The Toronto Marathon is always 3 weeks after the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon (Scotia), and although it has been around longer, it is the smaller of the two. There are few reasons (some fact, some speculation on my part) for this:
1) Scotia is a flatter course, Toronto has only huge hill called "Hog's Hollow"
2) Scotia has more entertainment. There wasn't even music at the start/finish lines at Toronto. Definately something the organizers need to improve for next time.
3) There is a not huge money pot for the winners- hence few elites (read: few blazing Kenyans).
I usually run the half in Toronto and Hubs runs the full, but this year, having Niagara next weekend, I decided not to run the half (which killed me - Toronto is one of my favourite half courses). I have always thought that Scotia is the better of the two for a full marathon, but after today, I think next year I will run Toronto as my full and Scotia will be a half. Here are some reasons why:
1) The temperature is always cooler for Toronto. This year Scotia was 23C (73F)and humid, Toronto was 13C (55F)and perfect.
2) The course is more scenic. Running down Young street is exciting with Toronto cityscape in the background. There is a waterfront portion that is much nicer than than running under the Gardiner (a raised highway for American readers) or the Leslie Spit.
3) There is no stampede of half marathoners at the beginning. They start an hour earlier, so you can find your pace right away without weaving. Toronto also starts North of downtown so your Garmin can actually get a satellite signal right away and hence, keep your pace in check.
I planned on cheering Hubs on at three points during the race (8K, 19K and 34K). I didn't make the 8K point quick enough as the traffic from road closures was crazy. I should have taken the subway. I got to the 19K point when the 3:00 marathoners were running by and found a point where there were no spectators and started clapping, and shouting cliches madly. "2K to halfway, Looking strong bib #---, 19K straight ahead, Awesome Pace" Hubs was planning for around a 4:30ish marathon, so I knew I would be a while, but it was fun. Cheering is work though, and my hands are sore (LOL). Make sure you thank those spectators, even if you can only muster a nod. It was interesting studying people's gaits as they ran by. For some, it seemed like a physical impossibility that they were last fast for seemingly strange gaits, but it was obviously working for them.
Anyway when Hubs ran by I almost missed him. I would be a terrible race photographer, fumbling and getting all excited instead of taking the picture. I managed to snap his picture at 34K. He was looking strong for late in the race.
Hubs finished his 19th marathon in 4:26-- . Not a PR, but he is not looking to kill any of them. He is planning on running Niagara next weekend and Hamilton marathon the following. Crazy Maniac, like someone else I know. He is looking at requesting his Marathon Maniac bib. He is well qualified, running 5 marathons in 5 weeks in the spring, and 3 marathons in 3 weeks in the fall (actually 5 but not 5 in a row).
I found the marathon to be inspirational for next week. One important reoccurring lesson for me: don't go out too fast!! Repeat, don't go out too fast!!
Thanks for reading!