To say that 2021 was a year full of surprises is a bit of an understatement. We never could have predicted that in a single year we would open, close, and open again! But in true runner fashion, we observe each obstacle as something we can overcome, and we excel at celebrating small victories during life's toughest races.
That's why we're choosing to bid 'farewell' to 2021 with a BlackToe Running highlight reel, featuring some of our favourite moments from the past year. Despite the many challenges and uncertainties our communities faced, we adapted by staying true to our passion and finding new ways to (safely) do what we do best: live, love, run. Let's take a look at a few of our top highlights from 2021!
'Good Foot Delivery' Handed Over 296 BlackToe Parcels Across Toronto
Most folks know that Good Foot is an organization that's near and dear to our hearts. They are our go-to courier service for downtown Toronto deliveries, members of our BlackToe Running Team, and they even shot scenes for a new employee training video at our store. Your online orders help support this wonderful organization all year long - thank you!
Good Foot Delivery provides meaningful employment for the neurodiverse community through a reliable, professional courier service delivered via public transit and on foot. When you choose our trusted Couriers for your delivery needs, you’re also supporting inclusive employment.
We Hosted Our First Ever Chip-Timed Race
Sure, we've cheered at countless local races and even helped our athletes put together virtual races of their own, but 2021 marked our first official BlackToe chip-timed race. We hosted 100 athletes who took off in several waves down the waterfront trail to compete in 5k and 10k events. Now that we have the first one under our belts, there will certainly be more formal BlackToe races to come - stay tuned!
We Got to Meet Jim Walmsley
One of this year's highlights was our virtual event featuring Tobias Christensson of Maurten Nutrition and current world ultra-marathon champ Jim Walmsley. Jim shared many insights from his training and races with our viewers, including the fact that he needs to consume the equivalent of one Maurten gel every 15 minutes during a race!
The Girls Took Over!
Throughout the toughest months of the 2021 retail lockdown, our BlackToe Running staff consisted of nearly all women for the first time ever, and they worked tirelessly to keep our store running in tip-top shape no matter how many challenges we faced. Amy and Sydney represented BlackToe as our only two staff members to run the Boston Marathon this year (yes - Boston was back!) and we were represented in countless other races by some amazing women athletes from our running teams. We also got to cheer for former BlackToe staff members Maddy Kelly and Lucia Stafford, and former BlackToe sponsored athlete, Andrea Seccafien, at the Olympic Games.
We Set a New Ciele Record
In 2021, we were proud to be the first store worldwide to ever sell 1000 Ciele hats in a single calendar year - a major feat considering our retail store was closed for the first 5 months of 2021! It's an achievement that means a lot to us, as we were also one of the first stores in Canada to partner with Ciele and stock their line of athletic hats. How did we celebrate? With an exclusive BlackToe x Ciele IPB IPA beer brewed by Dominion City, of course! It was also the year that Ciele made zebra print bucket hats cool - a noteworthy achievement in itself.
BlackToe 'Messenger' Helped Amplify Voices
We were honoured to work with two accomplished runners from our community, May and Esther, who wrote and produced a mini docuseries aimed to amplify the voices of Asian Canadians in the running community. 'Messenger' served as a platform for May, Esther, Aries, Aniket, and Nina to share their stories, experiences, and challenges. This project was particularly important during a year when Asian Canadians suffered from heightened incidences of violence and racism.
We Were Voted 'Canadian Run Store of the Year'
Thanks to your votes, we were named 2021's Best Canadian Running Shoe Retailer in iRun Magazine's annual Golden Shoe Awards. We take our job of sourcing only the very best running shoes, gear, and nutrition seriously, and we're grateful to be able to share our love of all things running with so many athletes around the world. This year brought us speedy new shoes like the Nike Vaporfly 2, Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 and Pro 2, New Balance RC Elite 2, Hoka Bondi X, On Running Cloudboom Echo, Adidas Prime X, ASICS Metaspeed Edge and Sky, and so many more. Which was your favourite?
On the Horizon for 2022: BlackToe Running Opens Our Second Location!
You heard that right! We recently announced that we'll be opening a second BlackToe Running location in the Yonge and Eglinton area to better serve our customers from across the GTA. Whether you visit us at our new Midtown location or our OG King West store, you can expect the same curated shoes and gear, exciting events, and dedicated service you've come to count on from our BlackToe Running team members.
There are so many more memories that stand out, from our first annual BlackToe Staff Retreat to the launch of our new professional video and photo series' to inspiring virtual and in-person races. We know that it was a challenging year for many individuals, families, and independent businesses, but we hope that this highlight reel helps spark some joy at the tail end of a year than many of us would rather forget. We are a resilient community and will continue to overcome whatever comes our way. It all starts by putting one foot in front of the other.