It can be hard to hear passion in a voice over the phone, but when talking with Speed River assistant coach, Chris Moulton, there is no mistaking that he wants to share his love for the sport of running with the Canadian people. And, not just the fast Canadian people.
Moulton has taken on a huge project, a project that we, the running community need to get behind. In short, Run Canada will take place during the month of April 2012 and is aimed at getting Canadians of all ages and abilities running. This may sound simple to those who already run, but this a massive undertaking. The project is called Run Canada.
In an attempt to enhance the sport, Moulton believes the sport needs to grow. It is less about starting a new club, gathering existing runners to join, and thus stealing a piece of the pie, and more about increasing the size of the pie. Moulton and his team have outlined four ways in which they plan to accomplish this goal.
1. The Run Canada Races: If you are a race director and your race is not listed on this site, what are you waiting for? It is free advertising! Moulton said, “I want every race in Canada that takes place in April to be on this list”. These races provide people with a goal, which is directly in line with a plethora of Moulton’s initiatives. “We want people to just get out and be active”, said Moulton. Moreover, his goal is to “eliminate barriers and make it as simple as possible (for people to start running)”. Our advice is to pick a race, encourage your friends and family to run with you, and get fit!
2. The Run Canada School Program: This is a means to “not only get today’s youth running by engaging them in completing the marathon distance as a school, but to make them aware of the rich history associated with Canadian distance running” said Moulton. For example, did you know that Canadian men have won the Boston Marathon 16 times?
Furthermore, Moulton pointed out that running is unique in that when you play basketball for your local club, chances are you are practicing with 10 other children of your own age and similar ability. When children show up for track practice, more often than not, there are high school, college, and professional athletes working out at the same time on the same track. This typically provides children with a positive first experience.
3. Media Engagements: These engagements will aid in creating awareness. Several of Canada’s top running media outlets have combined forces to spread the word about Run Canada. As one of those outlets, we cannot think of a better initiative. If you have a blog, Facebook page, or a Twitter account please take a few minutes to share this project.
4. The Endurance Group Support: This is the cornerstone piece of this project. In what other sport can you literally race the world’s best? When you register for The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, you are technically racing Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis. Moulton believes there is a disconnect between the running community at large and the elite runners. There are thousands of people participating in running events but very few people watching professional athletes compete. Moulton explained that, “most of the guys playing pick-up hockey on the weekend are the guys watching Hockey Night in Canada”. It is his objective to bridge the gap between recreational and elite runners via Run Canada. “If one-tenth of the runners who participated in The Canada Running Series came out to watch a track meet, the stadium would be full”.
This would enable Canada’s world-class athletes to not only make the trip to London, but also be competitive in London. Goals are great to have, but goals without a means to achieving them leaves athletes feeling as though they have failed.
Moulton made it very clear. Our athletes simply need the tools to succeed. To be competitive these athletes need access to altitude training camps, therapists, time, and the list goes on.
You can help.
Athletics Canada will donate all proceeds from merchandise sales at Shop.Athletics.ca to Run Canada beginning November 24th to December 23rd.
To support the launch of this project Athletics Canada will also match all donations until January 30, 2011 up to a maximum of $10,000.
If you have a friend who runs that you think would like to get behind Run Canada, consider gifting a donation in their name!
Click here to donate.
About the Author: Brandon Laan is a runner, coach, and entrepreneur. He spent his undergraduate days at The University of Western Ontario where he captained the Cross Country Team before fleeing to Hawaii Pacific University for graduate school. He is a Level II Certified USATF coach and holds personal bests of 1:06 and 2:21 in the Half Marathon and Marathon respectively. He also enjoys running to eat, not eating to run…and always will.