More than 26,000 runners — elite marathoners and weekend warriors alike — will take to the city’s streets Sunday for the 30th Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
While thousands of participants will be running for a personal best time and to raise money for charity, others will be chasing big dreams — namely, qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. The race serves as the official marathon trials for the games, with the top Canadian male and female finishers being the most likely to represent Canada.
Two-time Olympian Reid Coolsaet said all runners at this point in their preparation are tapering off their mileage to let their bodies heal before the big day. For a runner like him, that means covering about 100 kilometres over the past seven days, compared to his usual 160 to 190 km.
“Really, [I’m] just getting ready for the pain,” Coolsaet told CBC Radio’s Here and Now on Thursday. “It’s going to be painful and you have to be ready for it.”
Mental and physical preparation are equally important, according to Coolsaet. Motivation plays a big role, he said. And an Olympic berth would certainly be a big motivator.
“A lot of times what makes a good marathon and a poor performance is your motivation: how much you’re going to push through that pain wall,” he said.
Chris Balestrini, a PhD student and marathoner, is also hoping to hit the men’s Olympic qualifying benchmark time of 2:11:30. Women have an Olympic qualifying time of 2:29:30.
“I think it’s going to be really good to have a lot of Canadians who are going to be right around that border,” Balestrini told Here and Now.
“Especially when there’s a time on the line, you kind of have something to aim for.”
Another Canadian Olympic contender is Cam Levins, who ran a time of 2:09:25 at last year’s event to finish as the top Canadian man and fourth overall.
For runners who do not meet the Olympic threshold on Sunday, a place will be held until next May 31 to give them a chance to hit the benchmark at another eligible marathon.
Regardless, marathoners chosen to represent Canada will be announced on June 1.
Neither speculated on whether they will be able to run a sub-two hour race, like Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge did in Vienna last Saturday. The Olympic champion and world-record holder clocked in at 1:59:40 at the INEOS 1:59 Callenge, an event that was set up for the attempt. The result will not count as a world record, however.
Even though it was a special event for Kipchoge, “it was still very inspiring to see and it was pretty cool,” Coolsaet said.
Widespread road closures
Runners taking part in the marathon and half-marathon will set off at 8:45 a.m. from the start line at University Avenue and Queen Street. Runners in the 5K race start at 8:15 a.m. at Remembrance Drive.
This means widespread road closures for commuters that will begin as early as Saturday evening. Here is how road closures will break down:
From Sat. Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. to Sunday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m.:
- Bay Street between Queen and Dundas streets.
- Hagerman Street between Bay and Elizabeth streets.
- Elizabeth Street between Hagerman and Dundas streets.
- Albert Street between Bay and James streets.
- James Street between Queen and Albert streets.
Sunday, October 20, 2019:
4 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- University Avenue, between Dundas and Front streets.
- Armoury Street between Centre Avenue and University Avenue.
4 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Bay Street between Queen Street and Lakeshore Boulevard.
5 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Lakeshore Boulevard between Windermere Avenue and the Don Roadway.
6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Queen Street between Simcoe and Yonge streets.
- Richmond Street between Simcoe Street and Yonge streets.
- Adelaide Street between Simcoe and Yonge streets.
- York Street between Queen and Richmond streets.
6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Queen Street between University Avenue and Yonge Street.
- Bay Street between Lakeshore Boulevard and Queens Quay.
- Exceptions: the eastbound curb lane on Lakeshore Boulevard West from Windermere Avenue to Oarsman Drive to allow access to the Boulevard Club and Royal Canadian Legion; and access to HMCS York, Coronation Park, and Ontario Place will be permitted from Stadium Road.
6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Front Street eastbound lanes only between Church and Jarvis streets.
- Wellington Street between Church and York streets.
- Richmond Street between Sheppard and Yonge streets.
- Adelaide Street between Sheppard and Yonge streets.
- Temperance Street between Sheppard and Yonge streets.
7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Queens Quay West eastbound lanes only between Bay and Parliament streets.
7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- King Street West between York and Yonge streets.
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- University Avenue/Queens Park Crescent between Dundas and Bloor streets.
8 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
- Bloor Street between St. George and Bay streets.
- St. George Street between Bloor and Harbord streets.
- Harbord Street between St. George and Bathurst streets.
8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
- Bathurst Street between Harbord Street and Lake Shore Boulevard.
8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Fort York Boulevard between Bathurst Street and Lake Shore Boulevard.
8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Cherry Street between Lakeshore Boulevard and Eastern Avenue.
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Mill Street between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue.
- Bayview Avenue between Mill Street and Rosedale Valley Road.
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Carlaw Avenue between Eastern Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard East.
- Lake Shore Boulevard East between Carlaw and Woodbine avenues.
- Queen Street between Woodbine and Beech avenues.
8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Eastern Avenue/Front Street between Carlaw Avenue and Jarvis Street.