For the past week I’ve been in Toronto helping Canada Running Series with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM). Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was mainly picking up athletes and agents from the airport and driving them to the hotel in downtown Toronto. Saturday was making sure all the pacers knew their jobs, matching the pacers with runners and getting the runners set to go. At the race on Sunday I helped at the start and finish line. Sunday afternoon and Monday there were a bunch more trips to the airport making sure everyone caught their flight. Seeing all the work that goes into the elite part of the marathon was eye-opening and I had a good time working with Clif, Alan and the rest of the CRS crew.
Race day seemed really cold standing around but overall the conditions were good for a marathon. I was particularly excited about Eric Gillis and Robert Winslow who were both in shape to break 2:10 and 2:20 respectively. They both had good pacers and other runner(s) to key off of. Eric was lucky to have two good Kenyan pacers plus the Ukranian, Vitaliy Shafar.
Eric went through halfway in 64:47 (2:09:34 pace) with the other three guys. He looked very strong and I was excited about the record but knew to wait until the 30km and 35km splits before getting too excited. Shafar had a 5 second gap by 30km and he went on to break 2:10:10. Eric stayed behind one of his pacers through 32km and was still on pace, but slowing down at 35km. In the end he was able to come away with a 2:11:21 PB for 9th place. I thought it was a great run and shows how consistent Eric is, he’s run under 2:12:08 four times at STWM in four goes! Gillis’ thoughts after the race.
I’ll admit that part of me would have been jealous if Eric broke the record while I watched from the sidelines. But more than anything I would like to see that record fall by my teammate and friend. It would also give me more confidence in our marathon training and motivate the heck out of me for 2015.
Robert Winslow finished in 2:20:11 (PB by ~2 minutes), good for 11th overall and 3rd Canadian (Kip Kangogo was 2nd Canadian). Winslow was so close to sub 2:20 after opening in 69:33 through halfway. I took particular satisfaction in Winslow’s PB as I helped estimate his paces for many workouts.
Taking the Ethiopians back to the airport on Monday was another adventure all together. Many of the athletes come with only two very small bags but leave with two enormous bags plus more than allowable carry-on. The Ethiopian community in Toronto sends a ton of stuff back with them. One guy had a big box containing a new baby car seat on top of his luggage. Ten Ethiopians and two minivans should have been an easy fit. But with all the luggage we had to stack bags floor to ceiling, have the athletes sit and put bags on their laps and every other possible space. I have a feeling when the airline mentions extra baggage fees their english becomes much worse.
It was awesome working with the Kenyans, Ethiopians and other elite athletes over those six days. Being around so many talented, motivated individuals was energizing and I found myself cruising a 20km run on Monday morning when I should have been exhausted. Oh ya, I’m up to 20km of running now!
Four good articles that came out the past week:
Post STWM race article from The Star
Lure of the marathon COC website
The whole STWM race is on youtube (feed starts at 1:05:05 and race starts at 1:35:10).