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…

Around The Bay…Again

This past weekend, MARs descended on the beautiful City of Hamilton (sorry Dave) for its annual pilgrimage to Around The Bay (ATB). Many MARsians running Boston in three weeks opted to not race ATB, but the rock solid four (Big T, lil t, Reba Francis, and Tony the Runner) who are also racing Boston made the trip. They were joined in the 30k race by MARsians Martina Morton, Katelin Barkey, Lindsay Howes, Sharon Bennett, Brian Gray, Peter Ryback, and Holly Sundy. Rob Horton, Chris Near, Justine Brown, Jane Wolfe and Rose Evans tackled the 30k relay and Jacob Barkey competed in the 5k.

The group enjoyed a pre-race dinner the night before the race. A fracas almost ensued when Barkey tried to steal lil t’s pasta dinner. Order was restored and the group enjoyed some good food and each other’s company before heading back to hotel rooms for a good night’s sleep. Leading the way in the results (yet again) was the wily veteran Big T(ime) Cox. Despite the harsh gusty winds, Big T crossed the line in 41st place in a time of 1:55:34 good for first in his age group. At the Expo, it was mentioned to a vendor that this was Big T’s 20th ATB. The response was “There must be something wrong with you.” This doesn’t begin to explain what’s wrong with him!

Sporting his #bostonbeard, toque, and sunglasses, lil t was next across the line in 50th place in a time of 1:57:57 (3rd in his age group). Clearly lil t has some work to do. It appears though that he was a photographers favorite on the course. Perhaps it is because he looked a bit like Joaquin Phoenix in “I’m still here” circa 2010 (and he ran like him too). Age group results: Martina (6th), Tony (24th), Reba (28th), Katelin (21st), Lindsay (49th), Sharon (34th), Brian (95th) Peter (20th), and Holly (186th). The racers will take a few days rest and then will be back pounding the pavement to tune up for marathons in Boston, Toronto, and Ottawa.

Congrats to these intrepid racers!

MARs 2016 Top 10

It is now tradition that Big T, Troy Cox gives us his MARs top 10.  So here they are without further delay.  Please make sure to renew your membership in January.  Once the month ends members who have not renewed will be removed from TeamSnap access.

See you on the roads….

The Big T Top 10 2016

When I first thought about compiling a 2016 list this year, I thought I should maybe make it a Top 3. After the unbelievable results of 2015, 2016 seemed like a let down with the mass number of debilitating injuries we had suffered.  “There is a very fine line between being incredibly fit and being incredibly injured.” .. there were a large number of us step over that line this year.

Once I started going through our year though, I started to see that we had some pretty amazing results and the Top 10 started to come together quickly.

Number 10 – BBQ. (Boston Baby Qualifier)

Kirsten Jewell runs a debut 3:28 marathon in Toronto on a nasty rainy windy day to qualify for Boston. She celebrates by getting pregnant and won’t be able to race Boston.

Number 9 – XC Nats

The one single race in Canada that brings together all the best middle and long distance runners in the country to one venue is XC Nationals in Kingston. Although we didn’t have the numbers racing this year compared to 2015, MARs presence was noticed. 11 racers in total and a 2nd consecutive silver for the M40 team in a deep competitive field.

Number 8 – Shout Out to the Kids

Cam “Levins” Heinz 4th place finish at OFSAA was spectacular.

I saw him with 800m to go in 14th place when he unleashed one of the most devastatingly impressive kicks I have ever seen to snag 4th.

Special mention to Fiona Shearing who raced a gutsy aggressive race to finish 12th.  

Number 7 – Running in Circles

A small group of MARs runners went to the Ontario Indoor Masters Champs on March. 4 runners (Troy, Chris, Pierre and Mary) – 8 events – came home with 5 gold 1 silver and a bronze. Runner from the Huskies said “wow you guys are amazing .. you run XC, marathons AND indoor track”

” that’s because we are awesome and you’re not”

Number 6 – Snot Rocket and a Drunk

Our 3rd annual beer mile had 2 newcomers dominate the race.  

3 months of heavy drinking and no running seems to make for great training for the beer mile as Lil T got out from behind his walker and crushed the men’s race.

Darla “The Snot Rocket Vodka Shooter” Coles destroyed the women’s field in her 1st beer mile. Impressive victory considering she is only slightly bigger than a bottle of beer.

Darla started trash talking last year’s winner Helen (who was unable to race this year) about the show down next year – this could be Pay-Per-View good.

Number 5 – 26.2 Then A Wedding

This makes this list not really for the results but for the event.

Lowell ran his usual ” just over 3 hour” marathon AGAIN. Look for Lowells new book titled ” How To Run A 3 Hour Marathon (but not under).

Chapter One ” 100k weeks while taking Monday to Friday off”.

Kat was racing with a gimpy knee and was only able to train on trails.

The MARs “royal couple” raced Sunday and woke up early Monday to be married … This has to be a MARs highlight.

Number 4 – The Danamil Double

Dan ” Danamil” Quigg raced a 50mile trail race at the end of April on trails that still had snow and ice on them and followed that up 4 weeks later by racing the Ottawa marathon.

This is impressive on so many levels.

Can you imagine running 50 miles ? No

Can imagine running them on ice and rocks and all the other horrible things nature leaves on the trails for you to fall over ? No

Can you imagine then running a marathon a month later ? No

Number 3 – CR for OG

Mary “The OG” Unsworth breaks 38 year old Canadian record in the W35 5000m indoor by 1 min!! Running 19:00.

MARs now has a CR in the books.  

Number 2 – I hear there is a party in Boston in April

We all have different reasons why we run or what motivates us to push ourselves. When Tina Steele heard we had rented a house in Boston for the marathon – she thought that sounded like way too much fun to miss. The only way in ? BQ.

So the BQ quest began. With Tina’s race 6 weeks after Ottawa Tina was forced to train pretty much on her own with the help of other MARs members joining her for parts of workouts and long runs. Her intense determination and commitment to the marathon was awesome.

Having to delay race day by 2 weeks due to a conflict made the task even more difficult.

3:42 crushing her BQ qualifying time and reserving her spot at the MARs Boston house is well deserved at number 2.

Number 1 – Hottawa marathon

With 12 marathoners plus runners in 1/2 and 10k, MARs had a huge contingent of runners going to Ottawa and all marathoners aiming for BQs.

On the Friday before race day there was talk of cancelling the race due to heat concerns.

Unfazed, the group towed the line with optimism even though the heat was still a major concern.

I am still in awe over the results we posted that day. Every single runner ran as well if not better that we could have imagined especially with the weather.

11 BQ races … Truly an epic day for MARs.

3 results worth mentioning –

1. Lil t 1st completed marathon in a blistering 2:46

2. Helen Dempsters 3:10 .. Splits 1:35/1:35 … Wha? Who does that ? Well… Helen does.

3. Rebecca “Used To Be A Triathlete Now I’m A Runner”) Francis 6 min PB on her fall BQ guaranteeing entry into the Big race.  

Until next year …..

” there is no bad weather, there are just soft runners ” Bowerman

Big T Cox

MARs Crushes The Falls

Muskoka Algonquin Runners sent a small but impressive team to the Ontario Cross Country Championships today in Niagara Falls.  Taking part were Mark Sinnige, Tony Marra, Jeremy Carbonaro, Chris Bennett, Mary Unsworth, Jess Sheppard, Kirsten Jewell, Sharon Bennett, Jen Nicholson, Kirstin Thomas, Tannis Wettlaufer and Nancy Edson.

The Women’s 30-39 placed first and the Men’s 40-49 team placed second!  Congratulations to all of our runners.  Results of the race can be found here.

Training on MARs continues this week Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:15 am at Conroy Track and Sunday at 7:30 am at Summit Center. Details available for members at TeamSnap calendar.

Don’t forget club Pub Night this coming Thursday 7-9pm at On The Docks Pub.  Executive Meeting for Executive Members 6-7pm.

The Canadian Cross Country Championships are Saturday November 26 in Kingston.  The club has booked ten rooms November 25 and 26 for runners and will subsidize the cost (details to follow after Executive Meeting).  The race entry deadline is November 21 and the deadline for letting Pierre know if you need a room is also November 21.

See you on the roads.

MARs Launches XC Season

Muskoka Algonquin Runners made a statement on Sunday in Toronto at the Taylor Creek 5K XC Masters Race.  Troy Cox, Chris Watson, Tony Marra, Mark Sinnige, Mary Unsworth, Kat Ahokas, Sharon Bennett, Rebecca Francis, Darla Coles, Chris Bennett, Chris Near and Dan Quigg represented MARs fantastically!

After one race in the Breslin Cup for 2016, MARs finds itself in uncharted territory, finishing the day in second place overall for the first time ever.  Finishing third and fourth overall were Troy Cox and Chris Watson, both first in their age categories.  First woman was our Mary Unsworth who also won her age category, as did Kat Ahokas.

Our Men’s 40-49 and Women’s 30–39 teams both placed first and our Men’s 30-39 team placed third overall.

An exciting start to the XC Season.

Join us this week at Arrowhead Park landing strip at 6:30 am for a 6K time trial on the Hoya Hills XC Course.  See TeamSnap calendar for other workout details.

See on the grass!

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