Every fall in Toronto brings along one of the most popular road races in Canada – the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It’s held every year on the last weekend in September. For 2009, it was September 27th.
The marathon course is tweaked every year and this year’s change was by far the best. The infamous Leslie Spit was removed and changed for Queen’s Street in the Beaches. Having done this race a couple of times, the Leslie spit was a lonely voyage into a park that had virtually no supporters. This year, I was amazed by how much the Beaches embraced the marathon running through their neighbourhood. There were thousands of supporters along the 28-35Km section of the race. Clearly the one place that any marathoner needs encouragement. Kuddos to the race organizers for making this critical change!
The course itself starts out of Nathan Phillips Square and helds out to the Distillery District and then onto Lakeshore out to Windemere (where the Lakeshore and Gardiner meet). From there, you turn around and high tail it back and you run to Cherry Beach. At that point you turn around and held out to the Beaches. At that final turnaround at the end of the Beaches, you are homeward bound back to Nathan Phillips Square. Overall, the race is very flat and thus a favourite for those doing their first marathon or attempting to qualify for Boston.
Personally, this was my second time doing this race. I always enjoy the course and the crowd support is fantastic. This year however, I had the privledge of having fellow Running Free member Jen as crew support. We met throghout the course and she was great at providing the right level of encouragement shall we say. We even bumped into another RF member Bob on his bike around the 13K mark. The three of us continued along the course to the end. If you ever get the chase to have a crew person or team, go for it. They really do help especially when you are feeling the marathon after 25-30K and you need a kick in the butt from them to keep you going.
I suspect that next year’s race will be ever better. Hopefully, I will see you out there next year.