Race Review: Toronto Marathon

06 May, 2019 • by Admin

The Toronto Marathon is fast, scenic and mostly downhill


The Toronto Marathon is different from Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Toronto Marathon, held annually in May, is a race from Mel Lastman Square, in the north end of Toronto, to Ontario Place. The race was initially called the Canadian International Marathon, and was first held in 1995 under its current organizer. The origins of the event trace back to 1977. In 2003, its name was changed to the Toronto Marathon. In 2008, it was again renamed for a new primary sponsor, GoodLife Fitness. It was held previously on the third Sunday in October, the first Sunday after Canadian Thanksgiving, for 16 consecutive years. Because of concerns that the Toronto Waterfront Marathon was being held three weeks prior lead to too many road closures, the Toronto Marathon is now run in May, beginning in 2011.The event was temporarily held mid-May in 2011, due to other events in the City of Toronto that year. The event is now held on the first Sunday in May, beginning in 2012.

In addition to a full marathon, the event also includes a half marathon, a 10K run, a 5K run, and an eight-person relay across the marathon course. The marathon meets international standards and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.

The Course

Toronto’s premier race weekend offers an event for everyone! The Toronto Marathon is fast, scenic and mostly downhill. Runners get to experience the City on foot in the company of 15,000+ runners from over 50 countries. Beginning at Mel Lastman Square in North York and finishing at Ontario Place, the course runs through many of the City's great neighbourhoods and is also a Boston qualifier.

In addition to the Marathon, there are Half Marathon, 10K, 5K run and walk, and Relay events. All participants receive a technical shirt and finisher's medal. Check out the free Expo at the Enercare Centre for the latest in running gear and health and fitness products. The Toronto Marathon supports the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

The 1st mile, every 5th mile, and each km are marked. Clocks will be located at the Start, halfway point of the Marathon, and Finish Line. The Marathon markers are blue and the Half Marathon markers are orange. All participants on the course after 6 hours may be asked to move onto the sidewalk and obey normal traffic laws. Race marshals will pull any person running without a bib off the course.


Expo: Medium sized expo with everything you could need. Easy package pickup. One thing that could be better is the maps they have of start and finish set-ups to help people plan - esp. out-of-towners. Lots of us runners on the wrong side (east) of the square arriving at the start with no idea where to go (couldn't see the start on the west). Great access to a warm building and washrooms before the race. A bag check if you use that (to drive your clothes to the finish on this point to point course)

The course: The first 20 miles are very nice. Wide open streets, downhill and through beautiful areas of Toronto. The last 10k are out and back along a mostly paved path. There are lots of turns, potholes and slight dips and rises until you turn around and head back to the finish line. While on the path, there were people walking dogs, a skateboarder and many cyclists; almost all oblivious to the fact we were running a marathon. Looking at my splits, I ran the last half 3 minutes slower than my first half and still passed over 50 runners. The last 10k of a marathon are rarely enjoyable, that is particularly true for this event.

Post Race: Runners will be provided with Gatorade, water, pitas, Clif Bars, bananas, and oranges inside the Better Living Centre. All leftover food will be donated to Second Harvest. A team of Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) and physiotherapists will be available to all Marathon, and Half Marathoner participants to help work out some of the aches and pains you may be feeling. A very experienced medical team, including chiropodists, will be on hand to assist any participant in need at finish line.

Spectators: This does not have the feel of other events where the city comes out to watch and support participants. Despite being a beautiful morning, I felt like the only spectators were those who had a family member or friend in the event.


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