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August 6, 2008

CBC News Item: Halifax is getting a new $40.5-million sports centre, including an indoor track and two swimming pools.

Ottawa remains the only city of any size in the country to NOT have a public indoor track. But then we have 7,846 ice surfaces so eight-year-olds can play 145 games per year. And that, in Canada, seesm to be the priority!

We have been remiss in not posting to the blog. It's not that there is nothing to rant about - there is TOO MUCH to rant about.

Anyway, today's item is not a rant but a few raves!

Listen to the debut of "The Running Show" on Team 1200 ( at Noon this Saturday, February 9th.

Subscribe to the new Canadian Running Magazine at

Also subscribe to another new running magazine, iRun at: IRun debuts at the end of April.

April 25, 2007
Financial Help for Sensplex and Ray Friel Centre

Daniel Proussalidis with Dan Pihlainen - CFRA
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ottawa City Hall is throwing a life-line to two private-public partnerships in the capital facing financial difficulties.

Councillors emerged from a closed door meeting Wednesday afternoon agreeing to shore up the struggling Bell Sensplex.

That aid plan is worth about $1.4 million over three years.

CFRA News has also learned that the City of Ottawa is moving to take over the Ray Friel Centre in the east end.

Its operating company says the centre faces a shortfall of a million dollars a year.

Comment: It seems that there is a bottomless pit of money at City Hall for hockey but not one red cent for an indoor track.

Go Deviles, go!

April 10, 2007 An article in the April 1st Sunday Citizen stated - "It's only a slight exaggeration to say that the Running Room made Ottawa a 'running town'." The article refers to 1999 as the start of this process.

I disagree.

Let's look at some of the high points of running in Ottawa between 1975 and 1984:

* 1975: The National Capital Marathon was founded. It was Canada's largest marathon and Ottawa's only annual running event of any distance. The race was the first marathon to use online computers to process results. The marathon became known as the "runner's race."
The National Capital Runner's Association was founded. The NCRA continues to play a vital role in the running community.
The Ottawa Lions Track was founded. The club has grown to become one of Canada's largest and most successful track and field clubs.

* 1976: The NCM hosted the marathon Olympic trials. It would do so again in 1984 and in between these dates it was the site of two Commonwealth Games Trials.
The NCM implemented monthly marathon training clinics which started in the fall and continued up until the race. Some of sport's best known individuals such as Dr. George Sheehan, Arthur Lydiard and Dr. David Costill were featured speakers.
But Ottawa was not a one race town. The East Ottawa Lions Track Club was founded around this time and the club very quickly got into the race organizing business. Among the numerous races the club organized was the Chez-Osaga 10K which was Canada's second prize money race. Women's only racing made its debut with the NCRA hosting a 10K and the Lions brought Bonne Belle and Avon Running to town. Other races included the Digital Canada Day 5K, the Father's Day Rideau Canal Men's Five Miler - organized by women! - and the Kanata Mitel 10K.
On the track scene the Citizen Indoor Games filled the Civic Center as the running community came out to watch such running legends as Steve Scott, Filbert Bayi and Eamon Coughlin duke it out on the 125m board track. A popular element of the Games was the school section which featured the finals in the 800m and 1500m for local athletes.

1978: Canadian's Brian Maxwell (founder of Power Bar) and Paul Bannon put on a fierce race, battling the length of the canal and culminating in a sprint finish which saw Maxwell prevail by 0.2 seconds which at the time was the closest marathon finish on record.

1981: The NCM demonstrated that it was a leader in terms of quality performances as 630 runners broke three hours. (In 2006, only 109 did so.) A women from New York City (and a member of the New York Road Runner's Club) was in town on race day in 1981 and decided to enter and run the first 20 miles of race dropping out at the Chateau Laurier where she was staying. Afterwards she said "What a fast field! In New York I'm middle of the pack; here I was last before the race left the Carleton campus."
Ottawa hosted the Avon International Marathon which served as the women's unofficial world championship. Joan Benoit, who went on to win the first Olympic Marathon for women in 1984, was second here that year. The race started and finished on Wellington Street in front of Parliament and had entrants from 27 countries. Hal Higdon, a writer for Runner's World magazine, visited Ottawa for race week and dubbed the city "a runner's paradise". The Ottawa Avon race gained a reputation for having the best post-race party on the Avon circuit.
The Ottawa Athletic Club Racing Team was founded. Today it exists as a women's distance running and multisport club with many of the area's top women runners.
1984: Ottawa again hosted the marathon Olympic Trials and the race was the highest quality Canadian content marathon ever run, an honour the race still holds. Silvia Ruegger set a world record for a women's marathon debut.
The sport of running was thriving in Ottawa long before 1999. In fact while the number of events and people running in Ottawa may have grown, the performances have dropped dramatically.

February 1, 2007

By Dave Stewart

I did some comparisons between the 1981 National Capital Marathon results and those from the 2006 ING Ottawa Marathon. 25 years apart, the number of marathon runners each year was similar, although in 1981 the marathon was the only game in town. It was "go long, or stay home".

Today, overall participation on the race weekend is way up because the philosophy is different; participating and completing the events are more important to most than racing and competing. In 1981, more runners were under 3 hours (630 - 18%) than over 4 hours (512 -14%). In 2006, 64% of the runners were slower than 4 hours; while less than 4% broke 3 hours (and many of those were invited "elite" athletes).

There may be many more people running today than back in the early 80's, but the competitive Baby Boomers from the era of Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers have been replaced by the Running Roomers!

Some notable performances from 1981: Mike Dyon (winner in 2:16.07; in 2000, Mike ran 2:37.25), Ken Parker - 2:42.57(PB), Helen Cooper 2:49.59, (Coach) Ray Elrick 3:00.00 (631st!), Larry MCCloskey 3:15.50 (1984 - 2:24.28!)

  1981 2006
Number of finishers 3478 3110
Mean time 3:26.15 4:11.05
First Canadian 2:16.07 (1st) 2:22.12 (12th)
50th overall 2:34.242:48.22
100th 2:39.31 2:59.01
500th 2:56.37 3:32.53
1000th 3:09.37 3:53.25
2000th 3:31.36 4:27.22
3000th4:01.54 5:33.53
Runners under 3 hours 630 109
Runners between 2:59.00 and 2:59.59 51 10
Runners between 3:00.00 and 3:00.59 30 5
John Stoddard* 2:44.36 5:47.00
Howie Cohen *2:55.17 4:36.30
Ed Whitlock (1981 - age 50) (2006 - Toronto, age 75) 2:33.52 (48th) 3:08.34 -T (87th)

Note: John and Howie (and Bill Williams) have run every Ottawa Marathon since 1975!

October 26, 2006:
Letters To The Editor, Ottawa Citizen
Promises, promises
Mayor Bob Chiarelli announced plans to construct 100 new soccer fields. Soccer players should hope that there is more substance to this promise than there was to the one regarding an indoor track two elections ago. Ottawa remains the only Canadian city to not have at least one public indoor running track.

Ken Parker,


September 27, 2006:

Athletics Canada reverses position, will send a "self-funded" team

September 26th 2006 - After further consideration Chief High Performance Officer, Martin Goulet, announced today that Athletics Canada will participate to the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya. The decision was re-visited, taking into account a number of factors, including the upcoming appointment of the Cross-Country Running Coordinator. With the input and direction of the new Coordinator, Athletics Canada will conduct a thorough analysis of the discipline and how it fits into the overall sustainable International Podium Bound success plan.

Athletes interested in competing in Mombassa should be aware of the following facts:

  • Kenya is in a time zone 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time
  • Travel time will be well over 24 hours with several stops
  • Malaria is endemic in Kenya, with other potential diseases ideally requiring several vaccinations beginning 6 months ahead of departure time
  • Average daily temperature is 30 degree Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) with elevated humidity
  • A self-funded event, athletes may be required to contribute in the neighbourhood of $4,000 to attend the Championships
September 24, 2006:

Canada will not send a team to the 2006 World Cross Country Running Championships

Apparently the Francophonie Games are more important for our athletes than the World XC Meet. Only in Canada. Pity, eh?

September 17, 2006:

City extends tax break for Scotiabank Place

Well once again, the City of Ottawa, whose line is that that's can't afford to provide so many core services to the taxpayers of the city, have given billionaire Euegene Melnyk a continued tax break on the Senator's playpen in Ottawa's west end. I did not notice if our esteemed councillors were wearing their Senator sweaters when they voted to continue this subsidy.

It is one thing for Melnyk to maintain a residence in the Barbados to avoid paying Canadian taxes but surely he should pay the going rate for his operations in Canada.

With the subsidy given to the Senators since 1999 the City could have built many much needed recreational facilites or for that matter a whole bunch of bridges over the Canal to facilitate drinking on Elgin Street.

August 17, 2006:

Mr. Ken Parker

Dear Mr. Parker:

Thank you for your electronic mail of June 19, 2006, requesting clarification of the Government of Canada’s role with respect to funding for the Francophonie Games.

In the context of the Francophonie Games as a multi-sport international event, Canada, Canada-Quebec and Canada-New Brunswick are considered three separate participating states, each requesting funding independently from their state representative (Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick respectively) to offset participation costs.

Funding for the Canadian team for the Francophonie Games is provided by three sources within the federal government, namely the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the International Francophonie directorate of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Sport Canada. The funding from Sport Canada for the 2005 Francophonie Games was specifically for the training camps, travel and vaccinations of athletes.

Athletics Canada is correct in its statement that funding for the Francophonie Games is not part of its annual funding contribution through the Sport Support Program, the mechanism through which it receives the bulk of its funding. However, through the Hosting and Major Games Branch of Sport Canada, the organization did receive funding for a training camp, travel and vaccinations, which was directly linked to the Games. In addition, I understand that Athletics Canada received further support from the International Francophonie directorate of the Department of Canadian Heritage for participation in the Francophonie Games.

It should be noted that Sport Canada officials have contacted Athletics Canada officials directly to discuss this matter further and to explain the particular mechanisms of funding for the Francophonie Games.

I trust that this information provides the clarification that you seek. Please accept my best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Chong

August 4, 2006:

Five Lions competitors leave next week for the world junior championships in Beijing, each one of them having paid $3,000 to get the experience - Ottawa Sun, August 3, 2006
Re "Government on wrong track" (Aug. 3): An excellent article by Rob Brodie on a favourite topic of mine: government under-funding of Canadian athletes.

For years now, the majority of our team at the world cross country running championships have paid their own way. Rather than correcting this injustice, the government is extending it to the world junior championships. Perhaps our MPs should pay their own expenses when they travel to represent the country.

On the other hand, our government fully funds the Francophonie Games -- a minor league event that is more about politics than sport -- and associated training camps.

I have written several letters to our new sports minister and after repeated follow-ups and many months I finally received a response which indicates that he -- like the Liberal sport ministers before him -- really does not understand the problem.

All levels of government have been guilty of not supporting our athletes. When mercenary sport whines and asks for grants or tax subsidies, governments fall all over themselves to accommodate sports businesses and multimillionaire athletes. Yet we have junior athletes paying $3,000 to represent Canada.

Only in Canada, eh? Pity.

July 6, 2006:

If you build it, they won't come
From the National Post:
"For the next few days, Canada will remain gripped in World Cup fever. And so the decision to spend millions of taxpayers' dollars to build a soccer stadium in downtown Toronto won't seem like such a bad idea. Then most Canadians will return to ignoring the sport, and we'll all wonder what on earth federal, provincial and municipal politicians were thinking.
It's bad enough that the cash-strapped Toronto and Ontario governments will be kicking in $9.8-million and $8-million, respectively. But it is absolutely indefensible that taxpayers across the country will fork over a combined $27-million so that Toronto can have a stadium that most Torontonians couldn't care less about."

Comment: Another example which proves that we pay far too many taxes. All levels of government, who cannot fix potholes on the roads, provide decent health care, properly fund our military, have no difficulty giving our money to multi-millionaires to build spectator-domes.

In the meantime, athletes representing Canada at world championships pay their own way.

Only in Canada, eh? Pity.

June 25, 2006: Race for Women
As the major sponsor of this Ottawa women's only 5K on June 24th and a long-time supporter of women's running, I was thrilled with the results of the race. THIRTY-FIVE women run under 20 minutes from a field of 202 finishers.
Toronto's Nicole Stevenson, Canada's #2 ranked female marathoner won the race in 16:28. Nicole was the first elite runner to commit to the race demonstrating her support for women's running. The Ottawa Race Weekend 5K had 3500+ women with NINE sub 20s. The Freihofer's 5K Run in Albany, NY is arguably the most competitive women's 5K in the U.S. This year they had EIGHTY-FOUR women break 20 minutes out of 2600 finishers.

Based on the feedback we have received on the race it seems clear that:
1. while women will race in mixed races there is something special about a women's only event and
2. next year's event will be larger and faster. Many women from clubs - Montreal, Toronto, Kingston said they would be back with more of their teammates.

The only downside to the race was that Emilie Mondor, one of only two Canadian women to have broken 15 minutes for 5K, was not able to race due an injury suffered in training last week. Emilie was upset with not being able to race and has assured me that, health permitting, she will run next year.

It was a good day for Canadian women's running. Thanks to the Somersault Events team for managing the event.

And most importantly, thanks to the women runners who came out and put on such a good show. Come back next year and bring a friend.

June 19, 2006:

Canadian Athletes Pay To Represent Their Country On February 15, 2006 I posted the following comments on my Blog and emailed the Minister of Sport's office asking for a justification for funding a third-world event while asking our athletes to pay their own expenses to represent Canada at the World Cross Country Running Championships.

Canadian Athletes Pay To Represent Their Country
The IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be held in Fukuoka, Japan on April 1-2, 2006.
As has become the norm, the majority of Canadian Athletes competing in this event will pay their own expenses. Both junior teams and the long course men's and women's teams will be "self-funded".
Can someone explain how Canada could afford to send not one, not two but THREE teams to the Francophonie Games (a third-rate competition) in Niger last November - and throw in a fully-funded one week training camp - but cannot afford to fully fund our cross-country teams.

After a number of follow-up emails and at least a dozen phone calls I received the response below today.

Dear Mr. Parker:

Thank you for your electronic mail regarding federal government funding for the participation of Canadian athletes in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships held in Fukuoka, Japan. Please excuse the delay of my reply.

I appreciate your advising me of your views on this matter and have carefully noted your comments. Although the Government of Canada is the largest investor in the Canadian sport system, it should be recognized that our sport system is based on partnerships and the contributions of various partners, including sport organizations, various levels of government, the private sector, communities, volunteers and Canadian citizens.

The Department of Canadian Heritage, through Sport Canada, is committed to contributing its share to help support sport in Canada. Accordingly, Sport Canada provides funding to eligible national sport organizations (NSOs), such as Athletics Canada, that assist Canadian high-performance able-bodied and disabled athletes who compete at the national and international levels. Assistance is provided to organizations that meet the eligibility requirements of the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF) to fund programs for national teams, coaching development, national championships and various other nationally based initiatives. The SFAF is a tool that helps Sport Canada determine the areas and levels at which NSOs, such as Athletics Canada, are eligible for federal support.

In fiscal year 2005-2006, Athletics Canada received $2,498,376 through the Sport Canada Sport Support Program for its excellence and core funding programs for able-bodied athletes. This federal funding was allocated for specific projects proposed by Athletics Canada. Although federally funded NSOs are accountable to the federal government under the SFAF, Sport Canada does not have any jurisdiction over, nor the ability to intervene in, the internal rules, regulations or policies established by NSOs, including decisions pertaining to funding allocations.

Sport Canada funding recipients, such as Athletics Canada, submit funding applications for their various projects to Sport Canada for consideration. After the applications have been thoroughly assessed by Sport Canada, projects and funding allocations are approved. The overall Sport Canada contribution to Athletics Canada covers a variety of projects, such as coaching development, national championships and national team programs that include events such as the World Cross Country Championships and the Francophonie Games. However, it should be noted that NSOs, such as Athletics Canada, are solely responsible for deciding how to allocate the funds provided to them by the public and private sectors. The decision to support a certain project is based on an NSO’s strategic direction related to both sport excellence and development. Ultimately, Athletics Canada is responsible for determining the allocation of funding to its athletes for their participation in various events, including the World Cross Country Championships and the Francophonie Games.

"The Francophonie Games are funded directly by the Govt of Canada, Major Games and Hosting department of Sport Canada, Patrimoine Canada/Canadian Heritage and is not part of the Athletics Canada funding contribution." - Athletics Canada.
Editor's Note: I have requested a clarification on this descrepancy

In the context of the Francophonie Games as an international multi-sport event, Canada, Canada-Quebec and Canada-New Brunswick are considered three separate participating states. Accordingly, each requests funding independently from their state representative (Canada, Quebec and New Brunswick respectively) to offset participation costs. It should be noted that federal government funding for the participation of Team Canada in the Francophonie Games is provided by three sources: the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Department of Canadian Heritage and Sport Canada. I understand that the funding provided by Sport Canada for the 2005 Francophonie Games was specifically allocated for athletes’ training camps, travel and vaccinations.

I trust that this information is useful. Please accept my best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Chong


1. The response must have been written by someone who was paid by the word.

2. Despite the money laundering rationale the money all comes from one source - the Canadian taxpayer.

3. I am not aware of any other association that is funded 100% by our tax dollars

4. It appears that the Conservative government, like the Liberals before them, funds politics over sports.

June 5, 2006:

Ottawa Race Weekend
Having watched the 2.5 hours of CBC television coverage of the ING Ottawa Marathon I am of the opinion that the Ottawa Tourism owes the Marathon a sizable sum. The TV coverage showed off the best of Canada's Capital and will do more to promote the City than any campaign Ottawa Tourism could possibly "run".

The challenge for Ottawa Race Weekend will be how to handle the increased number of runners who will want to experience first hand what they saw on the CBC.

Kudos to the race committee for organizing this event, the CBC for showing it across the country and title sponsor ING for making it all possible.

Regarding the issue of 14 runners inadvertently shortcutting the course, if this results in straightening out the course, it will be an improvement. With the multiple parkways we have in Ottawa, a much straighter (and faster) route is possible. Any votes for returning to the original NCM course which was good enough to host two Olympic and Commonwealth Games trials and which allowed a women's course record which lasted 22 years and which was set without the use of male pacers?

June 4, 2006:

Pay to Run for Canada
See our March 16, 2006 note.
I am still waiting to get a response to my multiple emails. I suppose that in government time, four months is not excessive to answer a simple question. Could it be that the government is having a hard time justifying a ridiculous policy.

June 3, 2006:

Ontario Amateur Athletes Recognized for Dedication and Commitment
Of the $2.9 million raised by the Quest for Gold lottery fund, 892 eligible amateur athletes received $1,9955,702 for direct financial assistance to help them cover living, training and post-secondary tuition costs. The Canadian Sport Centre - Ontario received $558,772 to provide enhanced coaching and the Sports Alliance of Ontario received $279,368 to facilitate training and competitive opportunities.

This is a good starting point for improving the level of provincial support for our amateur athletes.
However, when one considers that the province has been giving the Ottawa Senators a $2 million per year tax break since 1999 (the City adds another $2 million), it begs the question: Would our amateur athletes not made better use of the $14 million ($28 million counting the city's share) than a bunch of millionaire mercenaries?

May 26, 2006:

Let's Get A Move On
From the Ottawa Sun:
As responsible adults, we Canadians would never do anything to put the lives of children at risk. Would we?
We counsel our kids from a very early age to be careful in all manner of activities. Look before you cross the street, don't talk to strangers, keep away from the hot stove, wear a helmet when you ride your bike or skateboard.
But are we doing all that we could and should? No. At least not according to an organization called Active Healthy Kids Canada. For the second year in a row, the agency gives Canada a barely passing grade of D in keeping our kids moving and healthy, and calls for families, communities and government to collaborate on increasing physical activity for children.
We're raising a generation of couch potatoes where physical fitness is a foreign concept and parents don't have a clue about the level of activity their kids are getting, says Active Healthy Kids Canada. And if that weren't bad enough news, activity levels have actually gotten worse in the past two years, according to the agency.

Surprise, surprise?
The media promotes spectatorism, particularly hockey, where fans can go and watch someone else work-out while the fan eats hot dogs and chugs back beer. The big story this week was that bars in Edmonton - where the Oilers are in the hunt for the Stanley Cup - are running out of beer! Is it any wonder the seats in the stadiums are getting wider.
All levels of government are at fault for not providing fitness facilities where people can go and do something besides watch. The City of Ottawa and Province of Ontario would rather subsidize mercenary sport than provide a public indoor track.
We are facing enormous health care costs as these fat teenagers grow up and become a drain on our already inefficient health care system.

May 17, 2006:

From the Brampton Guardian:
"Big turnout for marathon
A total of 10,119 participants laced up their running shoes to take on the challenge of one of the finest routes in Canadian history this past weekend at the third annual Mississauga Marathon, presented by Canon."

Actually there were only 1400+ in the Mississauga Marathon. It has become common practice for event organizers and the media to misreport race numbers. Counting entrants in associated 5k, 10k, half-marathon and realys as part of the "marathon" number is ridiculous.
Numbers in the marathon in Canada have not returned to the levels of marathons in the early 80s. Perhaps if the media spent less time pandering to hockey they would get their stories right.

April 30, 2006:

Male pacers in women's races
Deena Kastor set a new American record in winning the recent London Marathon. She was assisted by two male pacers one of which was her training partner despite the fact that the race was supposed to be a "women's race. Should pacers be allowed?

April 22, 2006:

Scotiabank Place tax plan 'ridiculous
From today's Ottawa Citizen:
"Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was "incredulous" when he learned this week that the City of Ottawa was considering hiking the property taxes on Scotiabank Place by about $1 million, Senators chief operating officer Cyril Leeder said yesterday."
Good grief! Imagine that someone in the entertainment business should be expected to pay 30% of a fair tax assessment. How scandalous! Our poor billionaire owner and his millionaire hired guns expect to be subsidised by Ottawa taxpayers.
And in the Seinfeld Bizarro world the hockey sycophants in the media and at City Hall agree.
Mayor Chiarelli says the Senators are good corporate citizens and he wants to treat them fairly. Isn't that sweet. How about treating the rest of us fairly.

April 9, 2006:

Boston Marathon on TV - Not in Canada
While the Outdoor Live Network in the US is providing 3 hours of live coverage of the 110th Boston Marathon (and a 2 hour replay in the evening), OLN Canada is bringing us something called the "All Strength Fitness Challenge", a Caribbean Workout and two infomercials.
Only in Canada, eh...pity.

April 3, 2006:

World Cross Country Championships
Well, the World Cross Country Running Championships in Fukuoka, Japan are over and Hertitage Canada has still not responded to my many queries as to why the majority of the Canadian team had to fork over $2,500 to represent their country.
Only in Canada. eh?

April 1, 2006:

Changes to Triathlon and Duathlon
Check out the long-awaited changes to the sport of triathlon and duathlon at: Changes.
I never did like the fact that time spent changing your clothes should count as part of race time.

March 17, 2006: Race for Women
The Runner's Web is sponsoring a women's only 5K race on June 24th. The race will be organized by Somersault Promotions and start and finish at the Aviation Museum.
For more information, visit:

March 16, 2006:

Pay to Run for Canada
On February 15th I wrote that the majority of our cross country team going to the World Cross Country Champions in Japan were paying their own way to represent their country.
After four emails to the minister responsible for sport, Michael Chong, and numerous unreturned phone calls, I finally heard yesterday that I should have a response to my question by March 27th!
This was my original email to the minister:

On April 1-2, the IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be held in Fukuoka, Japan.
As has become the case, the majority of Canadian athletes representing our country at this event will be paying their own expenses. Both junior teams and the men's and women's long course teams are "self-funded". Only the two short course teams are funded by Athletics Canada.
Last November Canada funded not one, not two but THREE teams (and a one week training camp) to attend the Francophonie Games in Niger.
The World Cross Country Championships are one of the most competitive and highly-attended sporting events in the world. The Francophonie Games are known more for their politics than sport.
How is it that Canada has this type of fiscal priority?

I'll post the response when (and if) I get it.

March 8, 2006:

Sticking it to taxpayers
From Today's Ottawa Sun: Seems like at Ottawa City Hall, everyone loves hockey. Yesterday, with nary a word of debate, members of the corporate services committee voted en masse to fork over $215,000 to host the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship.
There must be something in the air at City Hall that affects the collective brain of City Hall. Everytime anyone mentions the word hockey, it costs the taxpayer's money. The same City Hall cannot find the money to properly plow the roads, cut the grass and keep open kid's wading pools.
Maybe the Ottawa Senator's could have taken the $215,000 out of the $4 million tax break they get every year and supported the bid.
Meanwhile, we remain the only City in Canada without an indoor track.

February 15, 2006:
Canadian Athletes Pay To Represent Their Country
The IAAF World Cross Country Championships will be held in Fukuoka, Japan on April 1-2, 2006.
As has become the norm, the majority of Canadian Athletes competing in this event will pay their own expenses. Both junior teams and the long course men's and women's teams will be "self-funded".
Can someone explain how Canada could afford to send not one, not two but THREE teams to the Francophonie Games (a third-rate competition) in Niger last November - and throw in a fully-funded one week training camp - but cannot afford to fully fund our cross-country teams.
February 4, 2006:
COC lacks Olympic spirit
Battle over trademark with See You In ... fund seems petty
MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun, February 1, 2006

Jane Roos, who founded the See You In ... fund, is challenging the Canadian Olympic Committee for taking the name of her amateur athlete charity. The fund has been renamed CAN Fund in the meantime. (Toronto Sun/Michael Peake)

It took some doing, but the Canadian Olympic Committee has managed to make it harder for Canadian athletes to win medals.

Harder because what was The See You In ... fund has had to divert $60,000 from athletes and readjust its focus in the wake of an imponderable decision by the COC.

You remember the See You In ... fund. See You In Athens. See You In Turin.

The fund is nine years old. It was envisioned by a Toronto woman, Jane Roos, with the sole purpose of garnering much needed money for Canadian athletes and it has worked splendidly. So far, the fund has redistributed about $3 million in private and corporate donations.

Prominent Olympians such as hockey player Danielle Goyette and kayaker Adam van Koeverden have credited the fund for setting the table for gold medals.

From a beginning where Roos and others canvassed for loonies and toonies with tin cans, the fund has grown to provide more than 500 athletes with athletic equipment, therapy and even food.

Yesterday, Roos was overseeing a news conference to announce the fund was in a legal battle with, believe it or not, the COC because the Olympic organization had moved to absorb its trademark. As well, the See You In ... name and logo was changed to CAN Fund or Canadian Athletes Now.

"When we got back from Athens we found out that they (the COC) had adopted our trademarks," Roos said.

For the record, the COC has no quarrel with the fact that it adopted the trademarks. The move was entirely justified, said David Bedford, the COC's executive director of revenue generating, brand management and communications.

The trademark issue, he said, was triggered by the use of the name of an Olympic city in the name of the fund. That, in the COC's view, linked it with the Olympic movement. "Our goal wasn't to impede their work, it was to protect against an Olympic association," Bedford said. "We are very supportive of what has been done. What we were doing was protecting the rights of companies who have invested in an Olympic association."

The exclusivity of that kind of an association is the basis for its value. From the suits point of view, the See You In ... fund could be lumped in with the guy selling unauthorized knock-off souvenirs or maybe pirating a telecast. Never mind the countless hours volunteers put in to find money for athletes. Business was business.

On the one hand, nothing really has changed.

"We are the same organization, with the same goals," Roos said. Athletes who have done the paperwork for funding need not re-apply.

The rebranding of the fund has been done pro bono by the firms of K. Inc. Marketing Management, Shikatani Lacroix and Hotspex.

"I hope the athletes know we're not going away and we will persevere," Roos said. " I hope Canadians get behind us more than ever and give us the funding to help our athletes who are training for Beijing."

She has gone to court to win her trademarks back. Under Canadian law, the COC can absorb the brand, post its action and await a challenge. Roos has spent $60,000 to fight a case that won't be heard until 2007.

"I don't want them to have our brand and the goodwill we've created with our brand," she said. "We still have a legal brand, and I think we have a strong case."

Sometimes, your reward for helping is a kick in the teeth. The fault here, is with the COC. Their expropriation of the trademark was punitive and petty. Imagine, co-opting a charity that put money in the hands of athletes to protect the interests of its richest corporate patrons.

The COC and what is now CAN Fund are in the same business: Helping athletes.

It's time the COC remembered that.

An excellent article.

I have been a supporter of Jane Roos and her fund for years and my former company sponsored an Olympic triathlete for seven years.

If the COC did its job there would be no need for Jane's fund.

The fact is 70% of our athletes live below the poverty line. Three-quarters of our cross country running team pays their own expenses every year to go to the world championships to represent Canada. The See You In Fund supported 244 out of 266 Canadian athletes in Athens including 11 of our 12 medallists.

The COC seems to be more about building a bureaucracy than helping our athletes. Any organization that has an employee with a title like "executive director of revenue generating, brand management and communications" is too much into itself.

The country needs more people like Jane.

January 20, 2006:
Canadian Olympic Committe Mail Appeal for Funds

I received a mail appeal for a donation to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) stating that "Your support is needed to help send Canada's team of medal hopefuls to Turin, Italy for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games...".

I called the COC twice this week and left messages as I wanted to ask them what percentage of donations actually goes to the athletes. I have not received a response.

With three-quarters of our Olympic athletes living below the poverty line, I think it is important that funding go the athletes and not to a large government-like bureaucacy.

I will let you know if I ever get a response.

January 18, 2006:
Industry says Tories might offer gym tax incentive

Canadian Press

TORONTO — A Conservative government would "seriously consider'' a tax incentive for gym memberships, the Fitness Industry Council of Canada said Wednesday.

The organization, which represents the fitness industry and serves over 2,000 Canadian fitness facilities, sent letters to all four federal parties in December requesting their position on tax deductions for gym memberships for Canadians of all ages.

The Conservative Party of Canada said it would give the initiative "serious consideration'' if elected Jan. 23, "should the fiscal framework allow for such a measure.''

The Bloc Quebecois said the issue "merits additional study and is open for discussion,'' the Liberals said "tax incentives ... do little to encourage healthy living'' and the NDP did not respond.

Portions of the parties' responses, which were received in e-mail and letter form, are posted on the fitness council's website.

"It really outlines the differences, I think, between the Conservatives and the Liberals,'' Dave Hardy, FIC president, said from his Edmonton office.

"The Conservatives are looking to empower people to take care of their own health. The Liberals are looking to provide programs and build infrastructure to encourage people to participate.''

The Liberals argued that tax deductibility "will only reward participants already leading active, healthy lifestyles.''

Hardy said he was encouraged by the Tory response to the issue, which he said would reduce "economic barriers.''

"By allowing people to deduct the cost of gym memberships, it helps provide affordable solutions, encourages positive health behaviours in members and also in the community.''

In December, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper proposed a maximum of $500 per year per child tax credit for children under 16 years of age who register for sports or other physical activities.

The party said any consideration of a tax deduction for gym memberships would be an extension of that plan.

January 13, 2006:
Lottery scratches surface
Canadian athletes need facilities more than cash handouts to reach elite level
From the Toronto Star, Friday, January 13th.

Dave Perkins makes some good points in this article, such as:
"If the McGuinty — or any other — government were really concerned about amateur sports, there would be proper facilities in Ontario, or at least a move to build some. For instance, there isn't a single Olympic-calibre swimming pool. There is, however, $8 million in Ontario government money — to say nothing of $18 million in municipal handouts from our cash-starved city — to build a soccer stadium for a professional team operated by the billion-dollar Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment corporation, wards of the $88 billion Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
There is money for a one-sport stadium for pros, but the government needs to start a scratch-off gambling game to get kids who carry our flag internationally an extra $500 a month. This is what they mean when they talk about the McGuinty government wanting to help our athletes?"

This situation is repeated in Ottawa where provincial and city taxpayers continue to subsidize the Ottawa Sentaor's Corel Center to the tune of $4 million per year. Ottawa is the only major city in Canada with no public indoor track.

January 5, 2006:
Runner's Web Presents the Dave Scott Clinic - January 20 - 22, 2006

The Runner's Web is pleased to again be the presenting sponsor for the Dave Scott Clinic organized by Triathlon Ottawa.

Dave will be accompanied by Sharon Donnelly, three-time Canadian Champions, 1999 Pan American Games Champion and Sydney Olympian.

For clinic information visit

January 1, 2006:
Happy New Year!

From today's headlines: Johnson makes drugs claims
Shamed sprinter Ben Johnson has claimed 40% of sportsmen are using performance-enhancing drugs.

Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold medal in 1988 and banned for two years after testing positive for anabolic steroid Stanozol
Canada's disgraced Ben Johnson also maintains he was set-up at the Seoul Olympics.

Apparently, in addition to all of the other side effects, prolonged steroid use also affects one's memory.

December 31, 2005:
It's the end of another year and time for some brutal reflection:

Athletics: You Know You're Over The Hill When...Top Ten Symptoms

You know you're over the hill as a runner when.....

10. You are regularly passed by people listening to a Walkman,

9. You are regularly passed by people walking,

8. You are regularly passed by women pushing baby joggers,

7. Your favourite retort is, "You may be running faster, but you're not running any harder!",

6. The only people you pass are going in the opposite direction,

5. You are regularly passed by joggers carrying enough water to cross the Sahara Desert,

4. You are regularly passed by joggers carrying enough gel, bars, goo, and lord knows what else, to feed the third world,

3. You realize you have been telling people for the past 5 years that you are just "getting back into running" ,

2. Everyone who passes you says, "Keep going, you can do it!",

and you really know you are over the hill as a runner when...

1. You are regularly passed by Running Room Jog/Walk advocates....while they are walking!

Ken Parker has been a runner for 35+ years and recently experienced all of the above symptoms on the same run!

December 25, 2005
Merry Christmas!
December 24, 2005
It's a quiet Christmas Eve in terms of running and triathlon related news. Most of the email I've received today has been SPAM. It seems that the spammers are the only ones working the net today.
December 22 2005
Olympic champ admits doping
FORMER Olympic champion Petra Schneider wants her German 400m medley record annulled because it was achieved by doping.
Schneider, who won gold for the former East Germany at the 1980 Moscow Games, clocked 4mins 36.10sec for the 400m medley in Guayaquil, Ecuador in August 1982. It remains the fastest time swum by any Germany woman in that discipline.
"My record is only a record of the past. I would like the current record list to be started afresh," she told a German television program.
"My record was influenced by doping," said Schneider.

In 1977, one year after the German Democratic Republic (GDR) shocked the world with its performance at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, I spent three weeks in the GDR with a number of coaches from Canada as guests of the GDR Sports Agency. During this visit we talked with officials, coaches and athletes, toured many of their sports facilities and schools and watched the Youth Olympics, a complete replica of the Olympuc Games for 16 year-olds.

When we raised the issue of drugs, the feedback was, "Our success is not just due to drugs..." and one could not argue with that comment.

Drugs, however, were an intergral part of their sports program. I am not aware of a GDR athlete ever testing positive until the wall came down.

The fact that they were able to beat the system for so long makes me question the ability of any agency to keep sports drug free.

December 21 2005
The Runner's Web will publish on it's normal schedule throughout the Christmas - New Year's holiday period. Yes, Virginia, there is NO Santa Claus!
December 20, 2005
Currently 70% of Canada 's amateur athletes live below the poverty line. The number is staggering and real. In the four years leading up to the games, most athletes cannot afford proper training, coaching, nutrition or basic living expenses. The See You In Torino Fund will support those athletes whose dreams and goals of winning gold can be realized through our efforts.

The See You In Torino Fund lives and breathes to further strengthen our Canadian pride in our heroes – namely our athletes. Without those men and women who strive for excellence in amateur sport, there would be no 'flag waving' at international competitions.

If you would like to make a difference and support Canada's athletes, visit and make a donation. After all, it is the season of giving.

December 19, 2005
The Louis Riel Dome

After having endured a third-world status when it came to an indoor track and field city, Ottawa has made a quantum leap into the 21st century. The Dome @ Louis Riel contains North America's only indoor 400M track. With a four-lane oval and six-lane sprint straightaway, the facility provides an excellent training and competition venue for local athletes.

The facility was built by the French Language School Board and is managed by the Ottawa Lions Track Club, one of Canada's top-ranked clubs. The Lions have already held several meets and the facility has received rave reviews.

For more information on the Dome, including hours of operation etc., visit the Ottawa Liones web site at:

Note: The City of Ottawa, which has demonstrated an attitude of depraved indifference to the sport of track and field and which continues to subsidize three mercenary sports, contributed nothing towards the construction of the Dome.

December 18, 2005
Despite the surge in the number of participants median marathon times across the country have slowed in the last 25 years by nearly an hour, according to reports by the Road Running Information Center.

So much for the benefits of cross-training, ergs, gels and goo!

On the other hand...

Sex makes women sprinters faster, says German coach
BERLIN: Women sprinters who have sex before competing generally perform better but men should avoid amorous exploits before taking to the track, the trainer of Germany’s men’s sprinting team said on Friday.
“With women, it’s not true that sex before competitions has negative effects. On the contrary, we have scientific evidence that women who have sex shortly before competing run better. It boosts performance,” Uwe Hakus told Germany’s Fit for Fun magazine. “With women the testosterone levels rise when they have sex. But, unfortunately, male testosterone levels fall after orgasm. And their muscles are less able to contract,” Hakus said.
However, Hakus warned that sexual intercourse before running could hit any athlete’s concentration. —Reuters

December 17, 2005
Welcome to the Runner's Web Blog, a random rant generally related to running and triathlon and things that are wrong with the world.

The election campaign is a good time to question the Liberal government about their stand on funding for Canada's national teams.

On one hand, three-quarters of our team which go to the world cross country running championships - one of the world's most competitive events with global participation - have to pay their own expenses to represent Canada.

On the other hand, Canada sent - fully funded - not one, not two but THREE teams to the Francophonie Games - a very weak athletics competition which is more about politics than sports.

Only in Canada, eh? Pity.

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