Collaborating with people so together we can thrive.
by Kevin Shields
At Canadian Wintersports, we started to think about how we could keep people participating in winter sports. During the COVID pandemic, many people turned to outdoor activities, and the popularity of cross-country skiing as a winter activity for recreation grew. Coincidentally, many communities had been enhancing facilities for cross-country skiing, guided by forethinking individuals. Some Canadian cities (a few examples: Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Saskatoon) had been developing urban ski trails, and these bustled with skiers. This is fantastic for community and individual health; however, how will we sustain this activity and support people in fully adopting this healthy lifestyle activity?
We looked to the larger sports community wanting to find some organization that has successfully supported this type of sustained participation and built a vibrant, supportive, resilient sports community. I was familiar with a running community called Mile2Marathon (M2M), whose presence had been growing over the past ten years. I contacted one of the founders of M2M, Dylan Wykes, to learn more about the formation of M2M and the operation of their successful program. Dylan very openly shared the M2M program launch and the operations of virtual coaching services. There were many clear commonalities in the M2M mission and purpose and what we wanted to provide at Canadian Wintersports - keep people participating and improving; creating a belonging community that supports sustained, healthy participation in outdoor endurance sports. M2M then became the model for building a virtual coaching service for cross-country skiing in Canada.
I am super happy to partner with M2M. Their program has grown to 28 personal coaches, and M2M offers group workouts in 5 Canadian cities.
Dylan is a great person and runner. He is an Olympian from London 2012 in the Marathon. In 2013 he and Mike Woods, a longtime run friend of Dylan's, formed M2M. At the time Dylan was living in Vancouver, and Mike was in Ottawa. Both had time for a business venture, and M2M was formed.
Dylan is a cross-country skier. Skiing is a new sport for Dylan. He has been seen with Adam Van Couevorden skiing in Gatineau Park. Dylan is also a long-time friend of Devon Kershaw from high school running days. (Peltonen is Dylan's choice in cross-country skis!)
Mike Woods is a pretty fine bike rider! However, running was the sport he excelled at and competed against Dylan in their younger days.