From her early days working at a record label, writing for magazines, and touring with bands, music had a strong influence on Mel’s identity. Prior to the introduction of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, Mel used to shoot live photography for concerts and shared the content on newspapers and magazines.
I think we can all influence people and I think we can all hopefully share things. Even if that’s one person who reads an article that I write or something that I share that says ‘Hey Mel, that made me think about something differently’ or ‘Oh cool, I never heard of this athlete, or this mom, or this business,’ that’s awesome and I think we all have the power to do that.Mel Offner
While working at a TV network, Mel was looking for something to cope with her anxiety and turned to running. Mel would eventually get introduced to the running community through a friend who invited her to a Nike Run Club event and the experience inspired her to share her running and fitness journey on social media and create content for Canadian Running Magazine, Global News TV, and other outlets across Canada and the US. Mel would eventually move to Vancouver, start the Run Distrikt run club, and welcome her daughter Buffy into the world; inspiring Mel to keep creating content about her running journey, her passion for music, and motherhood.
You have doubts in your head and there’s times when you’re by yourself thinking how is this even possible and then you come through and you think actually when I believed in myself and when I trusted myself these things do happen”Marcus Brown
Marcus Brown’s journey to break the 3-hour marathon mark is an accomplishment in itself considering he started his journey North of 4 hours; however, Marcus is so much more than the time on a clock. In this episode, we discuss Marcus’ running journey which includes becoming a World Marathon Major 6-Star finisher and the work he’s doing to raise awareness to social injustice by leveraging his social media presence to affect real change. The power of belief, hard work, and representation is a common theme throughout the episode.
To learn more about Marcus, you can follow him on Instagram at: @themarathonmarcus
We’re back! For our first episode of Season Two, we’re introducing a format called, “The Sprint.” The Sprint is a short distance episode (see what we did there?) where we cover various topics throughout Season Two. Don’t worry, we’ll still bring you the marathon full length interviews with inspiring runners as well!
For our first sprint, the hosts become the guests and past guest, Olivia Levy will be asking the tough questions. We’ll share our experience starting a podcast and our future plans. We’ll also answer questions from previous guests!
Feels good to be back!
André and Jonathan
As we close out our first season of the podcast, it’s only fitting we invite someone who, together with a few friends, was responsible for putting the Toronto running community on the map and kicking off the groundswell of running crews who make our running community one of the best in the world.
Mike Krupica is the co-founder of Parkdale Roadrunners and if you’re a runner in Toronto who has been following the run scene, you’ll know it was just ten years ago when the explosion of Toronto run crews took place. Longboat Runners were already on the scene since 1980 and you can even go back further than to 1954 when the Toronto Olympic Club got its start, but the likes of Parkdale Runners, Night Terrors, and Tribe (now Kardia Athletica) helped pave the way and inspired those who would follow afterwards.
Before we even knew what the crew thing was, it always came from this code and this ethic and this respect for community.Mike Krupica
Mike takes us back to the start, when a few friends would meet at The Mascot, a cafe located in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto. We’ll also discuss Parkdale Roadrunners’ purpose and how they managed to stick around for ten years. Mike pays homage to some of the great run crews in NYC and London and finally, discusses how the crew made the most of their ten year anniversary, with support from some really cool brands, despite the global pandemic.
To learn more about Mike, you can follow him on Instagram at: @mike_krupica
To learn more about Parkdale Roadrunners, you can follow them on Instagram at: @parkdaleroadrunners
In this episode we chat with Pedro Malvar about his impact on the Toronto Running Community. We look back at Pedro’s introduction to athletics as a competitive curler and soccer player. When his curling team started to see some success, competing at the highest levels through High School and University. After graduating University, Pedro set his sights on the Toronto running scene.
Pedro’s first introduction to the run crew culture occurred when he started running with Bond Running, a now retired run crew. Pedro eventually channeled his competitive spirit and joined Unleashed Running, a run crew led by Coach Devon Liversidge that helps runners see their true potential and run their best race.
When we move, we kind of unlock these parts of ourselves that we know help us and make us better people and I think Running is a movement style that allows us to access it very easily and very freely.Pedro Malvar
Community has always been Pedro’s greatest passion, whether he was leading runs for Lululemon or leading the community for Myodetox, a full-body treatment that improves the way people move and helps them live pain-free. There’s no question Pedro’s impact on the community is seen and felt and considering the current events impacting the world, it’s great to know people like Pedro are continuing their mission to build and cultivate the Toronto running community.
To learn more about Pedro, you can follow him on Instagram at: @peddywap
Ten years ago, Lisa Sweetman had an MRI following a year of ill health and no clear answers to explain why. It was then that doctors identified a tumor in Lisa’s pituitary gland. On December 6th, 2010 Lisa underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor in what Lisa describes as a difficult, eventful surgery. Lisa would then spend the next ten days in the hospital recovering.
When I realized I couldn’t have a party, I wanted to find another way to celebrate and mark this momentous occasion and being the runner that I am and being the big dreamer that I am, I quickly cooked up I could do 100K.Lisa Sweetman
Lisa considers her life after surgery as a bonus life and has lived the past ten years as if she was reborn. Lisa ran her first marathon in 2016, saying she would never run the distance again and shortly after traded her road shoes for trail shoes. In 2017, Lisa attended the screening of “Where Dreams Go to Die,” a film documenting Gary Robbin’s multiple attempts to complete the Barkley Marathons. It was then that Lisa decided she would attempt her first ultramarathon and what better race to do it than the Squamish 50, where Gary Robbins himself is the race director.
We’ll discuss Lisa’s decision to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of her surgery by running 100 kilometers through the streets of Toronto! We’ll also discuss logistics and what the experience meant to her. We hope you find Lisa’s story as incredibly inspiring as we do!
To learn more about Lisa, you can follow her on Instagram at: @thislisasweetman
Growing up in Germany, John Harrison Pockler’s introduction to running occurred at the age of 18 when his dad received an entry to the Berlin Marathon. John would end up participating in the race, finishing 13th in his age group! The experience made John realize how much he enjoyed running and running long and far was what gave him the greatest satisfaction. John would eventually make the switch from road to trail running where he competed as an ultramarathoner. His running resume includes the Ultra-Trail Cape Town 125 km and placing 1st at the Schinder-Trail Grauer Kopf 125 km.
5 years ago, John moved to Canada for work and set his sights on several great Canadian races including the Canadian Death Race 125 km in Alberta and the North Face Endurance Challenge – Ontario – 50K and Niagara Ultra 50 km in Ontario.
John set his sights on a big goal for 2020 and with races being canceled, he decided he wanted to create his own race. John heard about the Bruce Trail from friends in the trail running community, so after consulting Christian Flugel, a friend from Germany, the decision was made to attempt the Fastest Known Time running the 890-km Bruce Trail from end to end.
I knew i could do 125k. did, I know i could do 900k, definitely not, but guess what, I tried and it worked out. so knowing that and knowing what that feels like now, well where is the limit? How far can you go?John Harrison Pockler
We’ll discuss everything from start to finish, including the approach he took to select a crew to support him, some of the challenges he faced, and why he chose to fundraise for The Bruce Trail Conservancy! We hope you’re as inspired as we were chatting with John!
To learn more about John, you can follow his on Instagram at: @jpultra
To learn more about John’s extraordinary accomplishment and support The Bruce Trail Conservancy, you can visit: http://brucetrailultra.com/
It’s hard to imagine just 10 years ago the Toronto Running Community barely existed except for the 1 or 2 run crews just appearing on the scene. At the time, Heather Gardner moved from Hamilton to Toronto and would occasionally run past the Lululemon Store on Queen Street, stopping from time to time to chat about running. Eventually, Heather was asked to become an ambassador and help build-up the community by leading group runs. Three years later, Heather’s time with Lululemon ended, but thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit, Tribe Fitness was born. Initially, Heather and the team offered over 500 free community fitness events, but she soon realized they needed a space where the community can come together, so Heather, and her husband Mark, opened a fitness studio on Lower Spadina Avenue. The studio offered yoga, spinning, and running groups (making Heather the first female leader of a Toronto run crew!).
Sure races are cancelled, but community isn’t canceled and coming together and being together is bigger than this.Heather Gardner
In this episode Heather will share what the Toronto Running Community means to her as one of the founding leaders; she’ll also discuss the decision to rebrand the studio earlier this Summer in response to the global awakening connected to Black Lives Matters.
While the global pandemic may be a challenging time for fitness, Heather and Mark are finding new ways to invite the Toronto community to stay active while staying safe by sweating local.
To learn more about Heather, you can follow her on Instagram at: @catchingheather
To learn more about Kardia, you can follow him on Instagram at: @kardiaathletica
Galan Yousuf’s first exposure to running came at an early age when his Elementary School basketball coach made the team run laps. In High School, Galan was invited to join the XC team and his coach would end up mentoring him; by grade 12, Galan realized he had what it took to compete.
Galan went on to attend the University of Toronto and, because he wasn’t recruited to join the XC and Track team, he was required to attend an open tryout. When he missed the required time, he was dejected, but not to be deterred. Galan joined Longboat Runners and the experience built confidence and strength as a runner. When he attempted the University of Toronto tryouts again, he made the team; it was a dream come true.
Sometimes I get a note from a parent or sometimes the kids will tell me themselves, ‘hey, i didn’t think I could do this before, but i went out and i did this. I feel great and that was amazing’ and when I hear that it just warms my soul and that’s why I do thisGalan Yousuf
While at the University of Toronto, Galan’s friend asked if he would help coach grade 6 and 7 kids attending the University of Toronto Track & Field Junior Development Academy. The experience enriched Galan and he would eventually become a named coach for both the Middle Distance & Cross Country and High Performance Middle Distance programs.
In this episode, we’ll also cover Galan’s road race experience and his latest venture, String Track Club! STC is a way for Galan to give back to the community by providing athletes access to an affordable track club; Galan also created String it Back, a community outreach program where runners can attend free track sessions in exchange for new socks to be donated.
To learn more about Galan, you can follow him on Instagram at: @strringer
To learn more about String Track Club, you can follow them on Instagram at: @stringtrackclub
This week the host becomes the guest as we discuss Jonathan’s recent experience becoming an ultramarathoner when he ran the Happy Trails Racing The Beav 50K course in the Hilton Falls Conservation Area. When the race was canceled due to the global pandemic, Jonathan was determined to cover the distance, even if it meant doing it unsupported (or self-supported). We’ll cover everything from the decision to attempt the distance to the feeling of finishing and everything in between! Every race is an adventure for Jonathan and running 50-kilometers through technical trails was no exception!
The guy is doing so good I dont want to harp on him and tell him ‘dont go too fast, dont go too fast’, cause what if it’s not too fast for him what if this is his day, the stars are aligning, and he’s having a great day.Jenn Coleman
We wouldn’t want Jonathan to do all the talking, so we invited Jenn Coleman to the podcast to keep him honest and share her experience that day. Jenn is no stranger to trail racing, having recently completed her first 100-miler, so if you’re new to trail running or wonder how trail runners fuel for an ultramarathon, we’ll cover it all in this episode.
To learn more about Jenn Coleman, you can follow her on Instagram at: @colemania
To learn more about Happy Trails Racing, you can follow them on Instagram at: @happytrailsracing