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Former and defending Canadian Champions set to compete in Marathon Championships Sunday

OTTAWA– The 2018 Canadian Marathon Championships, held in partnership with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, return to the streets of Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 21. This year’s elite field includes former National Champions Reid Coolsaet (2009) and Krista DuChene (2016), defending Champion Leslie Sexton (2017) and the marathon debut of Cameron Levins.

We caught-up with Coolsaet, DuChene, Levins and Sexton to get their thoughts on the race and more.

 

Q&A WITH FOUR CANUCKS

Krista DuChene

2016 Olympian, 2016 Canadian Marathon Champion, second-fastest Canadian marathoner in history

This year’s STWM will be your 16th marathon in 16 years. What keeps you motivated to keep running? Is Tokyo 2020 on your radar?

I’ve been an athlete for 37 years, starting with hockey at the age of 4. I’ve always loved being active. It’s always been fun and my choice. Never have I had to search for motivation. Training is my normal. With my progression from recreational to professional and with my pregnancies and injuries, I’ve been able to greatly appreciate what my body can do for me while staying passionate, setting and reaching new goals. My intention has also been to age gracefully. Running at the 2016 Rio Olympics was incredible and I’m honoured to have been an inspiration. I also know that there is amazing depth and talent among several Canadian women who will be fighting for a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While I’m just taking it one season at a time, I also don’t have any good reason not to make another Olympic team.

Take us back to Boston. You battled the elements and powered through for the victims, and their families, of the Humboldt bus crash. Now that you’ve had time to reflect, what did that race and your third-place finish mean to you?

Placing third overall, with a goal of Top 15 and Top 3 Masters, at the 2018 Boston Marathon was more than I could ever ask or imagine. I had trained through rough but typical Canadian weather with the intention to use my strength and patience, particularly when it would get difficult in the end with the hills. Thanks to coach Dave Scott-Thomas I was able to trust myself to go by feel and pay little attention to my watch. Because of this and the lack of pressure for a specific time or place it made for the funnest training build. Having said all this, I also know and have experienced the disappointment when it doesn’t come together on race day. Anything can happen.

Why is Toronto such an important race for you and your fellow Canadian marathoners?

There are countless reasons that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is an important race for myself and my fellow Canadian marathoners. It’s an IAAF Gold Label Race and a National Championship with a competitive international field. The entire race weekend is provided with incredible professional and personal care by the Canada Running Series led by someone who has invested and believed in us for years, Alan Brookes. Personally, it’s close to home which allows me to balance family commitments. This year’s race will also serve as the World Masters Athletics Marathon Championships.

 

Leslie Sexton

2017 Canadian Marathon Champion

You’re returning to Toronto as the Canadian Marathon Champion. Does that give you a little extra confidence heading into this year’s race?

With the marathon I can’t take anything for granted. I have confidence in my training and my fitness, but I also have a healthy respect for the distance and my competition. Krista has run multiple sub-2:30s and has tons of experience with the marathon, while Kinsey has run fast over shorter distances, so I know they will both be tough competitors. It’s a long race and a lot can happen, so I have to focus on my own effort and do everything I can to run the best marathon I am capable of on the day.

A blister sidelined you during the early stages of training for the STWM. Are you at 100% heading into the Sunday’s race?

Back in August I had a blister (caused by some long runs in hot and humid weather) that got infected and caused my whole foot to swell up. Fortunately, I got it treated pretty quickly and it didn’t have a big impact on my training. I felt like I was back to 100% leading into the Eastside 10k on Sept. 15 and since then I have had lots of strong workouts and weeks over 200k. While I want to be as consistent as possible, I realize that no marathon build-up will ever be perfect. Setbacks happen sometimes, I just have to roll with it, move on, and keep getting the work done.

You ran your personal best on this course in 2015 (2:33:20). What will it take on Sunday morning tolower your mark?

Good weather and good race execution. In 2015 we had perfect weather and I felt I was able to run close to the top-end of what I was in shape for. I have had a great training block and I know I am in shape to run a personal best, so as long as the weather cooperates I am looking forward to going for a fast time. The plan is to hit my splits and run evenly early on. The race starts after 30k, so I’m not going to think too much about my placing or the national title before that.

 

Cameron Levins

2012 Olympian, former Canadian Champion and record-holder in the 10,000-metres

It’s your first marathon and the Canadian Championships to boot. How you are feeling – both physically and mentally – heading into the race?

I feel extremely fit; preparation has gone very well. I’m just generally excited to experience a new distance and race.

Have you reached out to guys like Reid Coolsaet (who will be on the start line with you in Toronto), Eric Gillis or last year’s Canadian Champion Trevor Hofbauer asking for advice and/or tips? Or are you taking it one stride at a time using your past experience running other distances on the road?

I’ve spoken to my training partner, Ryan Vail, at length regarding the marathon. Lots of unknowns and I have tried learning from his experience as much as possible. Also, I have gotten so much support and information through Trent Stellingwerff (Athletics Canada’s Sports Science Sports Medicine and Innovation Lead); I wouldn’t be ready for this without him, and that’s putting it lightly.

What’s your goal heading into Sunday’s race?

I’m looking to walk away with a good experience, and I’m looking forward many marathons beyond this. Definitely want to run a fast time and the Canadian record is on my radar, but this is just the first step into a new event for me.

 

Reid Coolsaet

Two-time Olympian, 2009 Canadian Champion, second-fastest Canadian marathoner in history

Over the past couple of years, there has been a lot of talk about Jerome Drayton’s Canadian record (2:10:09 – Dec. 7, 1975) and how Toronto might be the place to see you or another Canadian break it. You know the course, it’s the Canadian Championships and you will be the fastest Canadian on the start line. Does that give you a little extra motivation heading into Sunday’s race?

Although I’m happy with the progress I’ve made in my training, I didn’t get to a point where I think I can challenge for the record this Sunday. I’ll be going out a little more conservatively than I have in past marathons. 

Fellow Canadian Cam Levins will be racing his first marathon in Toronto. If you could give him one piece of advice before he laces up for his debut, what would it be?

Be patient. The first 1/3 of the race will feel easy and the last 1/3 will likely feel really hard. 

Overall, how are you feeling heading into the STWM? Have you been able to put last year’s foot injury behind you and move forward?

My foot injury from 2017 has not affected my training and my body is feeling good. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick a couple of times in the past couple of months, but lately have had my energy back.

 

HOW TO WATCH THE RACE

The 2018 edition of the Canadian Marathon Championships will be live streamed on AthleticsCanada.tv beginning at 8 a.m. ET. The broadcast will feature commentary from Michael Doyle, former editor of Canadian Runningmagazine and the current leader of sports start-up Welle Media, Canadian marathon record-holder Lannie Marchant and British announcer Geoff Wightman.

 

THE COURSE, RACE AND MORE:

The IAAF Gold-Label Road Race will primarily run along Lakeshore Blvd. with views of Lake Ontario.

 

RUNNING, HEALTH & FITNESS EXPO

We’ll be there! Will you?

Stop by the STWM Running, Health & Fitness Expo on Friday or Saturday for great deals on Athletics Canada, Team Canada and Canada Track & Field gear from Shop.Athletics.ca.

Location:Enercare Centre, Hall D (100 Princes’ Blvd.)

Date/time:Friday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also, if you are participating in the STWM, be sure to check-out your Virtual Race Kit for an exclusive offer on Nike ACTF Air Zoom Pegasus 35s.

 

PRIZING (CANADIAN MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS / ATHLETICS CANADA REGISTERED ATHLETES ONLY):

  • Canadian National Records (based on gun time)
    • Men: $1,000 for every year that Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 record has stood (1975), thus the bonus will be $43,000 in 2018
    • Women: $30,000 bonus for new record (currently Lanni Marchant’s 2:28:00 set at the STWM in 2013)
  • Men/Women (based on gun time)*
    • 1st: $5,000
    • 2nd: $3,000
    • 3rd: $2,000
    • 4th: $1,000
    • 5th: $300
    • 6th: $200

*Minus 50% for slower than 2:15:00 (men) and 2:35:00 (women); minus 75% for slower than 2:18:00 (men) and 2:40:00 (women)

For a complete list of prizing (open and Canadian athletes), click here.

 

ELITE RUNNERS VYING FOR THE TITLE OF CANADIAN CHAMPION

Men

Name

Personal best

Reid Coolsaet

2:10:29 (Berlin, 2015)

Lucas McAneney

2:18:15 (Houston, 2014)

Thomas Toth

2:18:58 (Hamburg, 2017)

Terence Attema

2:19:49 (Minneapolis, 2016)

Blair Morgan

2:22:14 (Prague, 2017)

Aaron Cooper

2:24:39 (Toronto, 2017)

Cameron Levins

1:02:15 (Valencia, 2018 – Half Marathon)

Women

Name

Personal best

Krista DuChene

2:28:32 (Toronto, 2013)

Leslie Sexton

2:33:20 (Toronto, 2015)

Arianne Raby

2:39:37 (Berlin, 2018)

Liza Howard

2:51:46 (Ottawa, 2017)

Sarah Elliott

2:51:49 (Berlin, 2017)

Kinsey Middleton

1:12:30 (Houston, 2018 – Half Marathon)

For a look at the elite field competing in the 2018 STWM, click here.

 

CANADIAN CHAMPIONS OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS

Year

Men

 

Women

 

2017 – Toronto

Trevor Hofbauer

2:18:06

Leslie Sexton

2:35:47

2016 – Toronto

Eric Gillis

2:13:44

Krista DuChene

2:34:02

2015 – Toronto

Eric Gillis

2:11:31

Lanni Marchant

2:28:09

2014 – Ottawa

Eric Gillis

2:13:47

Rhiannon Johns

2:47:12

2013 – Ottawa

Rob Watson

2:18:34

Lioudmila Kortchaguina

2:33:11

For more on the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Canadian Marathon Championships, please click here.

 

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