This blog has been a long time coming. Still, happy to get it in. As always you can follow my training up-to-date on Strava.

On October 19 I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The great thing about STWM is it’s close to home, I could stay at my parents, and its in a city that is fairly flat.

Waking up on the morning of the 19th I knew I was going to have a great race. I was well hydrated,  mentally prepped, and ready to destroy my PB from PEI twelve months before.

The race started out quickly – crazy people going with the elites.

I passed one kilometre in 4:17 – wayyyy too fast. I was constantly asking people: “what time are aiming for?” or “can I join your group?” Eventually I found 2 Black Toe running guys, but they continued at that quick pace (I ended up passing them at the end). I backed off and ended up going through 5k bang on at 22:30.

View from the CN Tower of the Race.

After I knew I was on goal pace (3:10), I settled in at 4:29~ per kilometre, as per Sportstats.

I knew from my previous marathon that this I needed to turn my brain off until 30k. Luckily, I was able to get into a good little group and watch the Elite Race as it went the other way.

When I got to halfway, I knew I was going to smash my PB. I was on pace for 3:09:50 and extremely happy with my effort, but knew the race hadn’t really started yet and with the knowledge that the second half of the course is much harder than the first.

Image result for STWM Map
Course map.

When I hit 30 kilometres it started to hurt, as is the custom. At around 27 kilometres I was the eventual winner Benson Kipruto (Kenya) and was inspired. I was also surprised as I thought Rono (defending champ), Robertson (highly touted Kiwi) or Kiprotich (2012 Olympic Champ) would be leading at this point. Next, Sulle (Ethiopian) passed, and then dark horse Felix Kandie (best name in running). After that Robertson passed, he was not looking good but in fourth (ended up finishing 5th). Cameron Levins passed me in 5th and I yelled over to my dad – “Canadian Record right there!!!!” The runner beside me said “no way, not possible.” Turns out I was right.

Anyways, pain started at 33k. From then it was a constant struggle to keep positive thoughts. It didn’t hurt I was passing people left, right and centre.

Me well before 30k.

The route back from the beeches is difficult. Not only because it’s into the wind, but also because you can see the CN Tower immediately after the turn around. The tower then inches closer and closer. I decided at about 36k that I would not look up and instead stare about 30 feet in front of me, or at the person I was passing.

40k was a sight for sore eyes. Although I was in pain and a bit behind schedule, I passed at 3:01.23. This is when the crowd took over. The crowd around the course was great but the people began to thicken and it was loud. I crossed the line in 3:11:34, hitting my B goal comfortably (A goal was sub 3:10) and taking over 30 minutes off my run in PEI.

Nearing the finish.

I also ran in the race where the Canadian record was broken by Cam Levins – 2:09. I am very happy this has happened in Canadian distance running. Hopefully it leads to guys like Mo Ahmed, Ben Flanagan, Justin Knight and more flocking to the roads in their late 20s and early 30s. I am also thankful for Reid Coolsaet. Although Reid ran well slower that he wished he is a class act and a true inspiration for me. A quote by Cam Levins has stuck with me since the race:

“Entering the last 10 kilometres of this race I was thinking to myself: ‘I’m going to take back my career. I’m going to be back to the athlete I know I can be,'”

I also know that I can be better than my 3:11. Although I am happy for now, I am also hungry for a sub-3 Boston Qualifier in the Spring. After that, I will see how fast I really can go.

Next up for me:

Canadian XC Champs (Community 5k)

Boxing Day 10 Miler

You can rewatch STWM here.

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