I am a 36 year old ultra marathon runner from Toronto, Canada. I love running and want to inspire other runners to be healthy and injury free.
In the before time
My path to becoming a runner began back in 2001. I was finishing up college and had just moved into a new place. My roommate was into mountain biking, running, healthy eating and was competing in enduro-races like the EcoChallenge. I wasn’t getting much exercise at all and had little to no interest in running. One day I was asked to be a part of my roommate’s support crew for the Toronto Urban Challenge – a 24 hour race across the entire city. I reluctantly agreed but was interested to see what the race would be like. It was like nothing I had ever been a part of and is probably the reason why I never miss an episode of the Amazing Race. A few months later I volunteered to help out at another 24 hour race up in cottage country. I think that being surrounded by people running and biking all the time is what inspired me to get a proper pair of shoes and head out for my first run. I didn’t know anything about running or even how far I was going, I just went. I ran every other day on the trail and after a few months I was able to run 8km.
I was running 5k – 8km about 3 times a week totalling 15 – 20km and I thought that was pretty good. Everything was going great until I got sidelined with a knee injury. I couldn’t run more than a few minutes without my kneecap flaring up, not even on a treadmill. I was off for about a year before I decided to try running again. I went out and bought a new pair of shoes, and after a few weeks of short runs, the knee pain had totally gone away. Before I knew it I was back to my old routine of running 5k 3 times a week.
Taking it up a level
In 2009 I decided I wanted to push myself beyond the 5k runs and see how far I could go. One Sunday morning I showed up at my local Running Room for their open group run. I joined the 10k group as they had just started their clinic and were only running 5k. I kept going on Sunday morning and eventually ran 7k, then 9k, then 12k with the group. This was further than I had ever run before and I felt great. After running 14km with the half marathon group, I decided I was going to join the clinic in January and train for the Mississauga Half Marathon. A half marathon didn’t seem so out of reach. After all, I could already run 2/3 of the distance. In May 2010 I completed my first half marathon in 1hr55. In May 2011 I ran the Mississauga Half Marathon again taking 11 minutes off of my PB, placed 3rd in my age group at the Bread and Honey 5k, and ran the San Francisco Half Marathon while on vacation. Later that summer I taught the half marathon clinic at the Running Room, training a group of approximately 20 runners for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon and ran it again.
In the fall of 2011, I injured my calf while doing a tempo run in my new minimalist shoes. I was sick and tired of all these stupid injuries and I began running barefoot on the treadmill in my basement. I started alternating 5 minutes running and 5 minutes walking, then every week I would increase my barefoot running time by 2 minutes. Eventually I was able to run continuously for 30 minutes. My feet started to get stronger and I noticed my form was changing. I got a pair of Vibram FiveFingers so I could start running outside.
Going for 26.2
My running reached new heights in the spring of 2012 when I completed the Chilly Half Marathon, Around the Bay 30k Road Race and Mississauga Marathon (my first full marathon) all within 2 months. I spent the summer of 2012 running in my FiveFingers, building up my foot strength and just having fun. With full year of VFF / barefoot running under my belt, I put my old shoes away for good and began training for my second full marathon. I followed my training program very closely, made some small changes to my diet and set PB’s at all three of my spring 2013 races: Chilly Half Marathon, Around the Bay 30k and Goodlife Toronto Marathon. I followed that up with another PB at the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon then broke that record at the 2014 Chilly Half Marathon. I ran the 2014 Around the Bay 30k where I broke last year’s record by 4 minutes and paced a friend to a sub 4 hour finish at the 2014 Mississauga Marathon. This past summer I completed my first ultra marathon – the Niagara Ultra 50k – and I’m the middle of training for my second ultra – Sulphur Springs 50k trail race.
My Race Results
* PB (personal best)
Mississauga Half Marathon (1:55:38)
Mississauga Half Marathon (1:44:02)
*Bread and Honey 5k (21:43)
San Francisco (1st) Half Marathon (1:54:30)
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (1:44:15)
Chilly Half Marathon (2:10:48)
Around the Bay 30k Road Race (3:18:11)
Mississauga Marathon (4:20:29)
Chilly Half Marathon (1:41:34)
Around the Bay 30k Road Race (2:32:15)
*Goodlife Toronto Marathon (3:36:57)
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (1:38:24)
*Chilly Half Marathon (1:37:05)
Around the Bay 30k Road Race (2:28:27)
Mississauga Marathon (3:55:54)
Niagara Ultra 50k (5:23:00)
*Around the Bay 30k Road Race (2:24:51)
Sulphur Springs 50k trail run (TBD)
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (TBD)
I also have a great passion for music and play guitar, bass and piano. I’ve recorded a few EPs and a full-length LP, ‘CiRCADiAN’, with the band 5th PROJEKT,and I continue to write and record in my home studio. I have already completed new material and am looking forward to releasing it in the near future.
I currently work as Community Manager for CSA Group (Canadian Standards Association) and I also have over ten years of experience in web design, email marketing, web analytics, mobile, ppc, seo, social media and user experience.
I live in Toronto with my lovely wife Jenna, our little boy Luke, and a Black Lab / German Shepherd named ‘Baxter’ – my running buddy.