Green Tea Matcha Power Balls

Recipe by Kathy Smart

It’s back to school season, which means the days are more packed and some of us need a little added energy boost to get through our day, whether it’s to recover from your morning run, or get ready for an evening sports activity.

These Green Tea Matcha Power Balls from Kathy Smart are easy to pack when you are on the go and are packed with ingredients to help you power through.


  • 1/2 cup of fresh Medjool Dates
  • 1/2 cup of pistachios, sunflower seeds (if nut-free option is required) or almonds
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of matcha powder, coconut flakes, crushed pistachios, and cacao nibs. 


  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a food processor until you can form a ball with your hands.
  2. Roll the Green Tea Matcha Power Balls into the matcha powder OR pistachios/sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs. Pick the combination of flavors you enjoy most.
  3. Store in freezer until ready to serve.

Kathy Smart, Canadian Holistic Nutritionist of the Year for Canada, Best Selling Author and Dr. Oz Guest Shows us how to snack… smart!

Photo credit: Gord Weber

How Coaching Helps Take Runners To The Next Level

Do you have running goals?

Maybe you’re looking to tackle the marathon for the first time, or qualify to run the NYC Marathon. Maybe you’d just like to be able to run a little bit faster.

Whatever your goal is, one of the best things you can do to reach it is get a coach.

Luckily for runners, today there are a wealth of different coaching options out there.  You can sign up for a structured group training program like those offered by the Running Room, sign up with a coach for individualized training, or, subscribe to an online coaching service to add more structure and planning to your workouts.

To help you decide what would work best for you, we talked to coaches about the differences between in-person and online coaching, and how they can help you reach your running goals.

Coaching Face-To-Face

When you sign up with an in-person coach for individual training, you’ll get a coaching plan that is specifically made for you, a great source of personal accountability, as well as a big dose of encouragement.

That’s according to David Harding, the founder of DEKK coaching, an athlete and coach who’s been training endurance athletes in multiple sports for close to 10 years.

As someone who’s been a competitive runner and athlete for most of his life, becoming a coach was a natural transition.

“Initially I was interested in passing on some knowledge of what I had learned as an athlete,” he said. “And then I found that helping people reach their goals was something I really enjoyed doing.”

As a coach, Harding works with athletes individually through DEKK, while also running a series of group training programs through the Ottawa Running Club.

Athletes that come to Harding looking for individual training usually fall into two categories: those who are looking to tackle a longer distance (ex: Ironman triathlons), or those who have a specific performance goal in mind (ex: qualifying for the Boston Marathon).

“People who sign up for group coaching are usually either very intrinsically motivated and they want to improve in general, or they see us out there running and having fun every Sunday and they want to be a part of it,” Harding said.

The camaraderie that comes with being part of a group coaching program can be crucial, especially when it means you have other people to commiserate with during those Sunday morning long runs.

But whether he’s working with individuals or groups, Harding said that what he gets out of it is the same.

“I think my favourite part of being a coach is helping other people feed their passion,” he said.

The rise of online coaching

One of the largest developments in the coaching world over the past decade has been growth of coaching services that are delivered online and through mobile apps.

One of the big players in that space is Runcoach, a coaching service that aims to bring the benefits of coaching to new and experienced runners at a low cost.

“We meet you in your own time, through the website or the app, and try to make it easier to fit into a person’s lifestyle,” said Hiruni Wijayaratne, the Business Development Lead at Runcoach.

In addition to her role at Runchoach, Wijayaratne is also a coach and competitive athlete. After a career running for the University of Kentucky Wildcats in college, she’s competed twice at the Marathon World Championships representing Sri Lanka and finished 8th at the Houston Marathon earlier this year with a time of 2:36:35.

Runcoach was started by athlete and coach Tom McGlynn in 2002 as an in-person coaching service and transitioned to an online resource in 2008. Since then, it’s helped thousands of runners build easy-to-follow training plans to help meet their running goals.

“With Runcoach, the spectrum of people using it is so wide,” she said. “We get people who want to walk 100 miles in a year, all the way up to qualifying for Boston.”

One of main features of Runcoach is how it builds a highly customized training plan based on an algorithm. After you chose your goal race and enter your information, including recent running times and mileage, Runcoach builds a personalised training plan, including speed workouts, threshold runs, and cross-training.

Perhaps the best part of the service is that as you complete your workouts and log your runs, it continually adapts your training plan. So, say you’re training for a marathon and missed your weekly long run, Runcoach will take that into account and adjust next week’s mileage to make up for it.

Another big change for Runcoach is that it’s recently shifted its business model to a free version and a paid version for $19.95/month CAD.

The free service gives you access to most of Runcoach’s program, including algorithmically-generated training plans.

If you upgrade to the paid version, you can get one-on-one messaging with coaches like Wijayaratne, who can answer your specific questions about progress, injuries and goals. And what’s more, you’ll get the chance to earn rewards from companies such as Garmin.

But whichever option you choose to go with, Wijayaratne said that Runcoach’s purpose stays the same.

“At the end of the day, our mission to help people and get better and reach their goals,” she said.

With registration opening on September 1 for the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, it’s a great time to think about your own goals for the coming months and year, and how coaching—whether online or in-person—can help you achieve them.

Right now, everyone who registers for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend can receive a discount on Runcoach. Just look for the Runcoach area during registration.

Or to talk about in-person coaching, you can reach David Harding through his website at

Community Spotlight: The Cheering All Stars

If you’ve run the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in the past decade, you probably remember the people at kilometre 34.

You know, the noisy ones with the colourful capes, fancy hats, noisemakers and dozens of pairs clapping hands?

They’re the folks at the Beechwood Cheering Station, and over the years they’ve become a beloved fixture of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

So what keeps them coming back?

“It’s just so much fun,” says group organizer Joseph Cull. “It’s as simple as that.”

But what’s more, it’s also something that brings the neighbourhood closer together, and forges deep connections between the runners and the cheerers.

The group first started as an activity organized by the Crichton Community Council, the neighbourhood community association where Cull was a board member at the time.

“That first year we set up at Stanley Park and we just thought it would be fun to have people in the community come out and cheer,” he said.

That was 14 years ago, and they’re still going strong.

For Cull, who’s cheered on, hugged, and talked with thousands of runners over the years, knowing every runner has a story is inspiring—from people overcoming disabilities or disease to those running in memory of a lost loved one.  

“For so many people, it’s not just a race,” he said. “It’s about setting a goal and overcoming the challenges in their life. How could you not find that inspiring?”

Recognizing there were other group’s like Cull’s along the marathon route, in 2003 race weekend organizers started a Cheer Station Challenge with the top three cheer stations being awarded prize money for initiatives in their neighbourhoods.

It’s a prize that the Beechwood Cheering Station has won numerous times on behalf of the New Edinburgh Community and Arts Centre (NECTAR), and which they won again in 2018.

“We love that that we can have so much fun doing something and win some money that goes right back into providing programs for the community,” Cull said.

The group’s dedication to the craft of cheering has made them a favourite highlight of the course, especially 34 kilometres deep into a race when the dreaded bonks and walls start to pop up.

“We hope by cheering people on, down to last runner, we can make a little difference and help them reach their goals,” he said.

Cull and the rest of the Beechwood Cheering Station will be back next year at kilometre 34, so make sure you say hello!

Want to plan your own cheering station for 2019? Learn more about the Community Spirit Awards.

Justyn Knight leads a new generation of Canadian track talent

Photo by: Claus Andersen/Athletics Canada

It’s been quite a year for Canadian athlete Justyn Knight.

From a top ten finish at the IAAF World Championships to finishing his senior year at Syracuse University with multiple NCAA titles, the 21-year-old Toronto native has established himself as one of Canada’s most talented runners.

Now Knight and many of Canada’s other top athletes are coming to Ottawa to compete at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, which run from July 3-8 at Terry Fox Stadium.

At last year’s Canadian championships, Knight narrowly finished 2nd to Mo Ahmed in the 5,000m finals. The finish qualified him for the IAAF World Championships in London, UK where he found himself competing against the best professional runners in the world, including Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah.

His 9th place finish in the 5,000m at the event showed that Knight was going to be a force for Canada in the coming years. And he caught the eye of Farah, who is one of the top runners in the world competing today.  

“The first time I talked to him [Farah], I was really fanboying it,” he said, but after the race, the two had a chance to talk in the locker room and still keep in touch.

Running step for step with the best in the world gave Knight a boost of confidence when he said he needed it.

“Leading up World’s, I’d had a bad NCAA race, my body was feeling tired, and I’d had a long, tough two years with constantly competing,” he said.

“I think World’s just kind of brought that confidence back,” he said. “I thought ‘you were just kicking it down with some of the best in the world, I can get this job done.'”

That kicked off what would be amazing senior season competing with the Syracuse University Orange.

Knight took first place in the 10,000m race at NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall, and followed that up with another win in the 5,000m at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the spring, along with a host of other wins at conference meets.

He also received his third consecutive Syracuse Male Athlete of the Year Award.

But Knight isn’t alone competing in the NCAA. He’s part of a new generation of Canadian athletes who have been competing, and winning, at track meets across the U.S.

“Oh I think we’re definitely making a statement down there,” he said.

In addition to Knight and Mo Ahmed, athletes like Kyra Constantine and Rory Linkletter have all been making names for themselves.

“Whenever we see each other, we just get really happy,” Knight said.

That Canadian camaraderie was on full display recently when Kitchener-native Ben Flanagan recently won the NCAA 10,000m Championship, who Knight knows from his high school track meet days.

“Ah man, Ben used to kick my butt back in those days,” Knight said laughing.

Watching Flanagan’s come-from-behind victory from the stands, Knights said he couldn’t contain himself.  

“I was so happy for that kid,” he said. “I was jumping up and down in the bleachers,” before Knight ran down to congratulate his countryman.

Now that school’s out, Knight is ready to move onto the next chapter of his running career, as a pro athlete. His first stop is back in the National Capital competing against Canada’s other stars at the Run Ottawa Distance night on July 5.

Don’t miss this awesome chance to see one of the exciting new stars of Canadian running.

Get $5 off your tickets for Thursday when you use the code runottawa when you buy tickets.

For more information about the Canadian Track and Field Championships and the scheduled events, please visit the Athletics Canada website.

Interesting stats on Justyn Knight:

  • Started running in Grade 10 in gym class
  • Ran his first mile in 3:59. Personal best in the mile 3:55.82
  • 5K personal best: 13:17.51

Run fast. Eat healthy: Introducing Mad Radish

To train your best, you need to find healthy, nutrient-dense sources of fuel, even when on the run to the office, school or training session with your running buddies. That’s why we partnered with Mad Radish this spring to cater our VIP tent and media room.

 “Mad radish is all about healthy food for busy people,” says Mad Radish founder David Segal. “Our goal is to do really good salads that are also nutrient dense. This isn’t rabbit food that will leave you hungry in a few hours. These salads are designed to fill you up and keep you going.”

David, who is from Ottawa, began working on the idea of Mad Radish a few years ago when he was living in Montreal. It was around this time that he met chef Nigel Finley through mutual friends.

 The two soon found that they shared a common goal. Recalls David, “We shared a passion for wanting to create something that is quick, delicious and makes you feel good.”

 A chef with 17 years of experience working in kitchens around the world, and in every market type—from farms to fast food to fine dining—Nigel is driven to create delicious and nutritious meals that everyone can enjoy. It is also what drives him to source high-quality ingredients for every Mad Radish dish: the chicken comes from Voltagere Farms in Quebec, the salmon from Sustainable Blue in Nova Scotia, and seasonal vegetables are sourced from no less than 19 local farms.

This care for food is equally applied to the design and preparation of each menu item.

“We apply the techniques, skill and thoughtfulness of a fine dining restaurant to our cooking,” explains Nigel. “Every recipe is developed to have complete proteins, a balanced amount of complex carbohydrates and the appropriate amount of vegetables and nutrients, and we work with a nutritionist to strike the right balance.”

Specifically for runners, Nigel recommends any of the salads that contain chicken because it is an easy source of protein. For vegan clientele items like the power bowl are jam packed with protein as well.

Community and sustainability are also values that Mad Radish takes to heart. All packaging is compostable, and every time clients order using the Mad Radish app or by using their points card, a serving of fresh vegetables is donated through Canadian Food Centres Canada. 

Looking for some running fuel? Try making Nigel’s Mad Radish Protein Patties at home or stop into one of their stores around town.

Member Gesine Freund is running with heart

The distance between Montreal and Ottawa is about 200 kilometres. For most people, getting from one to the other city requires taking the car, train or even the plane. Gesine Freund puts on her running shoes.

From June 29 – 30, she will be running from Montreal’s St. Justine Hospital all the way to Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The route takes her via Laval, Oka, Montebello, and Cumberland along the Ottawa River and the Rideau River – Gesine is an ultra-runner who dedicates a lot of her running to charity.

This is the second time Gesine is running from Montreal to Ottawa. She completed the run for the first time in September of 2016 in 38 hours; a time she says she’s hoping to improve this time. A crew car will be accompanying her along the highways and serve as aid station on this non-stop run.

“Sometimes we have to learn our lessons the hard way,” she says, reflecting on the run in 2016. As a result of not hydrating and fueling frequently from the beginning as planned, she had to deal with excruciating muscle pain and at one point, couldn’t put one foot in front of the other, it was very difficult to keep going. But she did.

How do you train to run 200K in one go?

Gesine runs almost every day of the week, all seasons. She trained over the winter holidays at -30something degree, she ran every day on her recent vacation, and some days she runs twice, commuting to work to get the training mileage in, ranging from 70 to 100 km a week. She also loves yoga, and on now and then going to the gym with her son, or doing a stairs workout. It all helps her stay motivated and run strong and happy.

Gesine has been running for about 10 years. She started running longer distances in 2013 when she met a group of people training for a 100 km run to raise money and awareness for children with cancer. At the time, she had just started training for her first marathon, but instantly decided to double up her training. She ran three 100 km (one race, two fundraiser runs) within three months time frame in 2014 and knew that was just the beginning of a new journey.

“Running is now a big part of my life,” she says. “It helps me keep a balanced lifestyle, focus, and each run feels invigorating and in a way empowering.” Back in 2008, on her first time trying to run after many years, Gesine recalls she could barely finish the 5 km loop around the neighborhood. If you feel that way, she recommends you do what she did, and chat with a runner! The running community is very eager to welcome you with open arms, and they are happy to share their lessons learned. What motivates them, will soon motivate you.

“I feel inspired by so many fellow runners, cyclists, yogis and others doing really great things to give back to the community; I love to challenge myself and at that same time help make a difference,” she says.

Gesine continues using her running as a platform to run for charity and now teamed up with Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation.

The Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation was established in memory of Phoebe Rose who passed away in November 2015 from mixed lineage (MLL+) infantile leukemia. She was only five years old. The foundation works hard to put every dollar raised towards groundbreaking childhood cancer research and supporting affected families.

Gesine lost her mom to cancer, and being a mother herself, she says she cannot imagine the pain and heartbreak parents, families go through when their child is sick. She has friends whose child fought or is still fighting. They count on our support and we definitely need to raise more awareness for rare diseases, and more research needs to be done to give those children a better chance.

Running or not, you can follow Gesine on her epic run from Montreal to Ottawa on June 29-30, 2018 – the route and live updates will be posted via her Facebook page @GesineRuns.

For more information about Phoebe Rose and the Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation, to support childhood cancer research in Ottawa, and across Canada, and to help affected families, follow the link to their website.

Facebook: GesineRuns
Instagram: GesineRuns (gesine.freund)
Twitter: @gesinef

Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation:
Twitter:  @PhoebeRoseRocks
Facebook: Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation
Hashtags: #gesineruns #makeitok #childhoodcancer research #endkidscancer

Read Phoebe’s story
Visit the donation page