Alt+Run-To

Alt(ernative)+Run(ning)-To(ronto) is a new style of running group starting in Toronto in April 2018. With a focus on simplicity, fun, results, community and authenticity the group will offer an ethical, plant-based alternative to the cities growing running scene.

The Alt+Run-To will meet on Saturday mornings from the end of April on the running track at Earlscourt Park, Lansdowne Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 3Z8. Entrance to the club, and track, is free; if you have any questions, and to register interest in coming along, email dave@trekandrun.com

Meet the group founders; Jenn (co-ordinator for the Toronto chapter of No Meat Athlete), Dave (winner of the Canadian 24hr Championships running event last year) and Ella, (founder of AE3 Nutrition)!

29852694_10160223955165137_1466719841_n

Jenn Johnston-Fudge

What got you started in running? Was it any particular person or experience that inspired you?

I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Ontario and started running as a way to be active without having to drive 30+ minutes to a gym or fitness center.  Running always seemed like something I would enjoy as it didn’t involve working around anyone else’s schedule, or any travel;  I just needed time and my workout gear.

Tell us of a few of your most memorable running moments, good or bad.

My favourite moment was training for my first half marathon.  I had never run more than 10 km (and that had only happened once at the time) so as I started building mileage I was so surprised and pleased by my ability to go further each week.  I felt like such a badass when I came back from my first 16km long run.  I honestly think I was more excited to be out weekly, adding mileage and exploring trails and paths around the city than I was when I completed the actual race.

What is your favourite running trail or path in Toronto?

Definitely the Beaches.  I’m clearly a little biased because I live in the area but the Martin Goodman Trail along Woodbine and Kew Beach is just my favourite part of the city to run through.

What sort of running or race related goals are you working towards at the moment?

I am currently working on getting faster, and training for a half marathon (May) and a full marathon (September).

22687907_10154908904281615_7149072156267850928_n

How important is nutrition to you as a runner?

Nutrition is extremely important to me.  I am very aware of the difference in my running ability based on what sort of eating habits I’ve had leading up to the run, good or bad.  Eating well makes for a better run, which is more enjoyable for me.

What food do you tend to train, and race, with?

I eat a mostly ‘whole food plant based’ diet and so I like to bring natural fuel like dates, other fruits, energy balls (made of dates/fruit/etc) and such things with me for a race or a long training run.  I have played around with Tailwind and am open to trying the more natural fuel sources available, but my constant would be dates.

Have you gone through any dietary changes influenced by your running life, and where are you at the moment regarding food/fuel?

Many years ago when I was vegetarian I also removed dairy from my diet based on a recommendation from my ND, and noticed how much better I ran and felt when I was working out.  The dairy worked it’s way back into the diet for a period but since removing it again completely a little over 2 years ago and going from vegetarian to vegan, I’ve felt pretty great overall.

What is your strongest suit as an athlete – mentality, physical abilities, being a student of the sport, or anything else?

I want to say my desire to learn new training methods, veg/natural fuel sources and to just keep on working at it would be my strongest suits.  I suppose that could be referred to as being stubborn…my desire to keep running and keep trying to do better even if I go through long periods of having terrible races and runs.

Which athlete has most inspired you in the past?

Terry Fox, Lanni Marchant, Krista Duchene, Mirna Valerio and all the people I’ve met through various running groups, such as JP’s Team and No Meat Athlete.

What or who inspires you to continue running into the future?

My goals and love of being active keep me running.  I want to do better.  I want to stay fit and be even fitter for my health, wellbeing and so I can improve my race times.  I’m also regularly motivated by all the active people in my social media circles and in my life.

What book/podcast would you recommend any runner to read/listen to?

I really enjoy the No Meat Athlete podcast, Rich Roll podcast, Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, Running Into Yourself by Jean-Paul Bedard and for both motivation and entertainment I recommend The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal.

What’s your take on setting goals, and what goals have you set yourself for the foreseeable future?

I love setting goals.  Each year, and often a few times more throughout the year, I like to set goals and revisit those I have already set.  I find goal-setting to be very motivating.  I probably fail at these goals 30% of the time (or more sometimes) but that is how I learn what sort of goals I want to set next and how better to approach said goals.

What do you hope to gain from being involved in the running group?

I hope share knowledge, get a little extra motivation for my own running goals and meet more like-minded people.

And what do you hope to add to the running group?

I hope to be able to share the things I have learned, both the fails and successes and help to motivate and encourage other runners.

What can other runners expect to experience when they show up for Saturday training?

A welcoming environment for runners of all speeds and experience where we’ll train together, share fueling and workout knowledge, and have fun doing so!

28167871_10155210472336615_9012457520307589254_n

Dave Wise

What got you started in running? Was it any particular person or experience that inspired you?

I got invited to try out for Southampton Football Club back in the UK when I was 15, it was autumn and the trials were going to be in spring, so I decided to spend winter running after school to improve my fitness. I didn’t have any running shoes, kit or money to buy it and I also didn’t know anybody who ran, so I took inspiration from Stallone in the ‘Rocky’ movie, wearing a bin liner instead of a jacket, and flat gym shoes. We had a low range of hills near home, they were pretty wild with few villages and no lighting at all, so I’d run 8 to 10 miles a night across them in what was usually dreary weather. I loved it, I was working towards the football trials and life couldn’t have felt any more fulfilling.

Tell us of a few of your most memorable running moments, good or bad.

Well, I didn’t get picked for Southampton, but all that running did get me extremely fit. We had the regional long distance running champion at my school, he was also about to be picked for the England team, and in the spring, after the football trials, we had a 5k cross country race. He was in it and he came second because I was finished, showered, dressed and sat outside waiting by the time he came in. That felt pretty good! Another memorable moment was my first marathon, it was in Sri Lanka, we had to start at 6am as the sun was brutal once it was up, the smell of ripe fruit was everywhere, the roads weren’t closed so it was crazy traffic, cows wandering everywhere and so many people were running barefoot. I struggled badly, took over 5 hours to complete the race, but loved it all the same, the people were so supportive. Plus it was great to finish a race on the beach and be able to swim in a warm sea straight afterwards!

I guess my most recent nice memory is when I first won the 24 hour men’s Canadian Championship race in 2016. I was up against 4 former champions that day but I had such a will to win. Even when it looked like I’d lose by a long distance I still kept the belief, and in the end I succeeded.

Bad memories? I have very few. Perhaps the few times when I’m injured, just so I can recall what I did wrong to get myself in that position. There’s only so much headspace I have and I don’t want to give it over to anything that can’t help me.

What is your favourite running trail or path in Toronto?

I run the waterfront trail from Sunnyside out to Etobicoke most days, I find the lake a very peaceful and relaxing place to be. The trails of Sunnybrook Park are nice if I’m in the mood for hills. The Don Valley in winter is spectacular. Some times I don’t get there until around midday yet the snow is still unbroken on the path and the bushes arch over you, all white and like some Narnia garden arbor.

IMG_1894

What sort of running or race related goals are you working towards at the moment?

I’d like to train for a sub 3 hour marathon, I think I’ll be doing that all summer and have a go at it with the Hamilton Marathon this November. I want to run for fun more, as well. I haven’t got lost in running for a long time. Some call it ‘being in the zone’ or ‘flow’. I’d like to experience that again. Also, I’ve done a lot with my running, and it’s taken me to many wonderful places, so I’m looking forward to helping others get as much fulfillment out of it as I have.

How important is nutrition to you as a runner?

As important as sleeping well, as training, as anything really. I do believe that if we can make 80% of our food choices good ones, then we will be able to live a healthy, active life. Of course, 90% would be better, but we have to be realistic!

What food do you tend to train, and race, with?

I’m often experimenting. I’ve run marathons on dates, or dates stuffed with coffee granules, or biscuits and fruit (this is a popular combination at races in Italy) and with just the gels/junk that many races provide at aid stations. At the moment I’m using a mix of AE3 Nutrition, Tailwind and dates, with boiled potatoes thrown in if the race is an ultra.

Have you gone through any dietary changes influenced by your running life, and where are you at the moment regarding food/fuel?

I went vegan several years ago and since then I’ve won races for the first time, shed a few pounds and been able to train more often because the anti inflammatory properties of the vegan diet help you recover from training sessions far quicker than a meat and dairy diet does. I didn’t go vegan for the health or sporting benefits, they’re just a very welcome side effect of a more ethical lifestyle.

What is your strongest suit as an athlete – mentality, physical abilities, being a student of the sport, or anything else?

I think you have to aspire to excel in all of these things if you want to run at your best. Plus, you need to turn up! This seems simple to say, but so many people fail at that first hurdle. There’s always something else to be doing with life, and that stops them training. Of course, they’re correct, there is always something else to be doing with ones time, but if you want to become better at running, and get healthy, then you have to put the work in and turn up to your training sessions. Personally I tend to be hard on myself, excuses aren’t of much use to anybody, least of all the ones we offer up to ourselves. I’d add to this, a runner must explore and understand the difference between an excuse and a solid reason. So, critical thinking is also something that I say I try to employ to help me get better, not just at running, but at being me.

29512296_10155274539111615_5063835818590732288_n

Which athlete has most inspired you in the past?

Roger Bannister, the first person to break the 4 minute mile and a complete gentleman. Steve Ovett was also a favourite of mine, he always seemed to just gut it out at races, kind of like Emil Zatopek. And more recently, Scott Jurek, who showed me that being vegan isn’t a handicap for runners, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

What or who inspires you to continue running into the future?

I want to remain actively engaged in a physical life for as long as possible, and running seems to offer me that opportunity at the moment. Also, I’m quite good at it, and it’s nice to be able to do something well if you’re able. I’ve been invited to run for the Canadian National 24 hour Team at the 2019 World Championships as long as I get my citizenship papers, so that’s a good goal to aim for, too.

What book/podcast would you recommend any runner to read/listen to?

Scott Jurek’s book ‘Eat and Run’ changed everything for me, so I’d recommend that. There’s another couple of books, ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Natural Born Heroes’, both by Chris McDougall, that may take liberties with reality at time but are inspirational all the same. And whilst I’m running I like to listen to the BBC ‘In Our Time’ podcasts, there’s a range of fascinating broadcasts on history, culture and philosophy; it’s great to learn something each day as I run to work!

What’s your take on setting goals, and what goals have you set yourself for the foreseeable future?

Goals are a good means of motivating yourself, and working out who you are and what you want. Apart from the running goals I outlined before I have set a goal for 2018 of reading a book a month, and learning an online course every month too. It’s proving to be quite taxing!

What do you hope to gain from being involved in the running group?

The opportunity to learn from, and help, other runners, and to help create a genuine community which will hopefully impact the lives around us in a positive way.

And what do you hope to add to the running group?

I can interpret running jargon and training methods, and share my experience of running at all levels. I remember how it was for me at the beginning, the 1st month or so of running was incredible difficult, and I think I can help people through that time so they can go forward and flourish.

What can other runners expect to experience when they show up for Saturday training?

A jargon-free approach to running, and opportunities to run for fun, or train hard! We’ll have speed training for all levels, tempo runs, hill work and barefoot training warm downs on grass (these are essential for the health of the muscles and bones in our feet, it’ll help us avoid injury). I trained a few times with Maria Polyzou, the Greek Marathon record holder, at the Olympic Stadium in Athens and learnt so much from her and her group of runners. I’d love to share that knowledge and joy of running with runners here in Toronto!

29681498_184561992348894_1626111402_o

Ella Langer

What got you started in running?

I haven’t been into many endurance sports up until two years ago, strength training has always been my strong suit. However, when I started making the AE3 nutrition product which is for endurance athletes I got more into running as a result.

That’s when I started embarking on short distance runs. Soon enough I found the excitement build as I started doing road races that supported charities close to my heart.

Was there any particular person or experience that inspired you?

A year and a half ago, when I came up with a recipe and started working on product development for my organic vegan line of nutrition, I reached out to several inspirational athletes to collaborate with. Pip Taylor,  a pro triathlete and sports nutritionist in Australia, was 0ne of those athletes and has been with me since day one, providing me with a sense of direction and purpose.

Tell us of a few of your most memorable running moments, good or bad.

One of my best mementoes was running for the 15k RBC race in 2017 in support of childrens mental health. It was my longest race yet, I unfortunately happened to injure my hamstring a day before and after getting some intense chiropractic treatment and being taped up I was given the thumbs up to go and managed to run the entire race! I even landed up meeting a 75 year old runner who started keeping pace with me after about 3k into the race. We made it to the finish line, supporting each other and chatting about our lives, as we ran, it was great.

What is your favourite running trail or path in Toronto?

High park for sure! There’s something about running by the water and listening to nature.

What sort of running or race related goals are you working towards at the moment?

I am working on committing to one race per month from May to September. Distances varying from 5k-10k. I am working with a coach this time around and focused on proper form and training so I can run safe.

29746711_184561975682229_471113001_o

How important is nutrition to you as a runner?

Very! Running adds so much strain and stress on the body and the joints; it’s remarkable how many runners become injured, continue to run through their injury and all the while they don’t pay any attention to their nutrition. Proper fuel is so imperative; food is thy medicine.

What food do you tend to train, and race, with? I use my product line, Athletic Energy3. Its 100% organic raw vegan nutrition for all stages of training. My strategy is to consume the bite sized ‘pucks’ provided for each stage of training. ‘Energize’ is taken 15-20 mins before running, ‘perform’ as training gets intense, then afterwards I use the ‘recover’ puck.

Have you gone through any dietary changes influenced by your running life, and where are you at the moment regarding food/fuel?

I’ve recently become vegan and have been finding new ways of experimenting with food to nourish my body and fuel my energy. It’s still very new to me and my body is getting accustomed to the dietary changes, finding a balance regarding eating the right food at the right time.

What is your strongest suit as an athlete – mentality, physical abilities, being a student of the sport, or anything else?

My strongest suit would be mentally aiming to push myself to my limits. In the past two years I’ve taken to military style obstacle course races. The amount of endurance and strength needed for that is substantial and mentally being focused is key!

Which athlete has most inspired you in the past?

Pip Taylor; her dedication and commitment to pursue her dreams and reach higher is such an inspiration. She is also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to sports nutrition as well.

What or who inspires you to continue running into the future?

There are so many athletes I come across every day and each one has their own story, I find learning about other’s journey is what motivates me to push harder and go beyond what challenges me. Those who have fought through life’s toughest struggles and have come out stronger than ever before are truly inspiring.

What book/podcast would you recommend any runner to read/listen to?

Book – The Athletes Xix by Pip Taylor.

Podcast – Rich Roll. Rich is an inspirational vegan athlete who interviews others who have made positive changes in themselves and to the world.

What’s your take on setting goals, and what goals have you set yourself for the foreseeable future?

As an entrepreneur, goal setting is imperative, as is making sure they are attainable, measurable and that the drive is there to pursue them. My ideal goal and mission is to create a change in the way athletes chose to fuel themselves, making a positive impact and improving their performance dramatically with the use of functional food.

What do you hope to gain from being involved in the running group? 

A sense of community and commitment. Running with others who can motivate and push each other to reach their full potential, to be there for one another at times when life gets you down and know that we are there to support each other on our own journeys.

What can other runners expect to experience when they show up for Saturday training?

They can expect to have the support of a team, and a non judgmental community that understands that everyone is there for their own personal reason and embracing each others strengths.

The Alt+Run-To meets on Saturday mornings from the end of April on the running track at Earlscourt Park, Lansdowne Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 3Z8. Entrance to the club, and track, is free.

If you have any questions, and to let us know you’re coming, email dave@trekandrun.com

Comments are closed.