Friday, 19 October 2012

Marathon Recap - The Real

Okay now that all that mushy-gushy stuff has been said, we can move on to the Real Race stuff.
(you know the stuff all you runners are curious about)

The Course:
The course took your through many of the major neighbourhoods of Toronto. It was filled with great views and lots of unique city landmarks. It is also really flat, one of the reasons this race is loved by elites and first-timers.

That being said, I found the first half of the course a lot better than the second half. The first half of the course was heavily populated with spectators and enthusiasm. But once the half marathon group and the full marathon group split, there was a notable difference in the energy and the route.

The second half of the course goes off a little into no-mans land. The area by the Leslieville spit and down by the water is very industrial and doesn't exactly encourage a lot of spectators. In my opinion the second half is where you need the most encouragement so switching up that route and making it more spectator friendly would be a huge benefit.

I also found the multiple out and backs in the second half rough. There are 3 different out and backs, and mentally that is really tough. By the third one I was definitely cursing the course. I think I may be have even yelled out-loud, "how many out and backs are there?!". Those little loops can really mess with you, especially when your moral is fading.

The volunteers and spectators along the way were outstanding! I cannot gush enough about them. Everyone was so encouraging! I loved having my name on my bib, because it felt like you had your own little cheering section all the way along. Everyone is shouting "Go Krysten! Looking Good!", and it seems silly but that honestly helps so much. It was so fun to see all of these different groups out there out  along the course to support all of the runners. 
Note my Bib
The highlights for me were probably - the sexy drag queens rocking out at Church and Wellsley and the belly dancers at the first turn around point - both unexpected and so fun. I also loved the signs about Dinosaurs from ROM - Run like a Coelophysis is chasing you - definitely got a chuckle out of me.

Race Organization:
This is a big event and it takes a lot of hard work and coordination to organize - so I give a lot of credit to everyone at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Closing off all these streets in a major city is in itself a huge feat. And I would guess that planning an event like this is probably a logistical nightmare, so BRAVO for making it happen!

I though the number of volunteers and medics they had patrolling the course was amazing. They water stations and aid stations were well-organized and always fully stocked.

The only problem area was the start/corrals. I found them very difficult to find and get into. Everything was fenced off, and there were only a few openings along the way. That meant that people were scrambling to find their place and to get to their corral on time. People were climbing fences, jumping over planters, running shoving, it was panic central. The start definitely felt a little chaotic, and could be improved upon.

Big Race means Big Names:
So most of the races I have done have been on the smaller side, but the Toronto Waterfront Marathon is a big deal. 25 500 people run this event each year, and there is large number of elites that sign up to compete for the win.

My heart skipped a beat when I bumped into Reid Coolsaet on my way to my corral. My inner running geek was squealing with excitement as I quickly apologized and scurried away. Watching the elites warm up and take on the course was very cool and so inspiring. The winner of this year's race Betona Warga ran the Marathon in 2:10:35 - holy cow! I wasn't even at the half way point yet?! And it is definitely cool to be a part of something like that.

Overall, it was a great event.
And if any of my American buddies are looking for an excuse to come visit their favourite Darwinian Fail and our fair city of Toronto, I would say this is a pretty great option!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,