Paramedic Mike

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Special @RunCRS #STWM run & @TwitterCanada visit with @ChrisDoyle #OCanada

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Well what can I say!  This would have to be one of my most favourite fields trips!  A once in a lifetime opportunity! I am so thankful to the people at Canada Running Series for making this happen.  All the #STWM Digital Champions and Community Leaders were invited for an exclusive invite only run and tour of Twitter Canada HQ followed by a presentation from Chris Doyle the Director of Media leading Twitter’s partnerships for Canada in TV, sports, news, music, gov and more.

The evening started with me taking the GoTrain and man am I ever thankful I made that decision!  There were others that chose to drive and because of awful traffic and collisions on the highway they were not able to fully attend:(

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The train got me real close to our secret destination downtown and it was only a short 10min power walk!  Turned out to be a nice warm up before the run!  Although have you ever tried to walk quickly in Birkenstocks?  Its no easy feet feat and I felt my shins start to tighten up a little!   Thankfully I got there early enough to stretch them and change into my runners!

Next up it was a brief welcome from Race Director Alan Brookes and a description of the run and route from Community Leader Willaim Chaupiz from Night Terrors Run. Then we were off!

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Its not always easy to run through the busy streets of Toronto for a suburb runner like me but I was able to hold my own run ahead and snap this quick shot 🙂

The run went well at a nice pace (check out my Garmin data Garmin Connect)  with a few stops for traffic lights and most importantly photo ops!

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When the run was complete and high fives given we moseyed on over to the uber secret location to meet with Chris Doyle.   Once inside, the perfect post run spread of food and snacks was waiting for us; bonus!  Many of us were meeting each other face to face for the first time so this was a great chance for us to introduce ourselves, mingle and, of course, snap some more pics!

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Colour matched jelly beans and a branded toaster in their lunch room!

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This looked like the perfect spot to lay down right after my run

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Man did we ever press Chris to keep these mugs but alas they were for staff only and not to be removed 😦

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If I worked here I would never eat breakfast at home again!

Then it was time for Chris’ presentation!

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Chris did an amazing job of presenting some Twitter best practices, his involvement with Twitter Canada’s sports partnerships, and, an introduction to their new app Periscope.  Periscope is an app where you can live broadcast any event you like!  This is the next level of SM sharing.  So now instead of text or picture based post you can now bring people right into your world with sound and video!  I am very excited about the future possibilities of this!  I can foresee many people broadcasting parts of their #STWM  race or even the triumph and reunions at the finish line.  The possibilities of this really are endless and subject only to the limits of your imagination!

Next it was time to tour the rest of their office!

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obligatory selfie with Chirs Doyle

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Selfie of a Selfie with Dawn @inkdgirl55

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Group shot on the Twitter couch

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Some of you might recognize this controversial dress…… its blue and black! This adorns the wall in one of their break-out rooms

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Twitter branded gumballs to keep the people in the lab happy 🙂

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High fives for a great day and for a @Unicef #HighFiveIt campaign

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Amazing day capped with a group shot in front of Twitter Canada’s signature hashtah sign

 Once again thank you to Twitter Canada for inviting us into your home!  Thank you Canada Running Series for orchestrating this and accepting me as a digital champion!  I’m really looking forward to sharing my first marathon journey and interacting with other #STWM runners! 10446674_463853833790016_8674201951774378793_n

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Running with the @jlr_toronto for a special kind of Personal Best

When I think about a personal best for my runs it usually revolves around a new shorter time for a distance, a new total distance, or a better pace.  But what if there was a different kind of personal best? One that’s more satisfying, more exhilarating and more gratifying.  Bring on the Justice League Runners and their campaign to run while raising money for The Hospital Sick Children in Toronto.

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While training for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k myself and my good friend Matt Small had come up with a race goal of sub 45min.  As time went on and my training runs became quicker and quicker I had gotten very excited that this possible new personal best could actually become a reality!

Though my experience with being a Digital Champion for this race I had the great pleasure of meeting a whole bunch of runners I had never known about before.  One of those people was JP Hernandez.  It didn’t take long for me to realize the true super hero powers of JP.  He truly inspired me with his charisma, humility and down to earth welcome everyone with open arms personality.  In 2013 JP ran the Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon as Batman and raised money for SickKids hospital.  In just 2 short years JP’s marathon run as Batman has evolved in something AMAZING!  The Justice League Runners. It didn’t take me long to decide that this was something I wanted to be a part of!  I contacted JP asking him if I could participate and he quite enthusiastically welcomed me into his League!  SickKids already holds a special place in my heart for me and my family so I was quite excited to be a part of a team raising money for Sick Kids Foundation.  If you would like to read more about JP’s journey to the creation of the Justice League Runners I really recommend you click here.

I have been finding it quite difficult to put into words the feelings I had on race day, April 19th 2015, but I will do my best 🙂  The morning started with the excitement of meeting many of the runners I had only conversed with through Twitter and Facebook.  There were many pictures taken, many hellos, and many high fives.  I always love the time before a run as I meet running friends both new and old and just the camaraderie that takes place as people mill around.

Coral #Runfie

Coral #Runfie

We assembled ourselves into our coral talked about how we were all going to stay together and do our very best to put a smile of every single kid  (and adult for that matter) we came across.

Aprox 3-4 km into the run we were approached by a runner and mom who said her daughter had been a patient of SickKids.  She went of to say that her daughter would be cheering her on father down the course and asked if we might give her a wave as we ran by.  Well that’s not what what we were going to do!  When we got tot he corner of Yonge and Bloor all 15 of us stopped gave her a high five and asked if she would stand for a picture with us!  Mom showed up just as we were getting the pictures taken by grandma.  The look of sheer gratitude and emotion on all 3 of their smiling faces was something I don’t think I will ever forget and I have a pretty good feeling that little girl will never forget either!  This was proof right there that we were up to something magical!

We continued down the rest of the course high-fiving and stopping for pics with any and all the kids we saw along the route.  The cheers from the spectators and volunteers at the water stations was exhilarating.  As we neared the end of the run I found myself a little sad that this train was coming to an end but I soon realized this was not the end it was merely stop on the journey.  This train has a long road ahead of it with many stops to make, more smiles to induce and money raised to help kids in need.

In the end I was left with a whole new sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and inspiration.  It was a whole new kind of personal best for me!  One that I will cherish forever.  One that I hope to better as my running career continues!  You can still donate by visiting my page here.

All this could not be possible without these amazing members of the team I ran with!  I encourage you to follow them on their social networks!

JP Hernandez aka Batman — Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Instagram

Steve Layton aka Green Lantern — Twitter, Blog, Instagram

Luc Ippersiel aka Green Arrow — Twitter, Blog, Instagram

Maria Lalla aka Batgirl — TwitterWebsiteInstagram

Michelle Clark aka Batgirl — Twitter, Blog, Instagram

Amber-Lynn Renton aka Batwoman — Twitter, Instagram

Heather Gardner aka Super Woman — Twitter, Blog, Instagram

Michael Losinger aka Superman — Twitter, Instagram

Laura Eng aka Lady Green Lantern — Twitter, Instagram

Todd Chretien aka The Flash — Facebook

Big thanks to Canada Running Series the family and friends of all the runners as well as all the volunteers for all their support; this couldn’t have happened without them!

I’ll leave you with this one picture that I think is an amazing representation for the day.  I little boy approached us after the race with a super excited voice saying “CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!!”

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#KeepSmilin 🙂

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