The literal translation of the words libre and aire from Spanish to English are free and air; however, together they form aire libre or outdoors. For Mauricio Díaz, running started as a journey to push himself further and faster, but he soon discovered the trails and running became a medium of spirituality, healing, and connection to the outdoors. In University, Mauricio participated in an international program where he spent a year in Germany, the United States, and Southeast Asia. The experience changed Mauricio and upon his return home to Mexico City, he started rediscovering his hometown through running.
Their answer was, ‘yes you can do this because we see this as a sacrifice that you guys are going to take on and that’s going to bring good to our land and our people’Mauricio Díaz
When Mauricio’s friend Manuel invited him to run with him from the city to the coast of Mexico, the two friends discovered an opportunity to change the route and instead run through the Mexican State of Sonora; home to the Seri people. The 90-kilometre trip sparked the idea for Aire Libre Running. Together with their friend, Daniel, Mauricio and Manuel curate travel experiences for runners and hikers of all levels for the purpose of immersing them in the culture where they combine running and storytelling for a truly transformative experience.
To learn more about Aire Libre Running, you can follow them on Instagram at: @airelibre.run
This week we’re joined by Sté Hetherington, who discovered he was an outstanding runner while playing rep soccer in his teens and joined the Etobicoke Track and Field Club in Grade 9, running middle distance. Sté continued running through High School, earning a scholarship to Columbia University in New York City.
It’s not super fun, going to practice, hammering out repeats, doing long runs. It’s fulfilling, we all know that and when you’re younger you get attracted to it because not a lot of people have those abilitiesSté Hetherington
After graduating University, Sté participated in the Brooks Marathon Project and then moved to Southern Alabama to pursue a passion in coaching at Troy University, an NCAA Division I school. Sté coached the men’s and women’s sprint teams for several years before applying to become a head coach somewhere at another university. Sté thought he found his dream job, but after a series of unfortunate events, the job fell through and Sté found himself back in Toronto.
Just a few months later, one of Sté’s training friends from Alabama reached out to let him know he would be in Toronto four weeks later to participate in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Sté’s friend not only convinced him to participate in the race, he convinced him to pursue a Guiness World Record wearing a costume, the first time these records were introduced.
Sté shares his experience chasing not one, but two Guinness World Records and his approach to maintaining a successful coaching business. Sté’s journey was adventurous to say the least and we’re glad he shared it with us!
To learn more about Sté, you can follow him on Instagram at: @coachstedotcom
In 2014, Chuck Ortiz wanted to highlight the mental and physical stress many chefs and other industry folks experience due to long hours, intense conditions, and demanding customers. Initially he considered sharing his thoughts in an article in Acquired Taste magazine where he is the editor-in-chief, but Chuck decided to approach it from another angle. Chuck pitched Nike his idea to bring together a few chefs for the purpose of encouraging physical activity in a stress-free environment. Chuck considered organizing these activities around basketball games, then quickly switched to running because the sport was more easily accessible and didn’t require specific skills.
We’re giving all these chefs a space to run and it’s a huge ask for someone who’s never run before. It’s a huge ask for someone who isn’t in that lifestyle, so early on we realized we need to give them creativity or a space to have creativityChuck Ortiz
Today, Food Runners is so much more than a run crew. They’re a support system for chefs and other industry folks as well as a community to share ideas ranging from recipes to race fuelling. Their impact can be seen in the events they organize and the programs designed to give back to the community. Several years ago, the crew started Project Refuel to explore the connection between running and recovery and who better to experiment with all the possibilities than the Food Runners?!
To learn more about Food Runners, you can follow them on Instagram at: @thefoodrunners_
March is Women’s History Month and on this episode of The Sprint, we’re celebrating the incredible women in running. To help us, we’re joined by Kirsten Parker, Host of the Women Run Canada podcast. Women Run Canada celebrates Canadian Women runners from all walks of life and the community they create within this fantastic sport. Kirsten has interviewed Olympians, Running Legends, Community Builders and more on her podcast and we ask her what she learned from speaking to her inspiring guests and what some of her favourite moments were.
Kirsten also shares her own journey as a runner as well as her thoughts on Women’s History Month.
To learn more about Women Run Canada, you can follow them on Instagram at: @womenruncanada
Kat’s running journey started when she went through a challenging time ten years ago. At a time when Kat found herself competing for auditions as an on-air personality, running was her escape. Kat would eventually start her career with Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), joining the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak. After five seasons, Kat became the in-game and digital host of the Toronto Raptors.
Opportunities, some of them, are once in a lifetime. I don’t believe in regret. I believe in taking yourself out of your body and then, watching from the outside, what should I do? That’s often how I tackle situationsKat Stefankiewicz
The experience gave Kat a unique opportunity to run in different cities and we asked her which cities were her favorite to run through! Kat also shares her experience as an Adidas Women Ambassador with Adidas Canada and her passion for working with various charities.
We recorded this episode on International Women’s Day and, as a bonus, Kat opens up about her feelings about the day and what it means to her.
To learn more about Kat, you can follow her on Instagram at: @matterofkat
Connor Emeny learned about the importance of encouraging and motivating others while playing ball hockey with his older brothers. In University, Connor and two friends tried out for the triathlon club to meet new people and it was that experience that prepared him for his biggest challenge. In 2016, Connor set a goal to complete his first Ironman after a teammate at university competed at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Four years later, Connor achieved his goal when he became an Ironman in New Zealand; however, Connor wanted more. Connor is aiming to be the youngest person to complete an Ironman on 6 continents.
Focus on building your life resume and not your paper resume. Go after things that scare you, that are so big and audacious, that you put them on your piece of paper and you keep going back to them. Those are the things that are worth pursuingConnor Emeny
When Connor was informed the Taiwan Ironman would be postponed due to the pandemic, he decided to put his training to good use by completing the 4 x 4 x 48 challenge over New Years Eve in the Rocky Mountains; the challenge, made famous by American ultrarunner David Goggins, requires participants to run four miles every four hours for 48 hours and tests runners both physically and mentally.
For Connor’s next project, he decided to challenge his fellow Canadians with the introduction of Project 24. What started as a small idea for a few runners to run as far as they can in 24 hours, resulted in over $1,000 raised for charity and over 1,500 kilometres!
Connor experiences are a great example of living an intentional life!
To learn more about Connor, you can follow him on Instagram at: @connor.emeny
In this episode, we’re honoured to chat with one of Canada’s fastest marathon runners and two-time Olympic Athlete, Reid Coolsaet. Reid’s accomplishments and dominance at many of the popular races in the GTA and on the world stage is well documented and what many might not realize is he was just as impressive at trail and road racing as he is riding a skateboard; recording a time of 3:49 in a skateboard mile.
We discuss Reid’s experience at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games in both London and Rio respectively, his approach to training, why it’s important to respect those easy days on your training calendar, and his thoughts on sharing workouts on Strava.
Coaching’s fun and it’s definitely a passion of mine and I’m looking forward to helping as many athletes as I canReid Coolsaet
When racing came to a screeching halt in 2020, Reid focused on expanding his coaching services. Reid splits his time between Coolsaet Go, his personal coaching service and Bayfront Endurance, a free weekly interval session he runs with fellow Olympians Anthony Romaniw and Krista DuChene.
To learn more about Reid, you can follow him on Instagram at: @reidcoolsaet
To learn more about Coolset Go, you can follow them on Instagram at: @coolseatgo
To learn more about Bayfront Endurance, you can follow them on Instagram at: @bayfrontendurance
In this episode, we chat with Amanda Richardson and Kim Munro Roberts, two of the four founders of Chix Run The 6ix. We discuss their personal running journeys and what inspired them to start a run club with both an awesome name and purpose. Chix Run the 6ix got its start when Amanda suggested to a few friends who enjoyed working out together at the park to go for a run. Eventually one run turned into several and when everyone realized how much fun they were having, they decided to share their experience with other women in the running community.
Our mission was really to give women of any age this approachable, social, supportive and non-competitive community that builds on their confidence and creates a belonging for anyone who wants to be a part of itKim Munro Roberts
Fast forward just a few months and Chix Run the 6ix has created a vibrant community for women to build confidence and feel a sense of belonging. These extraordinary women aren’t just creating a space for women in the running community, they’re also giving back through their charity work in support of menstrual health of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and anyone experiencing a barrier to safe menstrual products.
To learn more about Amanda, you can follow her on Instagram at: @plantbasedmotherrunner
To learn more about Kim, you can follow her on Instagram at: @kim_runs_toronto
To learn more about Chix Run The 6ix, you can follow them on Instagram at: @chixrunthe6ix
In this episode of The Sprint past guests Olivia Levy and Melissa Doldron celebrate Black History Month by recapping interviews of past guests and discussing some of the great work happening in the running community to elevate the profile of Black Runners.
Below you can find some of the links to topics discussed by your hosts:
Shortly after Fatma Ramadan relocated to Toronto to attend University, she experienced a heartbreaking event which resulted in her focusing on her health and wellbeing. Initially she started power walking, but over time she got comfortable with running on a treadmill. Fatma would do most of her running on the treadmill because as a Hijabi woman, she felt ashamed to run through the streets of Toronto in her scarf.
I saw the number of minority women that would show up, specifically Muslim women, and how much of a difference it made and how excited they were and I thought maybe it’s not really a temporary thing.Fatma Ramadan
Eventually Fatma would muster the courage to start running outdoors and that’s when she discovered the Nike Run Club. While she was nervous about running in a group, Fatma quickly realized just how welcoming and supportive the running community is. Fatma would finish her first marathon with the support of the club, but when the Nike Run Club closed its doors, Fatma wanted to recreate the sense of community she experienced and, in 2019, A Women’s Run was born.
In this episode, Fatma shares how her short term project turned into a movement for women in sport; specifically women of color and other Hijabi runners and how the running community stepped up to bring her vision to life.
To learn more about A Women’s Run, you can follow them on Instagram at: @awomensrun