Running on the Rock

“Everyone runner has a story to tell.”

I have chattered back and forth with a elite runner from Newfoundland long enough (did meet in person once) – so decided it was time to profile him and introduce him to others.

David Freake

Newfoundland is sometimes referred to as the rock – perhaps referring to its hard, rocky terrain, and this is where David Freake runs. Calling, St. John’s home he works full time as a technical sales representative and account manager for a BioPharma company. When not at work he can very often be found lacing up his running shoes and flying down the road or around a local track, and on weekends he often is winning road races. Freake is an elite-level road racer who unlikely many others drawn to the big cities of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver to train has stayed on ‘the rock’ to run.


A Brooks sponsored athlete, the lean runner with a great smile only picked up the sport in the summer of 2010 as a way to get into shape after what he describes as a fairly sedentary university student lifestyle. Spending the first couple of years just running, gaining experience and chasing other runners around he says he started to then look into how to train, to get faster.

“I became fascinated by the physiology of running and how when we stress our bodies we see adaptation. I made some decent progress in 2012 but it was really 2013 that I began training the way an athlete should. I have a fantastic coach in Jeremiah Johnston who I began working with in 2015. Under his tutelage I feel like I will be able to make consistent progress and become a much more developed runner. I have lofty goals in this sport, but I know that I can’t rush things. So I will build upon the foundation I have and make small steps towards my long term goals in a seasonal/yearly fashion.”

And David has gotten faster as his personal bests below can testify to.

Personal Bests

14:56 for 5km

24:07 for 8km

31:07 for 10km

68:47 for the half marathon

Despite being miles away from the big city hubs and where there are often large competitive track or road racing clubs – Freake has found a way with the help of his coach to run and push himself. And it is not only the distance from big city races or clubs that can make running on the rock a challenge. He describes running in Newfoundland as 50/50. He says from April to November it’s fantastic with amazing trails, a 200m indoor facility and an 8 lane Canada Games 400m outdoor track (in St. John’s) but winter is what’s difficult.  Echoing what most Canadians see on the weather channel, Newfoundland gets very cold temperatures, plenty of snow and high winds. Freake says he gets friendly with the treadmill for much of the frigid winters when outdoor running just does not make sense or is unsafe.

Davis is sponsored by Brooks Canada also supported by Smith Optics, CEP Compression and LeanFit.

What is your favourite Newfoundland race?

“My favorite race on the rock would have to be “The Tely 10 Mile”. It’s our cities version of the Boston Marathon, everyone comes out to show support and lot’s of fast runner’s like Matt Loiselle come down to race it. Over the past 5 years it has grown from 2500 finishers to well over 5000 last year. After the race or a training run I like to grab some sushi with friends and training partners at Sun Sushi in downtown St. John’s which has a great view of the harbor.”

What drives you to keep running faster?

“I think what drives me to run faster and train harder is an inherit drive to push past goals and see just how much I can get out of my body. I was never a runner growing up so to have started in my early 20’s rather than my teen years it’s fun to compete against those with a more decorated and substantial running pedigree and see where I stack up.”

What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?

“My goals for 2017 are to run 30:30 for 10km on the roads as well as break our provincial half and full marathon records which are a modest 67:22 and 2:24:17. (our records for the 10k and under are untouchable as they are held by Olympian Paul McCloy. (For reference he’s run 13:27 for 5000m and 27:XX on the road and track for 10k, still holding the Canadian 10k road record to this day.”

Although Freake does run and race at home he can be found hitting the mainland now and again to run his favourite competitive races like the Vancouver Sun Run, Goodlife Toronto Half and Ottawa race weekend, 5km national championships and the Toronto marathon and Canadian Cross-country nationals in the fall. Keep an eye out for this fast Newfoundland runner.

Find David on his blog, on Twitter @Davefreake or Instagram @Davefreake.


Run on running friends!


3 thoughts on “Running on the Rock

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