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Because hunger doesn't wait for policy change.





Why I’m Running My First Marathon

I finally made the decision to run the full Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) this October. I’ve enjoyed running for years now, with little intention of going the full marathon distance. In fact, a few years ago I would have said that’s crazy if you asked me. But recently a bunch of things seemed to be pointing me in the direction of making the leap to the marathon.

For one thing, I’ve run four half marathons, including three Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon halfs, and most recently the 30k 2013 Around the Bay (ATB) road race in Hamilton. I’m getting pretty close to the full distance now, so why not go all the way?

I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been ever been in. Marathons are one of those bucket list life events. If I’m ever going to do it, now is the time (while I still can). You never know when an injury or some unexpected life event might pop up. Best to take advantage of my fitness now!

But mostly, I’m doing it for Boston.

Marathons embody the best in people. Just being near the atmosphere of a race makes you want to be part of it. I love the energy and anticipation of the start line; how spectators cheer, not just for their loved ones, but every runner; the encouragement other runners give you when you are struggling through late race kilometres.

This last one really hit home to me at the ATB race in March. I’ve read a lot about “hitting the wall.” Until ATB, I’d never experienced it (turns out it’s not just about being really, really tired).

By about kilometre 25 I began feeling pain in both my quads and calves. I ran (and walked) on, determined to finish, adjusting my stride and running on the outside of my feet just to prevent muscles giving out on me. In the final stretch, winding beside Copps Coliseum, my right calf finally seized up completely. Less than 200 metres from the finish.

I was agonizingly close, but I couldn’t put any weight on it my leg, and the pain was intense. I leaned on the crowd barrier, trying to stretch it out and get it to unclench. Spectators and runners who had already finished yelled encouragement and pounded on my shoulders, yelling “the finish line is right there! Stretch that thing out. Get going!”

Finally, I managed to loosen it just enough to move again. I still couldn’t put weight on it, but I was able to limp that final 200 metres around the back of Copps, down the short hill to the back entrance and finally across one of the coolest finish lines in racing. That added bit of encouragement from the crowd really helped.

That’s what running is about. Community, spirit, cooperation, and strength. It wasn’t just the city of Boston that was attacked April 25. It was the entire community of runners and the human spirit the marathon itself is all about.

Running the STWM is, in my small way, a way of showing solidarity with the community of runners and all those who were directly impacted by the Boston bombings. And to show my defiance to the bombers; that their actions will never stop us from pushing the bounds of what we are all capable of as individuals and together. It’s the best way I know how to stand side by side with those affected.

By Michael Oliphant, Director of Public Affairs

Date Added: July 19, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Events, Fundraising Events, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Anita @ 12:50 am

Lace up for Hunger


Daily Bread’s Michael Oliphant, running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

After running 4 half marathons and a 30k road race, I have made the decision to finally go for the full Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) on October 20. Yes, all 42.2 probably painful kilometres of it. I’ll write more about why I made the decision to run a marathon in an upcoming post.

I will be running the STWM for Daily Bread Food Bank. Not only that, I will be tracking my progress through Daily Bread’s blog and on twitter. You can follow the blog at and Twitter using the hashtag #laceupforhunger.

I hope my posts will inspire people to run for Daily Bread. After all, you are running anyway. STWM makes it so easy to raise funds that everyone should choose a charity to support. Raising money for a good cause is a great side benefit of all your hard work.

Why Daily Bread? In the interests of full disclosure, I work there doing public policy and government relations (a function many people don’t know we even have). But working there does give some pretty good insight into the amazing work Daily Bread does throughout the City of Toronto. The funds you raise truly go to support people and programs in communities in need in the city.

This is the time of year many of us are just embarking or are a few weeks into our STWM training. It’s the perfect time to be thinking about supporting a charity for your run. Join the Lace up for Hunger team and really make your kilometres count! Never run before? With three months to go until the race in the October, there is definitely enough time to start training for a 5k. If you have some running ability and a couple of 5ks under your belt, challenge yourself to a half-marathon. Likewise, if you’ve successfully completed a couple of half-marathons and run regularly, a full marathon is great goal to reach for.

This is the 3rd year Daily Bread has participated in the STWM, and we have lots of good stuff in store.

All Daily Bread runners and walkers who raise more than $250 before September 12 will get a printed technical shirt*. Running in the summer heat, you can never have enough of these. I know personally by the end of the weekend I usually have a bathtub full of air drying running shirts.

[Funny story: my wife once texted me at work saying my running shirt drying in the bath tub smelled like a “rotting animal carcass.” She told me she was throwing it in the washing machine on its own, on heavy duty wash. A day later, to her surprise, the bathroom still smelled really bad. And there were flies. As it turned out, a squirrel had died in the ceiling – there was an actual rotting animal carcass in the bathroom!].

We will also be holding a practice run/walk for the Daily Bread Lace up for Hunger team.  Details on this will be announced. The location will be the beautiful Leslie Street Spit, my personal favourite place in the city to run.

It’s also worth noting that the first five people to fundraise over $500 will have their race fees reimbursed (or, if you choose, donated to Daily Bread) as will the first four returning Daily Bread runners who recruit two friends to join in on the fun.

Happy training!

Click here to register for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and run with the Daily Bread Lace up for Hunger team.

By Michael Oliphant, Director of Public Affairs

*Updated July 25, 2013.

Date Added: July 5, 2013 | Filed under: Blog, Fundraising Events, News, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon — Anita @ 1:38 pm