Posted by & filed under 2018, Contender.

Hello Running Enthusiasts, cannot wait to run with you all!

Follow this blog for profiles on the 2018 ENDURrun Ultimate Contenders.

Related: Full blog series | Full list of Contenders

Welcome home Smiley Savvas. Your attitude is a beautiful thing! 


ENDURrun: What about ENDURrun keeps you coming back?

Smiley Savvas: The feeling of being part of an amazing family of runners for an entire week and spending time with volunteers and Schmidt family and catching up with running friends. My first ultimate was in 2009 where I met many amazing runners that I have kept in touch with (Jack Kilislian, Joanne Bink, Jodi Kalman, Suzan Moizer, Andrew Moizer, etc.). It’s also opportunity to run in my hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo.


What are your ENDURrun 2018 stories? 

The 2018 ENDURrun will be my 4th ultimate and as I slow down my running goals, I hope to get more pleasure and satisfaction in encouraging my fellow runners to achieve their running goals. Recently, I trained my friend, who turned 40 and has 3 young kids, to complete his first marathon (2018 Cornwall Marathon) and the satisfaction and joy as I ran with him from start to finish was priceless and I hope to help many more people.


What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2018?

Spending time with Lloyd Schmidt and family, discussing about running adventures, trips, and catching up with fellow runners. My running goal are to finish under 15 hours!


What are the key pieces of advice to Rookies that you’ve learned over the years?

To cherish each stage and the volunteers and Schmidt family. It’s a magical experience that will not be replicated, so don’t run too hard early to conserve energy for stage 5 and 7 as they are tough!


For someone who has never been to ENDURrun week, what should they expect?

Each runner will be treated like a winner and there is a sense of community amongst runners supporting each other to finish! The chance to hang out with Lloyd and Julie Schmidt and their amazing family, to feel an energy of caring and support from day one to the last.


What are you nervous about, if anything?

I am nervous about the feeling of my legs after 3 days of continuous running, but looking forward to the amazing buffet style cuisine after each race.


How is your training going? 

My training started slowly as Ottawa winters are tough on running, but I have done a few half-marathons and the Cornwall marathon. I am doing many trail races this sumer to help me for Stage 3 and the dreaded Stage 5 – Chicopee. I run about 30-45 km per week, but it will vary between hills, trails and road running. I don’t run as much as I used to and personally, I find it more liberating and allows to focus on my other hobbies, like painting, reading, and world history.


How will your ENDURrun 2018 compare to previous years?

I hope to beat my 2015 ENDURrun where we had unusually hot year and I struggled that year, especially the marathon distance, but Joanne and Vicki helped inspire me to stick with it and finish!


What is your runner profile? 

I started running in high school for track and cross-country about 25 years ago, but I have been mostly doing road races from 2004 to present. I have completed 29 full marathons in 17 different cities – I love travelling and learning about new cultures and trying out different cuisines. The three most beautiful marathons I have completed are (1) Victoria, BC, (2) Athens Greece, and (3) Big Sur California.


What else would you like to share?

The ENDURrun is a homecoming for me (born and raised in Kitchener), and I love the runners, volunteers and Schmidt family as they welcome me with open arms and I keep coming up every other year or so. Also, I have ran most of these races with my identical twin brother and it’s a great experience to share together!

After ENDURrun, I will be doing a few trail races (Haliburton 50K) and visiting my dad and my family on a beautiful Greek Island!


What is the most important part of the ENDURrun identity that appeals to you?

The feeling of running with your friends for an entire week and sharing the same pain and aches as we are all human! Sharing stories, laughing and inspiring each other through wisdom and encouragement!