2019 Board

Meet the Board!

From Left to Right:

  • Social Coordinator: Stephen Word
  • President: Martin Odendaal
  • Secretary: John MacMillan
  • Race Coordinator: George Hubbard
  • Communications Coordinator: Kathleen Thompson
  • Treasurer: Bill Prest
  • Past President: Rob Hanks
  • Vice President: Bert de Vries

Missing from the Group Photo

  • Coaching Coordinator: Michelle Clarke

Martin Odendaal, President

Martin started running to spend time in Table Mountain in Cape Town. However, after years of sporadic, underprepared trail racing (with the inevitable wall-hitting results) he decided that everything would be a lot easier if he joined a running club. Joining Longboat turned out to be one of the best choices Martin made when he moved to Toronto in 2017. He was taken in by the commitment and community of Longboat and is proud to run with the flying feather on his back. Running for Longboat he has achieved PBs he would never have dreamed about, but more importantly got to do it with a joke and a smile next to his teammates.  

Bert de Vries, Vice President

In high school and university I was a pudgy bookworm. I studied Latin and Greek at Queen’s University and Princeton University, but it wasn’t until I was an ESL teacher in Rimouski, Quebec, that I decided to lose weight. I started running to keep off the 45 pounds I had lost by dieting, and found I liked it. My first race was a cross country harrier when I was in Teacher’s College in Kingston. In my first teaching job at Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto my colleague Harry Braaksma told me to run 10 miles every day for four months to prepare for the Ottawa Marathon. I followed that lunatic advice and ran 2:55. To improve I joined the U of T Track Club where Timo Uuksulainen became my coach. Under his guidance I ran 2:49 at Boston. A year later in 1981 I attended the meeting at which the Longboat Roadrunners was born. Timo was also a founding member and remained my coach. By doing everything he told me to do I ran under 2:40 eight times over the following years, with a PB of 2:33:13. I won the Prince Edward Island Marathon when I was 38. Timo was a strong believer in track work, and I ran a lot of track races, setting some times that still stand as club records. I edited the club newsletter for seven or eight years (an issue every month before the age of word processors!), and have been Communications Coordinator, Coaching Coordinator, Vice President, and President. I took over the Sunset Shuffle when the Last Call Club could no longer manage it, and it is now a Longboat fixture. Along with Richard Bailey I do a great deal of record-keeping for the Club. Now that I have greatly slowed down, I lead the “no runner left behind” Wednesday night group that runs at a slower pace, i.e. a pace I can manage! A spectator once said to Timo at a race, “You’ve got some really good fast runners in this race!” Timo replied “They’re all good; some are just faster than others.” That sums up my feelings about running.


Rob Hanks, Past President

Rob became a runner in 2007 at the age of 43 when his son was one year old: confronted with asthma issues, he decided that he didn’t want to be a couch potato dad. Shortly afterward he ran his first race – a marathon – in 4:04, followed by a half marathon in the spring of 2008 with a time of 1:36. Sensing that he couldn’t improve anymore running on his own, Rob joined the Longboat Roadrunners in October 2008, where he found a running home. As a trained academic historian on the First World War, he wrote an original paper on Tom Longboat’s experience during the war (which is available elsewhere on the club’s website). With the guidance of Longboat’s excellent coaches and the examples of his fellow club members, he steadily improved his times in every distance, setting more and more new PBs and earning the Most Improved Award in 2014. In 2016 and 2017, Rob served as President of Longboat, during which time the club implemented the HST and survived the flood on the Toronto Islands, which is home to its two races (the Sunset Shuffle and the Toronto Island Run). While President, Rob also set the club’s M50 record for 25k in 2016 and won the Member of the Year award (Male) in 2017. As Past President in 2018, Rob had six more PBs and set eleven M55 club records in eight distances, including the Chilly Half in 1:23:31 and the ATB 30k in 2:03:14.8. He also had the best WMA score among the club’s men in 2017 (80.72) and 2018 (81.73).

Bill Prest, Treasurer

Bill joined Longboat as a member in the summer of 1995. He had run his first race, Around the Bay in March 1994 and a few weeks later, the Shopper’s Drug Mart Toronto Marathon. Feeling his legs turning to concrete towards the end of both races convinced him that he needed better training. Bill realized that he had a lot to learn about running long distance including the fact that there were shorter races. He decided that he needed to find a running club to get peer support and advice and decided to try Longboat after meeting a couple of the members at a 5K race in Mississauga.

Bill discovered Longboat’s Island Race in the fall of 1994 and his tee shirt from that race is a prized possession. He has not so fond memories of bag check (as it was then) when he was stationed there as a crew member during the race the following year. Bill has served in the past as club secretary and until becoming treasurer, was captain of the Island Race course set-up crew as well as driving a truck on Race Saturday to pick up race supplies.

When Bill isn’t running, he is cycling, acting in community theatre or helping his wife Claire in their accounting firm. Bill also enjoys the odd winter camping weekend in February when the competition for camp sites is not as fierce. In his former life, Bill was a computer programmer and still does the IT for his wife’s firm.

Bill is looking forward to continuing in his position as club treasurer in 2017.

John MacMillan, Secretary

John joined Longboat in 2012. He first connected with the club on a couple of Saturday morning group runs in High Park. He signed up after enjoying cake served to one member celebrating his/her birthday during the post-run breakfast. John has been running since high school when he competed in cross country. However, his most memorable running moment came years later at the Manitoba Marathon. With a (pained) look of determination, common to most at the end of a marathon, John’s finish made headlines on the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press: “John MacMillan of Pinawa, Manitoba, grimaces in pain as he struggles to be a marathon finisher.” Truth be known, he was not exactly struggling to finish but snarling at the photographer with his ginormous camera standing on the track metres from the finish line at Pan Am Stadium, and in the way of John’s do-or-die sprint to meet his time goal of 2:35. John is currently recovering from a hamstring injury and eager to race again. He feels encouraged by his coach Timo and the wonderful support from members. When John isn’t running, he is Mr. MacMillan, an elementary teacher in Riverdale. He is a passionate chef and enjoys taking culinary courses. He is also an avid cyclist and keen sports photographer.

Stephen Word, Social Coordinator

Before joining Longboat, Stephen was a sporadic runner who once believed he could cram for a race by running a lot the night before. Other bits of misguided wisdom included eating every sample at a race expo and trying steel-cut oats for the first time on marathon morning. If you are interested in more tips on how to run your worst then pick up a copy of his non-existent book, DNF: 10 Keys to Under-preparing. The book includes a bonus section with a list of the world’s best race day porta-potties. Since joining Longboat in 2016, Stephen has discovered a new love for running and cut 9 minutes off his 10k PB and 80 minutes off his marathon PB. He has become an active member of Longboat and is constantly inspired by its members. Stephen is native of Atlanta, GA and works for The National Ballet of Canada. He looks forward to continuing to improve as a runner and thinks joining Longboat is one of his better running related decisions. 

Kathleen Thompson, Communications Coordinator

Kathleen (Kat) Thompson has been a proud member of Longboat Roadrunners since 2011.

This is her first year taking a position on the executive board & is looking forward to getting more involved with the club.

When not running, Kat also enjoys cycling, travelling (her most recent trip was to New Zealand) & spending time at the cottage.

Michelle Clarke, Coaching Coordinator

Over 30 years of running experience, starting at the age of 10. I’ve raced every distance from 800M to 80km. My biggest moments as an adult runner was winning the Boston to Big Sur challenge in 2013 (was also 2nd Canadian female at Boston that year). In 2013 I also went on to win The Northface trail Marathon in San Francisco and the following year competed in my first ever ultra, finishing 10th overall in 80km on trail. I’ve won the Chilly Half Marathon several years in a row as well as winning the Women’s Half Marathon in the same year. Most recently, in 2015 I competed in the National Masters track and field in France, focusing on the 1500M distance. I am also the Canadian record holder for W40 in the 5000M indoor event. My passion for running goes beyond winning, and as a coach I hope to inspire and motivate you to achieve your goals big and small. I’m a certified personal trainer, injury management specialist, yoga instructor. I’m also a Jack Daniels and NCCP level II trained sport and endurance coach.

George Hubbard, Race Coordinator

George has been coaching, mentoring and pacing athletes since 1984. Over the last 35 years, he has provided over 275 programs for events from 5k to the marathon. Recently, 5 of his athletes qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon – in age groups from 30-34 to 50-54. George was the Club Coach from 2007 to 2009. He has held other Longboat Executive roles as well – newsletter editor, Secretary and Vice President. George joined Longboat in 2000, and has raced track, cross-country and road races in Club colours.

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