Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .


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Running with an Ethiopian Legend

 Miruts, Michal & Me

Lynn Kobayashi, Miruts Yifter, Michal Kapral, the Joggler

Lynn Kobayashi, Miruts Yifter and Michal “The Joggler” Kapral

Last year I boldly laid claim to getting the Ethiopian community in Toronto running. This year, the Ethiopians in Toronto are clearly on an upward trajectory led by Ethiopian running giant, Miruts Yifter. How was it that I was able to convince my Ethiopian friends that taking part in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon races was a must? The short answer is orphan sponsorship. Double-gold medal Olympian Miruts Yifter has embraced the cause of the over 1 million orphaned children in Ethiopia. AND joggling in Miruts footsteps was Michal Kapral “the Joggler” who dedicated his successful Guinness World Record attempt to P2P Canada’s orphan sponsorship program.

Leading up to the race we had fun. An interview with Michal gave me the chance to meet up with Michal and Miruts Yifter. Earlier, there was a training session in Riverdale Park where Miruts led the team through some stretching and offered training tips. The interviewer was running late but our time hanging out in the hotel lobby was well-spent. There was a steady stream of elite marathon runners passing by including a few Ethiopians.

Tariku Jufar with Miruts Yifter

Tariku Jufar with Miruts Yifter

This was fun because the Ethiopian athletes kept doing double-takes in delight when they spotted Miruts. I passed my cell phone to Miruts so he could see the YouTube footage of his gold medal 10K and he showed this to the young Ethiopians. When Miruts mentioned that this took place in 1980, the reaction of the two youngsters betrayed the fact that they had not yet been born. This made for an all-round chuckle.

The group also discussed the speed of Miruts last 400 in this race, an astonishing 49 seconds. Apparently, this is an Ethiopian record of sorts for the final lap of a 10K. Miruts of course is nicknamed “The Shifter” for his ability to shift into this otherworldly gear.

Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia finished second in 2:08:36 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 19th, 2014. I finished first in the 55-59 age-category and very much enjoyed having my son and husband take part too. Race morning was finished off nicely with a post-race celebration at Sheba Restaurant where we enjoyed a buffet breakfast of Ethiopian and Canadian goodies. And of course, some great coffee!

Steven Deutscher-Kobayashi, Lynn Kobayashi, Pat Deutscher

Me and my family

Our amazing team of elite fundraisers raised over $35,000 for children orphaned by AIDS in Ethiopia. While a few of the young runners were ahead of me in the race, many were not, which led me to challenge this contingent of young runners to make sure they trained next year to ensure they beat me.

Young Ethiopians

Trash talking with the youngsters


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A Canadian reviews America’s 10 Best Cities for Runners

Running in Washington D.C.

It’s all about the sights on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

While visiting Austin, Texas in January I happened upon a Forbes Magazine article listing the top ten cities for running in the U.S.  I was surprised to see that I had run in 9 of the cities on the list. As the ten cities were not ranked, I’ve listed them in alphabetical order.

  1. Atlanta
  2. Austin
  3. Boston
  4. Boulder*
  5. Chicago
  6. Minneapolis
  7. New York
  8. Portland
  9. San Francisco
  10. Washington

*Boulder, Colorado is the only city I have not run in (or visited). However, having run in Santa Fe which is 7,199 feet above sea level, when I had a slight cold, which exploded into a very painful chest cold after a lung-searing run at that altitude I have little desire to run in Boulder which has a slightly lower altitude. I’m taking the liberty of substituting Sacramento, California for Boulder on my re-ordered ranked list below.

Austin-Running

Running through the center of Austin, Texas on a Ladybird Lake trail.

  1. Austin
  2. Portland
  3. Washington
  4. Boston **1998, 2000. 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014
  5. Chicago *2006
  6. San Francisco
  7. Sacramento *2007
  8. New York *2009
  9. Minneapolis
  10. Atlanta

* *Years that I have run a marathon in a city

Austin, Texas

It was tough to decide between Austin and Portland but Austin won out because of its dirt trails with overhanging trees which line Ladybird Lake. Portland’s prized bike-running path, the Springwater Corridor is mostly paved and does not have much shade.

Portland, Oregon

One feature of running in Portland is the ease of bike rental on the river trail. This is a great way to have a non-running friend or spouse join you for your run.

024

Portland Rail Trail, The Springwater Corridor

Washington D.C.

Running is the best way to see some of the sights like the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial. Another bonus is the number of clean public restrooms around the public parks and monuments.

Boston

Boston is well, Boston, but apart from the marathon, a run along the banks of the Charles river on the Cambridge side while rowers pass by makes for a storybook setting.

Sacramento

Love the slightly downhill course of the California International Marathon in Sacramento. There is also a long-standing distance race in November which serves as a tune-up for the marathon. The Clarksburg County Run used to be 30K but is now a 20 miler with a 5K, 10K and half-marathon option. Proximity to San Francisco, a 2 hour drive, is another plus.

San Francisco

Running along the waterfront route from Market street over the Fisherman’s Wharf is one way to avoid hills in San Francisco. Love the idea of their women’s only marathon but not on the hills of San Francisco.

Chicago

Runs along the lake are pleasant but summer races in Chicago can be stinking hot. The Chicago marathon course is my favourite. I ran it once when it took place on the third, rather than the traditional 1st weekend in October.

New York

New York is near the bottom of my list as I’m personally inclined towards the urban outdoor experience of west coast cities like Portland and Seattle. But I do love the shorter races in Central park organized by the New York City Road Runners.

Minneapolis

I’ve been to Minneapolis twice. Once for a convention and the last time a quick overnight stay to visit the World’s Biggest Mall a.k.a. “hell on earth” according to my husband. Nothing memorable to report other than feeling safer than I did in Atlanta and I’m sure summer runs in Minnesota are cooler than Atlanta as well.

Atlanta

I ran in Atlanta nearly 25 years ago while attending a convention. I think I was the only runner in the group of 2000 attendees. It was one of the muggiest runs of my life. My friends worried for my safety and I have to confess, I did not feel particularly safe there even though I stuck to the tourist zones.

I was going to say this post was part one of a series, with subsequent posts providing more detail on running in these cities. However given my poor record of following up with promised part twos, I’ll leave it at this and invite your comments or recommendations.

Happy vacation running!

Lynn


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New Years Lessons and Resolutions

Alan Brookes of the Canada Running Series retweeted the article New Years Lessons and Resolutions from Canadian Runners with the question, How about YOU? This blog post is my reply to the questions asked in that article.

Oh, where oh where would we older folks run track without OMA

Oh, where oh where would we older folks run track without the OMA

What did you learn in 2013 that you want to apply to your training in 2014

The importance of maintaining good leg turnover. I’ve known this intellectually for most of my 30+ years of running but training with the UTTC Masters track team with coach Paul Osland, an Olympian,  has provided the tools to make this a part of my training routine. Even though I have been running fewer miles since the Ontario cross-country championships last November, I’ve been able to maintain my cruising pace, which has quickened thanks to regular track workouts.

Paul-Italy-4X400-relay-733x1024

Super-fast coach Paul

What was a great moment that you will remember about 2013?

That is a difficult choice. But I’m going to say being chosen Ontario Masters Athlete of the month for February by Ontario Masters Athletics (OMA). This gives me the chance to highlight the fantastic support masters runners and track athletes get in Ontario.  I was recognized for having broken the Canadian indoor 5K record twice at this rarely-raced distance.
Doug Smith checks out Doug Smith trophy at U of T Athletic Center

Doug Smith checks out Doug Smith trophy at U of T Athletic Center

The remarkable thing to me is the dedication of long-time volunteers like Doug Smith (President of the OMA) who create the opportunity to race and break records. Doug Smith who with his self-deprecating sense of humour, does an amazing job of making everyone feel welcome whether to the OMA or to UTTC Masters on top of just about everything else including meet organizing, race photos and website maintenance. There are many dedicated volunteers who helps as timers, registrars, lap-timers, record-keepers, cheerleaders and more, including Stafford who emailed me a nice certificate to commemorate the 5K record. Paul Osland our high-functioning Olympian coach, is in his third term as President of the CMA, following in Doug’s footsteps as an extraordinary volunteer. On behalf of all masters runners in Ontario. Thank you all!
The University of Toronto Track Club (UTTC) has recently fully embraced the Masters concept and the UTTC Masters have been warmly welcomed to the main club. A huge benefit is sharing the indoor track and outdoor track at Varsity Stadium.
What goals do you have for 2014?

In order of priority:

  1. Help UTTC Masters team win the Breslin Cup.
  2. Increase my age-graded score for the outdoor 1500 at the Ontario Masters Provincial Track and Field Championships
  3. Increase my age-graded score for 5k on the road.
  4. Run faster than last year at the Boston Marathon.

Two resolutions: one running resolution and a non-running one?

Get back to regular weight work. When I was in top form I was able to legpress 250 lbs. and squat 135 lbs. I can probably only do about 60-65% of that now. Remain ever-grateful for the good heath that allows me to keep training so I can get slower gracefully.

Keep mentally fit. One aspect of this is to keep up to date with all things digital. This is made easier with my great in-house tutor, son Steven, a recent U of T, comp-sci grad. He knows how much time I spend at home and at work on the computer so to celebrate his first job as a software developer, he surprised me with a Christmas gift of a Yoga Pro 2 laptop. He told me this will increase my productivity. Weighing in at 3.1 pounds with a 13.1″ by 8.6″ high resolution screen, perhaps this highly-portable laptop means I should set my sights higher than my two posts a month. I’m not about to make promises I can’t keep but we shall see!

Lean, mean blogging machine


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Running with the Ethiopians

Ambaye-Medal

P2P Board Member Ambaye Kidane ran his first 5K ever!

More than thirty runners of Ethiopian descent took part in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon races (STWM) on Sunday, October 20th as members of TEAM P2P.

P2P Champions – Messai Gessesee, Ambaye Kidane, Fassil Tessema and Amele Zegwe – placed high in the fundraising results for People to People Aid Organization Canada (P2P). Their motivation was not to further the legendary status of Ethiopian distance running but to champion the cause of children orphaned by AIDS in Ethiopia.

Fassil Tessema

P2P Board member, Fassil visits orphaned kids in Ethiopia

Former Canada Running Series Masters Champion (2002, 2003) Lynn Kobayashi has boldly laid claim to “getting the Toronto Ethiopian community running”.  A committed volunteer for P2P and Fundraising and Communications consultant, Lynn knew that the Scotiabank Charity Challenge at the STWM was a “perfect fundraising fit for P2P on so many levels”. The funds raised support P2P’s orphan sponsorship program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

STWM-P2P-Lynn

Running for Ethiopian children

Of the organization, Lynn remarks, “The dedicated Board members and volunteers of P2P are fundraising ultra-marathoners. They committed to their first year of participation in the STWM but felt it prudent to continue to hold their annual walkathon this summer. Despite the short time since their last very similiar fundraising effort, this very small but committed group met their dream goal of raising $20,000 at the STWM.  Bringing the total of the two walk-a-thon events to over $50,000.”

Deressa Chimsa

Participants were so very excited about the event itself.  And needless to say were thrilled that an Ethiopian, Deressa Chimsa set a record for the fastest marathon run on Canadian soil.  Already, plans are underway for 2014. Get your feet in motion for an important cause. It is not too early to sign up to run with the Ethiopians!

For info on joining TEAM P2P CLICK HERE

To sponsor Lynn CLICK HERE (deadline October 31, 2013)


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I was going to give up marathons for awhile but . . .

I’ve been accepted into the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Yes, I was there in 2013 and like many others feel a need to be there in 2014 to get a sense of closure.  I feel bad for those who worked really hard to get under the qualifying time, and just made their times. With the rolling registration dates, depending on how far under the qualification time you ran, it will be difficult to get in this year. The running world will be watching to see how quickly registration fills up for 2014.

Good luck to those who are waiting anxiously to find out whether they will get in.  I would be willing to give up my spot to someone who has been trying to qualify for five years or more. I guess in effect, I could do something along those lines by not registering. So much for altruism.

Lynn Kobayashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

Boston acceptance email


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At the track, proud to be 47th

Some stats about my first track race of the outdoor season at the  York University track team Twilight meet

  • 48     Number of entrants in the Women’s 800 Meter race on June 25th
  • 47     My finishing place (2:57.72)
  • 46     Number of years between the date-of-birth of the youngest and oldest entrant (that would be me)
  • 42     Number of years between my age and the age of my neighbour’s daughter who ran 2:31.25 in Heat 3
  • 5       Number of years between the oldest entrant and the next oldest entrant
  • 4       Number of heats run for the race
  • 3       Number of seconds faster I want to run at the Ontario Masters Track Championships on July 6th & 7th
  • 2       Number of masters teammates who joined me in running the Women’s 800 meter race
  • 1       Number of seconds by which Kailee Sawyer broke the meet record in 2:06.96
  • 0       Number of other entrants in my age-category
2 - The number of UTTC Masters teammates who joined me in the 800 meter race.

Well done Rita and Gwen and thanks for the camaraderie!

Women 800 Meter Open/Senior
===================================================================
 Series Rec:: * 2:07.09  6/21/2005   Megan Brown, Newmarket Huskies            
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  H#
===================================================================
  1 Sawyer, Kailee            97 Laurel Creek TFC       2:06.96*  1 
  2 Stafford, Gabriela        95 U of Toronto TC        2:09.29   1 
  3 Walmsly, Honor            93 U of Toronto TC        2:10.47   1 
  4 Nock, Paige               95 Durham Dragons A       2:13.46   1 
  5 Lucki, Alexandra          96 Etobicoke TFC          2:14.31   1 
  6 Serafini, Rosa            89 U of Toronto TC        2:14.63   1 
  7 Rouse, Savannah           98 U of Toronto TC        2:15.06   2 
  8 Raftis, Kylee             99 Central Toronto        2:15.29   2 
  9 McCuaig, Sarah            90 McGill Olymp           2:15.72   1 
 10 Martynova, Svetlana       90 U of Toronto TC        2:16.18   1 
 11 Lampard, Katherine        95 Central Toronto        2:16.76   1 
 12 Ambrose, Taya             97 Laurel Creek TFC       2:17.59   2 
 13 Hennessy, Kelly           94 U of Toronto TC        2:19.14   1 
 14 Smith, Stephanie          90 York University        2:19.14   2 
 15 Adamson, Jessica          94 U of Toronto TC        2:19.65   2 
 16 Thompson, Miranda         99 Central Toronto        2:20.25   2 
 17 Stewart, Kate             98 Newmarker Huskie       2:20.55   3 
 18 Freeman, Jenna            93 South Simcoe Duf       2:20.77   2 
 19 Macdonald, Alannah        94 Niagara Olympic        2:20.80   2 
 20 Nardi, Danielle           96 U of Toronto TC        2:20.98   2 
 21 Fedorov, Yulia            96 Newmarker Huskie       2:21.52   3 
 22 Emilio, Sarah             93 U of Toronto TC        2:21.94   2 
 23 Moreau, Julia             97 Laurel Creek TFC       2:22.59   2 
 24 Horner, Kelsey            97 York University        2:23.04   2 
 25 Nagy, Sarah               73 Newmarker Huskie       2:23.30   2 
 26 Thompson, Aija            93 U of Toronto TC        2:24.04   3 
 27 Papaioannou, Stephanie    97 U of Toronto TC        2:26.36   3 
 28 Rothenbroker, Meghan      95 Newmarker Huskie       2:26.61   3 
 29 Burrows, Arden            97 U of Toronto TC        2:26.84   3 
 30 Gobbo, Victoria           97 310 Running            2:27.70   3 
 31 Charbonneau, Natasha      98 South Simcoe Duf       2:29.80   3 
 32 Carley, Hannah            97 Newmarker Huskie       2:30.10   4 
 33 Thomson, Kennedy          98 Runners Edge TC        2:30.38   3 
 34 Park, Laura               97 Newmarker Huskie       2:30.57   4 
 35 Earl, Celeste             98 U of Toronto TC        2:31.25   3 
 36 Chenskikh, Darya          94 York University        2:32.38   4 
 37 Tramble, Lindsay          98 Etobicoke TFC          2:32.48   3 
 38 Mccormick, Audrey         98 South Simcoe Duf       2:35.30   4 
 39 Armstrong, Jasmine        98 South Simcoe Duf       2:35.63   3 
 40 O'Hagan, Heather          61 Newmarker Huskie       2:36.44   4 
 41 Mayer, Katarina           98 Etobicoke TFC          2:39.50   4 
 42 Waller, Georgia           00 York University        2:39.89   4 
 43 Bailey-Mason, Gwyneth     66 U of Toronto TC        2:44.08   4 
 44 Botelho, Rita             60 U of Toronto TC        2:51.59   4 
 45 Abell, Sarah              01 U of Toronto TC        2:52.63   4 
 46 Rout, Jennifer            64 Newmarker Huskie       2:56.55   4 
 47 Deutscher Kobayashi, Lynn 55 U of Toronto TC        2:57.72   4 
 48 Reynoso, Aura             66 Newmarker Huskie       3:05.23   4


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I run because . . .

Lynn Kobayashi, Lynn Deutscher Kobayashi

Running the ramparts in Quebec City (August 2012)

Today is National Running Day, a day to tell family and friends why you run. I run most every day except when recovering from a marathon or resting up for a big race. I started running in 1980 and ran my first marathon in 1981. Here are a few of my reasons for running although the longer I run, the more reasons I find, which includes all the great friends I have made through the years and the husband I met in 1985.

I run for physical and mental health!
It’s the easiest way to stay fit and a sure antidote for stress release. Things always look better after a run. If I had to break down the benefits to me personally, I’d estimate that the balance is heavily tipped on the side of mental health.

I run because it is accessible!
Is there anyone physically capable of running, who has not done so? With no equipment required, it is a sport where talent can shine, even in the poorest of countries.* This means the talent pool of the world is mobilized, making running THE most competitive sport in the world.

I run because I enjoy competition!
If you are able to run, you have likely also raced, be it on a track or to catch a bus. You can compete with yourself, others or a machine.

I run because I can!
The longer I run, the more resonant this becomes. I remind myself daily of all those who cannot run. This includes my husband for whom the occasional 5K run is a rare treat because of a torn meniscus. And my sister-in-law, very recently diagnosed with cancer in her spine and now immobile. Plus my friend Hassan who triumphed by walking 5K last fall with the crutches he needs due to the effects of polio. The courage of those who face physical challenges and cannot run motivates and inspires me.

Happy Running Day!

* See Maria Mutola’s story

My hero Hassan!