Summer on MARs

After a few weeks of blogging hiatus, it’s time to recap some of the highlights from this past summer on MARs. Despite off season training, many of our members managed to pack in a solid amount of running and racing, from Fun Runs to 5ks to marathons, on and off the roads.

Back in July, Erin Gaughan and Mel Mar traveled north to run in the Massey Marathon. In case you haven’t heard, this was one week after completing Ironman 70.3 Muskoka. Erin and Mel both finished in impressive times, 3:42:43 and 3:59:19, respectively, with Massey being the first full marathon distance for Mel. We are cheering them on as they prepare for the Hamilton Marathon in November, with a gentle reminder to exclude any sort of half ironman business from their marathon taper, this time around.

Coincidentally, that same weekend, a handful of other MARs women celebrated the off season in a different way, spending three days camping in Algonquin Park on #MARsisland. A huge thanks again to Reba and Darla for skillfully organizing this trip. We look forward to even more women joining us next year (assuming we make it past the access point, given that our two fearless leaders are most likely taking a well earned sabbatical).

August saw a fantastic group of MARs women race the Toronto Women’s 10k and 5k. In the 10k, Kat Ahokas dominated with a 38:48, placing 4th overall and 3rd in her age group. Closely behind Kat was Martina Morton, running 41:06 for 8th overall and 4th in category. Right on Martina’s tails, Huntsville local Saree Sasson (soon to be MARs member) ran an impressive 41:15 for 9th overall and 2nd in her age category. Also in the 10k was Amy Harkness, 44:01, Nancy Edson, 49:53 (her first 10k under 50 minutes), Tannis Wettlaufer, 52:02, and Kirstin Thomas, 53:18. In the 5k, Mary Unsworth took 2nd overall and 1st in her age group, finishing in 19:06. Way to go, ladies!

July and August also saw four themed Fun Run Events, presented by The SportLab, that were a great success. Thank you to Lake of Bays Brewery for supporting the Fun Run Series and thank you to all of those who participated!

Fast forward to September, MARs had a strong representation at the Ragnar Trail Cottage Country, held at Hardwood Hills. This was the first trail Ragnar Race in Canada. A total of 24 runners on 4 teams participated, an impressive turnout coming from (mostly) our small town. Congratulations to the two ultra teams, MARs, Attacks! and Red Planet Runners, on taking the win in their respective divisions.

While some MARs members were racing the trails, MARs member Mark Wilding traveled to the Erie Marathon, running a 3:29:14, earning himself a Boston Qualifier. Way to go, Mark!

Last but not least, it has been decided that MARs President, Pierre Mikhail, made his ‘post-injury racing debut’ at the Terry Fox Run this past Sunday (just don’t tell him it was actually 9.6 km, not 10…). We have warmly welcomed Pierre back to morning workouts, along with his unmistakeable banter, and look forward to his rumoured return to Cross Country this fall.

Regular Tuesday and Thursday workouts continue at 6:15 am along with varying Sunday long runs. Be sure to check TeamSnap for specifics. Cross Country Season is also upon us and we are excited to see what it has in store for MARs. Contact Pierre or check the website for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

XC Is Back On MARs!

It is time to start sharpening your spikes!  XC season is right around the corner and MARs will start preparing.  That means drills, strides, wet grass and a little pain.  Consider doing one or many of the races available below.

If you are a MARs competitive member you are eligible to enter any of the races with the cost varying from about $20 for the normal races to roughly $25 for Ontario Championships (In Bracebridge!!!! ) to roughly $35 for Canadian Championships in Kingston.  If you are a noncompetitive member you can upgrade easily.

This is a great opportunity to have the experience of running on a team.  Masters XC races are fun. Distances vary from 4K to 8K and results are broken down into 5 year age groups.  So you can be as old as Troy and still do well.  In addition, results are also presented as age graded %s which take into account that we all slow down as we age. Finally, at each race our top 5 age adjusted scores count for points in a race series called The Breslin Cup.  Help MARs move up the standings!

In past years MARs has paid most of the travel and hotel expenses for runners having the courage to go all the way to Kingston, so that is a teaser for 2017.  Hotels are already booked for Kingston.

Below is the list of races.  For the Toronto races, we typically leave from Summit Center parking lot at 9 am and are back around 5:30pm.  You do not have to commit to any of the races.  Usually the cut off for entering is a few days before the non championship races (and you can enter in person same day for a little more money) and a week prior for the two championship races.

  1. Taylor Creek 5K, Taylor Creek, Toronto 1pm, Sunday October 1
  2. Don Farquharson Harriers 4K, Toronto, Sunnybrook Park, Sunday October 15, 1pm
  3. Sunnybrook 8K, Toronto, Sunnybrook Park, Sunday November 5,  1pm
  4. Ontario XC Championships 5K, Morrison Meadows, Bracebridge, Sunday November 12, times TBA (usually between 9:30 and 10:30 for masters race)
  5. Canadian XC Championships 8K, Kingston, Ontario, SATURDAY November 25 (team usually departs Nov 24 and stays 2 nights in Kingston)

The final two races have youth age groups as well and at the Canadian XC Championships you will have the opportunity to watch the Senior Men and Women compete for spots on the World Championships Canadian team!

For more information on the race series click here

Finally, don’t forget The Muskoka Mud Run Saturday Sept 30 at Morrison Meadows.  Click here

MARs Summer Weekend Madness

With the long weekend only half way over, MARs has had some serious excitement.  The MARs summer party began when a tornado touched down on the Smith Mikhail property, cutting out power.  Consideration was given to cancelling the event but when Big T showed up on his bike 2 hours early, after cycling through a cyclone, the decision was made to carry on.

The first ever Muskoka Country Beer Mile was rain delayed (we waited until the rain got harder) until 5:45pm.  Fortunately, the tree down across the road exactly 200m from the driveway made a perfect turnaround for the out and back 400m lap.  None of the intrepid runners were struck by lightning.  Wade “Don’t Call Me Punk” McCormack won his first CBM at the age of 29, so we expect great things to come from him.  In second place was Tony The Runner Marra, who was rocking some vintage 1960s head gear and threatened to put on his terrifying old man mask. MARs President Cockroach Mikhail became the only runner in club history to be top three in every beer mile to date (if we all agree that that university punk cheated the year Pierre came 4th).  Darla Snotrocket Coles pretended to forget her shoes so was forced to wear track spikes as a penalty.  Kirstin Thomas broke a beer mile standard few thought was possible, eclipsing Mary Unsworth’s career worst 17 minute beer mile with a wind, rain, and peer-aided 20 minute beer mile.  The event was such a huge success that it was followed by the MARs 2 Beer Country Half Mile and Tornado Swithathon.  No runners died or were injured.

The races were followed by the annual MARs summer party, with thanks to Martina Morton, Algonquin Outfitters and Lake of Bays Breweries.  Thanks to all who came to the party!

On Saturday, Chris Watson did his club proud at the Ontario Masters Track and Field Championships with an impressive double in the 5000m then the 1500m a few hours later.  This was Chris’ first track meet in 25 years.  Chris placed 2nd in both races in 16:38 and 4:38, winning his age group in the 5000m.  The man who beat him in the 1500m ran on fresh legs, not running the 5000m like Chris!  Congratulations to Chris.

MARs workouts continue Sunday at Limberlost, meeting at Pierre’s house at 8am, with regular Tuesday and Thursday workouts this week at 6:15am at Conroy Track.  This is a great time to get running, with a unique opportunity coming this November, when the Ontario Cross Country Championships come to Muskoka.

See you on the roads and trails…

Life on MARs – Running, selfies, free beer… Come again?

Wednesday July 19th marked the kick off of the fun run series hosted by The SportLab. Twenty participants ranging from newbies to advanced runners showed up to conquer the challenge. Five teams set off with the objective of running to various locations and taking team selfies to be judged at the end of the run. The winning team walked away with sweet SportLab hats and water bottles.

Afterwards, nearly everyone gathered at Main St. Local for a free can of Switchback Pilsner provided by Lake of Bays Brewery. The beer and food were delicious!

Join us for our next fun run adventure on Wednesday, August 2nd.

Special mention to Katie Barkey who was randomly selected to win the grab bag kindly donated by Algonquin Outfitters.

Big thanks to Martina for authoring this post! See you on the roads!

MARs at The Limberlost Challenge & 70.3

MARs had a strong showing this past Saturday at the The Limberlost Challenge. Despite a difficult (as always) course and some questionable footing, all of our runners gave strong efforts for this year’s race.

In the 14k, Chris Watson ran a solid 1:07:45, finishing 3rd overall and 1st in his age group. ‘Danimal’ Dan Quigg also finished in the top 10, running 1:13:07 for 8th overall. Up and coming Owen Johnstone was 3rd in his age group with 1:16:26. Close behind was Jeramie Carbonaro 1:17:04, Tony Marra 1:19:43, Chris Bennett 1:22:17 and Dave Johnstone 1:26:14.

Also placing in their respective age groups were Emily Fletcher, 1:27:48 for 1st AG, and Rebecca Francis, 1:29:10 for 2nd AG. Other finishers include Sharon Bennett 1:35:25, Andre Boudreault 1:35:59, Chris Near 1:41:33, Jennifer Macmillan 1:41:42, Susanne Allen 1:41:57 (later racing a 5k that same day), Catherine Smith 1:50:15, Jane Wolfe 1:56:44, Rose Evans 1:58:37, Elijah Quigg 2:10:47 and Michelle Quigg 2:16:35

In the 28k was lone Nathan Johnstone, finishing in 2:43:53 and placing 8th overall as well as 3rd in his age group.

Off (and on) the course was Lowell Greib, serving as Medical Director for the 8th year running. Thanks to Lowell and his team of medical personnel for keeping all of the participants safe and sound.

Last but certainly not least, a few MARs members and family rocked the Ironman 70.3 Muskoka earlier today. Jon Morton completed the race in an impressive 5:03:45. Despite a few setbacks, Jess Adam finished in a speedy 5:36:48. Roger Penney completed his 9th consecutive hometown race with a solid 5:52:40 finish. Erin Gaughan also finished in a solid 6:17:28 and Melanie Mar in 6:39:02, an impressive time for her first 70.3. Stay tuned for Erin and Mel’s upcoming adventures in racing. A big thank you as well to everyone who came out to volunteer at the aid station – a well oiled machine headed up by Dave Johnstone.

Congratulations to these runners on their impressive results! Now, back to the roads.

MARs Crushes BOTR

It was a nice and sunny day, and from the start it was obvious that heat was going to be an issue. The new Band on the Run Course for 2017 saw some beautiful scenery, and steady rolling hills.

In the half marathon, Troy Cox had a tough race, and had to settle for 2nd place overall but 1st in his age group in a time of 1:22:09. Helen Dempster chased down the leader and finished as the 1st women, 4th overall in great time of 1:30:20, an amazing comeback after several months of time off. Mark Wilding showed steady pacing and completed the course in a very respectable 1:46:41. Lindsey Howes who is in the midst of moving (and off training), ran in 1:50:03. Andre Boudreault finished in 1:50:47, and can attest that the heat was definitely a factor on the return leg. Olivia Crozier came in in 1:52:41, good for 1st in her age group. Marly Hogue was 2nd in her age group with a time of 2:00:54.  Natasha Nieder was close behind at 2:00:56, and Nicole Howell completed her half marathon in 2:08:53.

In the 10 km race, Jen Nicholson finished 2nd female and 1st in her age group.  Dave Johnstone was 4th in his age group with 45:00 flat. Also in at 45:00 was Jessica Adam. Rebecca Francis ran a 46:14, good enough for 4th female and 1st in her age group. Brian Gray ran a solid 47:43. Other finishers include Chris Near in 51:56, Tannis Wettlaufer in 52:43, Nancy Edson in 54:08, Kirstin Thomas in 54:23, Catherine Smith in 57:13, Katherine Andrews 1:05:17, Mary Henderson 1:06:45, Peter Ryback 1:07:12 and Stacy Tinkler 1:08:26. Kat Ahokas, along with fellow members of the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Fire Department, also ran the 10k in full bunker gear in support of Community Living Huntsville.

There were a number of MARs members running the 5 km Race, many of whom were running with family members. Martina Morton ran in a quick 20:14 and was 2nd female – only 2 weeks after the Ottawa Marathon. Fiona Shearing ran a speedy 20:57 and was the 4th overall female. Sebastian Horton ran 21:23. Ben and Tony Shearing finished together at 21:32. Elias Coles ran 23:29, while his mom Darla Coles ran a 24:53 with her other speedy son Sol. Chris Watson, also running with family ran a 26:38. Sharon Bennett ran with her daughter Paige in 26:58. Holly Sundy clocked a solid 28:06, while pushing a stroller and having raced the weekend prior.

A warm welcome to those new MARs members who have recently finished The SportLab’s Running Program, many of whom also raced over the weekend. We hope to see you out training with MARs over the summer.

A very successful and fun weekend for many MARs runners.

Thank you to Andre and Kat for contributing to this race recap and a big congratulations to everyone who completed Band on the Run! Apologies to anyone who may have been missed.