Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Canadian Marathon Men

Welcome back for volume 2 of Going Pro!

To make this a little more 'reader-friendly' I've broken this post up into 5 different posts. This way, you can read it at your own leisure. You can click the link on right to get each one or at the bottom of each post will link to the next one in order.
This week I'm going to focus on some CanCon, or Canadian Content in the professional running scene. Although Canadians fly under the radar compared to their counterparts south of the border, we are undoubtedly making our presence known. Allow me to bring you up to speed on some of the Canadian who's who. Also of note is the red, white, and red layout of this blogpage... O Canada!

(Next week will be a look at the Canadian women's scene and how Canucks are doing in the American college ranks - you'll be pleasantly surprised! Not to mention some crazy news coming out of running giants Kenya and Ethopia!)
Marathon Men

Jerome Drayton
I could tell you to play a song right now while reading this following spiel, I would suggest: Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream" as that is precisely what is happening. In 1975, at the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan (the then-unoffical world championships), Jerome Drayton set Canada's marathon record with a then (and now) staggering time of 2:10:09 (4:58/mile or 3:05/km). There are two things to note about this record:
1) It was less than one minute off of the world record of 2:09:12 set by Ian Thompson of the UK in 1974
2) The record STILL stands today! Which is where I will begin.

Let us not forget about the other small event happening this summer: The 2012 Olympic Games in London. Canada will be sending it's own squad to tackle the 26.2 miles (or 42.2km eh?)

Running down both of these dreams are the following contenders:

1) Reid Coolsaet - 31, from Hamilton, Ontario.
Sponsor: New Balance
Hairstyle: Awesome.

I would like to tell you that I met Reid in September of 2009 but that would be a lie. For in the fall of 2009 I ran XC with Trent Univeristy in the Ontario University Athletics conference. My first race ever was an 8k at Canada's running Mecca: Guelph University. About a mile into the race - well back in the 3rd to 5th pack - I get passed by someone at Mach 3 speed with a piece of straw hanging out of his mouth. While I was sucking air into burning lungs and weasing like an asthmatic geriatric at 6:15/mile, Reid cooly said 'excuse me gentlemen' and went on his way. So you're probably saying, 'WOW, you were ahead of Reid Coolsaet? congrats!', however that would be incorrect as he started the race late and still ended up place in the top 3... I did not.

Reid is Canada's premiere marathon runner. He has a running resume as long as the number of miles he runs per week, which is somewhere well into the 120+ miles/week range (I'll confirm this in a future post). He's won the Canadian 5,000m championship at least 5 times, represented Canada at the Commonwealth games and the 2009 World Championships. He ran his first marathon in 2009 and debuted with a solid 2:16:53 (5:13/mile or 3:15/km). He has quickly cranked up the training over the last two years and in the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Reid went after both a trip to the Olympics and Jerome Drayton's record. 2:10:08 (or faster) was the goal as that would satisfy both conditions and make him $37,000 richer - $1,000 for each year that Drayton's record has stood. When 26.2 miles were covered on that September Sunday, only one of those goals was met. Reid qualified for the Olympics but feel short of Drayton's record with a time of 2:10:55 (43 seconds off of the record, less than 2 seconds per mile). It is of note that this time would have placed him 5th overall in the USA Olympic Trials!

Reid is currently training in Iten, Kenya. Check out his own blog at http://reidcoolsaet.com

Next up in this list of Marathon Men is Eric Gillis


p.s. I'd like to give a 'shout out' to Alex Coffin from New Brunswick for his promotion of the sport see, www.alexcoffin.com. He tracks the progress of Atlantic Canadian runners and posts rankings of how they do in their races. Not to mention, at 30+ years of age, he placed 11th overall at the AUS championship with a 10k of 33:19!

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