Trevor Hofbauer was the first Canadian to cross the finish line at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2017.
It’s been a little more than a year since Trevor Hofbauer quit his job as a technical representative for a running shoe company, uprooted his home in Calgary, changed coaches and moved east, all to see what his massive running potential might deliver.
So far, the change has suited him. Making his marathon debut at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Hofbauer, 25, was crowned 2017 Canadian champion last October. Naturally some see him as the ‘next one,’ the man destined to emerge from the shadows cast by Canadian Olympians Dylan Wykes, Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis.
“I see a lot of potential within myself and the big reason I am here in Guelph is to fill that,” Hofbauer says. “Nothing is set in stone and this sport is so physically demanding you don’t know what can happen down the road in terms of injury or mental state or anything.
“I am going to do everything in my power to see where my body takes me. If that is going to be the highest standard for Canadian athletes for the next little while, that’s awesome. But if there is somebody else who can get down to that Jerome Drayton (national record 2:10:08) time or Eric Gillis time (2:11:21) before me, then I would love to see that as well. It is just going to benefit everybody.”
Until Gillis accepted a coaching position at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., he and Hofbauer trained together often. They got along well and Hofbauer has clearly been inspired to define his commitment. Gillis, a three-time Olympian, says it was a pleasure to get to know Hofbauer.
“He’s a person who cares deeply about the people around him, will do anything to help a training partner out,” says Gillis. “Trevor brings a lot of energy to practice. With Trevor’s passion for the sport, his commitment to train in Guelph long term, and a great attitude, the sky’s the limit for him. I’m going to enjoy following his career over the next decade.”
For the first time in his career, Hofbauer flew to Kenya for a two-month stint of high-altitude training this winter.
“I am funding it myself,” Hofbauer admits. “I have been smart with my financial decisions and I’ve been able to save up. I am in a position right now where I want to make things happen and I am willing to take the risk of spending a little more money to get that done.”
Along with Speed River Track Club coach Dave Scott-Thomas, who has overseen the careers of Coolsaet and Gillis and, now, 2016 Olympian Krista DuChene, he has plotted lofty goals for the upcoming year. Anything between 2:12 and 2:14 for the marathon would be satisfactory he says. Considering Hofbauer ran 2:18:06 in Toronto, ‘high-fiving’ spectators along the finishing straight in a now infamous celebration that cost him a cash bonus for not breaking 2:18, that is a big, but not unreasonable, leap.
Two years ago, Hofbauer established his credentials when he ran 1:04:30 at the Philadelphia Half Marathon. At some point this year he’d like to improve that time. He will race the New York City Half Marathon on March 18 shortly upon his return from Kenya. Gillis will get a chance to race Hofbauer as he, too, is running the half in New York.
“What I would really like to do is to come within two percent of the Canadian record for the half marathon (1:01:28),” Hofbauer says. “So that time would be 1:02:40. If I can achieve that kind of time by the end of the year, then I would be a happy camper. If I achieve something around 1:03 low, then I would be happy too.”
Hofbauer says he runs because of curiosity to see how far he can push himself and to provide inspiration to runners of all abilities to do likewise.
“I find it’s really rewarding going out every day to see how hard you can push yourself,” he says. “One day is not the same as any day in the past. I am constantly improving and seeing progress and not knowing where my physical limitation is. I think it is really empowering.
“I am curious to find out what that limit is. It’s not only important for me in my progress as an athlete, but I think it’s really important for other athletes who don’t see their true potential yet.”
- Born: March 8, 1992, Burnaby, B.C.
- Raised: Port Moody, B.C./Calgary, AB
- Lives: Guelph, Ont.
- Education: Hospitality Management, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
- Favourite race course: Vancouver Sun Run
- Career Highlights: 1:04:28 Half Marathon, Philadelphia (2015); Bronze Medal – Canadian Cross Country Championship (2016); Debut Marathon – 2:18:05 – Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (2017)