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16. Chad Holt: Saucony Associate Product Line Manager

If you’re a fan of Saucony shoes or simply like to stay informed on what’s happening in the industry, you’ll know the global running brand released their first carbon plated shoe, the Endorphin Pro, this Summer to rave reviews. Shortly after, they released the Endorphin Speed, and followed that up with the Endorphin Shift. Instead of your hosts trying to explain the difference between the three shoes, we’ve invited Saucony’s Associate Product Line Manager, Chad Holt on the podcast to help us out! Chad shares the typical product life cycle of a running shoe and as well as the thought process for launching a series of shoes for the purpose of covering all aspects of training (easy, tempo, and racing). Chad also covers the process of testing shoes and gathering feedback (both good and bad) to influence future models.

We want to be distinctly saucony. It’s something we talk about at our brand a lot and what that means is to stand out and to represent the run for good aspect but also to have this sort of look and feel that is specific to our brand

Chad Holt

We’ll also cover Saucony’s Run For Good campaign to spread goodness through the transformative power of running; a topic near and dear to our hearts!

To learn more about Chad, you can follow him on Instagram at: @saucony.cholt
To learn more about Saucony, you can follow them on Instagram at: @Saucony and @SauconyCanada


15. We Run North York

The We Run North York run crew may be relatively new to the Toronto community, having recently celebrated their one year anniversary, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of new runners joining their ranks and their presence on social media!

Joyce Law and Lisa Sun met when they both ran with another crew in 2017. When the leader of the run crew decided to move on, Joyce and another runner, Matthew Ma rebranded the crew as We Run North York.

I love also seeing new runners come out and how they just discover the joy of running with other people

Joyce Law

In this episode, we discuss why the crew decided to plan destination brunch runs early on and why they continued the tradition a year later. The crew now has four executive team members, Joyce, Lisa, Matthew and Chris Womg. Joyce and Lisa will also discuss how they attract new runners, give back to the Toronto running community, and keep runners safe during a pandemic.

If you’re a fan of madeleine pastries, you don’t want to miss this episode!

To learn more about We Run North York, you can follow them on Instagram at: @werunnorthyork

To learn more about Joyce Law, you can follow het on Instagram at: @joysofrunning
To learn more about Lisa Sun, you can follow het on Instagram at: @belovedrunner

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14. Rejean Chiasson

Growing up in a small fishing village in New Brunswick, Rejean’s first real exposure to running came when he joined the army, shortly after graduating high school. As a member of the infantry unit, Rejean ran several days a week and recalls being surprised by how easy it felt.

In 2004, nine days before he was to be deployed to Haiti, Rejean was attacked by a group of men and, as a result, wasn’t able to deploy due to his injuries. Rejean was invited to join a run club started by some of the soldiers at his home base and after noticing how well he ran, convinced him to take it more seriously.

There’s no reason why some who’s committed, healthy, who does what he needs to do, can’t run way faster than that

Rejean Chiasson

In this episode, we’ll discuss how these events and Rejean’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse paved the way to a short, but successful running career. Rejean will also share how several of his coaches and mentors motivated and inspired him to start his own run club, Pace & Mind.

Today, Pace & Mind has become a pillar in the Toronto running community and many of it’s athletes have experienced tremendous results in distances from the 5K to Marathon. 

To learn more about Rejean, you can follow him on Instagram at: @coachrejean
To learn more about Pace & Mind, you can follow them on Instagram at: @paceandmind

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13. Phil Suzor-Morin

This week we chat with Phil Suzor-Morin. Back in 2003, Phil signed up for a half marathon and trained exclusively on a treadmill. After finishing the race, Phil felt unfulfilled and gave up on running; he would ultimately return to running years later, participating in 1-2 half marathon races a year. On Christmas Day 2015, Phil was watching a documentary on the Kona Triathlon World Championships and was inspired by the stories of athletes who overcame obstacles to compete; shortly after, Phil registered for the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

For me it was never about losing weight. It was about pushing myself. It was about doing this extremely ambitious goal of mine and losing weight was just something that had come with my that has to come with it.

Phil Suzor-Morin

While Phil lost 50 lbs in the process of training for his first marathon, weight loss was not the primary reason he committed to the process; instead, Phil wanted to see how far he could push himself.

This brings us to one of his major accomplishments, his still active runstreak that hit the 365 day mark this past May! Phil got the idea after suffering an injury which set him back 3-4 months. Initially, Phil set a goal of running 7 days in a row. Phil then took advantage of run commuting home from work and eventually he was hooked.

Phil put “push himself” to the ultimate test when he decided to run both an 80 kilometre and 100 kilometer run through Toronto and parts of the GTA respectively. Without the ability to register for a race to cover these distances, Phil had to work out the logistics on his own. We’ll walk through the thought process, logistics, and challenges covering these distances.

Phil has no plans on stopping and hopes to add a 100-miler to his running resume whether there’s an official race or not!

To learn more about Phil, you can follow him on Instagram at: @flywithphil

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12. Jamal Burger: Founder of Kickback Connect

This week we speak with Jamal Burger, Founder of Kickback Connect. We discuss Jamal’s vision for uplifting youth and how his love for sneakers turned into a youth-led organization whose impact is felt around the globe. Unlike traditional programs, the Kickback aims to empower underserved youth dreams to change their world.

Are you actually really making a change if you just jump into a system that’s been running the same way for 30 years?

Jamal Burger

Jamal’s passion for connecting people is not only visible in the name of his organization, it comes through in his messaging throughout the interview. We’ll also discuss how Jamal applied the same thinking to start Tier Zero, a toronto-based production company, with a group of friends who share the common passion of producing work at a premium.

There’s no question Jamal is a connector, but what also comes through in our conversation is his passion for empowering others to become leaders in the community; whether they’re youth in one of his many programs or business partners and friends.

To learn more about Jamal, you can follow him on Instagram at: @jayscale

To learn more about The Kickback, you can follow them on Instagram at: @kickbackconnect

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11. Sasha Gollish

This week we chat with Sasha Gollish, one of Canada’s most decorated competitive runners. Sasha opens up about the impact her parents had on her childhood and ultimately her decision to quit her job to pursue a career as a professional runner.

At an early age, Sasha grew up on a healthy diet of sports, which included field hockey, cross country running, nordic skiing, downhill skiing, swimming, water polo, and track and field. By the time she entered the University of Toronto, Sasha fell out of love with running and ultimately applied to the University of Western to pursue a degree in Engineering. Thankfully, Sasha would return to the sport and hasn’t looked back!

I was surrounded by this incredibly talented group of women, but more importantly, I was surrounded by women that made me feel like I belong

Sasha Gollish

We’ll also cover Sasha’s incredible running resume, which includes her dominating performance at the 2015 CIS Championships, her views on women in sports, and the truly inspiring work she’s doing in the community to uplift women.

As an added bonus, we’ll also hear from Harper, Sasha’s adorable rescue pup!

To learn more about Sasha, you can follow her on Instagram at: @sgollishruns

To learn more about Fast and Female, you can follow them on Instagram at @fastisfemale

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10. Chris “Hawaii” DeKoning

In our 10th episode, we chat with Toronto’s running ambassador, Chris DeKoning about skateboarding, cats, and the hilarious (we think so!) story behind the nickname, “Hawaii.”

We were joking that year, we were like, why don’t we do the half Sunday and make it 101km. The next year half of us went back to do it, but then in the morning, everyone was like, ‘no, I’m good. I don’t want to do it.

Chris “Hawaii” DeKoning

We also discuss Chris’ progression as a runner as well as his experience as the assistant director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Broadcast. Chris also shares his thoughts on the Toronto running community, the future of racing, and his experience trying to keep up with kids on a track.

To learn more about Chris, you can follow him on Instagram at: @misterhawaii

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9. Richard Kuchinsky

In this week’s episode, Richard Kuchinsky from the Directive Collective tells us how designing running shoes for 10 years led to him becoming a runner and ultimately one of the most sought after race experience designers in the Toronto running community.

My job as either the creative consultant or strategic consultant is to make that race the best of what that race’s potential can be.

Richard Kuchinsky

Richard’s designs can be found on the shirts of many races in the GTA, but perhaps one of his proudest design moments came last year when he was named the Creative Director for the Pride Run in Toronto. In his capacity, Richard designed everything from the shirts to medals and everything in between! Richard shares his design process, his experience working with different race directors, and his approach to collaborating with various brands; specifically the work he’s doing with RunToBeer.

Richard’s designs aren’t the only thing getting attention in the running community; his progression from casual runner to sub-3 marathoner is equally inspiring!

To learn more about this Richard, you can follow him on Instagram at: @rkuchinsky

To learn more about Directive Collective, you can follow them on Instagram at: @directivecollective

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8. Forbidden 5

This week we’re speaking with the organizers of the Forbidden 5 race and we get them to spill the beans on everything we wanted to know about their popular race, except their names!

It’s a race, so you get this really good race mentality, but you get to go out without the pressure of a race day.

Forbidden 2

When the global pandemic forced race directors to postpone or cancel races, two friends in the GTA running community came together to give runners a reason to keep training; while the name of the race may give the impression runners were participating in the some sort of illegal activity, the race encourages runners to “come together while staying apart” to hit their fastest times.

We’ll discuss how the race organizers selected the distances, the courses, and how they track the runners to identify the male and female winners!

To learn more about this race, you can follow them on Instagram at: @forbiddenfive

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7. Quinton Jacobs

If you search for the word “community” in the dictionary, you’ll likely find a picture of Quinton Jacobs and his captivating smile. Q, as his friends call him, is a community builder, a connector, and advocate for promoting the health and wellness of children in the Greater Toronto Area.

As bad as you have it, there’s always someone who has it worse, and sometimes you Just need to step back and have that perspective.

Quinton Jacobs

In this episode, Q opens up about his life growing up in subsidized housing and later on becoming a father with three kids. We’ll then discuss how a difficult time in his life changed his perspective and ignited a passion to help others. Q also shares his approach to working with charities and brands and the time he convinced a bunch of runners to run from Toronto to NYC!

Q’s impact on the running community can be seen in the many programs he started or supports, but it’s even more evident in the faces of the children he coaches to run.

It was a real privilege speaking with Q and we couldn’t help feeling inspired throughout the episode!

To learn more about Q, you can follow him on Instagram at: @quinton_jacobs

To learn more about Start2Finish, you can follow them on Instagram at: @s2fonline

To learn more about Lead Up Crew, you can follow them on Instagram at: @leadupcrew

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