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

Canadian Indoor Record on MARs

Masters Runner Mary Unsworth set an age group Canadian Indoor record today at York University in the 5000m!  Congratulations to Mary.  We expect that she will crush this record as she continues to show her racing chops.  Why not find out what these indoor races are all about?  For those who ran cross country you can expect similar competition but you are guaranteed great weather.  There are three meets left, Feb 21, Feb 28 and March 19/20.  The last two are the Ontario Masters Indoor Championships and The Canadian Masters Indoor Championships and the club plans to attend these.  To see race schedules click here and here.  These races in February and March are a great way to raise your noses a little at winter….. Continue reading

Big T’s 2015 Top Ten MARs Race Moments

Honourable Mention – The emergence of a potent group of women’s 50-59 women on the racing scene. Congrats to Nancy Edson, Kim Russel-Brooks, Lia Kutzscher, Barb Hesk, Monique Charlton and Gail Tusz. Solid performances all year and several top 3 team results.

Number 10 – Roger Penney’s marathon at the Muskoka Ironman. Run at mid day on a very warm sunny day, Roger “Sundance Kid” Penney showed that he is a runner 1st running a impressive 42.2k after the swim and bike

Number 9 – Tie to Mark and Helen at the Beer Mile. Mark “Butch Cassidy” Sinnige showed that his 2014 victory was no fluke and that a 90 pound man can drink beverages… and run.  Helen’s first showing at the beer mile was awesome – crushing the other female competitors and most of the males.

Number 8 – Chris “lil T” Watson at Around The Bay 30K. After the most horrible racing season in the history of running .. lil T’s fall 2014 race season ( the “It’s Not Good Big T Ottawa Evening Marathon” and the “Way To Go Leanne XC Provincial champs) lil T was the first MARsian across the line in an impressive 1:56 after a difficult winter of training. It is almost enough to make Pierre forget the “Massage Tent Fiasco”.

Number 7 – I’m giving this one to myself, Troy Cox. Big T at T.O. Half in 1:14. Age graded at 87%. This was one of my best races in the last 5-6 years.

Number 6 – Pierre “Super P” Mikhail at XC Nationals. After 3 months of broken butt training (P’s butt hurts if you were not aware) P pulled off his best XC race in the last 3 years and possibly his life (just ask him, he’d love to tell you all about it) at the biggest race of the year. Def Sheppard believes that all the MARsians Pierre whined to about his sore butt should get the #1 spot in this list….

Number 5 – MARs men’s 40-49 XC season. Despite falling short at Nationals this M40-49 team was a force winning at Taylor Creek , Sunnybrook and at Ontario Championships in the insanely competitive 40 age group.

Number 4 – Dan Quigg’s 50 miler in New York State. Impressive for so many reasons. Running with a sun dial as a watch, Dan In real Life negative split this race plus I have trouble imagining running that far …. on trails … what more can I say.

Number 3 – Jess “Def Sheppard” Sheppard’s 2:57 at Boston. After one of the most horribly cold winters of training then faced with a cold rainy, windy race day Jess pulled off the “holy crap” race of the group. When Jess told me her time .. I responded with “holy crap” but was topped with the MARs quote of the year from Kat ” I think you beat me … you b#!ch ”

Number 2 – Fuelled by rage from Boston…. Kat “Puma Pants” Ahokas’ 2:55 at the Victoria Marathon to reclaim her alpha-female spot on MARs. Training all the long stuff pretty much on her own during the hot summer months makes this even more impressive.
Number 1 – MARs at Boston Marathon. As mentioned before – the winter of 2014/15 was horrible – long cold torturous winter of training. Add to it a difficult race day of rain wind and cold. The MARs performance that day was truly epic. 5 runners under 3 hours (Troy, Pierre, Mark, Jess, Kat) – would have been 6 if Lowell hadn’t stopped to pee and accidentally disconnecting himself from his Wifi. Add to that Martina matching her “holy crap” Ottawa time and Dave’s awesome run. Plus our Women’s Open Team result of 5th overall putting us on the map. This is with out a doubt the MARs 2015 highlight race of the year.

Spring Onto MARS

MARS has been to Boston for The Boston Marathon.  The 8 runners (and one friend) arrived in Boston midday Saturday and enjoyed two cool but sunny days leading up to marathon Monday.  They awoke Monday morning to a cold, windy day.  In Boston, runners arrive by bus several hours before the race start in Hopkinton.  At the village they were treated to strong headwinds and rain.  Our bunch huddled under a big tent and tried to stay warm, entertained by longtime Boston veteran, Troy Cox.  Troy’s enthusiasm for this race was infectious.  He put everyone at ease, setting the runners up for a great day.

MARS Runners in Throway Clothes Before Boarding Bus To Hopkinton

MARS Runners in Throway Clothes Before Boarding Bus To Hopkinton

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MARS Rocks Around The Bay!

Maybe it’s our inhospitable winters that create an environment that promotes toughness.  It might also have to do with the commitment consistently shown by a growing group of Masters runners in Muskoka, members of our local running club, Muskoka Algonquin Runners(MARS).  Whatever it is, it was on display Sunday, at the Oldest Road Race in North America (since 1894), The Around The Bay 30K.  Sixteen club members, and 35 runners total from the region, competed in the race.  All these runners have slogged it out through an incredibly brutal and cold winter, with only a few steps on dry ground before race day.

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MARS Brings Back Run For The Doug 5K Time Trial

MARS is back after a post-marathon recovery.  We’ve brought back the popular “Run For The Doug 5K Time Trial”.  This is an event that all runners can enjoy.  This Tuesday at 6:30 am at Conroy Track we will resurrect The Doug.  We meet, then run a very easy pace 5K on the Run For The Doug course.  Then we race it, then we cool down.  See what The Doug is all about.  You may even meet The Doug, shake his hand or possibly even Hug The Doug.  To get a sneak peek at the course click here. Once our summer program starts, this workout will take place many Thursdays.  See the calendar for details.  If you like The Doug then you will like fall cross country races! Continue reading

The Goodlife on MARS!

Three MARSians and a few other Muskokans battled The Goodlife Toronto Marathon and Half Marathon on May 4, 2014. Leading the way were the women.

MARSians Katherine Ahokas and Catherine Smith had PRs today (personal records).  Catherine Smith ran a 3 min PR in 1:53:55, and was 22/164 in her age category.  Katherine Ahokas continued her great season with a second PR in the last 5 months in the half marathon.  Katherine ran 124:36, was the 6th woman overall, 29th in the entire race and 2nd in her age category.  Pierre Mikhail ran 1:23:21 and was 24th overall and 1st in his age category.  Other runners today included Jennifer MacMillan (1:42:46) and Leeanne Leduc.  Over 4000 runners took part in the half marathon.  Carly Dodgson ran the marathon in 4:15:04.

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

MARSians continue to train this week with workouts Tuesday 6:30 am at Conroy Track, 12 noon Thursday at Highway 60 Tim Horton’s and Sunday 7 am long run from 1027 East Walker Lake Drive at 7 am (coffee afterwards).  Details at Calendar tab.  Come join us.

9 MARSians are heading to the Vermont City Marathon and Marathon Relay on May 25.  The group departs May 23.  Good luck to Troy Cox, Mark Sinnige, Dave Johnstone, Lowell Greib, Pierre Mikhail, Tina Steele, Wendy Shirtliff, Katherine Ahokas and Jess Sheppard.

The next Run to the Pub is May 22.  Join us for a run at 4:30 pm from River Mill Park and/or some time in the pub starting at 5:30pm.

MARS continued its 5K Clinic for grades 6,7,8s today.  The kids have been awesome and we expect them to rock the 5K Band on the Run in June.

See you on the roads…..