Friday, 19 October 2012

Railfanningless Run - the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

If you ventured downtown last Sunday (Oct. 14th) you may have noticed the blocked off streets running east and west, particularly Lakeshore Blvd, Eastern Ave, Front St and Queen St E.  It was the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (plus half plus 5k) in progress, the bane of drivers who failed to heed the warnings as they sit fuming watching runner after runner glide on by.

No, I didn't run it.  I used the day for my weekly long run.  I popped down to catch the leaders as they came across Woodbine along Queen on their way along the remaining 5 miles to the finish line.  After watching the leaders make the turn down towards Lakeshore, I hustled my way along Queen in time to catch them again doing a short reverse loop back up the Queen Street and then along Eastern Avenue.  From that point I had no hope of beating them to the finish line since I was just as far as they are and my recreational running 52 y/o self wasn't about to beat the Kenyans who came to town for the prize money.  I did figure I might catch the women leaders at the finish line as they were 15 or so minutes behind the lead men.  I was close, the women leaders rounded to corner to Bay street just as I got to Bay and Front, but they were too fast for me to keep up, especially with the crowds in the area, for the remaining half mile to the finish line.  Stopping to do some cheering along the way and snap phone vids and pics also helped slow me down.

A runner exits under a rail overpass while a westbound VIA rail speeds by.
The highlight for me was catching world reknowned Ed Whitlock from Milton, On., heading towards a 3:30 finish.  Consider that Ed is 81 years old, holder of a multitude of age graded world records, and finished here in the top 15% (407/3248 marathon runners) on this day.  Backtracking the course, I shot a few seconds of video of him on Eastern Ave where it crosses the DVP.  As you can see, the runners are pretty sparse here (as well as the spectators) as the crowds are still half a mile ahead.

There are over 2800 runners behind him here.  Ed will have finished, grabbed some grub and gone through a plethora of interviews before the midpackers even arrive.  Not bad for someone at an age most people would be happy to even achieve, let alone run marathons at times most runners will only ever dream of.

Last year, at a much younger age of 80, Ed ran 3:15 at this event.  I think he finally might be slowing down...just a touch!

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