My Profile

@Samoyed

CANADA Raving since 2015 Half Fanatics active 2 years, 6 months ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):
  • Rave race:

    Annual must-do list: Angus Glen Ten Miler, Mississauga Half, and Tannenbaum 10K

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Hot Chocolate 15k for the medal, and NYRR Half for the party.

  • I run because:

    I’m impatient. I’m enjoying the landscape and vistas but it isn’t going by fast enough!

My races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (6)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Half Marathon Toronto, Canada Oct 18, 2015 2:11:28
10 Miler Toronto, Canada Sep 27, 2015 1:38:49
10K Toronto, Canada Dec 7, 2014 57:36
8K Toronto, Canada Nov 15, 2015 49:38
5K Toronto, Canada Sep 28, 2014 26:39
3K Ajax, Canada Aug 24, 2014 16:41

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (27)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
10 Miler Markham, Canada Apr 9, 2017 1:51:05
Half Marathon Burlington, Canada Mar 5, 2017
10 Miler Toronto, Canada Sep 17, 2016 1:54:47
Half Marathon Mississauga, Canada May 1, 2016 2:14:07
10K Toronto, Canada Dec 6, 2015 58:38
8K Toronto, Canada Nov 15, 2015 49:38
Half Marathon Toronto, Canada Oct 18, 2015 2:11:28
10 Miler Toronto, Canada Sep 27, 2015 1:38:49
5K Oshawa, Canada Jun 7, 2015 41:48
5K Toronto, Canada May 24, 2015 28:40
5K Whitby, Canada May 17, 2015 29:59
10K Toronto, Canada May 10, 2015 58:44
5K Markham, Canada Apr 25, 2015 27:44
10K Toronto, Canada Apr 19, 2015 59:07
10 Miler Markham, Canada Apr 12, 2015 1:48:17
5K Toronto, Canada Apr 4, 2015 31:30
Half Marathon Burlington, Canada Mar 1, 2015 2:18:55.1
10K Toronto, Canada Dec 7, 2014 57:36
5K Toronto, Canada Nov 15, 2014 27:09
5K Toronto, Canada Oct 26, 2014 28:30
5K Toronto, Canada Oct 25, 2014 27:24
5K Toronto, Canada Oct 19, 2014 28:10
5K Toronto, Canada Sep 28, 2014 26:39
3K Ajax, Canada Aug 24, 2014 16:41
5K Toronto, Canada Aug 16, 2014 28:24
5K Whitby, Canada May 18, 2014 30:59
5K Toronto, Canada 2014 29:08

My Raves

Angus Glen Spring Ten Miler

Angus Glen Spring Ten Miler

The good things about this race: - easy to drive to (highway access) - race day pick-up - free Tim Horton's coffee - free parking near the golf club and … MORE

The good things about this race:
– easy to drive to (highway access)
– race day pick-up
– free Tim Horton’s coffee
– free parking near the golf club and start/finish line
– many indoor bathrooms (at least 3 in the club)
– free showers and locker use
– indoor waiting area
– free wifi
– race kit has full-sized samples and the swag was a full-zip fleece jacket
– lots of knowledgeable volunteers
– beautiful scenery on a private golf course
– race participants capped at 400(?) – anyway, the course leaves in waves and is not crowded
– lots of water/energy drink stations
– race route uses the full golf course so lots of scenery changes
– free race photos
– the medal is a decent-sized bottle opener on a lanyard with velcro closure
– buffet lunch

The bad things about this race:
– well, it is a golf course, so be forewarned: it’s quite hilly

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
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Chilly Half Marathon, Frigid 10K and Frosty 5K

Chilly Half Marathon, Frigid 10K and Frosty 5K

It's always super cold when this event takes place - and hence the name - but that's not the fault of the organizers. The cold weather is the only reason … MORE

It’s always super cold when this event takes place – and hence the name – but that’s not the fault of the organizers. The cold weather is the only reason I would hesitate to run this race again.

The swag was an attractive New Balance half-zip and there was the usual free bottle of beer and bowl of chili afterward, along with protein bars, water, and bananas.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5

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Toronto 10 Miler, 5K & Half Marathon

Toronto 10 Miler, 5K & Half Marathon

This is my favourite race of the year for its consistently smooth operation. Among its logistic advantages: - ample, free parking close to the start/finish line - paved trail closed … MORE

This is my favourite race of the year for its consistently smooth operation. Among its logistic advantages:
– ample, free parking close to the start/finish line
– paved trail closed to cars
– very good logistics, eg. placement of water/Gatorade stations and portapotties
– lots of volunteers
– ample food and lots of variety (watermelon, bananas, bottled water, granola bars, cookies, protein bars, potato chips)
– attractive medal

This year the route was an out-and-back but with one loop. In previous years, the start line was in a different location and the route was a simple-out-and-back. The loop was tedious, but necessary due to the location change of the start/finish, no doubt due to the new mayor’s promise to keep event road closures to a minimum, so I can’t fault the RD for that.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
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Mississauga Marathon

Mississauga Marathon

I was a first-timer but this race is now on my annual to-do list. Positives: - nice race kit with Champion brand tech shirt and useful small items - start … MORE

I was a first-timer but this race is now on my annual to-do list.

Positives:
– nice race kit with Champion brand tech shirt and useful small items
– start line located near a major highway, just exit the off-ramp and park
– ample, free parking right beside the corral
– many portapotties, no waiting!
– lots of experienced pacers
– 7:30 start time
– well stocked aid stations
– fast downhill course
– section in park was closed off to the public
– food area was conveniently located very close to finish line
– food area was closed to the public
– results available right away in food area
– ample free shuttle buses back to start line

Negatives were minor but bear mentioning:
– first aid station at 4km was understaffed, line-up for water!
– not enough portapotties on course
– no gel station until 17km mark

I was impressed enough that this race is now on my annual must-do list.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
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4
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Tannenbaum 10K

Tannenbaum 10K

Things to love about this race, organized by a local running club: - race kit included a toque, sample snacks and a full-size package of Werther's Chcocolate Crunch caramels - … MORE

Things to love about this race, organized by a local running club:
– race kit included a toque, sample snacks and a full-size package of Werther’s Chcocolate Crunch caramels
– lots of free parking along Queen Street until noon
– indoor washrooms
– indoor bag check
– lots and lots of volunteers
– pacer elves for every few minutes, e.g. 52, 55, 57, 60, etc.
– timing mat at the halfway mark to record your split times
– flat course (my Garmin showed 0 metres elevation gain)
– lots of post-race food including water, bananas, Clif bars, Pita Break rounds, and gingerbread scones from Cobb’s Bakery

New this year was a kids’ 1k race with little finishers medals, half the size of the 10k medal.

(Note: not the fault of the club, but I downgraded the “scenery” rating this year because of major construction along the route. Fences, barriers and construction debris is just not scenic.)

DIFFICULTY
1
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5
SCENERY
2
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4
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Downsview Airport 8K & 5K

Downsview Airport 8K & 5K

Race kit pick-up was fast. Kit included a few snacks, a short-sleeved tech shirt and bib. Parking on race day was excellent: free and within metres of the start/finish. It … MORE

Race kit pick-up was fast. Kit included a few snacks, a short-sleeved tech shirt and bib.

Parking on race day was excellent: free and within metres of the start/finish. It was so close to the action that many people remained in their cars to stay warm before the race, and skipped bag check because their vehicles were so close.

The race itself takes place on the runway. I found each step painful (for my knees) as the airport runway is thick concrete, or asphalt over concrete. In retrospect, I should’ve known as the airstrip needs to hold up airplanes! Also, as you can imagine, the route was windswept and not that interesting.

Lots of race support such as two water/Gatorade stations en route and many enthusiastic volunteers.

The organization of the race was fantastic, but I rated it 3 shoes overall because of the concrete surface.

DIFFICULTY
4
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5
SCENERY
1
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3
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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon & Half Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon & Half Marathon

This event is the biggest race in Canada and a very well organized production with hundreds of volunteers. Packet pick-up was quick and there were some good deals at the … MORE

This event is the biggest race in Canada and a very well organized production with hundreds of volunteers.

Packet pick-up was quick and there were some good deals at the expo, plus lots to see.

On race day itself, there were two minor annoyances:
– no matter where you park or alight, there is a very long walk (30-40 minutes) to your corral as the entire road is gated off with no access to the sidewalk except for narrow openings for each corral, and with over 26,000 runners plus spectators, the walk is slow and very crowded
– after the race, you are herded into a chute (again, entirely gated with no sidewalk access) to enter the food area – parts of the chute get very narrow and you come to frequent standstills as you shuffle ever so slowly with the crowd, tightly packed elbow to elbow.

Things I appreciated:
– accurate markers at every kilometre
– water/Gatorade stations every 2-3 kms
– gel station at the half-way point
– heated waiting area and indoor bathrooms inside the City Hall building

Tip: the tall buildings will play havoc with your GPS watch, so an old-fashioned pace band (free at the expo) is very useful.

DIFFICULTY
2
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4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3
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Toronto 10 Miler, 5K & Half Marathon

Toronto 10 Miler, 5K & Half Marathon

Be sure to sign up early for next year! The 5K sold out quickly and the day before the race, I heard that there were only 5 spots left for … MORE

Be sure to sign up early for next year! The 5K sold out quickly and the day before the race, I heard that there were only 5 spots left for the ten miler.

This race is consistently well-organized, with knowledgeable volunteers. No bumps or hiccups at all this year.

I liked that you had a choice of free race item with registration: a hat or gloves. If you wanted extra items, you could add them for only $5 each. They were also selling tech shirts from a previous race at kit pick-up, again only $5 each.

Lots of free parking along the roads leading to the race site, and reasonably priced $4 parking at the “Green P” city-run lot on 115 Unwin (not even half full once the race started).

Quick lines at the baggage check and porta-potties.

New and much appreciated this year: pacers! Keeping up with the pacer gave me a confidence boost for an upcoming half marathon.

Gorgeous scenery and a flat, fast route.

Lots of post-race food including chips, cookies, water, Gatorade, bananas, watermelon, and buns with a choice of 3 spreads.

I can’t recommend this race enough. It’s on my annual must-do list.

DIFFICULTY
2
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5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
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Furry Friends 5K Oshawa

Furry Friends 5K Oshawa

This race benefits the Durham Region Humane Society and is well-supported by generous sponsors - this means nice race kits and swag for runners who have pets, especially dogs (see … MORE

This race benefits the Durham Region Humane Society and is well-supported by generous sponsors – this means nice race kits and swag for runners who have pets, especially dogs (see photos).

Race kit pick-up was quick and spread out over 3 days, so there were no queues. The race kit included a shopping bag, a button magnet, a window cling decoration, a squeaky dog toy, a little red reflector/ID tag for a dog collar, a small black triangular bandana for a pet, a larger green bandana for humans or bigger pets, a CD of tunes that the Society sold as a past fundraiser, two packs of dog treats, a coupon for a free trial at a doggy gym, a coupon for a 3-day trial at a fitness centre for humans, a pack of eLoad drink powder, and of course the “Authentic T-Shirt” brand tech tee (it’s the same tech tee as last year, and judging by the many sizes they had left, it’ll probably be the same next year too).

At the race site, many vendors were giving out freebies. These included a food scoop, ball, frisbee, magnet, flashing reflector light, stick-on mobile device screen wipe, dog treats, and a big squeaky toy. Not pictured: Nutrience was handing out full-sized packages of their Grain Free Dry Food.

It turns out that you don’t need to pick up a bib and velcro-ankle-band chip (which you must return) on race day if you don’t want to race, but would rather just walk the course with or without your dog. In other words, if you don’t care about getting an official time, you can follow the route, cross the finish line and receive a finisher’s medal even without a bib and chip. The medal last year was a dog tag on a metal chain – this year it was a key chain.

The actual race was slow-going and chaotic, and was more of a mass dog walk than a race (see photo), with water bowls and dog treat stations along the route. For example the runners who were actually racing, with or without dogs, on the return trip of the out-and-back route had to weave around and barrel through other dog walkers and their pets walking 2-3 abreast on the narrow path. The park was not closed off to the public, so there were many strollers, cyclists, and a few wheelchairs. The crowding amounted to a lot of dodging and running on the narrow strip of grass which was unfortunately steeply cambered.

In spite of the challenges, it was a fun race simply because everyone seemed happy and it was nice to pet a whole lot of random, friendly pooches.

Prizes went to the top overall male and female, top overall male and female with dogs, top team, and top 3 fundraisers.

Post-race food included water, apples, cookies and cereal bars. A nice touch was free race photos and random draw prizes which included round-trip flight tickets to any destination covered by the airline, and an Apple watch. Other details: indoor bathrooms, free parking, no baggage check (but not an issue as the start/finish line is right by the parking lot).

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Toronto Women’s Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Toronto Women’s Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Personally, it's hard for me to say "no" to this race series because the course is located 1 km from my home, so my review is quite biased, given that … MORE

Personally, it’s hard for me to say “no” to this race series because the course is located 1 km from my home, so my review is quite biased, given that I did not have to drive or take public transportation to the race site, or even get up early. Judging by the inbound traffic, I’m sure if I had to actually take a car to Sunnybrook Park, this race would rate a lower review because there isn’t much parking near the start line. Also, there are no pacers for the half marathon distance but again that did not affect me since I ran only the 5K.

My only complaint is that you need your bib number for kit pick-up, but the numbers are not posted online or emailed to you. Instead, at the kit pick-up location, everyone crowds around a bristol board poster with tiny text, searching for their name.

I was promised firemen at the water station but there were no firemen this year! Or maybe they were located further out for the half marathon runners. Ah well, at least there was Awake chocolate samples at the water station, and free Starbucks coffee at the end. Also, this race features a kit with a Mizuno tech tee, decent post-race food (see my images), and free professional photos courtesy of Zoomphotos.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
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Whitby International North (WIN) Marathon

Whitby International North (WIN) Marathon

This is a low fee race - only $20 for the 5k to $35 for the full marathon at the lowest rate. You get what you pay for (e.g. unisex … MORE

This is a low fee race – only $20 for the 5k to $35 for the full marathon at the lowest rate. You get what you pay for (e.g. unisex cotton shirt, same medal as last year, chip time results available a few days after the race) which Is fair, but my concern is over how disorganized the production was this year.

There were no emails with follow-ups and changes to the race information. The location of kit pick-up was announced on Facebook only, then changed without notice, causing us to be directed to 3 different locations on pick-up day until we found the volunteers. At pick-up, we learned from another runner that the route had changed at the last minute. I believe that the gun time had also changed from the time we registered – this I can’t say for certain but suspect that I would not have signed up for a weekend race with such an early start (7:45). Basically, if you’re not a Facebook user who follows their timeline stream diligently, you’d be lost and confused, as we were.

As I mentioned in a previous review, the charity that this race supports is worthwhile, but going forward I will likely find other ways to support it.

DIFFICULTY
2
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1
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3
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Sporting Life 10K, Toronto

Sporting Life 10K, Toronto

If you registered at the earliest tier, the race was $45, but includes a $35 gift certificate to Sporting Life shops. There are no conditions on the certificate, except that … MORE

If you registered at the earliest tier, the race was $45, but includes a $35 gift certificate to Sporting Life shops. There are no conditions on the certificate, except that any unspent amount will not be credited or refunded, so as long as you buy something priced at $35 or more, the race is really only $10.

The route is the same fast, downhill course as the Toronto Yonge Street 10k (TYS10K), but this production had some differences:
– there are 27,000 runners, compared to 6,000 for TYS10K
– very convenient and flexible kit pick up times at their North York store; you could pick up your kit during their open hours which are M-F 9:30 – 9 and Saturday 10-6
– not enough porta-potties at the start line, but strangely, there was lots and lots of them at the party site (edit: it turns out that there were many porta-potties at the start line, but instead of being grouped together, they were spread out over multiple locations – my suggestion to the RD is to have them grouped together as they were at TYS10K so that runners need not dash from queue to queue in order to assesss which lines are the shortest)
– there are no pacers (there were pacers for every 3 minutes at TYS10K)
– there are no live bands (there were 4 bands at TYS10k)
– post-race food included only water, a banana, and a plain bagel (there was better food and more variety at TYS10K)
– the kit included only the tech shirt and bib, but I can’t complain since I used my certificate to get $35 worth of running stuff of my own choice
– many free shuttles to the nearest subway station after the race
– there were challenges with getting photos because the numbers on the bibs were very small which caused a delay in indexing

This event is excellent value for a great cause, especially if you register early enough to get the store certificate.

DIFFICULTY
2
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3
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3
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Run For Women Unionville

Run For Women Unionville

Race kit pick-up was the slowest I've ever experienced. I was the second of only three people in line, and I estimate that it took the two organizers 5-7 minutes … MORE

Race kit pick-up was the slowest I’ve ever experienced. I was the second of only three people in line, and I estimate that it took the two organizers 5-7 minutes to assemble each kit. It was obvious that neither (grumpy) volunteer really knew what they were doing but there was no excuse as I went on the second day of kit pick-up!

This race is known for its well-stocked kits, but apparently not this time. There was a “meh” Authentic T-Shirt brand tech shirt, a small re-usable bag from the sponsor (a national drug store chain), a scratch pad and hand sanitizer… and that was it (see images).

Well, no mind, I thought, surely the race will be better. It wasn’t.

To get to the free parking before the road closed, you had to be there by 7:30, even though gun times were 8:45 for the 10k and 9:00 for the 5k and BOTH races started 15 minutes late!

There was no seeding – not even self-seeding – at the start line. Like the bulk of the crowd, I approached from the front of the start line and asked the first person at the timing mat, “What’s your goal time?” She shrugged and said, “I’m walking.” A few others beside her said they were walking as well, so I stayed put, right on the mat. I imagine that there was A LOT of weaving by faster folks behind me. I included a photo of the start line so you can see my position at left with the yellow hat. The people beside me, all the way to the right, are walkers. If you want to try to win a prize or PR at this race, be prepared to waste lots energy weaving!

The route ran through suburbia and the streets were closed only on one side. If you love running past cookie cutter homes built in the 80s and 90s while people in cars who live in those homes glare at you for blocking the roads, you will adore this race! Boring, boring, please kill me, boring, evil eye from driver, boring, boring, more boring.

Instead of a medal, we each got a cheap bracelet (see images). Post-race food was decent, and I won a hat from spinning a wheel at a vendor’s booth so that was okay, I guess. Panera Bread donated some yummy assorted bagels, and there were bananas, oranges, water, protein shakes, coffee, protein bars, chocolate bars and cookies.

That said, it’s probably a good first race, especially for women. For everyone else: you’re not missing anything.

(Note: no official race photographer. If you want pictures, remember to bring your camera.)

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Toronto 10K

Toronto 10K

The good: - fast race kit pick-up - kit contained two full-size Neutrogena sunscreen samples - nice looking tech shirt - free parking at finish line - frequent shuttles to … MORE

The good:
– fast race kit pick-up
– kit contained two full-size Neutrogena sunscreen samples
– nice looking tech shirt
– free parking at finish line
– frequent shuttles to start line ($5)
– course is a point-to-point net downhill (see image)
– lots of pace bunnies, e.g. 60 minutes, 62 minutes, 65 minutes, 68 minutes, etc.
– interesting urban route through Toronto’s main street
– live music on the course (4 bands on the route, and 1 at the finish line)
– portapotties, water and Gatorade stations at start, 4k, 7k, and party site / waiting area
– nicely designed medals showing Toronto landmarks; the 2015 version features the new-ish (2012) Puente de Luz

The not-so-good:
– long portapotty wait lines at start of race
– medals not given out at finish line or exit chute – had to find volunteers who were handing them out at the party site and there were long lines. In my line, the volunteer ran out of medals and directed everyone to another line, so I had to line up twice to get my medal!
– after the long medal lines, there were yet more long lines for water and food (bananas, Pita Break rounds, yogurt, cookies)
– hard to get out of parking lot with all cars leaving at the same time

At points during the course, and consistently after the 7k mark, the tall buildings will wreak havoc on your GPS watch.

It was a fun experience running down Yonge Street with 6000 people and it’s easy to PR on this course, but the frustrating logistics make it unlikely that I will sign up again.

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Angus Glen Spring Ten Miler

Angus Glen Spring Ten Miler

I have nothing but good things to say about this race which is now in my annual must-do category (along with the Tannenbaum 10k and the Toronto Ten Miler). I … MORE

I have nothing but good things to say about this race which is now in my annual must-do category (along with the Tannenbaum 10k and the Toronto Ten Miler).

I signed up my sister for this race on Christmas Eve as her holiday gift. I asked the RD a question, not expecting an answer before the gift-buying deadline, but Sara of Raceworks actually got back to me on the same day – yes, on Christmas Eve! The RD gets much love from me for that alone.

Race kit pick up was fast and smooth. This race includes a good quality tech jacket – Leslie Jordan “Edge” style with embroidered logo – and a race kit with full-size items including Neutrogena face cream, spray-on sunscreen, men’s aftershave, Listerine, and other Johnson & Johnson products.

The location was easy to get to with lots of free parking right by the golf club house. Before the race, there was free Tim Horton’s coffee and water. There were lots of lockers, free of charge to use. Runners were able to wait in the club to stay warm and use the indoor bathrooms. The start line was right at the club entrance, so the trek to the start /finish was very short. Participants were seeded in waves to avoid crowding.

The race is 16k on the rolling cart paths of the golf course, and is technically challenging. There are no straight, flat sections. Most of the trail is in full sunlight, which was welcome after such a harsh winter. It’s a beautiful course, as one would expect for the site of the Canadian Open golf tournament.

After the race, participants could take showers free of charge. The club provided soap, shampoo, moisturizer, towels and hair dryers. The after-race lunch included green salads, chili with a vegetarian option, vegetarian hot pasta, assorted rolls and cold cuts plus condiments and sliced tomatoes and onions, juice, pop and water. Desserts included bars, tarts and fruit. The service was excellent everywhere in the club, with the first-class service that Angus Glen is known for.

The medal is a decent size and design and is a bottle opener. A nice touch is that the ribbon has a velcro closure so that you can slip the medal off when using it to open bottles.

Official photos were free for downloading from the Facebook event page, and were posted quickly – only a few hours after the race!

The registration fee was $90 but worth every penny, and I’ve already committed to signing up for next year.

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4
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5
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Harry’s Spring Run-Off

Harry’s Spring Run-Off

Race kit pick up was very smooth. The location was in central Toronto, easily accessible by subway, and there were many volunteers so no queues at all when I arrived. … MORE

Race kit pick up was very smooth. The location was in central Toronto, easily accessible by subway, and there were many volunteers so no queues at all when I arrived. I had no problem picking up 3 kits, which 3 volunteers worked on at the same time.

On race day, free parking was easy to find in the neighbourhood, and many spaces were avaialble at the Keele subway station lot (also free).

This year’s event took place during the Easter long weekend when lots of people are away for vacation so it felt like a small race (not a bad thing). The start times for the two races were 75 minutes apart so the 8k race ended before the 5k race started, and by the time it finished, the bulk of the 8k racers had left the site. I suppose that one could run the 8k, and then the 5k immediately afterward, but there’s no registration fee discount for signing up for both.

The race route is entirely contained within the paved trails of High Park. The separate race start times and corrals were good for crowd control as the course gets narrow in some places. Be aware that the route is hilly so not ideal for a PR. There was lots of crowd support, music provided by drummers and a bagpiper, ample water/Gatorade stations, and many porta-potties at the start/finish and en route.

Each finisher received a medal and a tech toque. After race snacks included bananas, Voortman cookies, PowerBar samples cut in half, Pita Break rounds and Iogo yogurt. There was a costume contest and the High Park Nature Centre was selling a pancake brunch for $3 and coffee for $1 which added to the festive feel of this event.

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3
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5
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Chilly Half Marathon, Frigid 10K and Frosty 5K

Chilly Half Marathon, Frigid 10K and Frosty 5K

Many good things about this race: - course is out and back, but is very flat - lots of pace bunnies - lots of water/Gatorade stations - lots of crowd … MORE

Many good things about this race:
– course is out and back, but is very flat
– lots of pace bunnies
– lots of water/Gatorade stations
– lots of crowd support
– indoor heated area for before and after race
– free and frequent shuttle buses to/from the Appleby GO train station
– free parking at “Green P” lots close to the start/finish line
– random prize draws
– indoor washrooms
– free bowl of chili and bottle of beer afterward at local restaurants
– nice swag: a Levelwear tech jacket (see images)
– the whole town supports this race, e.g. in front of a church on the race route, the Minister and volunteers were handing out orange slices and banana sections
– big gorgeous medal (see images)
– heavily discounted entry fee for next year offered to all runners (regular fee is $75, but discounted fee is only $50 if you sign up within 2 days after the race)

This is a very well organized, fun race.

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Tannenbaum 10K

Tannenbaum 10K

I can see why this race sells out so quickly! The race kit was fabulous and included a sturdy sling bag instead of the usual tech shirt, Brooks shoelaces, a … MORE

I can see why this race sells out so quickly!

The race kit was fabulous and included a sturdy sling bag instead of the usual tech shirt, Brooks shoelaces, a full-size Blistex sample, a few magazines and food samples.

Parking was ample and free along Queen Street (a mere 500 metres from the start line), there was an indoor waiting area and indoor bathrooms, the bag check was also indoors, the course was flat and fast, there were many pacers, and stars like Olympian Krista DuChene and Canadian Masters Predrag Mladenovic participated. The medal is a decent size and a nice design. The volunteers were wonderful and there were many, many random draw prizes (hats, toques, gloves, sunglasses, gift certificates, running shoes!). The after-race food included chocolate milk, coffee, David’s Tea, bananas, cookies, Pita Break rounds, and iced scones from Cob’s bakery.

The event felt professionally managed and results were available almost immediately.

Well done! I will definitely sign up again next year.

(Note: no official race photographer. If you want pictures, remember to bring your camera.)

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The Playoff Run

The Playoff Run

This was a fun and well-organized event. The volunteers were happy and friendly, and Canadian Football League celebrity Michael "Pinball" Clemons is a charismatic, enthusiastic personality who brought much positive … MORE

This was a fun and well-organized event.

The volunteers were happy and friendly, and Canadian Football League celebrity Michael “Pinball” Clemons is a charismatic, enthusiastic personality who brought much positive energy to the event with his opening speech and his high-fiving and thanking of everyone during the race, which he ran along with us!

The race kit included a long-sleeved New Balance tech shirt and the post-race goody bag included a voucher for two free Argonauts game tickets for the 2015 season. I signed up for this race hoping that the medal would be shaped like a football, and was not disappointed.

Had a great time for a good cause. Well done, Mr. Clemons and team!

(Note: no official race photographer. If you want pictures, remember to bring your camera.)

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Monster Dash Toronto

Monster Dash Toronto

I signed up for this race specifically for the medal, and what a lovely, hefty medal it is (see photo)! Different medals for the 10k and 5k but both are … MORE

I signed up for this race specifically for the medal, and what a lovely, hefty medal it is (see photo)! Different medals for the 10k and 5k but both are heavy, feature Miles the mascot monster and are bottle openers.

Race kit pick-up was at the Vitapath store in Leaside, and the kit included a Leslie Jordan brand unisex long-sleeved hoodie, food samples and a Halloween-themed tote bag.

A fun race, but some sections are quite dark so a flashlight or headlamp is a must. The 5k course winds around the hospital parking lot twice, becoming very narrow in some sections, and with many costumed children and strollers on the course, a PR is impossible.

Each racer got a finisher’s gift of a Brooks unisex short-sleeved technical tee in a fabric cinch-bag. Sizes were first-come, first-served, but that’s okay.

A plus was the indoor washrooms and an indoor venue – the hospital cafeteria – for the post-race party. The post-race food included water, pizza (pepperoni or cheese), apples, bananas, potato chips, mini rice cakes (Crispy Minis), and granola bars. The atmosphere was fun, with almost all racers in costume and right into the Halloween spirit.

A bit tough to get out of the hospital parking lot because everyone was exiting at the same time, but aside from that, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night race.

(Note: no official race photographer. If you want pictures, remember to bring your camera.)

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Toronto Women’s 8K & 5K

Toronto Women’s 8K & 5K

I ran the 5k and found it to be a competitive event. For example, for my AG, 45-49 there were 6 runners who did sub-24:00! The race kit was okay, … MORE

I ran the 5k and found it to be a competitive event. For example, for my AG, 45-49 there were 6 runners who did sub-24:00!

The race kit was okay, with gloves instead of the usual tech shirt, but the post-race food bag and swag were outstanding (see photo).

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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon & Half Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon & Half Marathon

As a newbie in my first year of running, I ran the 5k just to see what a big, international race is like. I'm happy to report that it was … MORE

As a newbie in my first year of running, I ran the 5k just to see what a big, international race is like. I’m happy to report that it was exciting and flawless. From race kit pick-up at the expo to the actual race itself, everything ran smoothly.

The race kit was only the Brooks shirt, bib and the fabric cinch-bag, but there were lots of free samples at the expo. I picked up free magazines, nutrition bars, a rain poncho, and one exhibitor was giving out cinch-bags that included a tech shirt. There was a variety of discounted merchandise for sale from Brooks, Garmin, Running Free, Running Room, etc., so I was able to do some shopping for major items. The only complaint I had about kit pick-up is the location. The venue was the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto, which is not easily accessible by public transportation, and if driving, parking was $14. There is slightly less expensive parking if you’re willing to walk a half kilometre or more, and much less costly parking if you’re willing to walk 1-2 km, but most out-of-towners would not know that.

On race day, there was lots of parking near the start line at Exhibition Place (but expensive – $20!), very short porta-potty lines that were only 1-2 deep, free McDonalds coffee, a flat course, lots of music and cheering, enthusiastic volunteers, chip time results available immediately at the Sportstats booth, and very well-organized post-race food pick up, again with short lines only 2-3 deep.

Caution: the tall buildings in the downtown core will play havoc with your GPS, so the pace showing on your watch might not be correct! Thankfully, there are timer-signs along the course so a pace band for the longer distances is a good idea.

The only logistical problem was getting from the 5k finish at City Hall back to the parking lot at Exhibition Place – the subway was open by 9:00 AM which gets you from Queen station to Union station for $3, but the 509 streetcar from Union went only as far as Spadina Avenue because of the street closures. It’s a 2 km walk from Spadina/Lakeshore along Lakeshore Drive to the Exhibition grounds, but you could see the half and full marathon runners along Lakeshore so at least it was not a boring walk. The drive home was also not optimal, as the Gardiner Expressway going east to the Don Valley Parkway was a crawl due to the usual density of downtown weekends, street closures from the race, and the sheer number of race participants.

Recommended if you want to experience the spectacle of an international race, but keep in mind that there are 26,000+ runners, so one must be patient getting to and from the race.

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Toronto 10 Miler, 5K & Half Marathon

Toronto 10 Miler, 5K & Half Marathon

THE GOOD: The race kit included tech gloves instead of a shirt which is useful and appreciated. Kit pick up was quick and organized. In fact, the whole race was … MORE

THE GOOD:
The race kit included tech gloves instead of a shirt which is useful and appreciated. Kit pick up was quick and organized. In fact, the whole race was well organized with knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. Baggage check and pick up was quick, race results were available immediately as were free massages. There was a nice variety in the post-race food, with rolls and a trio of spreads, bananas, apples, watermelon, power bars, trail mix, etc. The medal was a large size with a fantastic design and colourful printed ribbon. The route was, as advertised, flat and fast, perfect for a PR.

THE BAD:
None of the issues were the fault of the race director or volunteers, but I’ll mention them anyway. The porta-porties were delivered late, ready about 5 minutes before the Ten Miler start time, which meant very long lines to use the on-site washrooms. The Gardiner Expressway was closed which meant a longer commute for some (I left early enough to avoid the rush, thanks to the RD who sent out an email the day before warning of the closure). Near the end of the 10k, cars were leaving the Green P parking lot at 115 Unwin which meant that they had to cut across the race route. There was a police officer guiding traffic and ensuring that the runners were safe, so that helped immensely, but it could not have been encouraging for the approaching runners who might think that they would need to slow down or stop so close to the end of the race.

Basically, the things that were within the RD’s control went well and the organizers did everything they could to make up for the shortcomings (e.g. starting the race 10 minutes later so that the porta-potties could be set up and used). For that reason, I would run this race again and recommend it to others.

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Vitality Run

Vitality Run

This is my first year attending this event and only the 2nd time it’s been held. The race kit was quite nice, especially for a smaller event with a low … MORE

This is my first year attending this event and only the 2nd time it’s been held.

The race kit was quite nice, especially for a smaller event with a low registration fee (see photo) and it was good to see so many local businesses sponsoring this run. The Zorrel women’s tech shirt with a scoop neck and side shaping was surprisingly flattering – I’ll keep it and wear it often.

This run is not chip-timed but finishing times are manually recorded. There were prizes for the top 3 male and female finishers of both the 3k and 8k races.

A nice bonus is that a professional race photographer was on hand and the race photos were free to download.

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A Midsummer Night’s Run

A Midsummer Night’s Run

A little late to the start line as road construction made finding the designated parking lot an ordeal – that’s not the fault of the organizers but I wish they … MORE

A little late to the start line as road construction made finding the designated parking lot an ordeal – that’s not the fault of the organizers but I wish they had noted the closed major street in the last minute instructions so that we could plan our detour accordingly. I’m told that it was much easier to take public transportation to the race site, so will consider that next time.

Volunteers were mostly high schoolers – plentiful, polite and friendly but often not well informed, e.g. 20 minutes before the race, I asked three groups of volunteers where the start line was, but none of them knew.

Race kit included only the Swiftex brand long-sleeved tech shirt and bib with timing chip. A nice touch was the free professional photo on race day, and the colourful stainless steel water bottle with hard plastic lid that was handed out to each finisher. Post-race food was water, Gatorade, Pita Break rounds and bananas – nothing more. The medal was a spinner this year.

Because of the Shakespeare-themed long-sleeved tech shirts, the always-lovely medal, and the “More-tal” lapel pins (you get one if you’re a repeat runner, with a different colour for each combined distance, e.g. blue-toned pin for 5k + 15K, green-toned pin for 30k + 30k, etc.), I’ll likely run this race again.

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Whitby International North (WIN) Marathon

Whitby International North (WIN) Marathon

I support the charity that this little race, um, supports, so I will be a repeat runner in 2015. That charity is the Abilitiies Centre in Whitby, Ontario, which enriches … MORE

I support the charity that this little race, um, supports, so I will be a repeat runner in 2015. That charity is the Abilitiies Centre in Whitby, Ontario, which enriches the lives of people with disabilities by providing activities such as wheelchair basketball, martial arts, and even music and arts.

That said, this little race needs some work. The swag was a Brooks tech tee and some food samples. There was no expo to speak of – just a couple of tables at kit pick-up with volunteers for local politicians and town tourism information. The medal wasn’t anything special, and I’m told that it was the same hardware as last year. Water was provided in tiny Dixie cups, so you needed to grab at least 3 to get a decent swig. There were no gels or sport drinks for the half or full course.

The route ran through the rolling hills of the Whitby waterfront, which is scenic in some parts, but not so much in others. Part of the course leads onto the street, which was not closed. Not the fault of the RD, but the course was plagued by midges during the whole run. I swatted them and waved my hands in front of my face the whole time, which made for terrible photos. My sister, who ran the half, ended up flossing them out of her teeth afterward. Because of the bugs, I elected to do only the 5k again, even though I would’ve liked to sign up for a longer distance.

The post-race food was the stereotypical stale bagel, which amused me as this was the first and only time I’ve actually seen this much-joked-about item at a race, plus bananas, water and Gatorade.

Well, anyway, I’ll be back because I try to support the Abilities Centre any way I can.

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Spring Fling 15K/10K/5K

Spring Fling 15K/10K/5K

June 15, 2014 was the inaugural date of this race and there was a 5k and 10k option - no 15k that first year. Race kit included an Authentic T-Shirt … MORE

June 15, 2014 was the inaugural date of this race and there was a 5k and 10k option – no 15k that first year.

Race kit included an Authentic T-Shirt Company brand tech shirt, collapsible water bottle and food samples.

The scenic, flat course through Sunnybrook Park is the same one that is used by many Toronto runs, e.g. Toronto Women’s Run Series, so local racers should be familiar with it. It was a small race that first year, but felt bigger and festive, with a bagpiper, good MC, and decent sound system, the latter of which is often absent at small events. Results were available right away in the Enfield Timing booth. Post-race food included watermelon – perfect for a hot day! – buns with cream cheese and jam spreads, more of the food samples that were in the race kit, water and Gatorade. The medal was cute and unique, featuring a cartoon running maple leaf.

The event was professionally managed. My only suggestion is to add a professional photographer, as I wish I had race day pictures, and perhaps they will as this race grows.

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