Running a marathon isn’t easy. In fact, it might be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever trained for. But that’s precisely why I signed up to run the Queen City Marathon in September – because I’m always up for a challenge. I also signed up because it’s one of the best marathons to run in the province and draws in thousands of participants and fans from Saskatchewan and across the country. And although this is my first race with the QCM, I’ve attended it repeatedly as a fan cheering my brother on. He has run in the QCM for 13 years (10 consecutively!). When I asked him why he runs it every year, he told me there were three specific things he likes about the race. As a competitive runner, he appreciates that it’s a qualifier race for Boston. He also enjoys the cooler temperatures to run in at the end of summer. But his favourite thing about the QCM is the beautiful race route around the legislative building and Wascana Park. As Wascana Park is one of the largest parks in North America, it’s perfect for both training runs and the big day. For me, I began my running career while in university as a way to stay fit and balance late nights out on the weekend. But it also became cathartic for me – it is a block of time in the evening I am able to turn my phone notifications off, turn an audiobook on and forget about the daily stresses of life. But I admit training for this race has been a little different and more challenging than previous races I’ve run. So to help me gear up for the QCM, I reached out to a few businesses in the city that support local runners. I asked for their expertise on must-have gear and top tips for preparation: “Attending a training clinic with experienced coaches who know the course will help you arrive at the race feeling as prepared as possible, knowing what to expect ahead of time and how to run your best race.  Top race tip: start the first kilometre a little bit slower than you want to run for the entire race. This will prevent starting too fast which can make the last part of your run very uncomfortable and slow. Think "start slow, finish fast" - Patrick Ash, Owner and Head Coach, Endurance Journey “The number one thing we tell our customers when they come in to buy a running shoe is to find something that’s comfortable. If you’re not comfortable in your shoe, you won’t perform how you want or be the best you can. As for technical aspects, everyone has different preferences so we perform a foot assessment and get the customer to try on a variety of options. We make sure the shoe fits right and isn’t too narrow or too wide. We want to find a running shoe that’s the best fit for the customer’s foot.” - Sarah Kosteniuk – Marathon Runner, Sales Associate, Running Room  My favourite running shirt to recommend (and wear myself) is the Better Than Naked Shirt from The North Face (for men and women). The shirt as per its name is better than running without one. It’s cool on hot days and warm on cool days making it the perfect shirt to race in no matter the elements. It is 100% polyester which makes it more comfortable to wear then shirts that contain spandex, lycra, and elastane. The flat & welded seems are placed right and never chafe or rub even if you are wearing a pack or hydration. Run in it once and you won’t run in anything else again.” - Geoff Horn, Owner, The North Face Regina Store  “Five songs by Regina artists to listen to while out training for your run” 1. The Steadies - "See You When I Go" 2. The Classy Chassys - "Bury Me with My Guitar" 3. The Dead South - "Every Man Needs a Chew" 4. Def3 - "Prowl" 5. Desert Island Classic - "Moon" or “Get Up- Taron Cochrane, Owner, Taron Cochrane Entertainment Although I won’t be setting any records on my run, I’ll be adding a few new songs to my playlist and hoping to achieve a personal goal I’ve always dreamed of. See you at the finish line!