The Scent of Cross-Country Season

Live north of the equator and fall is in the air. Leaves change colour and fall from trees, days are shorter and there is a crispness to the morning air. 

Autumn is also the start of school for most and with a return to school is a return to school sports. 

This fall I’m on a bit of a Malcolm Gladwell kick. A friend (thanks Chris Monette) sent me his latest Legacy of Speed Podcast, which got me to sign up for Gladwell’s newsletter (which I highly recommend – In a recent newsletter Gladwell introduced me to Linda Flanagan via an interview. After reading the interview I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of Flanagan’s book Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania are Ruining Kids Sports and Why it Matters.

Like me, Flanagan is a long time runner. Flanagan eloquently weaves her story as a runner, a coach and a mother as she dismantles (using evidence!) our current youth sports pathway. Echoing Gladwell’s Pied Piper sentiments (see Gladwell’s July 29th newsletter), Flanagan demands that we do better for participation in youth sport instead of sacrificing for performance. And if we learned anything from David Epstein, participation in a variety of activities will only help you or your child on a path to becoming an elite, should you choose to do that, but more importantly keep you and your family as athletes for life. 

Flanagan, you motivated me to get back to coaching; if I want to see a system change then I better get to helping. I’ll be volunteer coaching at twos schools this fall and volunteering at the various cross-country meets across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) from elementary to high school. 

Along with a school cross-country team I’ll also have a running club, so if students just want to start running or participate in a non-competitive way they well feel welcome and included. With this, I’m committing to you to post a learn to run and competitive program for high school students so those that don’t have the time or the training have access to resources. I’ll post documents along with some videos warm ups, workouts, and training plans for every and any runner. Once posted I’ll ask my community to please share it with anyone you think who might need it. And if you have someone who simply cannot wait please share my email address with them (

Happy Fall Running Friends!