11, which was around the same time as last years winner. Next came the Harry’s Spring Run Off. When rising from bed that morning I felt wobbly and dizzy. I sat back down immediately and for a second thought “what the hell was with that!” It later occurred to me that it had been in the 20’s and sunny the day of the first race and I had spent a bit too much time in the sun. 20’s was amplified by the fact that it had snowed and been cold just days before.

Feeling a bit under the weather and lacking of energy I decided to get a coffee before the 8k. I am not a coffee drinker haha. For the first 2k of the race I felt like I had sniffed cocaine (super human energy haha), and my heart was racing, but then came 3k where I pulled aside and puked. It was fair to say I learned a lot this weekend from what can best be described as probably the dumbest series of actions I have ever attempted.

Looking back on Harry’s Spring I still wish I had got back into the mix and completed the race. I think that a lot can be gained by struggling through a race to a pride busting finish….like humility and greater motivation for future races. It is also easier to look yourself in the mirror when you know you committed to something and followed through on it.

London Downtown 5k Results

Harry’s Spring Run Off (Live)

1 04 2010

Looks like everyone can watch this weekends Harry’s Spring Run Off at the link below. The race is on Saturday at 10am, and will feature some of Canada’s top distance runners.

Watch my race live on Saturday at 10am. (Harry’s Spring Run Off)

* I will also be racing the 5k the day before. It’s going to be a rough, but fun weekend. The back to back hard races will help me practice running while tired and also toughen me up a wee bit mentally.

Below is also a list of Saturday’s field; you might recognize a couple of these names from…the Olympics and various World Championships! haha.

Race link:

Elite Start List

Bib #   Last Name    First Name      City (Country)
      1 Milne        Taylor          Guelph
      2 Ongeri       Josephat        Burlington
      3 Gillis       Eric            Guelph
      4 Loiselle     Matt            Toronto
      5 Rachem       Baghdad         Montreal
      6 Watson       Rob             Guelph
      7 Thorson      Cleve           Guelph
      8 Oukid        Fethi           Montreal
      9 Recioui      Tewfik          Verdun
     10 Dehbi        Amor            Montreal
     11 Genest       Alex            Guelph
     12 Karanja      David           Hamilton
     13 Nakluski     Derek           Kitchener
     14 Davila       Marco           PERU
     15 Quispe       Jhon William    PERU
     17 Essebaa      Kamel           Montreal
     18 Hortian      Adam            Waterloo
     25 Gehl         Terry           St Charles
     26 McDonell     Scott           Mississauga
     27 Boyd         Steve           Kingston
     28 Betchim      Nourddine       Montreal

     30 Njeri        Lucy            KENYA
     31 Harvey       Lisa            Calgary
     32 Aboungono    Josiane         Toronto
     33 Wiltse       Paula           Brockville
     34 Rollinson    Ayesha          Toronto
     36 Tallen       Emily           Kingston