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Love in the Time of Sneakers 

On his way to the Boston Marathon, HOKA athlete Gabriel Jarquin reflects on the pleasure and pain

It’s Sunday afternoon and as I throw myself on the sofa after a carb loaded shake, a hot shower and a light meal having just finished my first 30K+ long run of the season I ask myself, why do I do this? After 9 marathons you would think I would have an answer ready. My dog is looking at me from her bed letting me know she’s ready for her daily 90 min walk but I just need to lie here for 30 mins of stillness before I brave the rest of the day. I feel like I am in a daze. Like I just got back from a techno rave. My mind is hungry but my body rejects the idea of any more food. I’m so tired I can’t even keep my eyes open. And it wasn’t just a long run. No, my long runs always have an element of speed in them. Today it was a 60 min warm up, then 5K at marathon pace, 20 mins easy, another 5K at marathon pace finishing off with another 20 mins easy to make it 32K total. As I look back at the 2 hours and 13 mins that I was out  on the roads it all comes back to me. The  joy that comes from running. The feeling of pushing your body to its limits  to hold onto a pace that you’re supposed to eventually hold on for an entire 42.2K. I kept reminding myself, this is nothing compared to the pain and fatigue you’ll feel on race day. I tell myself often that running isn’t easy and that it’s going to suck more often than not. I read somewhere that running a marathon is like childbirth. It’s one of the worst things one can endure but like many marathoners,  after crossing the finish line in pain and agony it’s only going to be a few minutes before I’m making plans for my next marathon. I run because it's become a part of who I am. My identity is built into my love for the sport. I’ve been running since I can remember. It was and still is my safe space. A place where I can completely be myself and be celebrated for it. A place where I belong.

“I run because it’s part of who I am.”

After sharing a screenshot of my Strava with the guy I’m dating, his immediate response was “that’s insane, 32K that’s a lot, hope you are okay”.
The truth is I’m not okay. I’m dead. And fine, maybe I’m a bit of a drama queen, but I wear that tiara with pride. In all seriousness though, I wouldn't trade this Sunday for anything. The long run is my favourite run of the week. It’s the final ingredient in the week’s training plan where it all comes together. It can take  you to dark places but as soon as you’re in that final stretch I begin to celebrate as if I’m running towards that finish line with the roar of the crowd ringing in my ears and tears running down my face. I’m 100%  one of those runners that cries after completing a hard workout and I encourage anyone to do the same. Feel your emotions. Feel that joy. Running is a gift that one must cherish. 11 weeks till Boston, we’re at the beginning of the journey towards Boston glory.

We asked Canada’s running icons what were five things they were loving, right now  

Valentines from the All-Time Greats 

Malindi Elmore
Representing Canada in the Women's Marathon at the Paris Olympics

A big stack of books on my bedside table. I have “Lessons in Chemistry,” “Annabel,” “Psychology of Money,” “Master of Change,” and “Travel Hacks” all partially read right now!

A new pair of fast running shoes to try—Endorphin Elites.


Hot Chocolate month in Kelowna!  

Friends to warm up with before doing our own workouts (Trevor Hofbauer and Joanna Brown!)

Going somewhere fun with my husband. We’re leaving today for Paris—February 14th—partly a 20-year anniversary celebration and partly a “hope we will be here again in the summer” trip. 

Mark Sutcliffe

Founder of iRun, Mayor of Ottawa

Running with friends: In a busy life, sometimes the only way to see a friend is to go for a run together. I'm grateful that I have that opportunity with a few of my pals.

Smartless: I recently started binging the podcast featuring Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. It's fun and hilarious and I especially enjoy the frequent Canadian references from Toronto-born Arnett. 

Wordle and Connections: Every night at bedtime, my daughter Kate and I do a couple of New York Times word puzzles together. Kate tries to protect our little tradition by stopping her mother and brother from participating.

Baseball off-season: I'm grateful to have a son who loves baseball as much as I do. Jack and I have been counting down the days to spring training and following all the trades and free-agent signings leading up to it.

Chef Reactions: My wife Ginny and I send each other Instagram reels to lighten each other's day and the most frequent source is a chef who comments candidly, often with disgust and contempt, on people who post videos demonstrating their recipes.

Sawyer Nicholson 

Fastest 12-year old Canadian girl in the 5K

Sephora Summer Fridays Lip Balm: Keeps my lips glowing all day.

New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Elite v4: Fit amazing and feel fast.

Cotton candy flavoured Bubble Yum: Tastes great and helps me to concentrate.

Olivia Rodrigo: Her music has me moving and grooving during my runs.

Playing Soccer: Spending time with my talented group of friends. 

Ben Flanagan 

Last month hit the 5,000 metre standard for 2024 Paris Olympic Games

Falmouth Road Road race. My favourite road race—both the first big win of my career and where I met my wife. 

Norman and Paris. My two dogs. A spaniel and a Golden Retriever mix they do everything—run and nap with me. 

On Cloud Monster. My favourite shoe. I spend a lot of time in them, every day.  
My mom, dad and sisters. They’ve been unconditionally supportive my whole career.  

Kevin Sullivan, my coach and my favourite runner of all-time. 


Red wine. I love it. I’ve been to Spain and like Spanish wine but any good old classic cabernet. (I can do with some Pinot Noir, as well).  

Krista DuChene 

Olympian, Marathon Mom, legend

Trusting and embracing a new way of running as I move away from marathons to something new and different.

Weekly runs with a good friend who’s about to take on the same new adventure as me - Sulphur Springs 100 km. 

Looking forward to a deeper social element to running as I plan to follow my friends along the trails this spring. Because we all know I’d get lost and not nearly have the same fun without them. 

Letting my body dictate things like pace, mileage, and time based long runs while continuing to strive to age gracefully. Because I’m closer to 50 than 40.

Family, faith, friendships and coffee. 

Cam Levins

Olympian, Canada’s all-time fastest Marathon Man

Studio Ghibli movies. Working my way through the entire collection chronologically.

Nintendo Switch. Playing games with my wife when we have the time. 

Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps (Canadian Pairs Figure Skaters). Just watched them win the 4 Continents Championships! They're both fighters and breaking barriers in their sport.

ASICS Novablast 4. Daily training shoe that handles high mileage. 

My wife (always, not just right now).

Bring Good People Together to Do Good Things 

Quinton Jacobs has always used running as a means of giving back to communities. With Ubuntu, alongside Anoke Dunston and André Morgan, their non-profit heart finds a home.

iRun: When did you first start running and why—how did it make you feel?  
Quinton Jacobs:
I started running about 20 years ago when I first became a father. It was a chance to ‘touch down’ and feel grounded. At a time when I had so many hats to wear and versions of myself to be, running was the time when I felt most like ‘Q.’

iRun: I saw you at the TCS Waterfront Marathon last year, pacing another runner. What were you doing that day? 
QJ: Ah yes… I was pacing Abdul, a young man from the Kickback Run Club. The Kickback is a program focused on mentoring young people in underserved communities, and the Kickback Run Club uses running as an outlet. I was fortunate enough to coach Abdul many years ago in a different youth running program where he ran his first 5K, but the day you saw us he was running his very first half marathon.

iRun: Where have you run and what are some of the things you’ve done with your running?
Geez… you’re gon’ need volumes, lol. Well over twenty marathons including all but one of the World Marathon Majors. Non-stop ultra-relays from Toronto to New York City, Toronto to Chicago, and Toronto to Boston (Escape). An ultra-relay through the Atacama desert in Chile (The Speed Project 2.0), a run atop of a mountain in Alyeska, Alaska, and a 90K ultra marathon in South Africa x2 (Comrades). But over and above these running antics all over the world, there is nothing like running through the streets of Toronto with my peeps, crews and youth programs close to home.


Rather than focus on PB’s and the physical components of the running as I had before,

I leaned into using running for my mental health.

iRun: So awesome, man. And you mentioned André, who a lot of us know through his pictures, is involved with promoting trail running in the Black community and I know Anoke through the Scarborough 5K. What unites all these ideas? 

QJ: Anoke, André and I (along with several other friends in our network), met volunteering at several programs and community initiatives around the city. Ubuntu Collective was a way for us to focus some of the work we were doing, but the thing that unites all of these initiatives is our collective appreciation for the value and impact of community, as well as the time, energy, and love that we all pour into these places.


iRun: For a newer runner, how do you think the volunteering aspect of the sport can help richen the experience overall? 
QJ: Purpose enriches any experience. Running for a cause can help tie your efforts to something greater than yourself. PB’s are great, but a PB is such a relative goal and when you step back enough and consider all of the variables that contribute to running your fastest time, PB is quite arbitrary. However, tying your best effort to something greater than yourself can unlock a whole new appreciation for the sport; an appreciation that reaches far past our fastest times or longest distances.


iRun: What are your current goals for the year? 
Britt and I are getting married in November and my biggest and best goal this year is to enjoy all of the planning as well as the twists-and-turns. We’re fortunate to share so many of these community initiatives and crazy running antics, so the goal is to hang on for the ride together.


iRun: Today’s Valentine’s Day. Why, after so many races, so many miles, do you still love to run? 
QJ: Because it’s still the moments I’m running when I feel most like “Q” 


To learn more about Ubuntu, please click here.

By Sam Laskaris


The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Run, annually organised by Achilles Canada, scheduled for Mar. 17, marks the 25th anniversary of the event. Brian McLean, race director and founding volunteer president of Achilles Canada, is proud the event has endured.


“It’s our biggest fundraiser for Achilles Canada and we’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars not only for Achilles, but for other organisations as well.”

Achilles Canada, founded in 1999, is a non-profit organisation. It provides people with various disabilities an opportunity to receive the physical, psychological, and communal benefits of running or walking. Able-bodied members are among those who provide support to Achilles athletes.


Achilles Canada to celebrate silver anniversary of its St. Patrick’s Day race

McLean said there’s another reason why the Achilles Canada event has become popular.

“People like this race because it has a theme to it, St. Patrick’s Day,” he said. “People want to get out and run on St. Patrick’s Day knowing they can enjoy a pint of beer afterwards.”

McLean added race support is strong for an additional reason.

“Charitable organisations like our race because it is inclusive,” he said. “We don’t exclude anyone and it’s open for all.”

This year, McLean told iRun the race has a new location.

“We’ve moved to the Evergreen Brick Works, because it’s bigger,” he said. “It also gets us out of the downtown core where there has been so much construction.”


Organisers are hoping to attract at least 2,000 runners. A new venue also obviously translates into a new route. From the start, at 550 Bayview Avenue, participants will venture south on the Bayview Extension to Rosedale Valley Road. The halfway point will be reached on Rosedale Valley Road. Entrants will then turn around and journey back to the start/finish line. A 10K option is also available. 

“We have runners and walkers that do it for fun and to raise money for their charitable organisation,” he said. “And we also have some elite runners, so it does get competitive.”

The Toronto event will also include a special moment this year.

“We’re planning a memorial celebration in honour of Dick Traum, who recently passed away,” McLean said. “Dick was the founder of the Achilles Track Club of New York.” 

McLean and Traum were close.

“He was my inspiration, my mentor, he’s the one who inspired me to take on Achilles Canada back in 1999,” McLean said. “I’ve been doing it ever since and I love it.” 


Meanwhile, On Running is returning as one of the event’s sponsors.

“They lend their expertise in providing funding to help promote and showcase Achilles Canada as well as providing prizing,” McLean said.

In 2023, On Running provided one of its sponsored athletes, Ben Flanagan, an almost certain 2024 Paris Olympian, as a guide runner for one of Achilles’ speediest members, Radane Wright. 

Achilles Canada had formed a partnership with On Running during the summer of 2021. The company supports Achilles athletes by offering them free running shoes after they have logged in more than 500 kilometres in their existing shoes. Since the launch of the partnership, On Running has provided more than 120 pairs of its shoes to Achilles athletes.

“Its goal is to support community-based organisations such as Achilles Canada that are getting people moving and feeling confident and safe,” an On spokesperson said.

The partnership is part of On Running’s Right To Run social impact program, which is a critical manifestation of its mission in the world.

More information and registration info on the Toronto event is available here

“We are planning a memorial celebration in honour of Dick Traum, this year now that he has passed away,” McLean said. “Dick Traum was the original founder of the Achilles Track Club of New York.”

McLean and Traum were rather close.

“He was my inspiration, my mentor, he’s the one who inspired me to take on Achilles Canada back in 1999,” McLean said. “I’ve been doing it ever since and I love it. I thoroughly enjoy working to help those with a disability get fit and active by using the sport of running.” 

Meanwhile, On Running is returning as one of the event’s sponsors.

“They lend their expertise in providing funding to help promote and showcase Achilles Canada and the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Run as well as providing prizing for all our race winner categories,” McLean said.

In 2023, On Running provided one of its sponsored athletes, Ben Flanagan, one of the country’s top 5K runners, as a guide runner for one of Achilles’ speediest members, Radane Wright. Together they completed the course in 20 minutes and 48 seconds.

Achilles Canada had formed a partnership with On Running during the summer of 2021. The company supports Achilles athletes by offering them free running shoes after they have logged in more than 500 kilometres in their existing shoes.

Since the launch of the partnership, On Running has provided more than 120 pairs of its shoes to Achilles athletes.

The partnership is part of On Running’s Right To Run social impact program, which is a critical manifestation of its brand values and mission in the world.

“Its goal is to support community-based organisations such as Achilles Canada that are tackling these barriers, getting people moving and feeling confident and safe,” On spokesperson said.

More information and registration info on the Toronto event is available here.


With 20+ years behind this annual spring event and now with a new major partner, the marathon has returned to Mississauga in full force! We are proud and excited to announce Beneva as the Title Partner of the Mississauga Marathon, joining other notable races including Montreal Marathon and Quebec City Marathon. The event, under new ownership, promises an unforgettable race weekend.


Not only has the marathon distance returned but it is also experiencing registrations higher than it has seen in the past 13 years! The shore of Lake Ontario awaits after you travel through the bustling city centre, the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, the gorgeous communities of south Mississauga and the Waterfront Trail.

Run in the 'Sauga

Beneva Mississauga Marathon event also includes an Athletics Canada Road Race Label half marathon, a 10K and the Novo Nordisk 5K.  


Race day is made hassle-free with ample free parking, free baggage check and plenty of toilets. Our Spectator Village, within the confines of Celebration Square, will offer a variety of entertainment, food and activations for all.

“You got this!”


Beneva is bringing ‘CHEERS’ to the event! Supporters will be able to upload personalized words of encouragement pre-race which will be displayed on a 20 foot screen for their runner to see as they pass. Beneva volunteers wearing their trademark purple will also offer words of inspiration and maybe a cow bell or two. The half marathon will feature a ‘Conquer the ‘Sauga Summit’ category where runners will be timed as they make their way up Riverwood Park Lane. Indeed, a challenging section, however live music will prepare you for the summit. Cheer stations along the route for all distances will keep you motivated and entertained.


All finishers will receive the uniquely designed M medal as well as post race snacks and hydration. Both the marathon and half marathon offer cash prizing of $5000 each.


Over the years, the marathon has not only provided a platform for personal achievement but has also raised significant funds for local charities, reinforcing its commitment to giving back to the community. This year the Beneva Mississauga Marathon proudly supports Trillium Health Partners and Dog Guides of Canada.

Event details, including course maps, can be found  here. Don’t miss out on the GTA’s best spring marathon. Will you be joining us and Run the ‘Sauga??




The best minds in running discuss if we ever need to bid farewell to PB

The Raptors developed ‘load management’ for Kawhi Leonard. They had him take off games during the regular season so the more mature athlete, who’d struggled with injury, could be ripe for the NBA Finals. Leonard’s skills didn’t deteriorate, he was the NBA Finals MVP. But does load management make sense for runners? As we age, do we need to decrease volume, race less and, if so, at what point does that begin? Like most things running, it depends. “There’s a biological age and a training age,” explains Reid Coolsaet, two-time Olympian, marathon coach and elite coordinator of the TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon. “You can get faster in your first ten years of your Training Age, so if you weren’t crushing it in your 20s and 30s you can absolutely PB (like my athlete Brian Murphy) in your 60s.”


“You can absolutely PB in your 60s.”

Doug Kells of BlackToe Running 

Natasha Wodak and Malindi Elmore, 42 and 43, respectively, have both run miles for decades and both aim to compete this summer at the Olympic Games (Elmore has qualified, Wodak looks to qualify this spring in London). It’s hard to get faster as you get older, but many runners hit new PBs as they age. 

“I'm 54 and I sometimes feel like I have one more really quick one in me,” says Doug Kells of BlackToe Running. “I'm faster than I was when I was 40. I'm just not as fast as when I was 49.” 

Ed Whitlock, the world’s all-time greatest masters runner—who broke three hours at 74 and broke four hours at 85—believed the records set by older runners were too slow. Assiduous in his arithmetic like he was consistent in his training, Whitlock told me desire was an aging runner’s greatest handicap. “Everyone’s potential as we age is gradually reduced due to physical strength reduction, reduced heart and lung capacity,” Whitlock wrote—by hand—in a story for iRun, “but a sub 3-hour marathon at 70 shouldn’t be that great a challenge for a talented marathon runner. The 85 and 90-year-old records are soft.”

According to Whitlock, if a runner decreases performance by 1% each year, the standard at 70-years-old should be 2:49 and three-hours flat at 76. He believed his 2:54:49 at 73 was superior to his 3:25:43 at 80.  “I’m not convinced that continued running accelerates terminal injury issues and think runners can continue to run well into their old age,” Whitlock wrote. So do runners slow down more than we have to? In my own running, I can’t tell for sure. Certainly motivation decreases, the miles add up and my competitive edge wains; does that make me slower more than anything physical going on? Last summer, Reid Coolsaet ran his guts out at the 25K Quebec Mega Trail. “I had a huge battle with this guy—eleven times we changed positions—and I wasn’t thinking, Oh, do I want to push this hard? I was going by instinct to win a race,” says Reid. “For me, changing race venues made me feel young again. It’s invigorating to find new ways to race.” When Reid switched from the track to the marathon, his motivation grew; similarly, when he moved from the marathon to ultras, the same thing happened: motivation staves off deterioration and, even if you’re running slower, your effort can remain the same. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard is competing for another championship—while observing load management—as he tries getting back into the finals of the NBA. Maureen Buckley is 56-years-old. She says she’s still chasing a PB. “It hadn’t crossed my mind,” she told iRun, “that I’m too old to crush.”  

Maureen Buckley

Doug Kells of BlackToe Running

Ed Whitlock

Photograph of Tom Petty courtesy of Warner Records

—Tom Petty

I don’t know, what I’ve been told: never slow down, never grow old.” 

More than almost any other shoe brand, New Balance has revitalized itself for the times. Once the epitome of Running 1970s, the Boston-based sneaker of titans like Emily Sisson and Gabby Thomas, New Balance emerged from a 2011 Ryan Gosling punchline in Crazy, Stupid Love to a streetwear company that makes skateboard shoes and oversized hoodies in between kitting out their Olympians. You can have your sneakers, says New Balance, and eat them too.

The 880, the running shoe New Balance premiered in 2010 and worn, perhaps, by Gosling’s screenwriters, remains true to the company’s ethos: it’s a comfortable neutral trainer that will offer support day after day. V14 of the popular 880 is an upgrade to an everyday workhouse: soft, energetic, highly-cushioned and roomy, the perfect partner for off-the-watch miles. A sneaker you can trust when you need to build miles to get ready for your race. 


With a wide toe box and stacked heel, the 880 fit—true to size—offers distinct comfort, while being light enough to also provide spark at the track. The comfortability, touts the company in its press materials, is a result of its “most cushioned” Fresh Foam experience, and the result is notable. It’s a long run perfect companion, yet light enough—at 270 grams—to maintain pop when a challenging workout requires multiple pace work at a single long distance. For this type of training—increasingly popular amongst marathon runners—the 880 outperforms many of its similarly priced competition (the shoe retails at $180, which may help runners identify the product model). 


Training for a spring marathon requires something like 90 kilometers-per-week. I began training January 1, which means I’ll be well over 1,500 kilometers by the time I take a deep breath at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend startline. I need shoes to withstand repeated pounding. Thus far, the 880v14 has triumphed over snow and glass (I run in Toronto) while remaining responsive enough for post-long run 200s. 


“Fiercely independent since 1906,” is the New Balance slogan, and even the company’s name—New Balance—is something I gravitated towards when beginning my journey as a runner. Who couldn’t use a new balance from time to time? 

The 880v14 has become a workhouse in my running shoe stable—a reliable shoe I can trust  when I have to put in work. New Balance was once a punch line in a Ryan Gosling film. In Barbie, as Ken, you could imagine him and his paramour—when they finally get their feet on the ground—with the Fresh Foam X 880v14 on their feet.


The Fresh Foam X 880v14

By Bill Vigars with Ian Harvey

Terry Fox’s Marathon
of Hope

TERry fox and me:

I first met Terry as the newly appointed director of marketing and publicity for the Canadian Cancer Society on June 9, 1980. He was 58 days into the Marathon of Hope, having dipped his prosthesis in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, Newfoundland and filled a bottle with sea water he planned to empty into the Pacific Ocean, symbolizing his sea-to-sea journey.


At 4:30 a.m., with a sliver of moon over the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick, Terry slid out the Ford EconoVan at the exact spot he had finished his twenty-four miles the previous day and continued his run.


I watched his unusual gait, taking slight hops after each step with his good left leg to give his prosthetic right leg time to catch up. His torso rocked and he rotated his hips, shifting weight from one leg to the other to swing the prosthetic around and forward to maintain stride. His arms bent at the elbow, his hands loosely clenched in front, he was a boxer in the fight of his life.

Yet his agony was palpable. That artificial leg, crude by today’s standards of $80,000 computer-controlled servo motors or even blades, already had 2,500 kms on it, racked up at a stubborn pace of four km per hour. 


Let’s be clear. Terry didn’t roll out of bed and start running marathons. Terry had always been a competitive athlete, especially basketball. When he lost his leg he became a wheelchair basketball All-Star. 


And like all athletes, Terry trained every day for years preparing for the Marathon of Hope. As he increased his mileage, he suffered bone bruises and shin splints and it became a process of pain management.

“Sometimes the beginning is the hard part. You have to take the first fifteen or twenty minutes to get warmed up. Then you get over a pain threshold.”

“Usually the pain came in different stages,” he said. “Sometimes the beginning is the hard part. You have to take the first fifteen or twenty minutes to get warmed up. Then you get over a pain threshold.”


By August 1979 he was running ten miles a day and five months later he was up to 20 miles a day and planning to hit 30 by April. He’d also lined up sponsors to defray costs along the way of his 4,000 mile quest.


Terry dipped his right leg into the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s harbour at 2:45 p.m. on April 12, 1980 and while the Marathon of Hope had a promising start in Newfoundland, by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, things were grim: Few crowds, fewer donations and little support from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Quebec was even worse with the police ordering him off the main highway where he was at least visible to potential donors fearing he’d be hit by a vehicle.

Things changed as he crossed into Ontario where he received a daily police escort while I’d been on the job stoking the publicity machine.


When he arrived in Ottawa for Canada Day 1980 massive crowds celebrating the nation’s birthday also welcomed him. That support grew to a tsunami as he headed west to Toronto. When he arrived three weeks later there were throngs lining the streets all the way downtown and an incredible hero’s welcome at Nathan Philips Square.

He was now a legend and crowds waited in every town. Terry chose not to run the most direct route across Canada, but to expose himself to the most people and maximize donations.


How did he do it? Terry ran one telephone pole at a time and thought only of the kids in the cancer ward. He was running for them. There was but one goal, to defeat cancer.


Sadly, Terry ran out of road on approaching Thunder Bay September 1, 1980, some 143 days and 3,339 miles or 5,373 kilometres into the Marathon of Hope. He never ran again.

Terry passed June 28, 1981 but his legacy lives on. Today more than a million people run in Terry Fox Marathons of Hope in Canada, the US, Cuba, China and around the world and have raised more than $1 billion for Cancer Research.


The cure is out there and we’re getting closer, one telephone pole at a time.

Terry & Me: The Inside Story of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope is available at major bookstores, or here

Made for the Ones You Love

Who else is in need of recipe inspiration? We’re giving you a trio of recipes for a fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner. Plus each one is easy enough you can easily add it into your weekly menu rotation.

Recipes by: Charmaine Broughton

Photo & Food Styling by: Meagan Broughton @eattrainadventure

Parsnip & Apple Soup

Apples and parsnips are the basis for this rich and cream soup. Try using ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears instead of apple, and try carrots if you don’t have parsnips on hand. Plus this soup can also be packed for lunch the next day. (Makes: 6 cups)

1 Tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced

1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup

½ tsp (2 ml) each, salt, pepper and ground cardamom

¼ tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon

1 apple, cored and chopped 

1 lb parsnips, washed, roughly chopped

6 cups  (1.5 L) vegetable stock

2 cloves garlic, minced
For Garnish:
Thinly sliced apple, fresh cracked pepper and drizzle of olive oil

1. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. 
2. Add maple syrup, salt, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, chopped apples and parsnips, stirring until spices are fragrant. 
3. Add stock slowly while scraping the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.
4. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until parsnips are fork tender.
5. Remove from heat, cool slightly and stir in garlic.
6. Pour soup into blender in batches and puree. To serve, heat soup and garnish each bowl with apple slices, pepper and oil.


Recipe courtesy of Italpasta. Photo credit: Johann Headley

Red Wine Spaghetti

Boiling the wine cooks out the alcohol creating a deliciously rich and flavourful dish! Plus, this simple pasta dish can easily be doubled for additional servings. (Serves: 2)


  • ½ lb (225 g) Italpasta Artisan Spaghetti

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup (125 ml) seasoned breadcrumbs

  • ½ bottle (375 ml) red wine, preferably Zinfandel

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) sugar

  • 2 clove garlic

  • Chili pepper flakes to taste

  • ¼ cup P(60 ml) parmesan cheese, freshly grated


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 minutes. Drain pasta and return to the pot. Place the pot back on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the wine and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

  2. While pasta cooks, heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs and continue to cook until toasted, about 5 minutes. Season breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. 

  3. Increase skillet temperature to medium-high heat. Add the spaghetti and any remaining liquid, toss for 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe courtesy of Italpasta. Photo credit: Johann Headley

Black Bean Brownies with Caramel Mascarpone Frosting

Black beans are the secret healthy ingredient in these deliciously decadent brownies. And can we get a moment for this frosting? Yes, it’s that good! (Makes 16 brownies)

Ingredients for brownies:

  • 1 can (540 ml) black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 3 eggs

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) softened butter

  • 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract

  • ½ cup (125 ml) quality cocoa powder

  • ½ cup (125 ml) dark chocolate chips

  • ½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) granulated sugar

  • ½ tsp  (2 ml) baking powder

  • ½ tsp (2 ml) salt

  • ¼ tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper (optional)

  • ½ cup (125 ml) dark chocolate chips 


For caramel mascarpone frosting:

  • ½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) butter

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) 35% heavy cream

  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) vanilla

  • Pinch salt

  • 4 oz (120 g) mascarpone cheese, room temperature (or brick style cream cheese)

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) icing sugar

Directions for brownies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

  2. Place beans in a bowl of food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until roughly chopped.

  3. Add eggs, butter, and vanilla and pulse until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when needed.

  4. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until batter is very well combined.

  5. Pour batter into an 8 X 8 inch square baking pan lined with parchment paper.

  6. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until edges are set and center is slightly jiggly.

  7. Remove from the oven and cool completely while making frosting.


For Frosting

  1. Place brown sugar, butter and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.

  2. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute, stirring once or twice until sugar has dissolved.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

  4. Cool caramel completely at room temperature.

  5. Beat mascarpone cheese with icing sugar.

  6. Beat in cooled caramel until evenly combined; if frosting seems too soft to spread, chill for an additional 20 minutes.

  7. Spread frosting evenly on brownies. Cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 Days.


Charmaine Broughton is a Muskoka/Toronto based cooking show host, guest expert, avid runner and author of Delicious & Doable: Recipes For Real and Everyday Life.


There's a reassuring firmness to the new Glycerin 21, an anecdote almost to the big foam, giant cushioning which has become the latest running shoe trend. Tied tightly at a series of mile repeats at 10K, half marathon and blitzkrieg speeds, the Glycerin 21 almost took on an anthropomorphic characteristic—they felt like wolves on my feet.

The Glycerin series, first launched in 2002, is arguably the flagship shoe from Brooks, the Seattle-based company that surpassed Nike in women's running shoe sales in 2021 and touts "Run Happy," as their inspiration slogan. Through the years, the Glycerin has morphed and adapted—a wider toe box, a fitted tongue, various innovations in foam—and this new model, sleek and aerodynamic, soft and fast—marks a major step forward of a legacy product.  

Weighing 9.8 ounces with a 10mm midsole drop, the Glycerin 21—white, black and grey with aqua blue accents in the pair that I tried—out-performed many of my other shoes on the track. During my first set of 2-mile repeats, I felt the shoe not only steady me, but provide excellent energy return. The Glycerin 21 features nitrogen-infused DNA Loft v3, innovative cushioning, and midsole propulsion. 

After completing the bulk of my mileage, my race team approached a series of 800s to practice speed work on tired legs. I had the sensation the shoes were working with me. At $200, a racer could be forgiven for thinking they were running on a carbon-plate. Shoe technology has made radical innovations since 2002 and the long tail behind this great Running Boom is that your average mid-price sneaker offers value, comfort and speed.

I wore the Glycerin 21 again on my Sunday long run and found the flexible fit withstood the extended kilometres. Again, I felt like I had wolves on my feet—a powerful mental exercise which acted, to me, as an endorphin. 

With expert support and durable softness, the new Glycerin 21 by Brooks is one I'd be happy to recommend.

Never Land: Brooks Glycerin 21

Why do you love winter running?

It’s quiet, it’s a challenge and I feel a sense of accomplishment. Much better than running on a treadmill. Colin Brander

The views. Everything looks so magical. Running through a winter wonderland! Robert Brouillette

The crisp morning air, the crunch of snow beneath my feet and celebrating another glorious day outside. Val

I love the feeling after a cold snowy run — the feeling of power that you just did that! Not going to lie, always better with friends to run with. Katie Bardyn

I love that I can use the snow as an excuse to run slowly and take time to enjoy the scenery. Pascale Duguay

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May we all find new finish lines.

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