At the height of the pandemic and increasing racial tensions in the United States, Chris McGarrell found himself in a dark place. With gyms and basketball courts closed, Chris would return from work, curl up on his couch, and immerse himself in the social injustices in the world playing out on social media. It was then that two events would change his life. As restrictions were lifting, Chris noticed one of his friends would cycle to the basketball courts. Around the same time, Chris bumped into another friend who was noticeably fit after he discovered cycling. Chris knew what he had to do.
Chris made a pledge with a friend to purchase a bike to navigate the pandemic and started to share his experience as a cyclist on social media. The former captain of his High School football team pulled together a few friends to form a different kind of team and that’s how ManDem Cycling Club was formed. In this episode, we discuss the commonalities between the running and cycling community and Chris shares the secret to the club’s success or what he calls, the “sauce.” ManDem Cycling Club has been rapidly growing under Chris’ leadership and what started out as a pledge between two friends is now a prospering community with a strong foundation built on respect, community, and altruism.
To learn more about Chris, you can follow him on Instagram at: @116morningside
To learn more about ManDem Cycling Club, you can follow them at: @mandemcc
Jerry Francois always had a sense he could run fast but the schools he attended growing up in Brooklyn didn’t have access to a track nor the funding for a cross country team. By the time Jerry entered High School, he started to get in trouble. In his junior year, Jerry lost his mother and struggled to cope with the loss; realizing he needed something to ground him, he turned to running in his senior year and attended his first track meet at the Armory in Manhattan. Running made Jerry feel normal again.
Fast forward to 2016 when Jerry and a few friends were invited to a track meet. When asked for a team name, Jerry made up a name on the spot, drawing inspiration from his streetwear brand, GoldFinger. The team won their heat and the GoldFinger Track Club was born.
Together with Co-Captains Gemma Kitchen and Thomas Laurado, Jerry shares the journey of GoldFinger Track Club and the work they are doing to bring change to the community. In 2020, GoldFinger Track Club started organizing solidarity runs for the Black Live Matter movement, which included hashtags like Black Miles Matter and the now popular BLK Mile. GoldFinger Track Club’s activism and support of Black owned small businesses is well documented and their approach to introducing running and a sense of community to athletes of all walks of life is truly driving change through the sport.
To learn more about GoldFinger Track Club, you can follow them on Instagram at: @gftcnyc
To learn more about Jerry, you can follow him on Instagram at: @kingparkergold2001
To learn more about Gemma, you can follow her on Instagram at: @gemma.kitchen
To learn more about Thomas, you can follow him on Instagram at: @lllllaurado
In 2014, two friends came together to solve a problem in the sports nutrition market. Matt Smith and Patrick Stark, both passionate about sports and nutrition, recognized the market lacked real natural fuelling options that not only tasted great, but contained real food; that’s when Endurance Tap was born. To start, Matt and Pat didn’t have to look any further than Canada’s number one export, maple syrup, and after months of experimenting with different ingredients, settled on just two more simple ingredients; ginger and sea salt. The combination of these three simple ingredients not only resulted in an all natural source of fuel for endurance athletes, they’re easy to consume, are easy on the stomach, and ensure athletes avoid sugar spikes.
In this episode, we’ll learn more about the genesis of Endurance Tap and all the great work Matt and Pat, together with the Global Endurance Tap Changemakers like Gary Robbins, Kim McMullen, Jacob Puzey, and others are doing to combine their passion for endurance sports with their personal passion for organizations that better the planet and their communities.
To learn more about Endurance Tap, you can follow them on Instagram at: @endurance_tap
There’s no question platforms like Instagram and Facebook have transformed how we create and share content and how brands leverage content in marketing and advertising. In this episode, we chat with Jay Crews, a commercial photographer who works with brands like Lululemon, Saucony Canada, and Bauer Hockey to name a few. We discuss her decision to pursue a career as a photographer and how her active lifestyle led to her becoming one of the most sought after photographers for active brands!
Jay also shares her thoughts on how smartphones have disrupted the commercial photography space and how it impacts how brands approach content creation.
To learn more about Jay, you can follow her on Instagram at: @jaycrewsphotography
“I got to a place where I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m looking at all these people curate their lives on social media and their everyday lives. It started off as a thought. It started off like a blank canvas and that’s what I looked at myself as.” – Latoya Shauntay Snell
Throughout life, Latoya Shauntay Snell had to overcome adversity. Growing up in Brooklyn during the crack epidemic, Latoya watched as her dad struggled with drug addiction. While the experience made life difficult for Latoya and her family, it exposed her to the many facets of human life. Latoya’s dad was also a huge inspiration and exposed her to various creative outlets like arts and music. These forms of expression would become the foundation for Latoya’s calling as an advocate for body positivity and inclusivity as a multi-sport athlete.
Latoya also had to overcome physical adversity; in 2013, Latoya graduated culinary school and, just as she was starting her career, she was diagnosed with disc degeneration and sciatica. The diagnosis kickstarted Latoya’s weight-loss journey and she lost 100-pounds in the first year. While Latoya received positive feedback on her transformation, she was not expecting the negative comments from people who accused her of abusing drugs and being “too skinny” The experience sparked Latoya to advocate for body positivity and exposed the phrase “body politics” where marketing tends to showcase just one dimension of a person’s physical appearance, race, or physical disability. Latoya’s advocacy work would take on a life of its own four years later when she when a spectator heckled her about her weight in the 2017 NYC Marathon. Latoya wrote about the experience in her blog and soon after was invited to be interviewed by Redbook Magazine. Latoya’s online presence exploded when The Root, a well-known African American-oriented online magazine, picked-up her story and invited her to become a contributing writer. Latoya now uses her platform to educate others on body positivity, body politics, and several other causes.
We’re so grateful for the opportunity to chat with Latoya and it’s clear in this episode how captivated we were by her storytelling and positive outlook on life!
To learn more about Latoya, you can follow her on Instagram at: @iamlshauntay
April Cockshutt and Eddie Lee met at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University while April was pursuing a degree in International Business and Marketing and Eddie was pursuing a degree in Kinesiology. When April started to experience digestive issues and wasn’t seeing any improvements in her health following the advice of Western medicine, Eddie introduced her to someone in his family who practiced traditional Chinese medicine; April quickly started to feel better and that’s when she realized her true calling. At first April was working part-time practicing herbal medicine, but Eddie convinced her to pursue her passion and leave the corporate world and Zen and Tonic was born. By combining Eddie’s practice of both western and eastern modalities and April’s practice as a clinical herbalist and Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), the two have found the perfect blend to to guide their clients toward health and provide their clients with the tools and education needed to heal their underlying issues in order to lead a life full of energy, vitality and positivity for year to come.
We are a running podcast, so we also discuss the success both April and Eddie have seen in multiple sports and how their clinic helps runners stay healthy and perform at their best!
To learn more about April, you can follow her on Instagram at: @acockshutt
To learn more about Eddie, you can follow him on Instagram at: @djdijon
To learn more about Zen & Tonic, you can follow them on Instagram at: @zenandtonicwellness
“That’s part of the reason why I do a lot of these hard races is to show well, you know what, you can do anything that you put your heart and your mind to. You can do it. You can achieve it and you don’t have to be held back by a disability.” – Jacky Hunt-Broersma
At 26, Jacky Hunt-Broersma discovered a sensitive spot on her leg which doctors initially thought was scar tissue from a prior surgery; however, when Jacky woke up one morning to discover a lump on her leg, her doctor quickly scheduled a biopsy. Two days later, Jacky received the news she had Ewing Sarcoma and while she was mentally preparing for her battle with cancer, a specialist shared the news she was not prepared for; it was recommended that Jacky have her leg amputated due to the location of the tumor. Jacky credits her stubbornness for what would happen next. Jacky not only had to learn to walk with a prosthetic, she quickly decided she wanted to run and that set her off on a mission to research the different options available to amputee runners. Once Jacky started running, she couldn’t stop and her journey has been truly inspiring. Last April, Jacky ran 100 miles in 23 hours and 38 minutes on a treadmill and became the first amputee to accomplish this incredible feat. When she’s not running incredibly long distances on a treadmill, she’s crushing ultramarathons in the trails and this coming October, Jacky will be attempting the Moab 240; a 240 mile race in Moab, Utah.
When Jacky isn’t running, she’s helping other amputee athletes prove they not only don’t have to be held back by a disability, they can run even further than they have before.
To learn more about Jacky, you can follow her on Instagram at: @ncrunnerjacky
“My relationship with running shifted. It was around the time I started doing ultra racing and trail running when it actually really switched for me. I would run to just work on me and my relationship with my mind and my relationship with my body and find a better way to love myself even more.” – Filsan Abdiaman
Filsan Abdiaman’s love for running came at a time of self discovery. In 2014, Filsan traveled from Canada to her hometown in Kenya following a breakup and, in the process, discovered she was struggling with depression, eating disorders, and anxiety attacks. Upon returning to Canada to get her life on track, Filsan started to focus on her health and mental wellness. Initially she was introduced to running as a way to lose weight and escape her mental health issues, but Filsan quickly realized the true transformative power of running. After much recovery and healing, as well as seeking help from professionals, Filsan discovered new skills and tools to cope with her mental health and her relationship with running shifted to time spent focusing on self love.
In 2016, Filsan started Project Love Run; a safe space where self-identifying womxn could meet others, move their body in an inclusive environment, and talk about matters of the heart. With chapters in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal, Project Love Run has grown into a community that advocates for and advances mental and physical health for all womxn.
Filsan, André and Jonathan met when we first started discovering run crews in Toronto and it was truly wonderful reconnecting with this incredibly inspiring athlete and advocate for mental health.
To learn more about Filsan, you can follow her on Instagram at: @runnersinstinct
To learn more about Project Love Run, you can follow them at: @projectloverun
April and Melanie Boultbee are twin, Indigenous runners who have been blazing a trail in the running community for more than 25 years. Early on, April and Melanie had great success running cross country in school and continued to have success later in life, even after taking a break in High School to party. After dominating the roads, both April and Melanie transitioned to trail running where they continued to have success. In 2016, April finished first overall in That Dam Hill 24 hour race by running 204.25km in the alloted time.
When April and Melanie are not racing, they’re both very active in the running community. They’re ambassadors for Fast and Female, Endurance Tap, and INKnBURN and they raise awareness for women’s health, mental health, and the indigenous running community. In June, April and Melanie teamed up with Native Women Running to set a goal to run 215 miles in the month to honor the 215 Indigenous children who were discovered buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, BC.
We’re grateful to April and Melanie for speaking with us about this difficult subject and we hope you feel as inspired as we do after listening to this episode.
To learn more about April, you can follow her on Instagram at: @aprilboultbee
To learn more about Melanie, you can follow her on Instagram at: @melboultbee
To learn more about ON Canada Project, you can follow them on Instagram at: @oncanadaproject
“The fun part about running is every experience, every race, every training run is an opportunity to learn something. Put that into your back pocket and try to tease out what works best for you. It’s kind of this endless curiosity of how do we just fine tune just a little bit more.” – Lindsay Scott
After University, Lindsay Scott moved to Nepal, where she would spend the next eight months teaching life skills through sport play, leadership, and goal setting. The trip was also an opportunity for Lindsay to connect with the sport of running while discovering the community at the same time. The experience of running on her own terms gave Lindsay the luxury to fall in love with the sport without the pressure of competing.
When Lindsay moved back to Toronto to pursue her Master of Science Degree in Physical Therapy, running became a means to commute from home to school. Eventually Lindsay would connect with the Toronto running community as a Lululemon ambassador where she would introduce people to the joy of running. In 2016, Lindsay started working at the Runner’s Academy, a health and wellness clinic dedicated to helping anyone who enjoys, or wants to enjoy, running. As a Registered Physiotherapist, Lindsay strives to get to the root of runners’ issues and aims to get them back in action, stronger than ever; she also enjoys helping clients achieve their personal goals through a balance of education, manual therapy, personalized exercise prescription, acupuncture, health promotion, and injury prevention.
Lindsay is not only a student of the sport, she’s helping others recognize their true potential by teaching them how to be better runners and it’s not just runners she is coaching and mentoring; she also runs mastermind and mentorship programs to bring together a collective of like-minded clinicians and coaches who want to excel in supporting runners!
To learn more about Lindsay, you can follow her on Instagram at: @lindsayscottphysio
To learn more about the The Runner’s Academy, you can follow them on Instagram at: @therunnersacademy