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      Hello Everyone,                                                                                                                                                                                                         November 21, 2019        

     In this Issue:


  1. GPRC hosts CCAA cross-country event under very difficult conditions
  2. Running remains the constant for Annie Robitaille
  3. Google’s acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion raises privacy concerns
  4. Chichi's Rings
  5. Upcoming Events    December 7 Santa Shuffle. December 31 Resolution Run
  6. Running Room Run Club Update: 
  7. Track North News





GPRC hosts CCAA cross-country event under very difficult conditions - Grande Prairie Alberta
Gordon Anderson
Published on: November 12, 2019

Anna van der Giessen (right) places seventh, nationally, finishing little over one second behind Vanessa Brown (left) during the CCAA national championship race. The women's course consisted of a six km run around Borstad Hill in Muskoseepi Park, Saturday Nov. 9, 2019. van der Giessen's final time was 26:14.58 JOHN WATSON / DAILY HERALD TRIBUNE


Despite a large collection of runners face down at the finish line, it was a tough request to get the race course up to par at Muskoseepi Park on Saturday afternoon. Considering the course conditions—and harsh weather—at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference men’s and women’s cross country event at the local park and surrounding environs, it was a run, run-away success.

“I was really proud to be a Grande Prairian after we finished that event,” Wolves running coach Bill Corcoran said. “As a city, an organizing committee, we just crushed it. Everybody realized it was going to be a tough situation but everybody pitched in and got it done. Grande Prairie knows how to host national events and for a city this size, it punches about its weight. This was another example of how great a community we have, pulling off (something) like this under really difficult conditions.” “I absolutely loved it, loved having it hosted here,” added Wolves runner Tairas Fournier. “It’s was a fantastic experience. I’m glad I got to be a part of it.” Fournier crossed the line in a time of 34:07.35, finishing 89th out of 106 runners in the men’s 8-kilometre race.

Wolves runner Anna van der Giessen finished seventh in the women’s six-kilometre race, qualifying her for an All-Canadian status. Wearing bib number 51, the Bezanson resident finished the race in 26:14.58. “I am very happy with that result, especially since it’s Bill and Rick’s last year and I was glad to do that for them, because they’re the best coaches and I was glad I could make them proud,” van der Giessen said. Corcoran and Rick Lane retired from coaching the GPRC Wolves running team after the race.

“(Van der Giessen) has improved a ton since getting fourth at provincials,” Corcoran said. “She was second of the Alberta girls. What she said to me before the race was, ‘Bill, should I go out fast and I said, ‘Yes, you better go out fast, stay in the top 10 and just hang there.’ Top 10 are the All Canadians, that was her goal and that’s what she did.” The coach knew the 20-year-old had the goods buried somewhere in her frame. It was just a matter of bringing in out, making the mind and body connection. “She’s a fairly talented runner but she was lacking confidence,” Corcoran said. “She’s has some really good results, particularly after the latter part of September, she realized that she was good enough to hang with these girls and on Saturday she really proved that.”

Around two dozen volunteers picked up a shovel and got busy, clearing plenty of snow out of the way, trying to give the runners a fair shot at running as clean a race as possible. “The city said they would help us remove the snow on Saturday and I had no idea how it was going to look,” Corcoran said. “Al Meyer from the city started up the snow blower and did a loop of the course and then he did the start area and by the time the coaches arrived at 9:30 in the morning, they were gob smacked. We moved a hell of a lot of snow in a couple of hours. With a couple of dozen people shoveling, we had a course, and considering the conditions, that wasn’t too bad. Meyer was the hero of the day, he was amazing.”

Two for One

There is definitive proof one thing led to another for Anna van der Giessen. The Bezanson resident finished seventh in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference six-kilometre women’s race at Muskoseepi Park on Saturday afternoon. And while seventh place qualified van der Giessen as an All-Canadian, she’s done some pretty interesting things outside the realm of the All-Canadian designation.

The 20-year-old GPRC student was a member of Team Alberta North at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Ala. and the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland. “(I was) a snowshoe runner,” van der Giessen said. “There was three days of that. We did a mid-distance at five kilometres, we had a track day where we would do sprints and stuff and we had a longer day where we ran seven and half kilometres. We ran in snowshoes (for the sprints) and it was quite difficult. It was difficult and you had to focus on not tripping.”

Her decision to try cross county running got her a return ticket to a pair of winter games, as she explained. “I was in Grade 9 and I decided I was going to run cross country zones just try it out and I ended up (doing well) but that was the end of it (or) I thought it was the end of it,” van der Giessen said. “And then Mirelle Martens tried out for the snowshoe team and they didn’t have enough runners so her mom was looking at the cross country results and she had found me. She called my mom and asked if I wanted to try out for the snowshoe team. I had never heard of snowshoe running before but I thought why not.”

“It was a cool experience to go somewhere with a team like that and experience something different, a different culture,” van der Giessen said.


Cambrian College in Grande Prairie

Eric Leishman getting ready to race at the CCAA National Cross Country Championships. He will go on to lead the Cambrian squad in the CCAA 8km race in Grande Prairie


Men's Start


The Cambrian Squad






















All Event Results





Running remains the constant for Annie Robitaille
Randy Pascal For The Sudbury Star
November 13, 2019


Throughout her youth in Elliot Lake, across her three years of post-secondary studies at Collège Boréal, and on to career, family and life in Ottawa, Annie Robitaille has maintained a singular constant – and that is running.

“I started running when I was probably 11 or 12,” said the 36 year-old registered massage therapist and osteopathic practitioner, who captured a silver medal at the CCAA cross-country nationals in 2003, and twice mounted the podium on a provincial collegiate level as a member of the Vipères.

“It was just something I did on my own, out of personal interest. Running has always been kind of a tool for me to manage my feelings, my emotions, even while growing up.” By the time high-school arrived, with Robitaille attending E.S. Villa Francaise des Jeunes, an institution of but forty students or so at the time, her potential had become apparent, a progression spurred on by the landscape of her own hometown.

“I started running around the streets of my neighbourhood, but Elliot Lake is very hilly,” she said. “I give Elliot Lake a lot of credit for helping me become such a good runner because I had to run those hills every day.”

“And we had a coach at the English high-school, Peter Shipman, who was a really good runner and taught me the importance of doing interval training. He would always invite me to go out and practice with his students.”

Throw in a very strong support system at home – Annie is the second youngest of four children in the family, whose father (Daniel) is a five-time Canadian weightlifting champion, former national team coach, and physical educator, by trade – and one can see the possibilities.

Yet despite finishing fourth at OFSAA in 2000, a year prior to moving to Sudbury for schooling, Robitaille had decided that her sport of choice needed to be bumped down the priority list, as she moved on to the next phase of her life.

“When I was in high-school, there were a few schools that had approached me about visits to their campus,” she said. “But I knew the demands would be quite high and I wasn’t sure that my heart was into it. I was also passionate about the human anatomy and physiology, and knew that message therapy was something I wanted to do.”

“I was thinking I would just run for fun, focus on my education, and maybe pick up competitive running later.” Much to her surprise, the ability to combine both academics and athletics would become available in year two of her three year program, when Collège Boréal decided to field a cross-country team – of sorts.

“I think we were three runners on the team,” Robitaille recalled, with a laugh. Thankfully, her background had created a foundation for success, an ability to both self-motivate and self-coach, all while striding step for step with the very best in the province.

Fast forward some fifteen years or so following her graduation from college, with her strong personal character traits still evident, as Robitaille balances between career, her two young children at home (a son who is seven and daughter who is three and a half) and the constant that has been running.

“I wouldn’t say so much competitive any more, but I still make sure that I run every day,” she acknowledged. “I don’t run with the same intensity as I used to. I do it now just for well-being.” And in the nation’s capital, she has found a near ideal setting for her outlet, on so many different levels.

“In Elliot Lake, you almost never would see people out running,” she said. “In Ottawa, everyone runs along the canal. I would run with my kids, pushing them in the stroller. I think this is the time I’ve enjoyed running the most – it forced me to slow down a little bit. I even ran through my pregnancies, right until the very end.”

If a five kilometer cross-country trail was the standard in her early twenties, Robitaille has bettered with age. “I have done a lot of half-marathons after moving to Ottawa, but a marathon is still kind of on my bucket list,” she admitted. “I think with a marathon, you have to train with such intensity, and I still have that competitive side of me, so once I sign up for a marathon, I want to really invest my time into training.”

“With a marathon, you have to put in your mileage – there is no cheating. But I would be happy to do just one.”

Understandably, Robitaille looks back fondly at her time spent at the New Sudbury campus of one of only two completely francophone colleges in Ontario. “Running at Boréal was a very positive experience,” she said. “It wasn’t a very big school. Because the college community was quite small, I would have a lot of support for my running.”

“People would stop me in the hallways and congratulate me.”

To do the same today, best that you stop Robitaille while she is running, given that she will be doing just that, virtually each and every day of the year.

Still with running, the Cambrian Golden Shield men’s cross-country team struggled to find their rhythm at nationals last weekend, with Eric Leishman finishing 23rd overall, covering eight kilometres in a time of 30:22.72, with teammates Erich Mundt (90th – 34:09.69), Brandon Murray (94th – 34:46.37), Marc-André Maisonneuve (97th – 35:22.77), Aurel Fox (99th – 36:05.56) and Brennan Gregoire (104th – 37:37.56) well off his pace.







Google’s acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion raises privacy concerns

The deal makes sense for Google, whose wearable tech products have not performed well, but experts warn the tech giant may have a more sinister agenda
November 5th, 2019 by Anne Francis |Canadian Running Mag

On Friday, November 1, the wearable fitness tech company Fitbit, which has 28 million active users (many of whom are recreational runners), was bought by Google for $2.1 billion. Some media are speculating that the purchase, which will help Fitbit stay competitive in a highly competitive space and and generates almost 10 years’ worth of sensitive health data for Google, is a bad deal for users.

Ostensibly, Google wants Fitbit because its Wear OS division (formerly Android Wear) has performed poorly against competitors like Apple and Samsung. But experts say the real attraction is the data, and that Fitbit users may now be vulnerable to the very thing they’ve always trusted Fitbit not to do–be cavalier about their privacy.

A report on Gizmodo.com says Fitbit has always been characterized by strong privacy and security features (not to mention high usability and intuitiveness) and Google, not so much. Google says Fitbit will continue operating as its own entity, but some say that’s unlikely to continue over the long term, as we saw with Google Nest (the smart home products brand that Google bought in 2014 and absorbed into its hardware team four years later). Fitbit didn’t sell advertising, but Google certainly does–Time.com calls it “fundamentally an advertising company”. As columnist Mike Feibus asserts on USAToday.com, “Fitbit makes money selling us wellness hardware and, more recently, services. It doesn’t sell ads. It doesn’t sell access.”

Google swears it won’t sell users’ personal information, and says they’ll be able to delete their data or move it to another platform, like Apple or Samsung, which have made huge inroads into the fitness wearables space. “But how will that work, exactly?” Feibus asks. Will it be seamless, as they imply? Feibus thinks Fitbit users should be skeptical. “If I were Apple or Samsung, I’d be scrambling to make the migration from Fitbit as pleasant as possible. The inconvenience may not matter for some. Because if you’re losing sleep over this deal, you probably won’t want to stick around long enough to let Google find that out from your Fitbit data.”





Chichi's Rings

by Chichi (Lucia) Salmaso












Upcoming Local Events


December 7, 2019

Santa Shuffle

Location at College Boreal

(Course Map Here) (Site Map Here)


Online Registration Here





  December 31, 2019



Event Information and Registration

Course Map ( may be modified due to weather)


December 31st, 2019 / 5:00 P.M. / Sudbury ON

This race has a maxium registration cap of 150 entrants.






Run Club Update




Store News


Good afternoon Sudbury Runners and Walkers,


We have FREE run club Wednesday nights at 6pm and Sunday mornings at 8:30am.








Track North News - by Dick Moss







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