On the run with Reid
Q and A with a member
Of Canada’s Olympic team
When the 900-plus young runners head off for the last two kilometres in the Schools
Marathon Challenge this Sunday, any aspiring marathoners among them need look no
further for inspiration than the guy leading the pack — Reid Coolsaet.
Winner of numerous national championships at distances from 5K to the marathon,
Coolsaet was one of three Canadian marathoners competing in the 2012 London
Olympics — the first time since 1996 that runners have met the required qualifying
And at the 2011 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, on a particularly blustery day, he ran
a personal best 2:10:55, just 46 seconds off the Canadian record that has stood for 37
A native of Hamilton, and graduate of the University of Guelph where he did his
college running, Coolsaet will lead youthful participants in the schools challenge
program, starting from Upper Rapids Boulevard to the finish line at Table Rock Centre.
Here’s what one of Canada’s marathoning stars had to say on a variety of running
Q. What attracted you to the marathon?
A. I always knew I would run the marathon. It’s a natural progression for runners to
compete at the 5K and 10K, then half marathon and marathon. It seems I always get
better as the distance gets longer. I just waited until my training was at a level where I
could tackle the marathon….Some people take to it and some people don’t. Once I had a
couple of marathons under my belt, I felt it was my best event and I’ve been trying to
get better results ever since.
Q. Can you describe how the race went last year when you set your PB?
A. I had a pretty good feeling just because training had gone better than it ever had
before. I knew the course because I had qualified on it for the Olympics the year
before….It was a really windy day with 37 kilometre winds and I was hoping to break
2:10, but it slowed everybody down, at least by a minute.
Q. Are we seeing a resurgence in Canadian marathoning, and if so, can you offer a
A. At the elite level for sure. I qualified for the Olympics in 2010, and then Eric Gillis
qualified in 2011 and Dylan Wykes qualified in 2012, so you got three guys going to the
2012 Olympics and we hadn’t been there since ’96. We’ve got a lot of momentum going
forward and it looks like we’ve got a couple of other guys at 2:13 and 2:16….I think part
of it is a few more athletes sticking with it and believing they can have a successful
career in the marathon, and just putting in the workload. In the past maybe guys tried to
do it without the running volume and now we’re training a bit more than the guys
ahead of us were and the results are showing.
Q. What’s a typical training day, say a month before a marathon?
A. It would be about 35 kilometres. I would normally do two runs, but if it was a
specific marathon workout I would do it all in one run. I would do 20-25 kilometres hard.
Q. What does that work out to per week?
A. For 12 weeks I averaged 215 kilometres a week…The Kenyans have been doing big
volume all along and they’ve always been running well, and now North Americans are
doing big volume, and the results we’ve seen from the Americans and from the
Canadians in the past five years have been way better than the five years before that. . .