Meet the Board!
From Left to Right:
- Past President: Bert de Vries
- Treasurer: Bill Prest
- Race Coordinator: George Hubbard
- Social Coordinator: Debra Kobe
- Communications Coordinator: Kathleen Thompson
- President: Jowenne (JoJo) Herrera
Missing from the Group Photo:
Secretary: Geneva Calder
Vice President: Jessica Rode
Coaching Co-ordinator: Steve Metzger
President Jowenne (Jojo) Herrera has been a member of Longboat Roadrunners since 2016, but has been running with many club members for many years. Having trained individually for years, he officially joined Longboat to gain a better sense of community and be part of an awesome running family. Formerly a track and racquet athlete in high school, Jojo discovered his passion for running in his twenties as a means to find balance with his busy work schedule. He thrives in every athlete’s quest for personal challenge. Other sports always has a winner and a loser, but with running one can always be a winner depending on what she/he defines as success. His PBs include 17:32 5K, 37:11 10K, 1:19:34 21.1K, and a 2:59:02 in the Boston Marathon. For over a decade, Jojo has been a pace bunny for the the Scotiabank Half Marathon, consistently pacing the 1:30 Half. Besides running, he is a visual artist, graphic designer, strategy consultant for the public service, and an avid traveler. He is thrilled to act as this year's Vice-President and is motivated to bring a recognizable voice on behalf of the club
Jessica Rode has been running local races for the past 15 years and joined Longboat in 2019. Previously she ran with RunnersGoals in Mississauga, which is where she learned how amazing run club culture can be. She loves being a part of the Toronto running community and is always looking for company for those long slow distance runs.
Past President Bert deVries. 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.
Kathleen (Kat) Thompson has been a proud member of Longboat Roadrunners since 2011.
This is her 2nd 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.
Race Coordinator George Hubbard 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.
Social Coordinator Debra Kobe started running with her teenage daughter, Paige Kobe, and entered her first 5K on May 1, 2016, at the Goodlife Marathon. On May 4, 2019, she improved her time by 7 min. at the Novo Nordisk “Hazel” 5K. She enjoys volunteering at various races and will always be cheering on her fellow Longboaters. Debra has been an active member of the race committee, and looks forward to her role as the 2020 Social Coordinator. Debra keeps fit walking dogs during the day, running in High Park or the waterfront and enjoys gravity classes at the West End YMCA. She also took adult tap dancing and ballet classes for several years at Sean Boutilier Academy of Dance and performed in the senior year-end show at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga. The Longboat family has been very welcoming, inclusive and supportive with her running and awarded Debra the 2019 Most Improved Female Runner. She has a few races on the horizon for 2020 and continues to train in snow, rain, or shine.
Bill Prest 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 in 2016, was captain of the Island Race course set-up crew as well as driving a truck on Race Saturday to pick up supplies. When Bill isn’t running, he is cycling, working 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 campsites is not as fierce. In his former life, Bill was a computer programmer and still does the IT for his wife’s firm as well as his acting group’s website maintenance. Bill looks forward to continuing in his position as club treasurer for a sixth year in 2021. Contact him at treasurer@Longboatroadrunners.com.
Geneva Calder officially became a Longboat member in spring 2019 after occasionally dropping in on Sunday University Settlement House runs with her aunt over the course of two years. Her first year of official membership included saying “yes” to just about everything the Club had to offer, including the cross country classic, 2,4, 6, and 8km time trials, and the dreaded hour on the track. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she has only been able to run one official race since joining the club, where she logged a 2-minute PR on her third half marathon thanks to the coaching support of George Hubbard. She is still in the process of discovering her preferred distance to race.
Outside of running, Geneva stays active coaching and playing elite-level lacrosse, and enjoys cross-training with virtual bootcamp and HIIT classes at her local gym. She also serves as a Director-in-training with the Board for Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, a non-profit organization that brings professional ballet to even the smallest communities in Ontario. She is an avid live music fan and loves Toronto’s normally vibrant music scene (outside of the pandemic).
Steve Metzger has coached elementary school cross-country and track and field for the past 11 years and began coaching adults in 2009 with a Running Room Marathon clinic. From the beginning, he has focused on the safe development of athletes whatever the age, focusing on gradual growth, injury prevention, consistent work and personal fulfillment. Currently, he is in the process of being certified as a NCCP Club Coach (Endurance).