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iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava , Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt , Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird , Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka , Alberta

iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston , Alberta

iRun because I can’t dance Mario Javier , Ontario

iRun so I don’t say never ever again Linda Klaric , Manitoba

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur , Quebec

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde , Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard , Alberta

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy , Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur , British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson , British Columbia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop , Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter , Alberta

iRun because otherwise I’m grumpy Alexandre Charest , Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton , British Columbia

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang , Alberta

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey , New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx , Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis , Ontario

iRun because it’s like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson , Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan , Alberta

iRun because I’ve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly , Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour , Ontario

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick , New Brunswick

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie , Ontario

iRun because it’s a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney , British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin , Manitoba

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith , Manitoba

iRun because it’s fun when it’s done Sue Matte , Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer , Quebec

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua , Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston , Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan , Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung , British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

iRun because it’s better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby , Saskatchewan

iRun for me! Judi Wearing , Saskatchewan

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts , Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

Travel

Grab Your Shoes and Fly!

Heather Gardner explores the wide open world of destination races  

Your gels are packed, along with a few other of your race day rituals, powdered electrolytes, lucky socks, and unforgettable race hat. Your running gear and traditions have been tried-and-true, but something’s different—this race’s start line is 3,878km away! It’s no longer just about your run, but rather expanding your race experience and many runners are following suit. By travelling the world and living like a local, destination runners get inside what destination race communities have to offer. You and thousands of other Canadian runners are lacing up to take on the world, crush race goals and travel to bucket list destinations. Destination races are booming and traveling runners—including myself—can tell you why.

After returning from my thirteenth destination race in December in Barbados, I know the allure of destination races. Having travelled alone and in large groups, destination races offer runners the obvious subtleties of travelling alongside the thrill of sharing new experiences, accomplishments and bonding with friends.  My destination races include: being 1 of 30 runners in a Vancouver race with my run group Tribe, being 1 of 8 runners in a Paris race in 2014 for the Marathon De Paris, and 1 of 4 runners in a Disney World race for the inaugural Dopey Challenge. However my most prized destination race was with my sister in New York City in 2010. The New York City race was our first destination race and our first marathon and really the gateway into the past seven years of endurance sports. The race was a goal I had set for us two years prior, to “race our first marathon, to do it in New York, and to cross the finish line holding hands,” and we did it!  

New York City has personal significance to my family. It was my final family trip before the passing of my mum in 2005, and as a runner, it’s one of the world marathon majors known for its epic crowd support and huge participation numbers (51,388 finishers).

I’m not the only one catching the racer’s travel bug. Charlotte Brookes, event director at Canada Running Series shares that, “over 15% of race entries, in adult races, in the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) were from participants coming outside of Canada, with USA, Mexico, and Great Britain leading the way. Out of province racers also made the trip, with the highest number of registrants travelling from Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.” Brookes attributes this to new tour groups and agency packages. For example, groups such as Canadian Affair for U.K. Runners, Your Group from China, and Your Group from Mexico. Combo destination-race tour packages entice runners to go outside of the box. And of course, since it’s 2017, social media has a way of making the world a smaller place. Movements like Bridge The Gap (BTG) are bringing runners together from across the globe. In 2015, STWM was a goal race of the BTG movement resulting in international registration of runners from more than 70 countries at the starting line.

Grace Egan, culture blogger and artist, will be attending her sixth destination race and second BTG event this spring at the Washington Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. Egan defines the BTG movement as “an enormous community of wonderful people who love running, meeting others, and generally not taking life too seriously.” Further explaining that the movement is all about “crew love,” a concept her cynical mind scoffed at until she experienced it herself in 2015 at STWM. “We welcomed hundreds of runners from all over the world,” she says. “People stayed in each other’s homes, ate an absurd amount of pasta, ran 21 or 42 kilometres together, danced, and yes—drank a considerable amount of beer.”

For Egan, destination races are not only an opportunity to connect with the global running community, but are also a way to venture off the beaten city path to new and exciting destinations. Egan says, “Every new place I visit, I try to connect with a running group in the city. It’s especially important to find a safe community if you’re a female solo traveller and the running community is perfect for that. No travel magazine or website can compare to sitting down with people who know their hometown and can tell you where you should go and where to avoid.”

It’s this sense of exploration and global accomplishment that keeps registration from international runners high and city doors open. In 2011, Enigma Research conducted an economic impact study for Canada Running Series that estimated an influx of $33.5 million into Toronto as a result of STWM and the Running Health and Fitness Show.

May Stemshorn, a runner with 50 marathons under her race belt, explains how destination races are a great way to explore the sites of a new city. “Running in a different environment is always a challenge and fun,” the 66-year-old says. “You never know what you’ll learn about yourself and running and it’s a way for you to see a great deal of a new  city.” Stemshorn remembers a time in New Orleans when a group of friends (that were not racing) went on a city tour while she and others from their group participated in the race. “Racing the marathon covered everything that they saw on the tour!” Stemshorn says. “Plus, pounding pavement in new countries brings on unique sights and smells—who can resist the sight of an ocean-side palm tree?” Stemshorn advises new destination race participants that during destination races, “the key is not to race, but rather to enjoy yourself because if you go too quickly you’ll miss so much of everything that is new around you.”

Travelling these days can be more challenging with heightened security at airports and the cost of flights and hotels, but alternatives do exist, such as booking early and through designated race hotels, or going through accommodation alternatives such as peer-to-peer online homestay networks like Airbnb.

In preparation for the 2016 Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon, Airbnb, the title race sponsor, took a closer look at the impact their peer-to-peer network would have on the host city of Brooklyn. In total, they predicted nearly 12,000 guests would be staying with Airbnb hosts over the half-marathon weekend and an increase of approximately US$8 million in economic activity in Brooklyn would occur. This is broken down with US$6 million going directly to the Airbnb hosts and the remaining US$2 million being spent in the community as guests eat and shop in the local area.

Hosts aren’t the only ones benefiting financially, guests in town for the TCS New York City Marathon are saving an average of $200 per night over a race weekend (Friday to Sunday), and are staying for an average of 5.7 nights.

“Running events all over the world are marquee events for cities where Airbnb can add elastic accommodation capacity to cities and provide unique accommodations for runners,” says Aaron Zifkin, Regional Director, Americas Operations at Airbnb. Meanwhile, destination runners are enjoying the impact of their savings and using the extra cash to spend more time travelling and exploring and creating a greater destination race experience.  

As a long-time runner, destination races give me something new and exciting to look forward to. The opportunity to travel for a race makes me feel alive and buzzing, counting down the days where I can dip my toes in new sands, explore foreign roads, see historical landmarks and all while doing one of my favourite things—run. Like myself and many other Canadian runners, Grace Egan shares this passion for a destination race.  She says they allow her to connect to different runners all over the world. “I can travel to Lyon or New York, meet new people, run with them, practise languages, learn about their lives, and go for coffee after,” she says.

Her race experiences go beyond running, they involve exploring and being engulfed in the culture and life of the places she travels to. Destination races help runners—new and old—experience a destination at a level beyond any guide book or double decker bus. It’s this global connectedness, sense of community and adventure that continues to grow the destination race scene and global running community. When recommending destination races to a friend, Egan suggests thinking of the race as “an excuse to discover somewhere new”—an excuse, now more than ever, runners are making today.

February 14th, 2017

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One Response to “Grab Your Shoes and Fly!”
  1. narcisse Dominique Says:

    Run for a cause! Join our Nature Run Series on Earth Day 2017, and bring clean to a community
    In need. #werunforali

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