© Copyright – 2022 – Athletics Illustrated
The Toronto Waterfront Marathon organizing committee is once again stacking the field for the 2022 edition which is scheduled to go Sunday, October 16. Three of the latest to sign up are Dayna Pidhoresky, Rory Linkletter, and Trevor Hofbauer.
Vancouver, BC resident, Dayna Pidhoresky, who is originally from Tecumseh, Ontario is the latest name to be announced. The 35-year-old competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games. While she had a rough experience leading up to the Olympic race with the Japanese Covid protocols, which led to her finishing last, she won the Canadian championships and raced to a personal best of 2:29:03 leading up.
For Toronto this year, she wants to improve on that time.
“I definitely want to run a personal best. I just want to get the most out of myself on the day and feel this past spring gave me a lot of confidence, my training went really well.
“I feel like this is the year [in Toronto]. I can just take a little bit more risk and try to empty the tank and hopefully, that is something I will have the opportunity to do on the day. I just want to race well, execute well, and leave it all out there,” said Pidhoresky.
In April 2022, she won the BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2:34:30. Then just four weeks later, finished 6th at the Tamarack Ottawa Marathon. Both races yielded times well off her Olympic qualifying mark from 2019. On that day, three years ago, with the Canadian champion guaranteed an Olympic berth — provided they had made the standard — she came through with that 2:29:03 performance.
Meanwhile her fellow Canadian Olympians chased standards through the remaining qualifying period, Pidhoresky had the luxury of knowing she could train specifically for her dream race. It was not to be, however.
In Sapporo, where the marathons and race walks were held, she struggled home 73rd nursing an injury after what she describes as a ‘nightmare.’
At Team Canada’s pre-Olympic training camp in Gifu, she and her coach and husband, Josh Seifarth, received word that someone on their Vancouver to Tokyo flight had tested positive for Covid.
“We got a call from one of the Athletics Canada guys and he told us we were ‘close contacts’ [of fellow passengers] and that we would have to basically stay in our room the whole time,” she explains. “We weren’t able to leave the room at any point of time, at all. That was about a week.
Then I flew to Sapporo where the race was taking place.”
Canadian officials brought a stationary bike to her room during the quarantine, for which she was grateful. When the time came to fly on to Sapporo though, Seifarth was informed he would not be permitted to accompany Pidhoresky. Instead, he flew home to Vancouver.
Currently, her training is going better than in her buildup to the Olympic trials. The anticipation of a great performance is clearly visible in her facial expressions.
“We are definitely ahead of the game right now,” she says with a smile. “At the moment, we are in the 175-185km [weekly volume] range, which for me is more than I have generally averaged. In the past, I would do ten weeks of 160km a week and have maybe a 170km in there. It doesn’t actually feel that different.”
“I am less concerned with placing,” she reveals. “I hope that I can sort of look around and find a good group and we can work together to run fast times together. I would rather run a big PB than feel I am running tactically. Maybe those are one and the same on the day. I just hope I can run to the best of my ability on the day.”
Calgary’s Rory Linkletter is looking for a Canadian win in Toronto, as well as an improvement on his personal best of 2:10:24, which he ran at the 2022 Eugene World Athletics Championships this summer. So far, the way 2022 is rolling out, he stands a good chance of accomplishing that.
The 26-year-old set the national half-marathon record at 1:01:08 at the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon in January this year. In April, he set a new road 10K record of 28:43. He followed that up in May, where he clocked a 5000m best of 13:29.67. He even posted a new indoors 3000m personal best in February with a very strong 7:49.13.
The TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon has earned a World Athletics Elite Label and serves as the official Athletics Canada National Marathon Championships.
“That is one of the main reasons I chose Toronto over New York or some other fall marathon,” Linkletter revealed. “I liked a couple of things about it. Number one, I think the course is pretty quick. I have run it once before obviously. There is no part of it that I feel is really going to slow you down a ton.
“The weather is more predictable than Chicago just because it’s a week later and it’s just a touch different climate. I want to try and win a national championship as well. I think I can run faster in Toronto and I think it’s a good setup to do so.”
Linkletter has been training with his coach Ryan Hall since December 2021. Hall holds the American record in the half marathon distance at 59:43 and has run the marathon as fast as 2:04:58 in Boston and 2:06:17 in London. He has coached his wife Sara to fifth place in the World Championships and to a personal best of 2:20:32.
Linkletter was not satisfied running a 2:12:54 personal best at the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento, so, he sought a change in coaching.
CIM offers a net downhill course that run point to point. He was expecting more out of his day. So he moved onto coach Hall for his training.
“To be blunt, I just wasn’t running well and wanted to change some things up. I lost some confidence in myself,” he admitted. “In the US running scene, it’s a lot of group-based training. A lot of these groups are popping up like crazy and they are successful for many people. I definitely think there are a lot of pros to the group setting but I felt I needed to have a more individualized training.
“I wanted to feel like I hired a coach, not ran for a team and was just a cog in the wheel. I wanted a little more say. That relationship with Ryan just made sense to me. I wanted somebody who was an athlete. I liked that a lot with my [Brigham Young University] coach, Ed Eyestone. I needed them to be in Flagstaff. I didn’t want to leave Flagstaff because I love it
Recently, Linkletter and his wife Jill, both student-athletes at BYU, marked their third year living in the northern Arizona town. But a change in coaches wasn’t the only seismic shift in Linkletter’s recent past.
In May 2022, Linkletter signed a sponsorship agreement with Puma Running. On July 31, 2021, the couple welcomed their son Jason into the world. He is named for Linkletter’s father who sadly passed away shortly before meeting his grandson.
Although neither Jill nor Linkletter are Mormons—about 99% of BYU students are—they are Christians. This was another factor in choosing Hall to be his coach.
“I have always been a huge fan of Ryan,” he continued, “because he was such an amazing athlete himself. It doesn’t hurt that we have similar personalities: very type A, very driven, very strong Christian belief system. There were a lot of things in my mind where I thought this makes sense.”
Three years ago, Trevor Hofbauer captured the Canadian Marathon Championship title at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, securing a place on the Canadian Olympic team bound for Japan. In doing so, he became only the second Canadian to beat 2:10 and he did so by nine seconds. Organizers are delighted to announce that the 30-year-old has accepted an invitation to return.
Hofbauer was 7th overall in 2019 with his 2:09:51 personal best, while Kenya’s Philemon Rono set a Canadian all-comer’s standard of 2:05:00. Hofbauer relishes the challenge. Rono is also back for the 2022 edition.
“This will be my third time doing Toronto,” he admits. “My memory is quite strong when it comes to courses and race experiences so I can visualise the entire Toronto Waterfront Marathon course right now as we are sitting here talking.
“I know what to expect. I know what I have to do in my training to prepare for the race. I think there is an advantage to having that experience.”
While his Olympic experience didn’t go according to plan—he finished 48th in Sapporo with a below-par 2:19:57 clocking—he has set his sights on the Paris Olympic Games two years hence. Hofbauer is not one to dwell on the past so his reaction to being asked for his thoughts on Sapporo is predictable.
“Do we have to go through it?” he says laughing. “There were a bunch of things going on in my life at that time that kind of just made my Olympic experience difficult. I am really keen and eager to make the next Olympic team and work that out and have that moment to my satisfaction.
“I had a huge amount of support from my community in Calgary and even across Canada. So, for me to represent Canada at the Olympics was mostly for the community that put resources, belief, time, and effort and saw the potential in me. I thank them for that. Even though I didn’t live up to my personal standards a lot of people were proud of me even just completing the race.”
He remembers sitting on the bus from Sapporo to Tokyo’s Narita airport following the Olympic marathon. Posting his thoughts on Instagram while he began his long journey home, he began to think of ways to redeem himself.
“I took a look at the races coming up in the spring and there’s no bigger marathon in the world than Boston,” he declares. “In my head, I kind of circled the date on the calendar and said, ‘I am going to make Boston happen and that’s going to be my redemption for the Olympics.’”
On April 18, 2022, he finished 15th in Boston, running a time of 2:10:52. The experience was another positive in his successful marathon career. In Beantown, he shared time with fellow Canadian Olympians Malindi Elmore and Natasha Wodak, and was delighted to see coaches Trent Stellingwerf and Graham Hood on the course cheering the Canadians on.
The ‘redemption’ must be credited to some life changes Hofbauer made after the Olympics. In October 2021 he began working with BC Endurance coach, Richard Lee. A few weeks later he moved from his home in Calgary to British Columbia where he has friends and family he wanted to spend more time with. And he has enrolled in the University of British Columbia, Okanagan four-year psychology course. With some collegiate eligibility remaining, he will run cross country for UBC Okanagan under coach Malindi Elmore, the Canadian women’s marathon record holder.
“I was talking with Malindi in Sapporo about wanting to go to school there and she did a good job selling the area,” he jokes. “Okanagan had a program I was looking for. I wanted to be close to Vancouver but I didn’t want to be in Vancouver. And it’s not too far away from Calgary.”
Although he is a member of BC Endurance Project, he still does most of his training alone. It has been that way since he took up marathoning.
“It’s a big stress relief for me,” he acknowledges. “It’s my quiet time of the day—my escape from the world.
“None of that changes from Calgary but I will be training with the UBC Okanagan cross country team when I do go to school. We have had some training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which I have been attending, so I have had interaction with the group.”
Coach Richard Lee will call the shots. It was his program that Hofbauer followed in the lead-up to Boston. Clearly, he has respect for the coach.
“We get along really well. We are both laid back and the way we communicate with each other works,” Hofbauer says. “I have full trust in him. He tells me what to do and I go out there and do it.”
The 14-week training program he followed for Boston will likely be altered somewhat. Boston’s famed course meant a lot of time was spent training on hills. At the moment, they are taking it a week at a time, but since Toronto is far less hilly Hofbauer expects to be doing more speed work. And what if Lee surprises him with double his usual mileage?
“Whatever the boss says goes!” he says with a smile.