31, from Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Sponsor: New Balance
*Ran XC at St. FX in the Atlantic University conference
(I believe our very own Colin Fewer et al had a few battles against Mr. Gillis)
Best quality: Ability to grow an epic beard! Running skill is secondary.
Eric is unquestionably the happiest runner in Canada. In same 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon mentioned earlier, Eric was also hunting for Olympic glory... and he got it... BY ONE SECOND in a time of 2:11:28!!! Yes that is correct, he ran 42.2km and it all came down to one second. If he so much as looked the wrong way for a step and he'd be watching the Olympic Marathon in August!
This is not Eric's first Olympic appearance. He ran in the 2008 Beijing Olympics 10,000m final where he placed 33rd with literally the best runners in the world!
Don't get the wrong idea that just because he made the Olympics under the wire means he doens't have any jets. This guy can fly. Last year at the Virginia Beach Half Marathon, Eric blazed a 63:34 (4:51/mile or 3:01/km)!
He and Reid Coolsaet are close rivals but from what I gather they're also close friends and have been training partners over the years under coach Dave Scott-Thomas in Guelph. But you have to see these two guys battling it out at the finish in this past year's Sporting Life 10km in Toronto. Coolsaet is on your left, Gillis on your right! I won't tell you who wins, but I'll tell you the times are:
1st place: 28:08.0 (4:31/mile or 2:31/km)
2nd place: 28:08.3 (roughly the length of a nose)
2011 Sporting Life 10k Finish
Next up in this list of Marathon Men is Simon Bairu