There are many runners and many races, but only one ultimate test of running.
Rob and Robyn both overcame massive obstacles to become ENDURrun Champions in 2019.
Names aside, it was an otherwise different story for each. Robert Brouillette, off four consecutive wire-to-wire championships, actually raced five full Stages before being awarded the Gold Jersey. He was pushed to the limit by his competitors and in the end, it was an EB marathon that put Rob into a career time. For Robyn Collins, she dominated the entire week right from Stage 1, and comfortably held onto Gold and won her first championship. This comes one year after her incredible performances came up six minutes short in 2018. Both Josh Bolton and Valery Hobson‘s withdrawals this week were major storylines that contributed to the results.
As we do every year, we caught up with the two winners to ask them to reflect on their success and also snap some photos in colours other than gold (ok Gold Jerseys too!) Both Rob and Robyn are incredible ambassadors of running and the community: gracious, honest, thankful, talented, and of course, deserving of their 2019 wins.
We went out to the Grand Trunk Trail, a section of the Grand River Trail that’s a new addition to ENDURrun in 2019. On the Stage 2 Time Trial, we can’t spend enough time on the course to enjoy the fantastic scenery so we thought we would make the trip for some great photos. Full album on our Flickr page.
Robyn Collins, 2019 ENDURrun Champion
What are your thoughts on battling the women in this deep field?
Sadly one of my closet competitors Val had to withdraw. But she came out every day to cheer on everyone! It was a real joy to race with Catherine, Vicki and Rebecca. We were genuinely cheering on each other.
Can we get your reflection on your performance as a whole?
I am very happy with my performance. My goal was to run comfortably every day from start to finish so that I could truly enjoy the week. Chicopee was especially very Satisfying. Getting a 3 minute PB there was such an amazing feeling after my disappointment last year. My best day by far was the marathon. I was negative splitting and it felt amazing. Unfortunately, accidentally going off course cost me the possibility of the course record. But next year I will get my redemption. Watch me.
Who inspired you the most this week?
I was very inspired by each and every runner this week. The person who stands out the most in my mind would be my teammate Will. He worked extremely hard all year to improve his time by over 2 hours. His dedication is very noteworthy.
When did you think this was possible?
After Chicopee I was very confident that I was going to win. I had a 26 minute lead. The 10km and the marathon are my best distances.
Who has helped you achieve this?
A lot of people have helped me achieve this. My running would not be where it is now without my team. H+P has all kinds of athletes doing very inspiring things. I have learned so much from all of them. We are like a big family. For this week I couldn’t have achieved this level of success without the incredible ENDURRun crew. Everything is taken care of. All I had to do was show up, run, and smile.
How much of a factor was the no taper?
I suspect that if I did at least a week taper I might have been a few seconds per km faster each day. But who knows.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
My plans always include running. It’s always on my mind. My goal is to someday race STWM marathon as an Elite. I plan to race the Fall 5k Classic and hopefully get a PB. Again, there will be no taper and I plan to do a 40k long run with a 21k tempo the Saturday before it in preparation for my A race which is STWM marathon on October 20th.
Will we see you next year?
I am already signed up for next year! I plan to avoid trails and just wing it like I did this year. I am a road runner at heart. I was really good at Bechtel. Chicopee is a struggle for me because I have a lot of fears. For example, I don’t drive a car or ride a bike. I went super slow with fast steps downhill because I was so afraid of hurting my knees. And in the forest I also went slow and focused so hard on not falling. I almost wiped out 2x. Chicopee training felt so hard on my body last year so for me it’s not worth it. But I plan to do lots of hilly road running now that I know my knees have healed quite well (thanks to Coach Sean). I think marathon training works very well for ENDURrun.
Have you taken the gold jersey off yet?
I was happy to take off my gold jersey. It was a sweaty run yesterday. It is freshly washed.
Your highlight of the week?
The highlight of the week would be crossing the finish line of Chicopee feeling a million times better than last year.
Any words to your fans?
I would like to say to my fans that I love you all and Thank You for your encouragement. Also, remember that if you want to improve your running you need to eat a lot of calories and carbs. Thinner definitely doesn’t always mean faster.
Robert Brouillette, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 ENDURrun Champion
How was 2019 different from previous years?
This year competition wise was different by having multiple runner ups in the field at once such as Aidan (2018), Nick (2017) and Robin (2015) among a couple others. The big change was having elite Josh Bolton who is my training partner in the mix too. Course wise the 15K was in Cambridge on the trail next next to George Street & Blair Road and the 10K became a 10,000m track stage. Weather has been the best in my 5 years or 6 if you include my marathon relay in 2014.
How was it similar to previous years?
Cumulative time was just 58 seconds faster than 2017 and I tied or missed PB’s or records by 1-8 seconds on a few stages. Always lots of familiar faces. Most courses have been unchanged or only minor. The overall atmosphere is unchanged by how great the event is organized to the people involved and the yummy food still there.
Who inspired you the most this week?
No one person in particular but rather the whole ENDURrun community, competitor Josh, girlfriend Sara & her daughter Charley and my Mom Joyce. Everyone’s support and believing in me kept me going all event long.
Can you speak to battling Josh, and his injury?
Josh is a tough guy with significantly faster PB’s in everything 30K and under. In his best form he is a serious challenger. He was very helpful in working together for some of the stages. As a friend, training partner and fellow ENDURrun competitor I was sad to hear the news of his injured calf after Stage 6 and wouldn’t be able to finish the last stage, marathon, which could have been his first completed marathon and in doing so an ENDURrun finisher. He has dealt with two Achilles surgeries and last one just shy of a year ago so this event was a place for him to build strength and endurance which he still accomplished regardless of end result. He’s one of the toughest runners I know and will come back stronger.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
This fall my goal race is the Global Energy 10K in Madrid, Spain which I won this race from winning the Toronto version last year. The event sends the top women and man from multiple countries across the world to all meet in a new location every year. So it will be a very strong international field. In the Run Waterloo series I will be at the Harvest Half, Fall Classic and RememberRun. Other than those I am not committing to anything but will most likely do a big city race or two. Outside of running I want to take a “real” vacation this winter to relax for a change as I haven’t done that in years, get full-time at work and look into buying a home.
Your highlight of the week?
Seeing Josh break the Half-Marathon course record as no one has done that since I’ve been a part of ENDURrun. Running a stage in my hometown of Cambridge. How strong I felt and getting a EB at Chicopee (that one can be the toughest of all stages). Finally, getting that EB on the marathon ONLY 1 second behind Charles Bedley’s 2nd best time.
Was the EB satisfying?
Getting an EB by 58 seconds is great but obviously I wish it was more after 2 years. I would have liked to beat Charles Bedley’s 2nd best time (missed by 3 minutes) and sub-10 hours (6 minutes). Charles’ top time was done 15 years ago, he has faster PBs then me and done on different stages so I don’t think that’s possible to even try chasing at this time.
What is your ENDURrun legacy?
I’m a 5x consecutive champion and still have lots of time left in my competitive running career. I came from being a beginner runner 10 years ago, finishing races in the back of the pack to working hard over the years to where I am today. Putting the work in, staying healthy, having passion for the sport and believing it’s possible to finish or finish with a certain time, anyone can be an ENDURrunner.
Will we see you again next year?
The easy answer is yes, I would love to come back and continue my championship streak and try to take down some records on the way but I don’t want to rush into a decision so soon to the end of the 2019 ENDURrun. Also, running alone for so many years I need a strong competitive field to push me to that next level. A year is a long time and I want to enjoy the experiences in between and see where it takes me before I commit to anything.
Any words for your team?
My club Grand River Endurance has so much strength in all sort of areas in running from different distance specialties to terrains which is what ENDURrun is all about so I feel our team can be a strong relay team and chase the record in 2020.
This race wouldn’t be possible without runners, obviously.
It wouldn’t be possible without sponsors, or without the support from key partners like the Waterloo Regional Police Service, City of Waterloo, and Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort. And it certainly wouldn’t be the same without many such groups, including Health + Performance, Running Rarebits, Runners’ Choice, and KW Health Connection, and WR REACT.
But of all the groups, the first thank you goes to the volunteers.
ENDURrun has evolved from a simple race for 9 people into a kind of glorious juggernaut. An environment that pampers it’s runners requires hundreds of volunteers for many thousands of volunteer hours. But it’s more than that; the neon shirts care about the runners, and about the food and water, the equipment and timing, the photography and videography, the courses and the overall experience. They use talent and care to turn hours into something greater than the sum.
Big name checks go to Adrienne, Nick, Rachel, and the Running Rarebits for taking on the food portfolio for 2019 – wow! The Hergott family for tireless dedication to serving runners in any conditions. Longtime volunteers like Carmen, Ian, Aidan, Maryjane, Val, Chris, Don, Joanne, Mark, who have contributed so much this year and over the years. Jeff and Ryan for too-generously donating their talent, and take work home with them.
Volunteers who drove more than an hour each way, multiple days, to be here. Volunteers who enlisted other volunteers, including family. Crews who were there in the dark doing laborious, underappreciated work to keep everyone off the ground and in the shade. People who are working behind the scenes with no credit whatsoever. Even runners (relay, and Ultimate!) who also contributed on a daily basis. Spectators too.
Besides great food and a high-vis t-shirt, the real value we can offer volunteers is the satisfaction that your effort was impactful. We had more participants than ever before, the most finishers of the cutoff era, and some of the fastest times. The community is growing, in size and strength, on the back of your labour.
And not to forget the vision and hospitality of Julie and Lloyd, who have led the way with tireless hours, rallying the community along the way.
Hope you enjoyed this peaceful Monday!?
You are one tough runner.
One week ago, we met in Conestogo Park for a half marathon. Eight days later, 47 athletes completed what we think is the ultimate test of running. The 8 days, 7 stages, 160 km are designed to push runners to the max, test their will and training, and seek out well-rounded runners. Now relaxing in the shade, we can only begin to reflect on an incredible week.
Robert Brouillette set a new personal-best in his fifth consecutive championship. Aidan Rutherford moves up to eighth all-time, and only behind two other men (the other being Charles Bedley). In third, Robin Richard-Campeau runs the fourth-fastest masters time.
In a fun quirk, because of the introduction of non-duplicating masters prize money for 1st (which Robin wins), Christian Belair in 4th earns the 3rd place prize money, which is the same award he has won every time he has run ENDURrun (with 2014, 2015, 2018)!
Robyn Collins rebounds from a heartbreaking 2018 with an incredibly strong win, the fifth fastest master of all time. Catherine Desrosiers (also 2nd in 2017) and Vicki Zandbergen (fourth time in 3rd) round out the podium, and Rebecca Kruisselbrink also earns prize money in the same manner as Christian.
Robyn was 2 minutes slower than her 2018 time: one minute for each extra KM today 😉
— The ENDURrun (@ENDURrun) August 19, 2019
– Men 55+ record, Dave Rutherford by over an hour
– Women 55+ record, Andrea Iozzi and Susan Moizer are the first two!
– Men 60+ record, Andrew Moizer, by 24 seconds!!!
– Men 70+ record, Ken. B. A., at age 76, on his 5th attempt !!!!!
– Consecutive championships: Robert Brouillette, 5
– All relay records: Overall, Female, Masters
– Caroline S-B. led wire-to-wire, and Reza S. sneaks in on the final day to claim the Top Rookie prizes!
Huge thanks to Mark M. for organizing a new relay team from Lifetime Fitness, and huge congrats to the Running Rarebits for their best year yet!
It finally came together for H+P. After a half decade of trying, H+P now owns the relay record thanks to great performances all week including the anchor Aidan Rutherford in Stage 7. This edged out the Road Scholars of 2012 by a total of 43 seconds. The women beat their 2018 time by 17 minutes, and the masters men broke their 2018 time by 5 minutes. Huge congrats to coaches Sean and Gill and the entire team for achieving incredible results.
— Health & Performance (@Health_Perform) August 18, 2019
These athletes topped their previous best ENDURrun times:
Aidan R. (36 minutes), Ian G. (30 minutes), Merlin F. (16 minutes), Chris L. (15 minutes), Mark I. (12 minutes), Will S. (2 hours 12 minutes). Also honourable mentions for fastest since 2014: Maureen. 2011: Denis A. 2009: Jack K.! And well done to Thaddeus H. for beating his 2018 self by 15 seconds!
Robyn and Catherine 6th and 9th fastest female masters marathons.
Consistency: Aidan R. (6 seconds) and Deirdre L. (9) rocked the consistency today!
Negative splits: Deirdre L., Jeanette T., Mike C., Merlin F., Chris M., Reza S., Thaddeus H. and Christian B. all ran negative splits today.
EBs (ENDURrun-best marathons): Rob B., Aidan R., Ian G., Merlin F., Chris L., Mark I., Will S.
Each of Maureen Pecknold, Jack Kilislian, Mark McDonald, and Vicki Zandbergen has completed a record nine ENDURrun Ulitmates and can found the Thousand Club in 2020.
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On a day with so many stories of success, this nutty group of four runners have completed #endurrun NINE times each. That is an incredible accomplishment and a testimony to the bonds created over the years at our little event. Remarkable this year – the injuries fought through to get to the start line and to the finish line. The Thousand Mile club awaits any of these who finish 2020. Two are already signed up. How will this end??? Thank you for being to ambassadors of the endurrun mission. #OneToughRunner #endurrun2019