Get to Know Your Running Clubs - Grand River Endurance
In this edition of Get To Know Your Running Clubs we spoke with Mike Thornton, airline pilot by day, runner by night. Mike is a member of Grand River Endurance, a run club based in Brantford and Paris, Ontario. You'll most often find Grand River Endurance in those two cities, west of Toronto, but there are members in the GTA and even in St. John's, Newfoundland!
Want to learn more about them? Read on!
Hi, Mike! Can you tell us what area(s) of the city does your group usually run in/around?
We are mostly based around Paris and Brantford, Ontario. We have some members that live in the greater Toronto Area as well as a couple in the Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge area. We even have one in St. John's Newfoundland. However, Brantford and Paris are home and we love our trail system around here.
Tell us a bit about your club history, how long has the club been around?
The club was started in 2014 by Josh Bolton and Kevin Farr. They started the club socially when they would run together and catch up on race happenings on both the track and the roads. As that year went on A few other runners including myself joined. GRE was started sort of as a haven for higher level local runners who'd have a faster paced, highly motivated team to workout with.
Tell us a bit about your members! What level of runners do you cater to?
We don't have a lot of members. Right now I think we have 11 runners and I believe that's the highest we've ever had. This is because we are a tight knit group and like to keep our dynamic strong. We do this by only inviting runners that we usually know personally or that someone can vouch for. Our members work at a higher level of performance with almost all of our members running sub 3 hour marathons. Times aren't really important so much is attitude. We keep each other motivated by encouraging and striving for excellence. If I had to label the type of runner I'd say above average amateur runners to sub elite.
Where/when does your club usually meet/run?
We meet at local spots in the Brantford and Paris area. Usually at a trail head parking lot. Usually we run from The Healthy Rabbit restaurant in Brantford on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The owner is a friend of ours and he comes out for an easy run with us. Occasionally we will run out of town such as running sections of the Bruce Trail, or training runs in Hamilton on the Around The Bay course.
Are your group runs mostly casual or more structured workouts?
A mix of casual runs and more structured workouts.
Any cost to be a member/join?
There's a fee for a team singlet/T-shirt.
Any cool routes/ favourite areas to run in your city that you would like to recommend to other runners? Why do you like those?
There is a fast trail system in the Paris and Brantford area. There is everything from rail trails to single track river side trails. We recommend the Gordon Glaves River Loop in Brantford which is about 16km. From this Loop you can branch off to run towards Hamilton, Cambridge or Port Dover. The rail trail through Paris towards Cambridge is beautiful. You can stop at many places along the way like the Murray Overlook which is an abandoned railway bridge which looks over the Grand River. Paris also has a technical trail run near Lions Park called Barkers Bush. Our friends the Brant Death Racers will highly recommend this route as well.
Do you have any favourite local races? Outside of anything that you're affiliated with of course :)
Paris Runner's Den Phlox Run 5k, 10k, or 25k in June every year.
Hamilton Runner's Den Sunset Series 5ks which happen every few weeks in July and August.
Brantford Rotary Classic 5k, or 10k, annually in April.
Run for the Toad at Pinehurst Conservation Area in October annually.
Anything else that we should know?
We take our running seriously but also like to have fun. At the end of the spring season for the last two years we've run a Beer Mile. This is something we plan on keeping tradition with for years to come. We have some more ideas for special events and are always looking to get involved with other local running clubs too.
Want to learn more?
Want to connect with the Grand River Endurance team, or just learn a bit more about them? Check out their information below:
Looking for runs around Toronto?
You can find a full list of runs and races happening around Toronto at www.runguides.com/toronto/runs