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Close battles expected for men's and women's titles at the 35th Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run

Photos by Rick Horne

Drew Nicholson and David Palermo at the 2011 BMO April Fool's Run
Drew Nicholson and David Palermo (2nd & 3rd from left) at AFR 2011

March 27, 2012, Gibsons — The battle for top spots and cash prizes should be an exciting one at this year's Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run presented by Coast Cable, set for Sunday April 1st. In both the men's and women's fields the top contenders are quite evenly matched, while a couple of top locals may also have a shot at the podium.

On the men's side, multi-time top local Shaun Stephens-Whale of Roberts Creek is expected to be in the lead pack with last year's 2nd and 4th place winners David Palermo of Vancouver and Drew Nicholson of Surrey, along with 2007 & 2009 winner Graeme Wilson of Vancouver. Whether UBC graduate and former varsity team member Stephens-Whale can stay with them is the question. His best half is 1:13:33 while the other three have all run in the 1:10-1:12 range in the past 12 months — but a big PB is very possible for this 22-year-old who has had major breakthroughs in the past, and he has the home-town advantage: the family home is at the 15k mark.

Wilson is the favourite to win the Masters 40+ division, but the chase for the new 2nd and 3rd place Masters 40+ prize money will likely unfold between Vancouver Falcons (VFAC) teammates Mark Bennett and Mike Palichuk.

Lisa Brooking, 2nd at Dave Reed 5k 2012
Lisa Brooking was 2nd female at the 2012 Dave Reed 5k Spring Classic

The women's race is shaping up to be a close match between Langley's Lisa Brooking, Vancouver's Kristin Smart and triathlete Gillian Clayton of Vancouver. Though Brooking has the best half-marathon personal best (PB) of the bunch at 1:20:36, Smart ran a breakthrough 2:49 marathon in December and has been zipping off shorter distance PB's regularly this year, including a 1:22:20 "First Half" Half Marathon. Clayton, whose half-marathon PB is 1:23:06, was the top non-pro woman (5th overall) at last August's Ironman Canada Triathlon in Penticton, blasting through the field in the marathon portion with an even split 3:14 on an extremely hot day; and she recently finished a stride ahead of Smart in 18:22 at the BMO St. Patrick's Day 5k in Vancouver. Brooking was just 4s ahead of both women in the same race.

Kimberley Doerksen at the 2011 BMO April Fool's Run
Kimberley Doerksen, top local woman at the 2011 Fool's Run

Local favourite Kimberley Doerksen of Gibsons won't be far behind the leaders this year, having recently run a new PB of 1:25:49 at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, a significant improvement over her 1:27:53 at last year's Fool's Run.

The Masters Women's 40+ race will be a familiar scene, with another pair of VFAC teammates going head to head again as they did in 2009 — Rebecca Reid and Helen Ritchie.

Start time is 9:00am Sunday from the Gibsons & Area Community Centre, with an early start for walkers and 3hr+ runners at 8:00am. Online registration is closed but in-person registration is available during package pickup on Thursday 12-6pm at Forerunners North Vancouver, and Saturday 2-6pm and Sunday 7:30-8:30am at the Gibsons Community Centre.

The 35th anniversary edition features a new finish line at Mission Point Park, a free children's run sponsored by Pastimes, a newly designed finisher medal, hot food at the finish line, enhanced volunteer support from BMO, and a grand draw prize weekend getaway at Painted Boat Resort Spa & Marina. The BMO April Fool's Run is race #4 in the 2012 Lower Mainland Road Race Series. See for details.


BMO April Fool's Run is supporting the Sunshine Coast Food Bank!

Bring a non-perishable food item for the Sunshine Coast Food Bank to Saturday Packet Pickup (Gibsons) or to the Awards/Prizes Pickup table at the Race Finish, and you can enter your name in a draw for some great prizes! This is a separate draw only for those who bring a food bank donation! Winning names to be drawn after the run and posted at the prize pickup table. Increase your odds of winning by bringing more than one item — your name goes in for each item!

We will also be donating any leftover perishable food items to the Food Bank — they have a large cooler and distribute fresh food every week.

More more information on the food bank, see


Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run Pledges to Go Green

Athletes for a Fit Planet

April Fool's Run takes the Athletes for a Fit Planet Pledge of Sustainability and commits to implement 10 eco-initiatives in 2012

GIBSONS, BC, March 21, 2012 — In addition to the special celebrations surrounding the 35th anniversary and April 1st date, this year's Fool's runners & walkers will enjoy a more eco-friendly race that, among other things, includes a commitment to recycling, composting, and reducing carbon emissions.

As part of its commitment to greater environmental stewardship, organizers Teresa & Larry Nightingale have taken the “Pledge of Sustainability” for the 2012 Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run. The pledge is administered by Athletes for a Fit Planet™, a leading environmental services company for athletic events.

The April Fool's Run is displaying the Pledge of Sustainability logo on its website (see below) and FitPlanet is listing the Fool's Run in its Green Events Calendar. The Calendar enables athletes to read all 10 eco-practices that the Fool's Run has pledged to do at this year's race.

“We are able to recycle or compost nearly all the post-race waste, thanks to our ‘Green Team’ volunteers and the support of Direct Disposal,” Teresa says. “As runners we enjoy the natural environment and want to help preserve it, not harm it, with our running-related activities. To help achieve those goals, I attended the recent Zero Waste Events workshop offered by the SCRD and SC Tourism, and discovered more helpful ideas and local resources.”

“We are thrilled to see the April Fool's Run take their zero waste goals to the next level and are here to support them in continuing to do so,” says Julie Clark, Sustainability Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Sunshine Coast Regional District. “The Zero Waste Guide for Event Planners is one way we are supporting those like Teresa and Larry who convene local festivals and events.”

“We are excited that the organizers of the April Fool's Run have publicly committed to take specific steps to green the 2012 Fools Run,” says Bruce Rayner, Chief Green Officer, Athletes for a Fit Planet. “And by listing the Pledge criteria in the Green Events Calendar, the participating athletes are assured that the Fool's Run's environmental commitment is sincere and real.”

This year's event starts at the Gibsons & Area Community Centre and features a spacious new finish line in Mission Point Park (Davis Bay). The 35th anniversary celebrations include a costume contest, hot food offerings, and free kids' run in the park. The main race starts at 9am with an early 8am start for walkers and 3hr+ runners. Online registration is open until midnight Monday, March 26 at Walk-up registration will be available during package pickup on March 29, 31 and April 1. Volunteers can sign up online.

Spring into action and discover BC's best kept secret for an ecologically friendly getaway. Hike the 180 km renowned Sunshine Coast Trail where you can go from ocean shore to mountain ridge to lakeside and explore the majestic old-growth forest. Ride where the pros ride with biking trails suitable for all experience levels. Indulge in our local faire, our culinarians pride themselves on using the freshest ingredients, with many using local and organic ingredients exclusively. Visit for special deals and promotions, making staying on the Sunshine Coast an easy and affordable getaway.


Athletes for a Fit Planet is a leading provider of environmental services to organizers of athletic events, including running, multisport, cycling and walking events. FitPlanet's Pledge of Sustainability and the Green Events Calendar allow event organizers to communicate their green practices to athletes, and allow athletes to make informed decisions about the events they participate in. For more information, please contact Bruce Rayner, Chief Green Office, at, and visit FitPlanet at

ABOUT THE Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run

The Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run presented by Coast Cable is an annual half marathon between Gibsons and Sechelt that has been run for 35 years—originating from a personal challenge between two local newspaper columnists on April 1st, 1978. Now attracting over 600 entrants, this popular run and walk includes relay divisions and a club/team challenge. Race #4 in the Lower Mainland Road Race Series, the Fool's Run offers friendly West Coast hospitality, low entry fees, scenic route, finisher's medals and unique awards—all just a quick ferry ride or flight from Vancouver. For more information, please contact Teresa or Larry Nightingale, Race Directors, at or 604-885-8849, and visit the event site at


Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run Set for Sunday, April 1st

GIBSONS, BC, March 12, 2012 — BMO Bank of Montreal is excited to sponsor the Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run on Sunday, April 1. Now in its 35th year, this marks the inaugural year for BMO as the title sponsor of the very popular annual half marathon for runners and walkers on or near April Fool's Day.

The scenic Run, Walk or Relay is 13.1 miles or 21.1 km from Gibsons to Sechelt; offering a point-to-point, net downhill course with friendly West Coast hospitality, a low entry fee, finisher's medals and unique awards — all just a quick ferry ride or flight from Vancouver.

“I'm looking forward to running the Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run for the first time, along with eight of my colleagues,” says Henry Donkers, Vice President, Vancouver Suburban District for BMO Bank of Montreal.

BMO employees are enthusiastically coming out in force to also volunteer at the Fool's Run. “We're proud to be the title sponsor in this Sunshine Coast recreational running tradition,” says Debra Carson, Gibsons Branch Manager, BMO Bank of Montreal. “We'll be setting up water stations, helping with the finisher's medals and cheering on all the participants — from first to last.” BMO is also supplying both the volunteer t-shirts and the runners' gloves for the race.

“We're very excited to welcome BMO on board as title sponsor this year and into the future,” says Teresa Nightingale, event co-director with husband Larry. “Their support allows us to make the Fool's Run an even better experience for our participants - with fantastic volunteer support, increased prizing, and of course the famous blue BMO gloves for everyone. We really wanted to make the 35th anniversary edition extra special, and the inaugural BMO sponsorship is a huge part of that.”

Other new features this year include a new finish location in beautiful Mission Point Park; a newly designed commemorative Finisher Medal that can be personalized with an insert; hot soup and burritos at the post race food area; and the Pastimes Kids' Jester Dash — a free fun run for children age 7 and under. The BMO Sunshine Coast Fool's Run has also taken the Pledge of Sustainability with Athletes For A Fit Planet, with the goal to be as close to a Zero Waste event as possible.

“We encourage members of the community to register, volunteer or line up to cheer the participants on April 1st,” said Jason Jenkins, BMO's branch manager in Sechelt.

Deadline to register online is midnight Monday, March 26th. In-person sign up will be available during package pickup on March 29th, March 31st and April 1st.

About BMO Bank of Montreal in the Community

BMO Financial Group — founded in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, Canada's first bank — has been part of the British Columbia scene for 125 years — since 1887, when an office was established on Hastings Street in downtown Vancouver.

BMO believes in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves; providing donations and sponsorships to groups and programs that help build and sustain resilient and healthy communities. BMO is the Bank for Runners in B.C. — sponsoring the BMO Vancouver Marathon, the BMO Okanagan Marathon, the BMO St. Patrick's Day 5K and the Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run. Visit

"It's the little half that rules — You just gotta run the Fool's!"


AFR 2011 Women's winner Sherbino to chase Olympic Marathon standard

After winning the BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2:43, Keddi-Anne Sherbino is just beginning to recognize and acknowledge her true potential. Read article in Kelowna marathoner has unlimited potential »


Record numbers expected; competitive women's field for April Fool's Run

March 28, 2011 — The 34th edition of the April Fool's Run, presented by Coast Cable, promises some fierce competition for the top spots and BC Championship honours, especially in the women's division. Challenging for the win will be Kelowna's Keddi-Anne Sherbino who has been dominating races in the interior, winning the Okanagan College Half Marathon this past Sunday in 1:21:41; Vancouver's Gillian Clayton, who recently set a personal best of 1:23 at the "First Half" Half Marathon; Vancouver's Amy Schneeberg whose best time in the half is 1:22; and Burnaby's Tina Connelly, who hasn't been racing much for a couple of years but has a stellar half-marathon PB of 1:12:47, and is now entering the fray as a master. Another top master in the mix is North Vancouver's Darcie Montgomery, a consistent racer who placed second here last year.

Though there's still the potential for some last minute ringers to sign up on race weekend, three of the men entered so far who have a shot at the podium are Vancouver's Kevin O'Connor, a top masters competitor who finished 3rd at the Fools Run last year and has been tearing up the roads lately; VFAC club teammate David Palermo who was 4th behind Kevin last year, and has recently been getting a new personal best every time he races; and Geoff Reid, with a 32:04 10k best, who will making his half-marathon debut here.

Registration numbers are on track for another record turnout, with over 550 signed up as of Monday morning, with another 100+ expected. The event is capped at 700 entrants so there is the possibility of a sell-out by Saturday afternoon, during the Gibsons package pickup at the community centre, from 2:00 to 6:00pm. Check daily for latest updates and number of spots remaining.

The organizers can always use a few extra volunteers, so if you aren't running but want to be part of the excitement, call 604-885-8849 or email no later than 9pm Saturday, or drop by the Saturday package pickup at the community centre between 2 and 6pm.

Drivers are reminded to please SLOW DOWN and be on the alert for runners, walkers and volunteers on Sunday morning in Gibsons, Roberts Creek and Davis Bay, and please obey traffic marshals. Give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination and check out the course map at to find alternate routes.

Residents along the route are encouraged to come out and cheer, play music, make some noise! Participants will be voting on their favourite neighbourhood cheering spot, so don't be shy.

Good luck to everyone participating!


30th Anniversary Fool's Run gearing up to be a celebration

Fun and fast times expected

Mar 5/07: Over 330 runners and walkers are signed up and ready to make the trek from Gibsons to Sechelt on April 1st for the 30th edition of the Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run, presented by Coast Cable.

Numbers are on track to meet or beat last year's total of 532 participants, with entrants from all over BC, several other provinces, and the US. With fees increasing after Thursday March 15th, a flood of additional entries are expected this week.

March 15 is also the deadline to order tickets for the Saturday night pasta buffet and concert, featuring Sarah Loverock and band at Pack Ratt Louie's. Don't miss a fabulous evening of food and entertainment—the perfect way to carbo-load and relax the night before the run!

Visitors please note that the Cedars Inn Hotel & Convention Centre is already sold out for race weekend, and there is only one bed left at Up the Creek B&B. Additional accommodation can be found at the Ritz Inn and the Sunshine Lodge, also offering discounts to participants. See for details.

With Daylight Savings starting on March 11th this year, no one has to get up an extra hour early on race morning—a nice change from the past couple of years. This, combined with the new, flatter course, should produce faster times. Last year's winner Graeme Wilson of Vancouver will be going for a 1:09:00 finish this year, which would knock nearly a minute off the current event record held by Nik Southwell since 2004.

Also new this year: Gleukos All-Natural Sports Drink will be offered at each aid station, along with the traditional water. Used by local standout Shaun Stephens-Whale and Olympic triathlete Simon Whitfield, among others, this is a fantastic new performance beverage that works like an IV to quickly get energy into the bloodstream. Runners should check the race website for local retailers carrying Gleukos so they can train with it before race day.

Speedy types can compete for the Gleukos Power Mile: $50 cash for the 1st individual to reach the one mile mark (9am start only). The catch: the winner must finish the entire half marathon to collect the loot! An interesting race will unfold as the leaders decide whether or not to go for the $50 bonus or stay on scheduled pace for the overall top 3 cash prizes.

All finishers, regardless of time, will be rewarded with a special finisher's medal, newly designed for the 30th edition of the run.

Not running but want to be a part of the weekend fun? The organizers are looking for more volunteers to help with course marshalling, as well as package pickup and finish line crew. Sign up online at or call Teresa or Larry at 604-885-8849. Each volunteer receives a t-shirt and invitation to the post-race volunteer wrap party, plus the chance to win a draw prize.

All details and registration can be found at


Faster, flatter course for 30th Anniversary April Fool's Run

New finish line at Davis Bay pier

Jan 22/07: The 2007 edition of the Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run, presented by Coast Cable, will be a little easier to finish—without the infamous Davis Bay Hill at mile 11. Concerned about the safety of the participants over the final two miles of the route in recent years, the organizers are moving the finish line to the pier in Davis Bay. To make up the lost distance, participants will run an extra portion in Gibsons, heading straight down Pratt Road to Chaster, then up King and Veterans before returning to the regular route.

"In the last couple of years the traffic has increased significantly along the highway on race morning, especially between Davis Bay and the Raven's Cry Theatre," said co-organizer Teresa Nightingale. "Not only did runners have to contend with narrow uneven shoulders (or none at all), a wiggly curb on the hill, and a constant stream of vehicles, there have been reports of a crazy driver who actually aimed his truck at the runners, forcing them to jump aside to avoid being hit! So, until the highway is widened and pedestrian/bike lanes are added along that stretch, we will not put runners on that part of the road."

The new finish line is in a very scenic spot, where more spectators are likely to gather and cheer the runners in. There will be barricades separating the runners from the road, with the last few hundred metres of the course taking over the parking pullout along the waterfront. Spectators can line up along the promenade path. Drivers in a hurry can detour via Whitaker Road and Bay Road to avoid the entire finish area.

See full details and new course map at


Sarah Loverock to perform at 30th Anniversary Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run

Canadian Idol Top 9 finalist to entertain at pre-race pasta dinner in Gibsons, March 31st, 2007

Sarah Loverock, Canadian Idol Top 10

November 9/06 — Race organizers are excited to announce that 2006 Canadian Idol Top 9 finalist Sarah Loverock and her band will perform at the pre-race pasta dinner on Saturday March 31st in Gibsons, to help kick off the 2007 Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run.

The 25-year old mother of two from Gibsons made it to the top 9 in this year's Canadian Idol, after being a Top 48 competitor in Season Three previously. Described by the judges as the best technical singer in the competition, Loverock wowed audiences across the country with her fabulous voice, and of course garnered huge support from fans here on the Sunshine Coast.

Sarah Loverock singing

Formerly a store supervisor at the Gibsons Super Valu, Loverock is now pursuing her musical career full-time and has put together a band, which is so new they don't have a name chosen yet. For the 30th Anniversary Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run, they will be performing at the pre-race pasta dinner at Pack Ratt Louie's Grill in Sunnycrest Mall — about 20 feet away from the Super Valu.

The band describes their sound as "funk'n rock" with a repertoire of cover songs ranging from Maroon 5 and Sublime to Aerosmith and Bon Jovi as well as original material.

Visit the band's page on for photos, music clips and more

Tickets to the pasta dinner are just $20 and are available to all race participants and their family and friends (free for children 12 and under). Pack Ratt Louie's is serving up a full buffet with breads, salads, choice of pasta entrees, fruit salad and beverages. Tickets can be ordered when registering for the race or using a separate online ticket order form (see Registration page for details and links). Online registration is open now.

Photos courtesy of CTV


Coast Cable Presenting Sponsor 2005 April Fool's Run; Major Sponsors and Cash Prizes Announced

January 9, 2005, Gibsons, BC - Race organizers are excited to announce that Coast Cable Communications Ltd. has stepped up to become the Presenting Sponsor for the 2005 Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run, with significant cash support as well as advertising space for the event.

"We are pleased to be the presenting sponsors of the 2005 Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run," says Coast Cable's president, John S. Thomas. "Good luck and best wishes to all participants!" Watch Coast Cable for their half-hour show on the 2004 April Fool's Run, which has been airing since late summer.

Other major local sponsors are now confirmed, including returning media sponsors Mountain FM and The Coast Reporter; plus Trail Bay Source for Sports and MarketPlace IGA. New on board this year are Cross-Trainers Health & Fitness Club with additional cash and prizes; and Lord Jim's Resort Hotel, providing the Grand Draw Prize of a two night stay in an oceanside cottage with breakfast in bed. Now that's worth running for!

With the increased budget the organizers are happy to confirm cash prizes to the top 3 overall male and female winners. Though modest, the $550 total purse is expected to attract more elite runners, creating an exciting race for top spots and increasing the profile of the event and its location.

Having top athletes in attendance is not only exciting for spectators but for the participants, too. "How many sports are there where you can participate in the same event as the top stars of the country, or even the world?" asks Larry Nightingale, race co-organizer. "Road running is certainly unique in that respect. Even a back-of-the-pack jogger can run in the same race as a world record holder."

Whether jogger or world record holder, training is key to prepare for a half marathon. The 2nd annual Fool's Run Training Clinic has already started (Jan 8) with 21 registrants so far. New attendees are still welcome, as are drop-ins. Session 2 takes place this Saturday Jan 15 at Trail Bay Source for Sports, while the group runs from Up the Creek B&B on January 22 and from Cross-Trainers on January 29. Check for details. Those unable to attend the clinic in person can follow along at home, as weekly training schedules are posted on the website.

Registration is now up to 80 entrants, with the early bird fee deadline just two weeks away. Register online today at and save!


Local politician's "foolish" athletic history comes to light

Apr 12/04: Flashback to 1978 - April 1st and the inaugural April Fool's Run, 19 starters and 13 finishers, among them the race founders George Matthews and Fran Berger. Nothing new there. But here's a little surprise - the race was won by then-UBC zoology student Adrian Belshaw, in a very respectable 1hr 30 minutes. It's true! See the photo at, along with other photos and articles from the first April Fool's Run, kindly provided to the race organizers by 2004 participant Joanie Proske, an Elphi grad who also ran in 1978 (and for several years following). It's quite the story, including the tale about the editor who secretly entered his son in the race to take his place, who subsequently slept in... and the comedic results that followed.

The race organizers would love to hear from anyone else who ran in early editions of the April Fool's Run - stories, photos, results, saved newspaper clippings - to build on the history page and a file of past results. Contact Teresa or Larry at They would also like to invite all previous winners to come back and run in 2005 - including Belshaw of course. Adrian, you have a year to train!


April 13, 2003
Printed in the April 13 edition of the Coast Reporter

Cheque presentation - click to enlarge (Click image to enlarge)
Teresa Nightingale of the April Fool's Run presents a cheque for $1400, entire net proceeds from the March 30th event, to Chatelech and Elphinstone track team coaches Lexa Pomfret and Tom Daniels. Team members shown here from both schools volunteered at the race. The funds will be available to help athletes from all three local high schools travel to track and cross country meets off the Coast.


March 23, 2003 - Training Tips #6
Submitted by Teresa Nightingale
Printed in the March 23 edition of the Coast Reporter

A Runner's Digest

A week to go: you've been training consistently, and all your gear is ready. Now, you say, "What do I eat before the race?"

The most important rule is not to eat anything new. Race day is not the time to find out that something doesn't agree with you. (Sorry, we don't have porta-potties all along the course!)

The days leading up to the race, stick with plain, wholesome foods that you're familiar with. At least 60% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, to ensure your liver and muscles are stocked up with glycogen for the race—this is the fuel that will keep you going. You will burn some fat too, but there's always enough of that kicking around! When your body runs out of glycogen you "hit the wall" or "bonk", and your race will end right there.

By carbohydrates we don't mean sugars or refined grains, which will play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose brown rice, whole-grain pasta and breads, legumes, fruits and vegetables (but don't overdo the beans or fruits). Accompany these with a moderate amount of quality protein (non-medicated meats, organic soy products, or wild fish) and keep the fat intake at 20% of calories or less. Avoid alcohol the day before racing.

Drink lots of plain pure water! Keep a glass of water or bottle with you all day on race weekend, and take small drinks every 20-30 minutes. If you are a coffee consumer, drink even more water, as coffee is a diuretic.

On race morning you won't want a full breakfast but it is a good idea to eat some carbs to top up your glycogen stores. Some low-sugar cereal, porridge, or a bagel with banana will go down easily, eaten at least 2 hours before the start. Keep sipping water every 15 minutes leading up to the race.

Get lots of sleep, especially 2 nights before the race, and good luck on race day!


March 16, 2003 - Training Tips #5
Submitted by Larry and Teresa Nightingale
Printed in the March 16 edition of the Coast Reporter

Dress For Success

A big question for many runners is "what do I wear?" With our changing weather at this time of year, it's easy to get it wrong and end up too cold, too warm, or too wet. A good rule of thumb is to dress so you feel a little chilly for the first few minutes of your run. If you're comfortable when heading out the door, you will soon be overheated!

For training or racing, it's worth investing in one of the new hybrid polyester "technical" garments that claim to wick moisture away from your skin. The advantages over cotton are tremendous: you will stay much drier, they fit better than any t-shirt, won't shrink, and look good through many washings. Once you try one of these shirts you will never want to wear your cotton ones again!

When choosing your shirt, look for one with flat seams and no logos in sensitive areas, such as the armpits or neck. Bright colours or reflective strips are also a good idea. A zip neck is a terrific feature for winter: adjusting it can make the difference between feeling a little too warm and being just right.

For colder weather, layer a breathable windbreaker or vest over your technical jersey. Avoid polyurethane coated fabrics—you will end up soaked from the inside.

When it's too cold for shorts, look for running pants or tights in the same type of technical fabric as your shirt, but with 4-way stretch. Hybrid polyester blends are your best bet for socks, and a good choice for hats and gloves. Here on the west coast, only a light layer is normally needed.

For race day, dress lighter than you would for training, if you are planning on pushing yourself. If your hands are cold at the start, wear a pair of cheap stretch gloves that you don't care about losing, then give them to a course marshal on the route.

Next week: what to eat on race weekend.


March 9, 2003 - Training Tips #4
Submitted by Larry and Teresa Nightingale
Printed in the March 9 edition of the Coast Reporter

Give yourself a break

My grandfather (who is now 99) has a philosophy for good living: "Everything in moderation." A good general rule, and it applies nicely to half-marathon training. More is not always better!

That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't go out and train hard to improve your fitness. Your version of moderation may be quite different from another runner's. Elite level marathoners train up to 180 miles per week—for them, 100 miles in a week is "taking it easy". For you, 100 miles in a month may be your maximum.

The point is to give yourself enough rest on a regular basis to recover and rebuild after the rigours of training. Avoid back-to-back hard days, and don't do your long run the day after your most intense weekly workout. Take at least one day a week completely off running, cycling, hiking or other activities that use the major leg muscles. For the remainder of the week, alternate easy days with moderate or hard sessions. Easy days could be a light 30 minute jog, a rest day, or a cross-training day (but still low-intensity).

Without enough rest your muscles will not get a chance to rebuild and repair, and your training efforts will not have the effect you intended. Injury, fatigue and susceptibility to colds will be the result of "overtraining". If you're feeling run-down, listen to your body and give yourself a break.

So don't be a "fool"—take heed of my grandfather's motto of moderation. It's got him to age 99, after all.

Next week: Staying comfortable—what to wear.


March 2, 2003 - Training Tips #3
Submitted by Larry and Teresa Nightingale
Printed in the March 2 edition of the Coast Reporter

What Goes Up Must Come Down

You can't avoid them here on the Sunshine Coast. They're in Gibsons, Roberts Creek, even Sechelt. No, we don't mean artists, Relic look-alikes, or central recreation complex supporters. We're talking hills.

Unless you're willing to go back and forth on a mile-long stretch of pavement, you're going to encounter some "undulations" on your run. The April Fool's Run is no exception, with the infamous Davis Bay Hill looming at about the 11 mile mark.

How do you prepare for race day so you are able to tackle the hills with zest and enthusiasm, or at least without slowing to a walk and crying in despair? A little "hill training", worked into your regular training routine, can help a lot.

The goal of hill training is to simulate race stresses on soft tissue (muscles and tendons), with low level of impact on bones. You'll recruit muscles that only get stressed during a race situation, such as abdominals, lower back and arms as well as legs. You will also increase anaerobic tolerance—your body's ability to persevere when the muscles are depleted of oxygen (that "unpleasant" feeling you get halfway up a big hill).

There are 3 types of hill workouts: 1) choose a hilly course as part of your regular run and attack the hills; 2) find a long manageable hill or hilly loop and repeat it several times as a formal workout; 3) run short hill repeats for speed and anaerobic conditioning.

At this point with just 4 weeks to go before the April Fool's Run, stick to type #1 and do it just once a week, unless you are already at an advanced running level. Save the other hill workouts for your next race.

Next week: The importance of rest and recovery.


February 23, 2003 - Training Tips #2
Submitted by Larry and Teresa Nightingale
Printed (edited version) in the Feb 23 edition of the Coast Reporter

Avoiding a Foolish Shoe Purchase

Running is a very simple sport as far as equipment is concerned. All you need is a pair of good shoes and off you go. (We'll talk about clothing in another article.)

But what makes a pair of good shoes? If you're going to invest $130-$180 for your training gear (the average cost of running shoes these days, excluding discount sales), you want to make sure you're getting the right stuff. Besides, you'll be travelling a lot of miles in those shoes, for about 4-6 months. Here are some tips to avoid a "foolish" purchase.

Where to buy? 
High end shoes are part function, part fashion. It is possible to find what you are looking for at a "fashion" store if you know exactly what you want. But if you're not sure, look for a store with an emphasis on function rather than fashion and you will greatly increase your likelihood of getting good service.

Here on the Coast, Trail Bay Source for Sports carries a good selection of running footwear. If you are in the Lower Mainland try a running specialty store like Running Room, where the staff are runners themselves and can help you choose from the vast selection of brands and models.

When trying on your running shoes check for the following for proper fit:

  • Is there 1/2 cm extra room for your toes while standing, beyond longest toe?
  • Lacing: Do the two sides bow out at the top (shoe too narrow) or overlap (too wide)? Do you feel pressure on the top of your foot despite the laces being loose? When the laces are done up comfortably there should be some space between the opposite sides and the tongue is overlapped.
  • Is the toe box baggy or snug? Your toes should have a little room to move but not be floating around in space.
  • Is the shoe breathable mesh or leather? Breathable mesh is a must.
  • Do you feel a lot of arch pressure from the shoe? Or is there no arch support? Go for a happy medium.
  • If you wear orthotics: are the insoles removable to accommodate them?

Too much control will throw your foot into place, leading to injuries. Too little control and your foot shakes at impact. The correct shoe will have a natural roll which feels like your broken-down shoes, only with cushioning.

Tread pattern
For road running, shoes should have moderate tread with smooth heel pad. If it has aggressive tread it is an off-road shoe, best for trails.

Pronation / Underpronation (sometimes called supination)
This describes the motion of your foot when you strike the ground and push off.

Don't worry about the details, just check your old shoes. If you see excessive heel wear (shoe tilts to the outside when viewed from behind), go for cushioning with a curved to semi-curved last (the foundation of the shoe). 

If you see excessive wear under the ball of the foot or big toe, go for a "control" shoe. Companies advertise control with different-coloured midsoles, usually dark on the inside. Others will have an immovable structure on the inside and a straight last.

(To check if straight or curved last: a ruler running up the middle heel and the mid-line of a straight last shoe will pass near or between the 2nd and 3rd toes; the same ruler on a curved last shoe will cross the baby toe.)

So, make sure you have the right shoes. Then, just when your legs are feeling great from the new cushioning, check back here next week for some hill workouts!

Next week: Hill training.


February 16, 2003 - Training Tips #1
Submitted by Larry and Teresa Nightingale
Printed in the February 16 edition of the Coast Reporter.

You'd be a fool not to start training

The April Fool's Run is six weeks away—let us help you get ready! Check here every week for training tips, and advice on everything from hill training to what to eat on race morning.

Let's start with the basics—your training plan. You should already be running at least 3 times/week, up to at least 6 miles for the longest day. (If not, consider grabbing a buddy or three and entering the relay division.)

If your goal is just to finish the half marathon, increase the distance of ONE of your runs by about 10% each week until you can complete 10-13 miles comfortably. E.g. if your longest weekly run is 7 miles, increase that to 7.7 miles this week, 8.5 miles next week, and so on. Don't avoid hills—you need to build strength for the ones you'll encounter on race day.

If you are already doing a weekly long run of 10-13 miles or more and your goal is to improve your performance, then speedwork is for you. This doesn't mean wind sprints or high-intensity intervals. For longer races like the half marathon, building stamina is key, and this is  accomplished with "tempo runs".

One day per week other than your long run, try the following: start with a 10-15 minute easy jog warm-up, then run 15-20 minutes at a heart rate in the 150-170 range (or, a pace you could sustain for a 1-hour race), then warm down with another 10-15 minutes of easy jogging.

Remember to warm up properly each time and do some gentle stretching after you are warm.

Next week: Choosing the right shoes.


January 14, 2003
Submitted by Teresa Nightingale

Fools Rush In

It's time once more to get in shape for the annual April Fool's Run Half Marathon and Relay. Following the tradition started in the 1970's by the late George Matthews when an offhand remark to fitness columnist Fran Burnside turned into a challenge, runners of all fitness levels will make the trek from Gibsons to Sechelt on Sunday March 30th, starting at 9:00AM.

This year's event brings some changes and enhancements to the previously low-key race, with the stewardship of experienced race directors Larry and Teresa Nightingale. The couple were asked by previous organizer Ken Grunenberg to take over the leadership following last year's run, and were happy to accept the responsibility.

"We've always seen the April Fool's Half Marathon as a little race with a lot of potential, a sort of 'best kept secret' that could be a real sports tourism attraction," explained Larry. "This is the kind of event that certain runners would travel a long way to attend. We'd like to invite the world to come and run on our beautiful course, while still keeping the small-town atmosphere of the event intact. And being in the 'shoulder season' for tourism, it's the perfect time to attract extra visitors to explore our little piece of paradise."

It also happens to be well-positioned as a training run for the adidas Vancouver International Marathon in early May, and is being promoted as such by national chain The Running Room through their clinics and website. This means there will likely be a significant increase in the number of participants.

With the safety of the runners and tranquility of the course in mind, the Nightingales have moved some of the course off the highway and onto Lower Road and Beach Avenue in Roberts Creek, a route that was followed in past editions of the April Fool's Run. Because of this route change the start line is now at Gibsons Park Plaza instead of Sunnycrest Mall—with the nice bonus of eliminating the uphill start.

Turning off the highway onto Lower Road, the participants will head right through the heart of Roberts Creek, along Beach Avenue, then up Marlene to the highway again where the course remains the same as in recent years. Extra traffic cones, marshals and signage will separate the runners from the traffic through the narrow-shouldered area of Selma Park, starting at "the hill".

Another change this year will be a more structured Relay division. Teams of 2 or 4 will run between fixed exchange points approximately 5 km apart, strategically placed to allow vehicles to pick up or drop off team members without actually driving on the narrower roads of the course.

Upon reaching the welcome sight of the finish line, half marathoners will be given a traditional April Fool's Run finisher's medallion, as a memento of their accomplishment. Relay team members will receive attractive certificates for their efforts.

Weary and hungry runners can gather for the post-race awards ceremony and brunch at Johnny Oregano's in Sechelt, to refuel and swap running stories. The organizers have also made arrangements with Kinetic Fitness to allow free use of their showers, so the ceremony won't smell as bad as you might think!

Awards will be presented to the top three males and females in 10-year age categories, and to the top 2 and 4 person Relay teams. The first overall male and female will receive prizes, and the top local male and female finishers will be recognized with a special award. And of course, there are always the exciting draw prizes, donated by generous event sponsors.

Individual entry fees are staying at the same low rate as last year: $15 if registered by March 15th, $20 for late and race day registrations, with a $3 discount for BC Athletics members. Cost for Relay teams has gone down: only $25 for a 2-person team and $50 for a 4-person team if submitted by the deadline, $35 and $70 for late entries.

The souvenir garment this year is a short-sleeved technical running shirt in royal blue, perfect for training through the spring, summer and fall. Offered in men's or women's style for a perfect fit, the cost is only $20 if ordered by March 1st.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Elphinstone and Chatelech Track & Field and Cross Country teams to enable our local talented athletes to travel to meets off the Coast and purchase new equipment, and for more students to participate. "We feel it is very important to give back to the sport, specifically to encourage our youth to engage in athletic activities by giving them more opportunities. High school students are at that critical age where they make the choice between being an active person or a sedentary person, usually for the rest of their lives. If more people made the choice to be active, our medical system wouldn't be in the crisis it is today," noted Teresa.

Look for April Fool's Run entry forms all over the Coast starting next week, and be sure to visit for full details, map, online registration, and training tips.

Local businesses interested in sponsoring this event can download the sponsor kit from the website.

Volunteers are always welcome, too!


2012 lead runners at 5k