Prepare for the 2012 Toronto Triathlon Event

Toronto’s media have reported that an Ironman Triathlon will close the Gardiner and DVP (Don Valley Parkway) in 2012. What is the real story on this “5150 Triathlon” Toronto event?

[Updated 2012-01-31: Learn about an alternative set of triathlons on the Toronto Islands in “To Untangle Two Toronto Triathlons in 2012“].

(Updated April 7, 2012): I did indeed find official web sites, including registration! Please see “How to Sign Up for the 2012 Olympic Distance Toronto Triathlon“.

Triathlon? Yes. Ironman? Yes and No.

This will indeed be a triathlon, the triple discipline of swimming, bicycling and running.

However, it is a “5150 Triathlon”, or “51.50 Triathlon”, which many non-triathletes would recognize as the “Olympic distance triathlon” discipline. It consists of a 1.5Km swim in Lake Ontario, 40Km bike ride, and 10Km run, for a total distance of 51.50Km.

By contrast, the “Ironman Triathlon” discipline requires a 2.4 mile (4Km) swim, 112 mile (187Km) bicycle segment, and 26 mile, 385 yard (42.2Km, which is exactly one marathon) run.

However, “World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is a Tampa, Florida based company that owns the Ironman brand”. They organize a number of triathlon events around the world. “In 2009, WTC bought Trisport Canada, the owner of the Subaru Triathlon Series, the largest triathlon series in Canada.” (See PDF reference, below). WTC refers to their international series of Olympic-distance triathlons as “Ironman 5150 Series”.

"North West Triathlon" by (The contributor of this photos is David Hawgood)
"North West Triathlon" by (The contributor of this photo is David Hawgood)

What Triathletes Need to Know about the 2012 Toronto Triathlon

This is a “51.50 Triathlon“, covering the Olympic distance. It is not the Ironman triathlon distance.

According to the local promoter for WTC, Jeff Chong of Sports Focused Consulting, the Toronto event should attract “professional and avid triathletes”. (See PDF reference, below). My guess is that there will be an open registration at some time in the future. However, there might only be room for about 1,000 participants. (See second reference). At press time, I don’t know the website to watch for registration information.

My guess is that you will swim in Lake Ontario at Ontario Place.

The Toronto media have reported that the 40Km bike segment will use the Gardiner and DVP. My very rough guesstimate is that you would cycle up to about York Mills to reach a 20Km mark. That should be a challenging, rolling climb; the return to downtown should be a very fast descent.

Goodness knows where the 10Km run would be held, although my guess would be that the Martin Goodman Trail westbound to the Humber River would be perfect. From a competitor’s viewpoint, it would be better to use Lake Shore Boulevard, but I cannot imagine the city blocking cars from both the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore. An alternate route would be eastbound, probably closing Queen’s Quay and whatever else.

My apologies for not knowing the website to watch for registration information. This will “be the only Canadian event of the (WTC-sponsored Ironman 5150) series”.

(Updated April 7, 2012): I did indeed find official web sites, including registration! Please see “How to Sign Up for the 2012 Olympic Distance Toronto Triathlon“.

Reserve This Date: July 22, 2012

Triathletes should plan their training to peak for July 22, 2012, the date for the Toronto 5150 Triathlon.

Residents of, and Visitors to Toronto, Take Heed!

Anyone planning to drive the DVP or Gardiner on July 22, 2012 should come prepared with adult diapers, valium and prepared angry quotations. I recommend “How dare they close a highway? I’m a driver”!

Seriously, my prediction is that Highway 401 (aka the MacDonald-Cartier Freeway) will be jammed in the vicinity of the DVP. So will all main roads within 4Km either side of the highways.

Importance of this Toronto Event

With the upcoming Pan-Am Games, it is vital that Toronto sports organizers gain experience in hosting events in the city. Toronto is fortunate to have a legacy of marathons, but has held few other international events. (The Dragonboat races come to mind).

Fitness buffs should take pleasure in the opportunity to see triathlon in Toronto.

Stay tuned…sometime next year I’ll suggest some vantage points (and how to get to them) to watch one of the disciplines (swim, bike or run) in the 2012 Toronto Triathlon Event.


Jeff Chong, Sports Focused Consulting, “Requested Follow Up Information Regarding Proposed Ironman 5150 Event in Toronto (July 22, 2012)“, Sept. 22, 2011, PDF referenced Oct. 27, 2011.
Every Man, “Toronto to host new 5150 Triathlon next summer“, Oct. 27, 2011, referenced Oct. 27, 2011.

13 thoughts on “Prepare for the 2012 Toronto Triathlon Event”

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    1. Thanks, it did take a bit of time to research this…who is the organizer, what’s the scoop on the distance.
      Sometimes the trick to end procrastination is to force oneself to take the first forward step before the procrastination step. Good luck.

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