by Coach Kate Gustafson

So you won the SeaWheeze 2018 lottery?! Now it’s showtime. This half marathon/party thrown by lululemon always delivers something totally unique that you really won’t find anywhere else across Canada’s racing scene.


Every year there is a ton of buzz around the SeaWheeze Showcase Store and you know what, it’s pretty sweet. Even if you’re not into sleeping outside to get first dibs on the exclusive gear it’s worth walking through the store on your way to the race packet pickup to shop what’s still available.


In the past (and I’m pretty sure it’s the same this year) you won’t get a race bib but you will get some kind of race chip for your shoe/wrist/body. Don’t forget to attach this the night before the race and be sure to follow the directions in your race packet.


Mentally prepare for rain but don’t overdress on race morning because you’ll be warm out there once you get started. If you can, get friends or family to carry a jacket for you to throw on post-race. Vaseline on parts of your body that tend to chafe is probably a good idea. Also, rain can make you feel like you’re not thirsty (especially after training through the summer heat), PLEASE remember to drink at the aid stations and take your gels just like you’ve practiced. No new tricks on race day. Go with what you know.


Give yourself plenty of time to warm up in advance of the 7:00am start. It’s an early one, folks!


The course itself is challenging with some sharp turns on the Seawall, a big bridge and a few hills. Many first-timers run this race, which is freakin’ awesome, but that means that pacing can be all over the place. Pay special attention to your own splits in the first 5km, don’t get caught going out too fast.

img_1327From 5 to 9 km, you’ll make two nasty climbs up and then back over Burrard Bridge. Try not to glance at your watch too much when you’re climbing and use the downhill to your advantage. Keep your mind in a positive place, choosing when to look at your watch is one way to do this.


Watch your step when you run down from the road to the Seawall at English Bay, especially if it is a wet morning.


The second half is where the work really happens and the gritty get grittier. The Seawall always features a few great cheer stations but it can be quiet out there. Try to stay in contact with a group in front of you or work with another runner when you’re out there.

Photos from a day of carnage at the 2018 BMO Vancouver Marathon in Vancouver, BC on May 5, 2018.

Photo by Jody Bailey @3oh6

Around 18km, you’ll need to draw on all of those hill repeats you did last summer to get up and over Lumberman’s Arch. The hill doesn’t look like much but it feels like a North Shore mountain at this point in the race (at least for me it was). Keep your head up and your mind focused here. The final two kilometres are challenging because you’ll be tired and you need to make a series of tight turns on the Seawall. It’s going to feel like the finish line is a million miles away until you FINALLY see it with only a few hundred metres to go. Don’t check out over these last few kilometres, fight to hold your pace or pass others in front of you or maybe even pull a few of your teammates along.


The finish line party is always full of surprises and it is worth making the time to enjoy it. And of course, there’s the SeaWheeze Festival that’s always a good time.


Good luck and remember to have fun. Go get it, runners!


The Canada Running Series Under Armour Eastside10k is just around the corner. Check out coach Rob Watson’s 10 tips to a kick-ass 10k

1) Be prepared for race morning: Leave nothing to chance. Know what you are going to eat, know how you are going to get to the race, know where you are gonna stash your gear. Arrive early, no need for added stress on race day, you are there to compete and perform. Unnecessary stress will affect your performance.

2) Warm-up: For some this is a 20min run and active strides. For others this is a 5min walk and some stretches. Either way, get those muscles loose and ready to go, it’ll help avoid injury and have you primed to perform.

3) Find your place: Get on the start line and line up with people whom are at your same level. A 45min 10km is a great accomplishment, but you probably shouldn’t be lining up at the very front- you will get pulled out too hard and you will impede faster runners. Also, if you wanna run 35min get yourself to the front- if not you are gonna spend too much energy passing people and you may be trampling over slower runners. Be smart here.

4) Get off the line: The 1st km of this race is the fastest. You will feel fresh and there is a nice downhill. If you are several seconds faster than your goal pace do not worry, get the 1st km in and then settle into your race.

5) Settle and Flow: From 2-5km you should relax and find your flow. If you are pushing too hard at 3km you are gonna be suffering hard by 8km. Have your goal pace in mind and focus on maintaining that effort and rhythm. Being 5seconds too slow is fine as you can make up time with a strong last 2km, but being 5seconds too fast can be disastrous as when you blow up you’ll be giving time back in chunks.

6) Just get up the damn hill: Accept that the hill is going to suck. It’s just that simple. When you get there don’t stress about the pace slipping. Accept the burn and get to the top. Once you crest that hill, you get a nice down hill to get a few seconds back, and then you start making your way back towards the finish. The hardest part of the race is now behind you. Get back on pace and keep rolling!

7) Find a Group: There is power in numbers when it comes to racing. Working as group can help a lot. A group can pull you along, you can fight the wind together and you can thrive off the positive vibes that come from sharing a common goal. Find a friend and roll together.

8) Focus: This is racing, it is supposed to hurt! Your legs will burn, you’ll fight for breath and you’ll wanna stop. You trained for this. Focus on your goals and stay positive. The pain of racing is brief, but giving up will sting for a whole lot longer.

9) Bite your tongue and give it hell: Ok, you got to 9km. Time to get going! This is where you put your head down and give it hell. Dig deep and push. Give it everything you have until you cross that finish line.

10) Reap the spoils: Congrats on finishing the Eastside 10km! Now enjoy yourself a bit- go get brunch, drink a beer or just do something to spoil yourself. You have earned it!


When & Why did you get into running?

I got into running, I think, just over 14 years ago.  Inspired by my younger sister, always the pioneer, who ran her first half before I ran mine, I loved her stories from the race.  So, I signed up for a half myself. Soon it was onto the full marathon- which for me was the Calgary marathon! What started as an athletic goal and a way to maintain fitness has evolved into something that I simply can’t live without.  Running, for me, allows me to be my best version of myself. It supports my mindfulness practice and there isn’t anything I love more than a great long, sweaty Saturday run through Edmonton’s river valley with my friends.


How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

I think for me to manage my busy lifestyle, I have to be running.  Running brings me focus and clarity of thought, energizes me for long days and is often a time where my most creative ideas are born!  Running is a priority- it goes into my calendar and that is time I don’t exchange for anything. This way I am committed and it will happen.


What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

I’ve known and admired my coach Kate as a runner and a human for a very long time.  When she joined M2M, it made sense to start working with M2M as well. I had never before ran with a coach and wanted to experience what it was like to work with someone who could guide me through a training plan that was adapted to what was happening my life- my whole life- running and otherwise.  I like the idea of a community of runners that exists beyond my neighbourhood and my city under the M2M banner. For me- running is about the village! M2M offers another layer of community which I think is so unique.


Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I’ve been working on mindfulness and running.  For me, this has meant becoming aware of my personal narrative when I’m training and running, acknowledging when it is incredibly harsh and negative and then changing that narrative to something that supports my running with love and kindness.  Biggest picture, is to always feel joy- every single step. AND- because I know most people want to know about races and times, I have 2. The WFPS half in Winnipeg in October and California International marathon in December. I like to think I have a sub 1:30 in me for the half and a 3:10 or better in the full…but as long as I run for joy, I believe the results will come.  At the end of the day, the time isn’t that important to me.


Person that inspires you in running or life?

Just one?  But there are so many incredible runners, athletes and humans who inspire me to get out there and put one foot in front of the other.  My run crew @runcollective and fellow coaches are an endless source of inspiration- they train hard, they crush races, but most importantly are in the real conversation about running, which is often a parallel conversation about life.  I feel grateful to be a part of such an incredible team.


Fav quote (running related or non-running)?

Non- running…but actually everything can be tied to running because running is, truly, the greatest metaphor for life.   My favourite author is Richard Wagamese, an indigenous author who was from a reserve quite close to where I grew up in Kenora, Ontario.  I take his quotes with me on the run. Here is one of my favourites:

“ All we have are moments.  So live them as though not one of them can be wasted.  Inhabit them, fill them with the light of your best good intention, honour them with your full presence, find the joy, the calm, the assuredness that allows the hours and the days to take care of themselves.  If we can do that, we will have lived.”

Photos from the track at Point Grey Secondary with Mile 2 Marathon in Vancouver, BC on May 20, 2017.

When & Why did you get into running?

September 1982–UBC Friday noon hour Intramural 3k fun runs, blue Nike waffle trainers


How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

Routinely on the fly, before a kid’s soccer match, between connecting flights, maybe really early in the morning before heading into the office, that sort of thing.


What was the impetus to start working with Mile2Marathon?

My individual situation warranted bringing in a Mile2Marathon coach. I asked myself why am I running and is it simply part of my overall training program or am I serious about competing? After some honest athletic self-examination, I was willing to invest in my running and performance. Dylan Wykes orchestrates a very specific training program which optimizes my performance while simultaneously minimizing any injury risk.

“Jill’s passion for the sport is amazing. She’s been in the sport for a long time, yet she approaches every workout and every race with an inspiring enthusiasm. On the surface she’s all smiles, but once the gun goes off her determination to get the most out of herself is second to none. The stuff she is accomplishing, at her age, with her hectic life is something we should all aspire to” Coach DW

What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

The group training environment provided by M2M makes training fun by offering a variety of workouts and running routes.  The personal coaching environment – in addition to providing motivation, feedback and planning – provides the “systems thinking” (as in processes and methodology). In other words, the M2M coaches know how to mix the different ingredients to provide a system and a plan to the relationship.  They know their athletes, and their potential. This allows the coach to prescribe workouts, not only for the day, but for the week and months down the road. What has this meant for me? It has allowed me to focus on the actual training with an open mind, knowing that Dylan’s system of training may help me climb upward to a new level of performance.

Photos from the track at Point Grey Secondary with Mile 2 Marathon in Vancouver, BC on May 20, 2017.

Photos by Jody Bailey

Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I love cross country running even more than track and will work towards qualifying for the National meet in Kingston, Ontario

“Jill’s passionate about track and cross country. When she told me she wanted to improve her 1500m time and qualify for National Cross Country champs I was thrilled. Her goals are refreshing and a throwback of sorts to the events and races that I grew up participating in and it’s exciting to relive some of that through Jill’s training and racing.” Coach DW

Person that inspires you in running or life?

Everyone in our local running community currently inspires me. We all live complex and challenging lives, yet find our reasons to run. When I first got into the sport in the 1980s, I was inspired by the athletes of the era – Deena Drossin, John Walker, Paul Tergat, Steve Jones, Anne Audain, Thelma Wright, Cathy Shiro, Abebe Bikila (‘60s), Jacqui Gareau and the like.


Fav quote (running related or non-running)? “You’re doing okay, keep going” – dad


Favorite book (“Freakonomics” S Dubner & S Levitt) and what are you reading now? (The Woman in the Window” A.J. Finn) and (“Peak: secrets from the new science of expertiseEricsson and Pool)


My fridge is always stocked with: a variety of cheeses, Harp Lager, Okanagan Pear Cider, Tito’s Vodka


When & Why did you get into running?

I’m pretty new to the running scene. M2M is the first running group I’ve ever been to and it’s the first time I’ve ever had specific run coaching. That being said, athletics have always played a huge role in life. Growing up I played every sport – squash, volleyball, tennis, basketball – you name it, I probably played. Volleyball was my main sport in high school and I went on to play at the varsity level. It wasn’t until after university that I picked up running as a way to keep in shape.


I liked how there was no structure – I could grab my shoes and just go. I continued this unstructured running routine for years. I’d go for a few runs a week and periodically go in races to see how fast I could go. My first half marathon was in 2012 in 1:36, then a year later 1:29. More recently, with 6 months of M2M coaching, I ran the same race in 1:20. Regardless of the time, the reason I run remains the same – I love it.


How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

I work full time and sometimes it’s tough to find the time so I try to go for my run in the morning. In Vancouver that means it’s dark, cold and rainy 90% of the time but I’d rather get soaked then run on a treadmill. I’ve learned to embrace the PNW rainy vibes.


What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

I can thank my sister for this. She told me to go to a running group so I could geek out about my runs with people who also liked running. I’d never been to any running group so when I dropped in for my first workout in November 2017 at the track I was pretty nervous. I hadn’t run track since elementary school and there were 30+ eager faces ready to roll. All it took was one workout and now I’m hooked. M2M coaches and Rob in particular have helped guide me to some big PBs and I’m excited for what’s to come.


What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

Turning up every week and witnessing the M2M crew run for the pure joy of the sport. We all willingly go to the workouts, knowing full well we’re about to immerse ourselves in lactic acid and probable post-workout immobility and yet we wouldn’t miss it. There’s a twisted beauty to being part of M2M.


Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I just registered for my first marathon, California International Marathon (CIM), in December 2018. I’m feeling ready for whatever marathon training throws my way / whatever Rob throws my way. Bring it on!


Person that inspires you in running or life?

There are so many inspiring athletes out there who I like to follow but the one person who continues to shape my running path is my Mum, Debs.


Thanks to Debs, running has always been part of life. There are countless photos of me in the baby-jogger with Debs rockin’ some seriously 90s running swag. She’s shown me what it means to run for the pure love of it and I hope to always hold onto that. Recently, I stumbled across her race bib from the 1994 ‘First Half’ Pacific Road Runners Half Marathon in Vancouver and she crushed a 1:36. She’d had 3 kids at this point yet somehow found time to go for a run. She’s a legend!


Fav quote (running related or non-running)? “I want to try the impossible to show it can be done.” Terry Fox, Marathon of Hope. My sister was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and underwent the whole chemo journey. She showed me firsthand how to be strong and to never give up. Terry Fox set the stage for cancer research and fundraising in Canada and I’m so grateful because now my sister is approaching 5 years remission.


When & Why did you get into running?

Back in 2012, when I reached my highest of 310 pounds, I knew I needed to make a change. I first started my running as a way to lose weight. As the weight came off, I started to really enjoy the feeling of running a race and improving each time. Initially I started training with various groups with the goal of one day finishing a marathon.  Both goals were met, by reaching my goal weight with a loss of 140 pounds and finishing that first marathon.


How do you fit running into your busy lifestyle?

Running is such a major part of my life now that I just work everything else around it. With a full time job and other family commitments, I know when training days are and I always find time to run.


What was the impetus to start working Mile2Marathon?

As I continued to compete and get faster, my goals in running changed. I used to think qualifying for Boston was just a dream until I had breakthrough race in Eugene in 2017 breaking 4 hours in a marathon for the first time. Now I realize that maybe Boston is not as far away as I thought. I knew I had to take a big step in my training to realize my goal of getting a BQ. I finally found where I was meant to be; with Mile2Marathon. I know with coaching from Tony, Dylan, and Rob it is not a matter of if I will BQ but when I will.


What do you enjoy most about being part of Mile2Marathon?

My favourite part of being a member of Mile2Marathon is the incredible amount of support everybody gives each other. From racing together to training together, we all truly care that everyone achieves their goals.


Mark exemplifies the true joy we all strive to achieve through a lifestyle of running. As one of the first athletes to arrive at each training session, he shows up with a genuine smile on his face and eagerness to take on the challenge ahead. As a result, Mark has made leaps and bounds towards his ultimate running goals since joining the crew.”  Coach Tony Tomsich


Where to next/What’s your big goal currently?

I have a few local races coming up but my big goal is still to run a Boston qualifying time. I am hoping to accomplish this when I run the New York City Marathon in November. I know that Mile2Marathon will give me all the tools I need to get this done.


Person that inspires you in running or life?

The person that inspires me the most in running is Steve Prefontaine. The way he trained and raced is how I’ve tried to model my running style after.


Fav quote (running related or non-running)?

“The real purpose of running is not to win the race. It’s to test the limits of the human heart.” -Bill Bowerman

rob BMO 1
Everything you ever wanted to know about the marathon, presented by Mile2Marathon x Saucony

Join us for an evening of running and talking all things MARATHON

6:30pm SHARP for the workout
8:00pm for the Talky talk

Submit your quesitons to for a chance to win some sweet Saucony swag.

More details HERE.

Effective March 1, 2018 anyone who would like to attend M2M group workouts in Vancouver will be required to be a member of BC Athletics. This membership will be good for the remainder of the 2018 calendar year.

It has been wonderful for us to see the group in Vancouver grow. We still believe strongly in keeping the group workouts open to runners of all ages, abilities and commitment levels and therefore do not want to close or cap the group. However, we feel a certain level of safety and accountability is necessary at this time. The BC Athletics memberships will provide this for both Mile2Marathon and you, as well as some additional benefits to you.

Membership options include:

Non-competitive Training Only ($20):
◦ Discounts with BC Athletics partners, detailed HERE.
◦ Liability and Sport Injury/Accident Insurance
◦ Not eligible for entry in sanctioned events

Competitive Memberships:
1) Competitive Road/Trail ($60)
2) Masters, age 35+ ($70)
3) Competitive Track & Field/Road/Trail ($100)

◦ Discounts with BC Athletics partners, detailed HERE.
◦ Valid for entry in sanctioned events as noted
◦ $3.00 Day of Event membership exemption
◦ Liability and Sport Injury/Accident Insurance
◦ Performances included in Provincial & National rankings
◦ Eligible for entry in age category BC Athletics

To signup, please follow the below link. It should take 5 minutes to complete the registration process:


We are pumped to announce that Kate Gustafson is joining the M2M coaching crew! Kate is an amazing runner, coach, and woman. She’s inspired so many through her own running, coaching, and outreach with girls & woman across the globe. As M2M continues to grow in Vancouver and beyond, Kate will look to inspire more athletes and help them reach their goals. We feel truly lucky to have Kate join our crew of coaches. Kate’s full profile is below, and on our TEAM page, HERE.


Kate Gustafson is a writer, runner, and coach—with her truest passions being travel and supporting women & girls in sport.
As a former Women’s NCAA Division I Ice Hockey player (named captain in her senior season), Kate loves sweaty pursuits. She has completed the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal, spent six weeks training at high altitude in Kenya, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raced twelve marathons and is a proud Guinness world record holder for distance run on a treadmill by twelve women over twelve hours.
Her personal best times include 2:46:40 in the marathon and 1:18:43 in the half marathon, both achieved in 2017 while training under fellow coach, Dylan Wykes.
When her hockey-playing days came to an end she revisited her passion for running. Eleven years later, she has completed 75+ races and trained with many inspiring coaches and teammates along the way—with all of this hard work culminating in a top 25 finish at the 2015 Boston Marathon and a 26th place finish at the 2017 Berlin Marathon.
In 2013, Kate founded an online coaching business, and has since supported over 65 athletes across Canada in their various running pursuits. In 2014, she launched Girls With Gusto, a pilot running program for girls in Regent Park, one of Toronto’s most diverse neighbourhoods. And in 2015, she co-founded Run To Give YVR to bring Vancouver’s running community together to help the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre.
Kate has led cross training clinics at the Toronto Raptors Basketball Academy, Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey School and Scotiabank Girls Hockey Fest, Ottawa Senators Hockey Camps, and led the Female Hockey Jamboree and Hometown Hockey clinics with the Vancouver Canucks.
She believes that perseverance, grit, and a profound love for sport are essential. She strives to pass this along to young girls through mentorship, endurance athletes through coaching, and fellow teammates through her own training.
After graduating from Union College in upstate New York, Kate began her professional career in advertising in Atlanta and Toronto before spending the next few years in non-profit leading a team. In 2012, she made the jump to professional sports at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. In early 2015, Kate moved to Vancouver to write for lululemon. Kate also writes a blog; a project that started during a year spent travelling around the world.