Meanwhile in Merritton …

There were reports of a grown man dressed as a bunch of grapes running through the neighbourhood, with sightings on Glendale Avenue, Rockwood and the path along the Welland Canal.

Yup, it was me. I’m preparing to set the Guinness World Record for fastest half marathon dressed as fruit at the Niagara Falls International Marathon this October. My costume came in this week and I couldn’t help myself – I had to give it a try. I did a 4K easy run – real easy. Stopped a couple of times to chat with curious onlookers.

First impressions: lighter than I thought and more breathable; it wasn’t exactly the heat trap I expected. The grapes may need to be reinforced a bit to stand up to the beating they will take during a half marathon.

St. Catharines is going to Rio


Mohammed Ahmed was named to Team Canada to compete in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. I snipped this photo from @Moh_Speed on Twitter.

St. Catharines, ON and Niagara will have a rooting interest in the 5,000 m and 10,000 m track events at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games later on this summer.

Today, Mohammed Ahmed was among the 65 athletes named to represent Team Canada in track and field. It will be the  25-year-old’s second Olympic Games — he competed in the 10,000m at 2012 London Olympic Games, placing 18th. Last summer, Ahmed won gold in the 10,000m at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Athletics Canada announced the team going to Rio following the Canadian Championships and Selection Trials which took place in Edmonton over the weekend.

Reid Coolsaet

Reid Coolsaet, Canadian Olympic marathoner, was talking about training at the Skylon Tower Health and Fitness Expo back in 2012 at the Niagara Falls International Marathon.

Also named to the team is marathon runner Reid Coolsaet. in 2013, Coolsaet, from Hamilton, ON, set the course record for the half marathon at the Niagara Falls International Marathon: 1:03:11. Amazing!

So excited for Olympics! A lot of people are calling this group of athletes one of the strongest teams to represent Canada in track and field events. Congrats and good luck to all the athletes selected to Team Canada.

Gotta run! Rob

Blog photo Team Canada.PNG

I snipped this photo from Twitter: @AthleticsCanada.

Hello, I know it’s been a while …

That's me in the center of the podium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket 5k in Buffalo N.Y. It was a race that went really well for me and was a lot of fun.

That’s me in the center of the podium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket 5k in Buffalo N.Y. It was a race that went really well for me and was a lot of fun.

Dear readers,

I’ve been looking forward to updating the Niagara Runner blog for some time now. I like doing the blog but will admit I’ve put little time to it since the urgency of getting a good mark for a digital media class has gone away. It was at some point today while enjoy a long run in the sun on the Niagara Parkway that I decided its time to get this thing back online.

Niagara Runner started as a class project a couple of years ago. I’ve done my best to keep the Niagara race calendar up to date because we’ve got a lot of great races here and I know a lot of people are interested in them. I’ll be getting the Niagara race calendar up-to-date with 2016 races shortly – I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to run next year and am sure others are doing the same.

2016 is going to be special. I celebrated my fifth season as a runner of road races with some great performances and new personal bests in 2015. I’ve made great friends through running and learned a lot about myself and what I can do. Running has taught me a lot and I’ve had some great experiences. I still have a lot learn and I still have goals that I’m ready to chase down the road for.

I think I’ve found a good balance between training, racing and rest. I paying more attention to nutrition and plan to make better choices in 2016. I’ll also try to push some weights around a little more to make my body stronger. I’m looking forward to running some faster times next year and think I have a good plan to get to the next level. I’m changing the stimulus a bit, so to speak, but keeping the roots of what’s worked well. Does that make sense? We’ll see if it works out for me.

It’s funny because I find myself in a place similar to when I started Niagara Runner: preparing to chase a QT for Boston. I’m looking at 2017 so am planning to do a spring marathon. That means training through another Niagara winter. Lucky for me They are saying its going to be a mild one. We will see.

Ok, enough rambling for tonight. Marathon training hasn’t officially started yet but I love the long run and I had a good one today. So, it’s time for rest. Happy to say Niagara Runner is back. Mark this down as Post 01 for the journey to get back to Boston.

Talk to you later,





Guess what this is


This was delicious and not what I expected. Can you guess what it is?

OK, time is up. The answer: spicy buffalo cauliflower bites.

Who thought chicken wings? So did I. When I came from work one day last week, April Fools Day no less, I was greeted by the whiffy tang of hot sauce. I instantly thought wings. But, my wife, who prepared this dish, is a vegetarian. I knew something was up.

“Don’t say anything, just try ’em,” she said. Down the hatch they went. And they were good. Hot sauce makes everything better, doesn’t it.

These were really simple to make and one cup of cauliflower makes six servings. The recipe came from I’ve included it below and on my recipe page.


Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Servings: 6 • Size: about 1 cup cauliflower

1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp garlic powder
22 oz (6 1/2 cups) cauliflower florets
3/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly spray a large non-stick baking sheet with oil.
Combine the water, flour, and garlic powder in a bowl and stir until well combined.
Coat the cauliflower pieces with the flour mixture and place on the baking sheet; bake for 20 minutes.
While the cauliflower is baking, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.
Pour the hot sauce mixture over the baked cauliflower and continue baking for an additional 5 minutes. Serve with skinny blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

FAT: 2 g
CARBS: 21.4 g
FIBER: 3 g
SUGAR: 0.2 g
SODIUM: 1172 mg

* Homolka, Gina. 2013, January. Gina’s Skinny Recipes, Accessed on April 10, 2014.


The scene at the finish line after two explosions at the Boston Marathon. Photo from the Boston Globe.

The scene at the finish line after two explosions at the Boston Marathon. Photo from the Boston Globe.

My thoughts and heart go out tonight to the everyone involved in the Boston Marathon tragedy: the victims, their families and friends, the runners, spectators, organizers. emergency responders, everyone involved.

I’m happy to hear everyone from the Niagara region who was running in Boston today is ok. My home club, the St. Catharines Road Runners and Walkers, reports its members running the marathon made it to the finish line safely. Dan Dakin of the St. Catharines Standard has a good story about the experiences of local runners in Boston as well as the perspectives of those cheering them on at home. Here is another story by Dan about a Niagara Falls man who helped the first responders.

Also happy to report all the Team Running Free runners in Boston are also accounted for. Here is another story about Toronto area runners in the race.

Before I was a runner, I was always in awe of those who had done Boston. Whenever I speak with anyone about running, it’s not long before Boston is brought up. For us runners, Boston remains as the juiciest carrot we are all chasing.

Picked up a few messages today. Thanks, everyone, for your concern. I did not run in the Boston Marathon today. Registration was sold out by the time I qualified last fall and I was looking forward to running in 2014.

I did have opportunity to watch the women finish on TV and the top men were on their way to the finish line when I left the house around noon. It was just after 3 p.m. when I got back to my car, turned on the radio and heard Tim and Sid talking about explosions on the Fan590. It was definitely jarring.

While the events were tragic, I am in awe of runners helping each other during the most dire of situations. We’ve all seen  runners helping other runners during races or in training during races when their bodies give out. Today was a great example of how we are truly all in this together.

Click this link and this link for some other inspiring stories.

Washing away the stink

washing machine MH900427812

Why do my running clothes always smell so bad? Even after I wash them, I mean. I put on a fresh tech shirt right out of the closet and I’m sometimes wondering if the darn thing made it into the wash since I ran in it last.

Actually, last laundry day I couldn’t find two tech shirts I knew I wore. Then, I saw it: my gym bag stuffed in a corner, hiding behind my camera stuff. It was all zipped up and I was desperately looking for any reason not to open it.

I was right to be afraid. The shirts were in there, and they were gross!

Plus, they were still a little wet.

Double gross!

Now, I don’t usually leave my running stuff lying around like that. In fact, my running stuff usually takes over the bathroom: I hang it from any available hook to air dry before I stuff it in the hamper of clothes waiting for the next wash.

I’ve read somewhere it’s the technical fibers the clothes are made from that are the root of the problem. Yes the fibres that wick away sweat and keep us comfortable are also what locks odour. So, what can we do?

There are a few things. You can pre-soak your clothes in a mix of baking soda and water before running them through the wash. You can use a detergent engineered for sport clothing, such as WIN Detergent, that can remove odour without degrading technical fibres. And, you can always add in a little white vinegar to the wash. Apparently, it’s great at removing odours.

I’ve also read you should wash your running clothes in cold water and never put them in the dryer because that could degrade the sweat wicking ability of the technical fibres.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Soups on

Mmmm, soup.

Mmmm, soup.

If there is one thing that always pairs well with cold Niagara nights, it’s soup.

And lately, the soup-de-jour has been Minestrone.

I came across this recipe by Pam Anderson in an old addition of Runner’s World. I’m not really a soup-kind-of-guy so I skipped over it when I first read the issue. But, my daughters and I were looking for something to do one afternoon while my wife was sleeping off the flu and the recipe seemed easy enough. So, we gave it a try.

Turns out, it turned out pretty good and the soup quickly became a weekly favourite. I usually stick pretty close to the recipe (posted below), but Julie (my wife) changes it up with different seasonings, giving it spicier flavourings, pastas, beans and veggies. She’s so creative when it comes to just trhowing whatever in and the soup is always a little better when she makes it. I try to one-up Julie by adding more beans or more lentils or more of something but we usually just end up with more soup to bring for lunch.

Try out the recipe below and feel free to send me your favourite recipes. I’m always looking to try new dishes and am interested to find out what other people eat to prime themselves for runs and to aid recovery afterwards. I’m also interested in good vegetarian dishes. I’ll post any contributions on the new Recipes page on Niagara Runner.


Minestrone with Spring Vegetables*

Leafy escarole is rich in vitamin K and folate, while beans are an excellent source of fiber. Use whatever bite-size pasta you have on hand, says Anderson.

2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth
1 14.5-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into small dice
1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
1 peeled carrot, cut into small dice
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) small white beans, not drained
8 ounces frozen green peas
8 ounces coarsely chopped escarole
1 cup ditalini (or any bite-size pasta)
Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper

Microwave broth and tomatoes together on high until steaming (5 minutes).

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots; saute till tender (5 minutes). Add Italian seasonings and red pepper; saute until fragrant (one minute).

Add broth mixture and remaining ingredients; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and pasta is tender (15 minutes). Serves eight.

FAT: 4 G

*Anderson, P. (2012, May). The Athletes Palate, Runner’s World, p46.