When Cameco launched its first Step Up for Mental Health Run last spring, the race sold out weeks in advance as people hurried to sign up for the event that pledged to donate all profits to mental health programs throughout the province. So this year, Step Up is getting bigger. Participants at the inaugural Step Up for Mental Health Run. Provided photos. “The community really rallied behind it,” says Race Director Jonathan Huntington. “We heard so many stories of people being involved because of a personal cause or because of a family cause or because they simply wanted to help others in the community that they didn't even know, but wanted to help in the mental health space.” Huntington said the event, which starts and finishes in downtown Saskatoon on May 9, has doubled its capacity in 2020. There is now space for 4,000 runners in the five- and 10-kilometre distances....
For Celeste and Tarrant Cross Child, the arrival of spring means it’s time to train for the Saskatchewan Marathon. The speedy husband and wife both have their names immortalized on the Meewasin Valley Authority trail as Saskatchewan Marathon victors;...
As soon as Susan Hamilton attended her first Just Tri It workout she was hooked. "It's the atmosphere; all the ladies, even though they might be competitive with themselves or close friends, they're not competitive in nature," she says. "Everybody inspires everybody." Participants of the 2019 Just Tri It program pose for a photo. Hamilton signed up for the women's-only triathlon training group in 2011 because she wanted to get more active. She loved the program so much that she has stayed involved with it to this day and is now the program director as Just Tri It moves into its 19th year. Just Tri It is an eight-week training program that runs out of the Saskatoon YWCA from March 15 to May 10. An army of roughly 50 volunteers puts on three training sessions a week, one each for swimming, biking and running. During the program the women have the...
Brainsport has partnered with lululemon to offer a new free run club on Monday evenings. Brainsport employee Ali Bergeron is leading the club from the lululemon store downtown starting at 7 p.m. Participants at the first Brainsport-lululemon run club earlier this month. The runs will last from 30 minutes to an hour and are designed to ensure no one gets left behind. Olivia Bird, the assistant store manager of lululemon Saskatoon, said the store wanted to start the club "as a new way to sweat, grow, and connect with our local community through run. "We know that Brian and the Brainsport team are experts in this, and couldn't think of anyone better to collaborate with," she said. Bergeron and Bird say they aim to make the run club as inclusive as possible. Anyone is welcome to participate and the group is particularly geared toward beginners. “We want everybody to feel very welcome...
Every year, Brainsport offers coached run academies targeted at a range of distances and experience levels. Joining a coached run club can be hugely beneficial for athletes — whether they’re training for their first five-kilometre run or hoping to set a new personal best in the marathon after years of training, Wondering if joining a coached run group is right for you? The Brainsport Times spoke with Brainsport coach Patrick Somerville (pictured left) and some of his coached athletes about some of the benefits of joining such a group. It can help prevent injuries Derek Trischuk says he was never a natural runner but started competing in triathlons and needed to figure it out. He started in Brainsport’s learn-to-run program and later joined one of Someville’s coached clinics. Trischuk says that, as a beginner, he appreciated the running education that came with the clinic. He was able to learn about...
Looking for a way to spend a frigid Wednesday evening? Come to the Brainsport run club tonight at 6 p.m. Beaux Walton, On's Western Canadian tech rep, will have On Cloud and On Stratus demo shoes for you to run in. And to celebrate Ukrainian Christmas we will serve Perogie and Koubasa samples after the run. After spending 13 years as president of the Saskatoon Road Runners Association, Peter Goode has stepped down from the organization's top job.Goode joined the SRRA board in 1996 (or 1997 — it's been so long he can no longer remember) and became president roughly two years later. He has served as president twice in the last 20-some years.Goode remains on the SRRA board, but Shona Iverson has taken over the role of president.In the weeks following the move, Goode spoke with the Brainsport Times about his time on the SRRA board and about the challenges and opportunities facing...
Competitors in this year's Saskatchewan Marathon events can expect a scenic route and a festive post-race atmosphere. Saskatchewan Marathon Director Kim Ali said the opening of the Traffic Bridge in the fall of 2018 is allowing race organizers to route runners along the Meewasin Valley trail for much of the races. The Traffic Bridge will be closed to vehicles on the morning of the race and runners in the 10-kilometre, half marathon and marathon distances will run over it at least twice. "We're trying to make the race even more beautiful, running more kilometres along the Meewasin Valley," Ali said. The five-kilometre course, which ran through a residential area of the city's Exhibition neighbourhood last year, is largely unchanged except that they will start and finish under the Saskatchewan Marathon arch. Ali says the fast, flat course has been popular with athletes in the past. Course changes and the resulting road...
Lanni Marchant never imagined she would have to stop running in order to run fast. The 34-year-old Olympian and former Canadian women’s marathon record holder underwent hip surgery in May 2018 and has spent the ensuing months focussing on recovery, strength training and technique. Marchant is from London, Ont., but much of her rehab work is being done in Saskatoon, where she is working with sport physiotherapist Bruce Craven who was described to her as a “movement whisperer." Marchant made her first trip to Saskatoon in August 2018, three months after her surgery. She was off crutches and had been cross-training four hours a day. She had packed her aqua-jogging belt and clothes so she could bike and train on the ElliptiGO, but Craven told her to take it easy and walk instead. “Had he tried to tell me that in 2016 or 2017 I wouldn’t have listened, I wouldn’t have...
When Bob Myers registered for the Brainsport Brainfreeze on the first day that registration opened, he never imagined how cold it would be on race day.Myers, 42, is from North Carolina, where it doesn’t get much below 0C in the winter.He, his wife and another couple travelled to Saskatchewan in early March in an effort to see the northern lights. They planned to fly into Saskatoon, then travel north to Sturgeon Lake. Their time in the Bridge City coincided with the Brainsport Brainfreeze on March 3 and one of Myers travelling companions, an avid runner, signed up and encouraged Myers and his wife to do the same. Bob Myers at the Brainsport Brainfreeze.Photo: Louis Christ. See more at https://www.lchrist.comWhen the race started, there was a windchill of -33C.“Being from North Carolina that was the coldest temperature I had ever personally experienced,” Myers said.He wore almost every stitch of clothing he had packed for...
After Aberdeen teacher Kelli White finished running a 10 kilometre race at the Saskatchewan Marathon weekend in 2010, she saw lots of children excitedly getting ready to start their own run. She learned that they were part of the MaraFun program, which gives students aged six to 13 an opportunity to run the marathon distance — 42.2 kilometres — over the course of 10 weeks, with the last 2.2 kilometres being run as part of the Saskatchewan Marathon weekend. White was so impressed by what she’d seen that she signed up her own students at Aberdeen Composite School the following year. And she’s continued to be involved ever since, leading about 35 students a year in grades three to eight through the program in each of the last eight years. She’s had so much fun that she’s encouraging other teachers to sign up their students as well this year. “MaraFun is...
When Xiaomin (Dolly) Jiang moved to Saskatoon in February 2017, she only knew three people: the immigration agent who had helped her move from China, the real estate agent who sold her her house and her teenage son, who’d made the move across the world with her. Jiang, 48, had moved to Canada with plans to start her own energy efficient building materials company, but the transition was tough. She was having difficulty networking and meeting people. Xiaomin Jiang (centre) at the Brainsport run club. In an effort to change her situation, she began volunteering with various groups in the city, including with the Saskatoon Cycles’ bike valet program. While working a shift at the bike valet in August 2017 she told a fellow volunteer how lonely she was. “I tell him I am really confused and I really feel puzzled on how to make friends,” Jiang said. The volunteer suggested...
Saskatoon can be a cold, dark and snowy place to run in the winter. Many athletes will hop on a treadmill to avoid battling adverse conditions. Though opting for the treadmill can be a smart way to get in a hard workout on an icy day, training exclusively on the machine can result in injuries or development of poor technique. Bruce Craven, a sport physiotherapist, strength and conditioning coach and co-owner of Craven SPORT Services on Second Avenue, spoke with the Brainsport Times about how to maximize treadmill workouts and when they can be most beneficial. Put the incline at 1% Craven says one of the biggest problems runners encounter when they’re on the treadmill is they don’t use their glutes to push off the ground and propel themselves forward. Instead, the treadmill belt pulls their feet back into extension. “Then really you just become a recovery runner instead of a...
With less than a month to go until the Brainsport Brainfreeze on March 3, runners are encouraged to sign up before the event sells out, as it has the last two years. The Brainfreeze, now in its 11th year, is the only fundraiser for the University of Saskatchewan’s cross-country team. Last year, the race raised a record $13,000 for the team. Huskies cross-country athlete Courtney Moffatt said the fundraiser allows the team to subsidize costs such as travel and competition gear for athletes. This is important because many athletes aren’t able to work while competing and attending classes. Courtney Moffatt, left, racing for the Huskies. “It’s tough being a university student and running sport. If we didn’t have (financial support) it would be quite pricey,” she said. Moffatt used to play hockey but got into track at a young age because she preferred to compete in an individual sport. Yet she...
It doesn’t matter what the weather is.
It doesn’t matter if he’s tired, sick or sore.
Brian Breit runs every day.
Breit, 59, went for a run on Dec. 1, 2012 and has run every day since.
By Dec. 1, 2018 — the six-year anniversary of his run streak — he had logged 24,268 kilometres, which averages out to more than 11 kilometres a day.
Prior to Dec. 1, 2012, Breit ran three or four times a week, often with the Brainsport run club. When Brainsport promoted the idea of a December running streak — which encourages people to run at least one mile (1.6 kilometres) each day for a month — Breit gave it a try. And he set his own rules for how far he would go.
“My thinking was, I wasn’t going to go dress up and go outside to run just one mile every day. I mean, December can be kind of cold, so I just said 'I’m not going to do that.' I’m just going to go out and I said I’d do a minimum of five kilometres,” Breit said. “If you’re getting all dressed up you might as well make it worthwhile.”
Breit runs his own courier business and cares for his aging father. He finds time to run “when it works out,” and does the majority of his runs in the evening. He calls himself an “unpredictable runner” and always runs different routes. He rarely uses the treadmill.
Most days, Breit runs between 13 and 15 kilometres in addition to stretching and doing core exercises.
“It hasn’t really been difficult,” he says. “I look forward to the run. I like the fact that I can get outside and run regardless of what the weather’s like. I’ve never made an excuse where it’s too cold or it’s this or it’s that. I just go do it.”
The closest Breit ever came to ending his run streak was in October 2012, 11 months after he’d started. Breit’s father had fallen and hurt his arm, so Breit took him to the Royal University Hospital. The pair were waiting in the emergency room to see a doctor as the clock ticked toward 11 p.m.
“I’m like ‘Oh, I guess this is it,’” Breit recalls. But then, a radiation technician came to take Breit’s father for x-rays and told Breit she’d be back in 20 minutes. Breit bolted out of the building and did a 20-minute run around campus.
Breit recalls shortening his run when he was sick with the flu and he has been running easy this past year as he grapples with a hamstring injury.
“It might not look pretty or anything like that, I really don’t care,” he says. “Some days it becomes more of a walk-run, but it’s still a matter of getting out there and doing it.”
Some websites, such as Streak Runner International, track runners’ streaks. Breit said he’s looked at the websites, but has never been motivated to submit his data.
“I just think: Who would care about someone in Saskatoon?” he said.
If his runs were entered with Streak Runner International, his streak would rank 27th longest overall and be the seventh-longest streak in Canada.
Breit said he gets a variety of reactions to the news of his streak — some people, like his chiropractor, say he’s crazy — but the most common question is “How do you do it?”
By now, Breit has a ready response.
“It’s not hard,” he says. “If you like doing something, nothing is really that hard.”
Sunday Mar. 3, 2019: Brainsport Brainfreeze
Brainsport’s Brainfreeze is a winter run that raises money for the University of Saskatchewan cross country team. Enjoy the snow-coated scenery as you choose from a five-kilometre, 10-kilometre or half marathon distance along the beautiful South Saskatchewan River. Register now.
Sunday May 5, 2019: Saskatoon Police Service Foundation Half Marathon
Featuring 21-kilometre,10-kilometre and five-kilometre routes, this annual event raises money for various Saskatoon charities. Register now.
Saturday May 11, 2019: Step Up for Mental Health
This inaugural race hosted by Cameco offers five- and 10-kilometre run and walk distances. Cameco is matching every dollar from entry fees to fund local mental health projects. Register now.
Saturday May 11, 2019: Royal Road Race (Regina)
The ninth-annual Royal Road Race, hosted by the Jaleta Pacers and the RCMP is once again being held on Mother’s Day weekend. Since it began, this race has contributed over $161,549 to local charities. Held on the RCMP Training Academy grounds in Regina, this fast course has something for everyone with five-kilometre and 10-kilometre races, a five-kilometre walk, a five-kilometre wheelchair and a one-kilometre Mini-Mountie run for children. This race sells out fast so make sure to register soon. Register by Mon. Feb. 11 at 11:59 p.m. to be entered into a draw to win a pair of Hillberg & Berk sparkle ball earrings. Prices increase Mar. 31.
Sunday May 26, 2019: Saskatchewan Marathon
The Saskatchewan Marathon is the oldest marathon in Saskatchewan. The event is organized and produced by the Saskatoon Road Runners Association. The 2019 Saskatchewan Marathon features Craven SPORT services five-kilometre, Goodlife Fitness 10-kilometre, half-marathon and marathon event distances along a scenic course highlighting the world-renowned Meewasin Valley. Easily deemed one of the most scenic running events in Canada, the Saskatchewan Marathon is also a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. Sign up today. Prices increase Mar. 1.
NEW: Sunday June 2, 2019: RunRegina First Responders Run (Regina)
Featuring five- and 15-kilometre distances, the inaugural event supports first responders and mental health initiatives for first responders. Register now.
NEW: Friday Sept. 6 — Sun. Sept. 8: GMS Queen City Marathon (Regina)
Saskatchewan's largest road-racing festival features three days of races from Friday to Sunday. There are mini marathons ranging in distance from one- to three-kilometres for kids and distances from the five-kilometre to the marathon for runners of all ages. This registration link will go live Feb. 1 at 12 p.m.
Courses and programs
Brainsport Running Academy: Full Marathon and Half Marathon Clinic
This clinic, coached by Pat Somerville, is ideal for less experienced runners or those looking to improve their previous half or full marathon times. It is recommended you be able to run 40 minutes consecutively before joining this clinic. The clinic runs Monday evenings from Brainsport starting at 6 p.m. It runs from Jan. 21 to May 20 and will prepare runners for the 2019 Saskatchewan Marathon on May 26. In addition to weekly coached runs, there will be informational sessions on topics such as injury prevention, core stability, running technique, nutrition, yoga for runners, and more. Register online now.
Transition Sport and Fitness Triathlon Training Group
The three-month winter program began Jan. 8. Choose from one-, two- or three-times-per week options. Register here. Email
Virtual Cycle Sundays and Virtual Pilates Mondays
Take part in a fitness class from the comfort of your home through virtual classes hosted by Transition Sport and Fitness. The Sunday rides run from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and the Monday pilates go from 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. The pilates class is tailored towards triathletes. Visit www.transitionsportandfitness.ca or email
Breathe Move Be Yoga for Athletes
Breathe Move Be offers a Yoga for Athletes course Thursday evenings from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. from Jan. 10 to March 14 at Midwest Karate Studio. $140 to pre-register for all classes. Drop-in spots will be made available for $18 when space is available. For more information and to register contact Leanne Parsons at
Saskatoon Road Runners Association Matching Donations to Improve Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Site
Until Jan. 31, The Saskatoon Road Runners Association will match donations up to $50,000 to improve the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan site and adjacent trails. Donate and learn more about the project through the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan website.
Saskatchewan Marathon Seeking Pace Bunnies
Pace bunnies are needed for the five-kilometre, 10-kilometre, half-marathon and marathon distances for the May 26 races. The most important bunnies are at the 0:30, 1:00, 2:00 and 4:00 times in the respective distances. Organizers will then look for bunnies in five-, 10- or 15-minute increments on either side of the milestone times. If you're interested, please contact pace bunny wrangler Dave Stark by email at
Product of the Week
New Balance 1080 Running Shoes
Brian Breit is tough on shoes and goes through multiple pairs a year. He says he particularly enjoys New Balance and Saucony shoes, with the New Balance 1080 being his favourite go-to runner. (Photo: www.NewBalance.ca)
The Brainsport Times brings you news and stories from Saskatoon's running community every Wednesday. If you have a story to share, an event you want featured or suggestions for future content, please email Brainsport Times editor
Runners registering for any Saskatchewan Marathon event this year will once again have the option of adding a donation to their race fee to support the Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA). The MVA is a non-profit organization that does conservation work along the South Saskatchewan River Basin and maintains and upgrades of the Meewasin Valley trail system. “We’re using it so much. Let’s put back, let’s give back,” says Peter Goode, president of the Saskatoon Road Runners Association (SRRA), which organizes the Saskatchewan Marathon. SRRA President Peter Goode with dog Willie on a run along the Meewasin Valley trails. The MVA has been the Saskatchewan Marathon’s charity of choice since 2010. In the past, the MVA has netted between $7,000 and $10,000 each year from runners who donate while registering for Saskatchewan Marathon events. Last year, people gave roughly $7,500 to the organization when registering and the SRRA matched that amount, for...
When Saskatoon Road Runners Association (SRRA) President Peter Goode heard that the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival was planning to build a permanent site for its performances, he knew it was a perfect project for the city’s running community to help out with. Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan leases land from the city on the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River near the Prairie Lily riverboat dock and former Mendel Art Gallery building. The organization spends weeks erecting a main stage every spring and then takes it down at the end of each summer once performances are over. When shows are not being performed, the site is locked. Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is now in the midst of a fundraising campaign to create a permanent base for its festival. In addition to building an amphitheatre, the organization has plans to convert the nearby seasonal washrooms to year-round facilities with an indoor...
When first-time runners look at winter running gear, they are often amazed by how thin and lightweight it is, says Brainsport fit specialist Colin Federow. “They say ‘How is that going to keep you warm?’ Well we’re forgetting the factor that we’re generating heat,” Federow says. “Whatever the temperature is outside, add 10C to it and that’s what it’s going to feel like when you’re running … If you dress for -20C because that’s the temperature, you’re going to be too hot by the time you get running because it’s going to feel more like -10C.” Federow spoke with the Brainsport Times to share some tips about how to dress for winter running. Layering For both pants and tops, layering is key. Federow recommends people wear one to three layers on their legs and torsos depending on the temperature and whether they tend to feel hot or cold when outside. On...
very winter, Colin Federow hears the same question over and over again: How can I run without slipping on ice?The Brainsport fit specialist says there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every runner, but Brainsport carries a variety of shoes and accessories that people can choose from so they can keep moving even when snow and ice cover their favorite running paths.He sat down with the Brainsport Times to lay out the three most popular options.Pull-on gripsProducts like the Due North Everyday G3 Ice Snow Traction Aid ($26) and Nordic Grip running traction aid ($40) fit over your favorite shoes to provide grip. “The reason I like that is that you can be out running and if you feel that it’s icy you can slip it on quick and away you go,” Federow says. Pull-on grips allow you to turn your favorite shoes into winter runners so you don’t need to...
Each year Brainsport presents the Ric Hanna Award to a runner who demonstrates leadership and makes running more meaningful for fellow run club members. This year’s Ric Hanna Award winner is Don Cochrane, who has been a part of Brainsport’s run clubs since the run club’s first meeting in July 1991. Prior to accepting the award on Dec. 22, Cochrane spoke with the Brainsport Times about his journey in running and what the Brainsport run club has meant to him. Don Cochrane’s fascination with running began in his early teens. He remembers growing up in Ontario and being captivated by stories of the great athletes who raced the Boston Marathon. “I thought ‘Nobody in their right mind could ever run 26 miles,’ ” recalls Cochrane, now 78. “This just caught the imagination of a 13 year old. But way down deep, I said ‘One day, one day I’m going to do...
Following Brainsport's free Saturday morning run club this weekend, Brainsport will present the Ric Hanna Award to an athlete who has demonstrated leadership and made running more meaningful for fellow run club members. The presentation will take place in Brainsport's community room at 10 a.m. as part of a holiday celebration. Brainsport will provide some coffee and tea. Runners — please bring some dainties to share! In other good news: Six-year-old Lucy Olynick loves her new shoes. The Gr. 1 student has been showing them off to her classmates since she bought them at Brainsport last month. The shoes are sparkly, which Lucy thinks is awesome. But what makes them really special is they have a zipper that allows the shoes to completely open up so Lucy can slide her feet in easily even though she wears ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs). Lucy was born with club feet and used to wear casts...
This week the Brainsport Times bids farewell to outgoing editor Tara Campbell, who has put out this weekly newsletter since the spring of 2015. Back then, Campbell had just left a job in daily news in Saskatoon when Brainsport owner Brian Michasiw asked her if she would take over the weekly newsletter. "The timing worked out well for me," Campbell recalls. "When Brian approached me about writing the Times, I thought it would be a great fit. I love to write and I love to run — it was an easy decision." Campbell now lives in Omaha, Nebraska and recently started a new reporting gig for the local NBC affiliate. "Life has become a whole lot busier," she said. "Simply put, it’s time to let go of the Times." This newsletter is now being edited by myself, Andrea Hill, in the moments when I'm not running or writing for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. I talked...