Club Scene

Grand River En­durance, South­ern On­tario

Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - By Ta­nia Haas

“They know our sin­glet and our rep­u­ta­tion as fast peo­ple. We are con­nected by our goals for faster times.” “We’re all about con­nec­tion and sup­port.”

Abig void can re­main af­ter a var­sity run­ner grad­u­ates univer­sity. Gone are the days of state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties, the mo­ti­va­tion of team prac­tices and ca­ma­raderie cou­pled with com­pe­ti­tion. With ne­ces­sity be­ing the mother of in­ven­tion, that void was filled for a small group of run­ners based out of South­ern On­tario with the cre­ation of the Grand River En­durance. Drawn by the need to go fast, and to in­spire con­tin­u­ous per­sonal bests, mem­bers of this nine-mem­ber club are col­lect­ing ti­tles and elite-level times. Meet­ing Wed­nes­days for in­ter­val train­ing and sav­ing long runs for the week­ends, gre at­tracts mem­bers from Paris, Brant­ford, Cam­bridge and the sur­round­ing ar­eas. It’s like a post-grad var­sity team for road run­ners – but with talk dur­ing runs of fam­i­lies, pro­fes­sions and other char­ac­ter­is­tics of non-stu­dent life.

“We’re all about con­nec­tion and sup­port,” says Josh Bolton, 27, a ki­ne­si­ol­o­gist and for­mer mem­ber of the Wind­sor Lancers cross-coun­try and track teams. His cur­rent fo­cus is on the half-marathon dis­tance and plans to build to a fast marathon in com­ing years. He says new mem­bers search the club out af­ter see­ing mem­bers fin­ish to­wards the front at lo­cal races.

“They know our sin­glet and our rep­u­ta­tion as fast peo­ple. We are con­nected by our goals for faster times,” says Bolton, who speaks proudly of his wife and fel­low club mem­ber’s sev­enth place rank­ing in the Canada Run­ning Se­ries in 2016. Ta­nis Bolton is the group’s only fe­male mem­ber, a sta­tus she’s fond of.

“I’ve al­ways been some­one who’s had a hard time not com­par­ing my­self with oth­ers,” says Ta­nis Bolton. “This is why a team full of men is ideal for me.” She says this small group al­lows her to work hard and not get in her head, com­par­ing her­self with team­mates. “I also love run­ning with them be­cause it forces me to keep my pace hon­est. Es­pe­cially dur­ing long run days,” she laughs. “The boys push me to run harder and more con­sis­tent than I would on my own.” Ta­nis Bolton says its a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment be­cause they all look up to each other.” Ev­ery­one knows how to train hard and put it all out there on the line. These guys are men­tally tough and this is some­thing that I’m con­tin­u­ally work­ing on my­self.” She also ad­mits that she se­cretly gets en­joy­ment out of say­ing, "I can keep up with the boys." “It gives me a lot of con­fi­dence.” Tyler Chacra, age 30, also saw his times go down with his rais­ing con­fi­dence.

“Be­cause my run­ning sched­ule is mainly fo­cused around fam­ily and work I found it re­ally hard to com­mit to any­thing,” Chacra ad­mits. “Af­ter shar­ing some laughs, sto­ries, aches, pains, and of course, beers with Josh and a cou­ple other club mem­bers af­ter the Mis­sis­sauga Marathon, I quickly re­al­ized join­ing gre was the right de­ci­sion for me,” says Chacra, who fin­ished sec­ond that day with a 2:33.

“We’re like-minded in­di­vid­u­als who share sim­i­lar views on life but also of­fer very unique per­spec­tives on train­ing, rac­ing and nu­tri­tion,” says Chacra. “We’re in con­tact on a day-to-day ba­sis, pro­vid­ing up­dates with our train­ing, in­spir­ing each other to be bet­ter and most of all cre­at­ing a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment that en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to hold them­selves ac­count­able. We are more than just a run­ning club. We are fam­ily.”

An­other suc­cess story of the club is that of Rob Brouil­lette. Rob was the back-to-back win­ner of the 2015 and 2016 en­dur­run Ul­ti­mate 160k. The chal­lenge fea­tures seven dif­fer­ent dis­tance races over eight days, in the Kitch­ner-Water­loo area. From Sun­day to Sun­day, com­peti­tors com­plete the following dis­tances in this or­der: half-marathon, 15k time trial, 30k cross-coun­try, 10-miler, then a rest day, 16-miler, 10k time trial, capped off with a marathon. Rob’s cu­mu­la­tive time ranked as the third fastest ul­ti­mate time ever and the fastest in 12 years. The race re­ported that his 2:37:22 marathon time to cap the week was the 22nd fastest marathon by a Cana­dian male in 2016. Their slo­gan? “Think fast, be fast.” There’s no doubt about that. Ta­nia Haas is a writer, run­ner and yogi liv­ing in Toronto.

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