Charity Focus on a race

The Sears Great Canadian Run to End Kids Cancer

02 Jun 2011 10:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux

Hello runners! I’m Simon Williams, the series director of The Sears Great Canadian Run. We’re so excited to be launching three runs across Canada this year to raise money for the research and treatment of kids cancer. It’s going to be a great year!

Sears Great Canadian Run - Toronto banner
Credit : Sears Great Canadian Run – Toronto

Hello, on September 24th 2011, you’ll be organizing the Sears Great Canadian Run in Toronto. Can you tell us where it is located?

This year, three Runs will take place across Canada, including the Toronto run. Each run is a team relay, with the option to run individually as well. The distance of each relay is roughly 100 km. The date and location of each run is:

  • The Vancouver Run from Squamish to Whistler (August 27, 2011)
  • Toronto to Blue Mountain (September 24, 2011)
  • Ottawa to Montebello (October 15, 2011)

The Toronto Run will start at the Sears store at Woodbine Shopping Centre, located at:

Sears Woodbine Shopping Centre 500 Rexdale Blvd. Etobicoke, ON M9W 6K5

Please visit our website at for updates on the starting point of the Vancouver and Ottawa runs.


It will be the inaugural race, what motivated you to create the race?

The Sears Great Canadian Run is a long distance running relay that brings Canadians together in the unified goal of ending pediatric cancer.  In support of the Sears Canada Charitable Foundation, teams of runners will fundraise in advance for the opportunity to participate in The Relay. Funds will be directed to the 16 pediatric oncology centres across Canada to support the research and treatment of kids cancer.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?   The Sears Great Canadian Run will link together major Canadian cities and resort destinations, providing teams of 3 to 6 people with challenging and beautiful routes that will celebrate the Canadian landscape.

Routes at all three run locations include a mix of trails and roads. The Toronto and Ottawa runs are very flat. As you can imagine, the Vancouver run, which includes portions on the Sea to Sky Highway, has a higher elevation than the Ontario runs.

How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?   We anticipate there will be about 200 teams at each event, totaling 800 to 1000 participants. Runners of all levels are welcome – beginners to elite – and because teams are made up of 3 to 6 people, one team can even include runners of all different levels.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?   Because each run takes place on a Saturday morning, we anticipate runners will be resting up the night before. At the end of each run, there will be a celebration with food, entertainment and beverages.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

We can expect similar weather at each run location, with the Ottawa run being slightly cooler temperatures. In Vancouver on August 27th, the weather is likely to be warm and comfortable for running during the day, and cooler in the evenings. In Toronto on September 24th, the weather will likely be cool in the morning and evenings and warm and sunny in the afternoons. In Ottawa in October, the weather will likely be sunny yet cool throughout the day so runners will want to dress accordingly. Regardless of location, runners will want to pack extra layers to leave in the team vehicle for when they finish a leg.   Have you planned festivities around the ultramarathon?   Yes! Each run will begin with an opening ceremony at the start location and end with a celebration with food, beverages and entertainment near the finish line. Friends and family are welcome to join teams at the start and finish line to celebrate their accomplishment.  

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Toronto before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Toronto has countless museums, restaurants and activities for visitors to get to know the city! A great way to spend an afternoon is at a Blue Jay’s game. Or, if art and culture are your thing, Toronto has numerous museums and exhibitions, including the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you’ll have an unlimited choice in cuisine – whether it be Italian, Japanese or a delicious burger joint!

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Sears Great Canadian Run?   Three cities, three runs, one cause – Join the Relay to End Kids Cancer!

Interview with Simon Williams, series director of The Sears Great Canadian Run