By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
TORONTO (14-Oct) — It’s been nearly three years since runners have been able to take to the streets of this vibrant international city and run the TCS Waterfront Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label road race. The 2019 edition was one of the best in the race. More than 20,000 athletes covered one of the three distances offered by the race organizers (3852 in the marathon) and spectators were able to witness the fastest marathons ever run in Canada: 2:05:00 by Philemon Rono and 2:22:16 by Magdalyne Masai, both from Kenya. Trevor Hofbauer (2:09:51) and Dayna Pidhoresky (2:29:03) won Athletics Canada titles and both qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. It was an incredible day.
“It all fell into place,” said Masai, who won CAD 80,000 in cash prizes and time bonuses.
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But after the pandemic hit in March 2020, the marathon had to be suspended for 2020 and 2021. Longtime race director Alan Brookes was only able to get city approval for a 10-K last year, and this event was to be capped at 5,000 runners. The marathon will have to wait for better times, and that day will finally arrive on Sunday. Brookes, 72, could barely contain his joy.
“We are absolutely thrilled, absolutely thrilled, so excited and motivated for the weekend,” Brookes told Race Results Weekly in an interview here today. “It’s a new era, post-pandemic, back to full throttle with an exciting new partner in TCS.” He continued, “You just feel like everyone is back, bringing new energy. When new partners start something, their presence is everywhere, especially with TCS.
TCS, which is also the title sponsor of the Amsterdam, London and New York marathons, joined after former title sponsor Scotiabank pulled out. TCS, which has more than 600,000 employees in 40 countries, pledged last January to sponsor the race until 2026, which has provided Brookes and his 18-person full-time team with a solid platform. to build on for the future, including the special racing app that TCS is building. The app includes a unique sustainability dashboard for participants and spectators, as part of the race’s commitment to tackling climate change.
“Running a marathon makes you believe you can accomplish anything,” said Soumen Roy of TCS, Canada’s national chef and executive director. “We look forward to channeling the spirit of building on belief by enhancing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon experience with innovative technology and a pioneer.
sustainability initiatives in our local communities.
Brookes said today that his event had a total of about 22,000 attendees, including about 700 from the United States and 500 from Mexico. Every Canadian province and territory is represented, he said, and this year’s race will bring in around C$2.75 million for affiliated charities and exceed C$50 million in charitable fundraising at this time. day. It also has a top notch elite race and will once again host the Athletics Canada Championships.
“Hopefully it’s going to be an exciting race up front,” Brookes said.
On the women’s side, Masai is back to defend her title. Masai, 29, hasn’t run a marathon since winning here in 2019, and in 2020 she and husband Jake Robertson welcomed a son, Jake Jr., in Robertson’s native New Zealand. She prepared for Sunday’s race in Iten, Kenya.
“I’m really excited because it was my last race I’ve done so far,” she said before leaving for Toronto. “I lost (races) with the pandemic and now with Jake Jr. my training is going well. We have a lady who helps us take care of Jake Jr. when we are tired because sometimes we need to take a nap. And also, Jake Sr. helped out. He takes care of himself when I’m tired. So we come to help each other by sharing the tasks.
Masai’s big rivals will include Ethiopians Gelete Burka (2:20:45 PB) and Bedatu Hirpa (2:21:32), and Kenyans Ruth Chebitok (2:21:03) and Pamela Rotich (2: 22:43).
On the men’s side, defending champion Rono will not compete. Instead, the best man is another Kenyan, Barselius Kipyego, who comes to Toronto with a personal best of 2:04:48, the fastest in the field. Kipyego, 29, has never won a marathon.
“I come to win the race,” Kipyego said earlier from his training camp. “Then I want to break the course record. That’s why I sacrifice myself by staying in the camp to be able to give the best of myself to this race, to be able to come fully [fit].”
Three other Kenyans who ran under 2:07 are also in the race: Felix Kandie (2:06:03), Felix Kibitok (2:06:28) and Kiprono Kipkemoi (2:06:45). Brookes’ field also includes two fast Ethiopians, Yihunilign Adane (2:05:53) and Kebede Wami (2:06:03).
“There’s a lot of pressure on Barselius Kipyego,” Brookes said because two of his training partners, Amos and Benson Kipruto, have just won the TCS London Marathon and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon respectively. The group presents a ceremonial cake to the athletes when they win. “Barselius is hoping to get cake this weekend,” Brookes said.
At the Athletics Canada Championships, Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky are ready to defend their titles. Hofbauer will face American Rory Linkletter (2:10:24 PB), while Pidhoresky will face former Canadian record holder Malindi Elmore (2:24:50 PB). Elmore, 42, lost her national marathon record to Natasha Wodak in Berlin last month where Wodak ran 2:23:12. Elmore, a former middle-distance runner and triathlete, said she wasn’t really thinking about the record.
“I’m delighted to be here,” Elmore said at a press conference here today. “I wanted to run this marathon since I stopped the track in 2012. It took ten years. My goal is to come here to race; I’m not one to “chase time”.
Winners of Sunday’s race will receive CAD 25,000, and if they better the course (and all finishers) records of 2:05:00 and 2:22:16 respectively, they will receive a bonus of CAD 15,000 . There are separate cash prizes for Athletics Canada Championships with CAD 8,000 for the winners.