Scotiabank Charity Challenge » Digital Champions

2014 Digital Champions

We are looking for dedicated and enthusiastic athletes willing to share their 2014 STWM journey with the world! If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please use the online application form.


2013 Digital Champions

The STWM Digital Champions are a group of diverse, dedicated and enthusiastic athletes; each with a unique story and running history. Follow their journeys, their ups and downs, motivations and challenges, as they train for Canada's #1 Big-City Marathon!


Steve Blaskie

Steve Blaskie

Steve lives and trains in Ottawa. This will be his second time in as many years to run STWM and he was delighted when asked to be one of this year's Digital Champions!

Steve is a retired machinist, now a full time stay at home dad to his two year old daughter, Willow. Steve tries to find time to balance family, friends, his baseball season and training to become a Boston marathon qualifier, ultra marathoner and a Ironman finisher.

His race schedule for the 2013 includes three marathons, one ultra, two sprint triathlons and he is in the lottery to be entered into Ironman Kona, Hawaii for October.

You can connect with Steve through his blog CanadianPaleoAthlete.com and or his twitter handle: @Zepphead. From there you can find out where he hangs out online: Youtube, Instagram, Facebook etc.

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Miranda MacDonald

Miranda MacDonald

Miranda MacDonald has been an avid runner for the last 2 years. After working her way up to a half marathon, and more recently, a 30km race, she is now ready to tackle the pinnacle of running accomplishments: the full marathon. Originally from a small town called Kincardine, Miranda now lives in Toronto where she works as a Social Media Strategist. In her free time, she travels, rocks out to 80s tunes and writes about her running adventures on her blog thoughtsandpavement.com. She typically avoids treadmills and hills, but loves runs along the waterfront or in cottage country. You can also find her on Twitter. She's @MirandaMac.

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Tina Benigno

Tina Benigno

Fall 2013 is going to be a big season for Tina! She will be running her third full marathon at the STWM and turning 30 years old. Tina started running in 2009 for cognitive and emotional well-being, as well as physical health. As her ability improved, she gained more confidence. Several months later, her perspective on running changed when her sister was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma (bone cancer) in her femur, which meant she would not be able to walk, let alone run, for quite some time. Tina was reminded of how we can so easily take our health for granted. Since then she has run 3 half marathons, 2 full marathons and a few shorter races. Tina's first race was the STWM half marathon in 2010. Follow Tina as she reflects on her training and life events at www.tinainstride.com.

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Joanne Krol

Joanne Krol

Running has always been apart of Joanne's life, but up until two years ago she laughed at the idea of competitive running, marathons and races, saying "it's not my thing". It wasn't until she was living in New Zealand that she found a community of runners, and all of a sudden everyone in her life had completed numerous half marathons, full marathons and various races. It inspired her to set some goals for herself. She realized after completing her first half marathon that the mental challenge was far greater than she anticipated. This moved her to keep on running, not only for the physical benefits but for the mental clarity as well. Joanne is a yoga teacher and a personal trainer. Health and Fitness has always been a part of her life. She is excited to share her running journey with others and motivate them to get outside, create a community, and get active. Joanne just ran her very first marathon at the BMO Vancouver Marathon and she is excited to return to her hometown in October for STWM. Her goals for the upcoming year are to learn new running techniques, run a variety of races, and always have fun doing it.

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Christa Davidson

Christa Davidson

A lot of things make up who Christa is, but underlying all of these things is the most important thing: that she is a runner. As Christa says, "Running is not simply something I do, it is what makes me who I am."

As a mother to her two children Tucker and Tilley, and a wife to her husband Mike, Christa knows that being the best for her family, the best version of herself, is sustained by the kilometres she runs. Christa is a recovering alcoholic of two and a half years and she has used running as a way to stay sober; instead of drinking she runs. On her particularly challening days, she just runs farther.

Last year Christa started blogging during the iRunNation Running Blog Idol contest. While she didn't win the contest, she did discover that she loves writing and has continued blogging about running, recovery and her ups and downs at runningonempties.blogspot.com. While Christa was sidelined with injuries for STWM the past two years, she is determined to make 2013 her marathon year!

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Lisa Davidson

Lisa Davidson

Lisa was introduced to the world of running as a child by her father. When she was 12, she joined her school track team. She put her running on hold when she started competing in dance, which led her to a professional career. It was while she was performing onboard cruise ships that she laced up again, started doing laps and fell back in love with running. Once Lisa said goodbye to her performing days, she fell in love with yoga, became a certified yoga instructor and started training for a variety of races, including the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2008. Since completing the marathon, Lisa has run many 5K's, 10K's, and half marathons. As the mother of a very active two year old boy, Lisa has turned a portion of playtime into training time by pushing her son in a jogging stroller on a regular basis.

Lisa believes in the importance of both mental and physical well-being for leading a happy and healthy life, and strives to inspire others to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. The first step to getting there is making time for you, which is not always easy as a mom, but Lisa quickly realized that she could be a better wife and mother by looking after herself first.

Looking for a great way to complement your run training? Join Lisa at Chopra Yoga Toronto, check out the schedule and join one or more of her classes. You can find Lisa on twitter @TorontoFitMom and remember, "Limitations only exist if you let them".

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Stephanie McAulay

Stepanie McAulay

Stephanie started her running career in 2009 and it quickly became a must-have in her day. It pushed her to believe in herself and understand what she is capable of. As someone who started at the beginning and has now completed two marathons and a few half marathons, Stephanie now spends time getting others involved in fitness and running to help them reach their goals. She believes that with the right attitude, goals, and plan, you can become the best version of you. Every day, Stephanie is a person with epilepsy, and this year it has had a more significant impact on her life — so she will be running the Scotiabank Marathon with a team from Epilepsy Halton, Peel, and Hamilton to raise money and awareness for crucial support programs and services to ensure people with epilepsy can live the best life possible. Stephanie's long-term goals include qualifying for Boston and completing an IronMan — maybe one of those is possible this year!

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Christopher Doyle

Christopher Doyle

Recently reunited with his love of running, Christopher is a 37-year-old Dad of four (two girls, two boys) ages 8, 7, 3 and 1. A 15-year sports marketing executive with past experience working at media companies TSN and Insight Sports, he presently works at CBC Sports (including Hockey Night in Canada, the Olympics, FIFA and more). He lives with his young family in Whitby. Christopher now runs at least four times a week, and is training for his first ever full marathon, after running the 2012 STWM Half in 2:13:30. Between work and family, he finds time to tweet (and laugh) about it all @chrisdoyle.

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Alyssa Cheung

Alyssa Cheung

When Alyssa was in elementary school, she was a strong sprinter and represented her school in every track and field meet. And while she did participate in cross country meets and endurance runs with her basketball team, distance running was never her "cup of tea". All that changed when Alyssa moved to downtown Toronto in September 2012. What began as an exercise regime to stay fit became a passion and before long, she had signed up for her first race — Toronto Yonge Street 10K — and finished that race in April 2013 with a personal best time of 50 minutes. Since then, Alyssa has signed up to run a half marathon in May 2013 and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October 2013. As a digital champion for STWM and a first time marathon runner, Alyssa hopes her personal experiences — training progress, successes, failures and even setbacks — will inspire other runners to lace up and join her at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Follow Alyssa on Twitter @The_Real_Alyssa or visit her blog at http://ihealthy8.blogspot.ca/. See you at the race!

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Steve Layton

Steve Layton

Steve used to eat too much, eat the wrong things, and work long hours until his unhealthy lifestyle caught up with him. Obese and tired of it, Steve changed jobs, sleep habits and his diet for the better. During the journey to reclaim his health he found running as the perfect outlet. Running offered the perfect balance of activity, exploring the outdoors and with races, the challenge that he needed to keep motivated to improve.

Three years later Steve is fitter, healthier and happier and a proud member of the running community! He regularly encourages anyone that does not know where to start on the road to health / activity to do so by picking a goal event. Sign up for it months to a year in advance. Then tell everyone you know you are doing it so that you stick with the training.

This approach got Steve from around 290 pounds to 220 pounds and from 10k to his first marathon back in 2011 and all the amazing experiences that come with being active on the way. He now strives to go further and faster, try different things and to share what he has learned and experienced with others interested in running or just being more healthy and active.

Steve is thrilled to be running his 3rd marathon this fall at STWM and this time as a #STWM #DigitalChampion officially recognized as someone that encourages others to test their boundaries and try running a marathon or other event as way to get active and improve their life.

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Alex Flint

Alex Flint

Alex started running about 5 years ago while he was living in Calgary. After a couple years as a fair-weather runner, finishing a few 10k races and a half-marathon, he decided it was time to try and reach the next level. Alex started working with a coach and completed his first marathon in 3:30 and is now training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as well as a 100km ultra-marathon.

Alex is a vegan athlete and a proud member of BareMinimum, a barefoot and minimalist running group in Toronto. He's also a member of GoodGuysTri, a group of runners and triathletes that strive to "do good" through sports, supporting various causes and charities.

Between his work in social media and community support at an internet start-up and his demanding training schedule, Alex hosts and produces a running podcast and blog called Distance Obsessed. You can find him on twitter @alexflint and on RunKeeper.

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Lori Christopher

Lori Christopher

If you spoke to Lori, she'd tell you that while she's been running for just over 2 years, she still has a lot to learn about the sport.

With five half marathons and the Around the Bay 30k under her belt, she's set her sights on completing her first full marathon. Although Lori has been stopped before in her quest for 42.2, this time she is going all the way. Lori's first attempt at a marathon was crushed when she broke her foot halfway through the Disney World Goofy Challenge marathon. As a result of the break, she could not fulfill her plans to run at the Red Rock Marathon with Team in Training the following spring.

With these experiences, you'd think Lori would turn to something less dangerous, like skydiving, but her unfailing positive attitude and determination drives her toward the finish line.

This year as part of the Digital Champions for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, she is going to go the distance. The many people Lori has coached in the Running Room training programs know she can do it.

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Liz Trenton

Liz Trenton

On May 5, 2013, Liz made a secret deal with herself: "If I finish my 2nd half-marathon race in less than 2 hours, then I will run the FULL Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in the fall." With a half marathon finishing time of 1:59:11.7, it was (just barely) decided that 2013 would be the year that Liz checks "running a marathon" off her bucket list.

As a first time marathoner, Liz is proud to be training with Mike Hoehn, Founder and Lead Volunteer of ANNE'S TEAM, raising money for youth mental health & wellness. Charity races such as the CIBC Run for the Cure and the Sporting Life 10K for Camp Ooch are what got Liz hooked on running in the first place. She is therefore happy to be fundraising with ANNE'S TEAM to support their 2013 partner program, The Jack Project, an initiative supporting adolescents as they move from high school into and through their years of college, university, or independent living.

When she is not running, Liz spends her days as a Project Coordinator working on environmental projects along Toronto's Waterfront. In the evenings, she can usually be found watching some live music in one of the city's numerous vibrant venues.

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Mike Shanks

Mike Shanks

Often asked "Where do you find the time?" Mike realizes you make time for what is important. As a PropertyGuys.com franchise owner, husband, father of 2, and an active member of his Cambridge community, Mike always finds time to train. His running journey started in 2008 with a 5km run and now Mike is not only running marathons but also training towards long distance triathlons. His involvement in running goes far past his own training. As the chair of RunforLife.ca he works to bring running and active lifestyles to youth across Canada with resources for teachers to provide school running programs. Mike's quite proud of his accomplishments in running but has yet to tame the elusive beast known as the marathon. In his two attempts at STWM he has not met his goal and had long hard finishes, but this year he plans to change that. This year will be Mike's "Marathon Year" with a goal to run 3:45 and finish with a smile on his face.

Mike is active on Twitter where he would be happy to chat with you about your running goals. You can also follow his training on Dailymile. He occasionally finds some time to write a blog post or two as well. Follow his journey to #STWM and cheer him towards his goal of 3:45!

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Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson

Fitness and running have always been a part of Cindy's life ever since she was a young girl.

In grade school Cindy played soccer, ran track (long distance) & participated in cross country races. Now as a mom and busy entrepreneur Cindy still makes time for fitness by working part time as a group exercise and cycling instructor for Goodlife and running 3-4 times a week.

With her 3*th birthday this year Cindy wanted to celebrate life by checking off another bucket list challenge... Run the STWM full marathon. This is her first race since running a half marathon, 7 years and 1 baby ago.

This is certainly going to be challenge for the busy mompreneur but Cindy is determined to conquer this challenge and cross the finish line with her fellow STWM marathoners this October.

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Cory Pagett

Cory Pagett

Cory Pagett's first exposure to the world of running as an adult was during the Pride and Remembrance 5k Run in 2008. It is somewhat fitting, therefore, that this year he is raising funds on behalf of SOY (Supporting Our Youth), a previous beneficiary of proceeds from that race.

He is excited to be able to bring together two communities that are important in his life, as he is a volunteer at a drop-in program offered to LGBTQ homeless and housing-challenged youth and a one-on-one mentor through SOY.

Since that first run, Cory has gone on to be involved with Team and Training Toronto, both as a fundraising runner and mentor on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, with whom he completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront ½ Marathon in 2011. Other causes that he has raised funds for include Prostate Cancer Canada, Sick Kids Hospital, Team for Kids and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. He currently leads a weekly running group with GETOut! Canada.

On Cory's race calendar this year are: Toronto Yonge Street 10K, A Midsummer Night's Run, the O Course Crucible and Run Rock N Roll Montréal.

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Catherine Azoulay

Catherine Azoulay

Catherine was reintroduced to running after a long hiatus due to major back surgery. Wanting to return to running for a good cause, she joined Team in Training in 2010 to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, became a mentor and trained for both her first half marathon and full marathon.

Since 2010 Catherine has completed 2 full marathons and 19 half marathons, including 4 so far this year. Her goal for 2013 is to run 2 full marathons in as many weeks and as part of her training she will be running 3 half marathons this summer as well as the run leg as part of a relay team at Ironman 70.3 in Mont Tremblant.

STWM is on Catherine's bucket list for being the #1 Big City Marathon in Canada and will be her first full marathon run on Canadian soil.

Running is an integral part of Catherine's daily life and when she is not in a courtroom trying a case, Catherine is promoting her love and passion for running by coaching beginner and intermediate level runners.

Catherine lives and trains in Montreal and you can follow her journey on twitter @marathoner514 where she tweets all things running!

“The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to START.”
— John Bingham

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Myron Kuepfer

Myron Kuepfer

Myron's runs start at 4:30 am during the week, so his level of addiction to running is pretty clear. 2013 will mark his second STWM and will be his twenty-first marathon overall. Eight years of running marathons all over North America has been incredibly rewarding for him, with a strong network of fellow runner friends everywhere. Every marathon is a novel experience and a unique challenge for him, and the health and social benefits of training just keep on giving. His blog posts reflect his marathon travel experiences and the amazing welcome that communities everywhere (including Toronto, naturally) extend to runners. Myron lives in Waterloo region where the running community thrives. Having just turned 50, he hopes to be running marathons for a long time to come. STWM will be especially fun since so many local friends and family will be both participating and cheering from the sidelines (and we all know how important those cheerleaders and volunteers are!) The most rewarding feeling for Myron is when a friend, family member, or social media contact is inspired to run, walk or simply get off the couch from seeing his example.

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Hideki Kinoshita

Hideki Kinoshita

After cheering on friends at the 2007 New York City Marathon, Hideki Kinoshita aka Kino, made it a goal to attempt a marathon within the next year. It turns out that Kino ran his first 3 marathons in less than 3 months at the end of 2008, and then ran another 20 full marathons (including a couple ultramarathons) in 2009. This Marathon Maniacs member did not slow down, running 96 marathons & ultras over the next 3 years.

Kino has completed the 50sub4 goal of running a sub-4 hour marathon in all 50 states in America. His next goals are to shave more than 5 minutes off his marathon PB by running a sub-3:10 Boston Qualifier, run a sub-24 hour 100 mile (160K) trail ultra (he has finished 5 trail 100's), finish running a marathon or ultra on all Seven Continents (3 more to go), and to run the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as his lifetime 150th Marathon.

Along with his passion for running long distance races, Kino is adamant about raising awareness and funding for a host of underrepresented causes ranging from pancreatic cancer research to combating homelessness to providing medical screening and treatment to ailing 9/11 first responder veterans. He has raised $70,000 for six charities through participation in marathon and ultra events.

He is sponsored by Headsweats, the official headwear supplier for Ironman branded triathlons. He only has one podium finish to date, 2nd Place at the 2012 Turtle Marathon, but is hoping to improve on that.

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Andie Clement

Andie Clement

Andie is an avid runner from Toronto. This will be her fourth year participating in STWM (second time doing the full) and her fifth marathon in total. Overly passionate about growing the run community in Toronto, Andie is pumped to be a Digital Champion this year.

The 2010 Sporting Life 10k was Andie's first foray into the running world. She was immediately hooked and was inspired by her best friend and training partner @kikifrench5 to run the STWM half 4 months later followed by her first full marathon just a year after her first race.

Working in the health and wellness community, Andie loves coaching runners of all abilities to achieve goals bigger than they thought possible. This past year Andie achieved one of her biggest dreams by qualifying and running in the 2013 Boston Marathon. An unforgettable experience, she already can't wait to go back again in 2014.

Andie's race schedule in 2013 includes acting as a "Pace Beaver" in the lululemon SeaWheeze 1/2 marathon, A Midsummer's Night Run 30k, and STWM where she hopes to qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon (can you tell she loved Boston).

Connect with Andie through her blog at andiethefitgeek.com. She is a self-professed twitter-aholic with multiple accounts but you can usually find her chatting from @andiethefitgeek or @teamandiki.

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