Tag Archives: Toronto Events Marathon

Special Notes for the 2012 Toronto Waterfront Marathon

By now most Toronto residents should know that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon runs on the Sunday after Canadian Thanksgiving Monday.

Some special events will mark “2012 Marathon Week in Toronto” [PDF], as proclaimed by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The Marathon Torch at Alexander the Great Parkette

"Map for Alexander the Great Parkette in Toronto" image by Mike DeHaan from Google Maps
“Map for Alexander the Great Parkette in Toronto” image by Mike DeHaan from Google Maps

On Thursday Oct. 11 from 6:30-8pm, the flame of Marathon will ignite Toronto’s spirit, values and ideals for the 2012 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Alexander the Great Parkette in Toronto is the venue; the torch-lighting ceremony begins at 6:30pm and should end by 8pm.

The mayor of Marathon, Greece, is expected to head the delegation.

Local restaurants at Danforth and Logan Avenues should be ready to serve anyone’s appetite for supper, after the Greek dancing and music whets our enthusiasm for the marathon run.

Two Mature Runners for Marathon and 5Km

I have a soft spot for Ed Whitlock and Fauja Singh, who will grace the 2012 Waterfront Marathon with their speedy presence in the men’s masters category.

Whitlock, a Canadian living in Milton, Ontario, is the prohibitive favourite in the “men aged 80-84” range for the marathon distance.

Singh, a resident of London England but originally from India, is taking it easy in 2012 with a mere 5Km race. Last year, he set age-specific records for a number of distances during Toronto Marathon Week. Of course, a year ago, he was a mere stripling at age 100.

There’s more detail about last year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and especially about Singh and Whitlock in my “Triumph and Tragedy at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon“.

Also, “Seniors Running for Fitness and Glory in Toronto Marathon” moves from recognizing Whitlock and Singh’s capabilities to consider the importance of exercise for seniors of various abilities. My DeHaan Fitness site can’t miss the chance to comment on exercise for seniors, especially when featuring two such awesome athletes.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is one of the most remarkable autumn Toronto events, with its huge number of participants, volunteers, and innocent bystanders.

"Fauja Singh Age 99 in the ING Luxembourg Marathon 2010" image by Nico* (Nicolas Govetto)
“Fauja Singh Age 99 in the ING Luxembourg Marathon 2010” image by Nico* (Nicolas Govetto)

Cheering Stations and Road Closures for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2012

Yes, some roads will be closed on Sunday Oct. 14, 2012 for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Please see the official site for road closure details [PDF].

By now drivers should have noticed the rather appropriate-for-Hallowe’en “road closure” signs, with black lettering on their festive orange background. It’s only a few hours on Sunday, folks; please give the runners their due for their effort, pain and fund-raising for charities.

May I suggest watching the marathon at one of the official community cheering stations. Help a non-profit organization in your neighbourhood win the “Community Challenge” in 2012.

My suggestions for spectators are for three locations:

  • The start line is on University Avenue at Armoury, with the runners heading north. Pick a spot around Gerrard Street to see the thousands of eager, fresh athletes. Just don’t expect to cross University for quite some time; it will be a seething mass of highly-motivated humanity.
  • The western turnaround point is along Lakeshore Blvd West, just west of Parkside Drive. The cheering station should make it fun. This is the one-quarter mark for the marathon, so even the half-marathon runners should still be pretty fresh.
  • The half-marathon turns north from Lakeshore Blvd onto Bay Street, while the rest continue east. The half-marathon has about 1300m left before the finish, so those athletes will either be ready for the final sprint or feeling exhausted.
  • Kew Gardens, on Queen Street East, hosts another cheering station. It would be a great spot if you bicycle along the Martin Goodman Trail; but forget about transit or driving to reach it. Watch for the west-bound runners who have about 8.5Km left to go; they can see downtown Toronto in the distance, but it’s so incredibly far away. This stretch of Queen Street East, through Eastern Avenue, will be the place to witness inspirational determination despite fatigue and pain.
  • Runners passing the cheering station at Church and Front Streets get their final pick-me-up from the entertainment, and also from knowing they are within about 1200m of the finish line.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon truly is an annual autumn Toronto event worth watching from whatever vantage point you can find.

Looking for More Annual Toronto Events?

Check the “annual events” or “Toronto events” categories toward the end of the left-hand menu.

Disclaimer: DeHaan Services has no relationship to the organizer(s); I am not reimbursed for writing this article. However, DeHaan Services does write web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in online articles in Decoded Science, and other web sites. That’s why DeHaan Services highlight these online articles on this blog page.

Marathon Training and Heart Attacks in Toronto vs USA

My latest DeHaan Fitness article, “Marathon Training Unlikely to Increase Risk of Heart Attack“, actually presents a bit more of a balanced view than the title indicates.

The much larger of the two research papers that I reference, provides results from about a decade of organized marathon events in the USA. They counted both full and half marathon races.

One of their conclusions was that having spectators and professional medical people available reduced the mortality rate in the few heart attacks that occurred.

Both studies showed that there are, indeed, risks in exercising. Nonetheless, the title reflects my sincere belief that most people would be healthier if they would train at a not-too-intense, recreational level for endurance sports such as running or bicycling.

The Toronto Connection for Heart Attacks During Organized Marathon Events

"Heart with Anterior Wall Dysfunction", image by Patrick J. Lynch
“Heart with Anterior Wall Dysfunction”, image by Patrick J. Lynch

Toronto has hosted, on average, two marathon events a year for quite a few years. Each event includes a full marathon run of 42.2Km (26 miles, 385 yards for our American friends), as well as a half-marathon (21.1Km, “duh“).

If memory serves, from what I remember from our local news in the last six to ten years, Toronto has averaged about one death every two years across all these full and half marathon races.

Although participation has grown over the years, let’s just use the 2011 entrant numbers to get a rough estimate. The Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, held in the autumn, had about 12,750 runners across the two races. The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon, now a spring event, had about 5,300 participants. If these numbers were consistent across all the years, we would have seen about 1 death for every 36,000 entrants.

If my numbers are off…and certainly participation has grown over the years…I would still guess that one death for 25,000 entrants would be somewhat pessimistic.

Disclaimers All Around

Let’s note that the news would not report every cardiac arrest, nor every ailment treated on-scene or at hospitals. So I don’t have a firm comparison with the “Participating in marathons, half-marathons not found to increase risk of cardiac arrest” article from Medical Xpress (based on a report in the New England Journal of Medicine).

Let me repeat, I also did not go back to research the news archives for the Toronto deaths. I had begun paying attention around 2003 or so, when my own endurance training had started.

Nonetheless, another real problem (especially for anyone who shovels snow) is that cardiac arrests can occur to anyone; and lack of regular exercise is one of the contributing factors.

Also Promoting my Article about Marathon Training and Heart Attacks

In my Blog of Writing, “My Disclaimer for Marathon Training” provides a writing tip about disclaimers, such as:

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.


Professional Writing by DeHaan Services

DeHaan Services writes web site or advertising copy for clients. Our skills are demonstrated in articles in Decoded Science, and other online sites. That’s why we highlight articles on this blog page.

To only see our Toronto events or fitness, please click on the appropriate category in the “Categories” section at the bottom of the left-hand margin.

Thank you for reading about heart attacks versus marathon training.

Triumph and Tragedy at the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Each of the thousands of athletes running the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has a story. Here are ten tales from this windswept test of endurance and conditioning that concluded “Toronto Marathon Week” (as proclaimed by Mayor Rob Ford).

Four Leading Men Celebrated Four Victories in the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The four fastest finishers in the marathon were Kenneth Mungara, Shami Abdulahi Dawit, Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis.

Kenneth Mungara nipped Shami Abdulahi Dawit by about one-third of a second, in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 50 seconds (2:09:50). Mungara’s  margin of victory was 0.3 out of 7790 seconds, or 0.004%. Think about that when you see a photo-finish in the 100m.

It was Mungara’s fourth victory in the STWM (Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon). We hope Dawit was proud of his hard-earned silver finish.

Coolsaet and Gillis were jubilant Canadians. They clinched their status as teammates going to the 2012 London Olympics. Canada will indeed be represented in the men’s marathon event once again.

Coolsaet earned his bronze in the 2011 STWM in 2:10:55. Apparently this included a quick “bathroom break”. It was a personal best, but it fell short of the Canadian men’s record of 2:10:09 set by Jerome Drayton thirty-six years ago in Japan.

Gillis finished fourth in 2:11:27, with one second “to spare” in meeting the Canadian Olympic qualifying time of 2:11:29 for men’s marathon.

How Fast Are These Men Running the Marathon?

To put these times in perspective, finishing in 2:07 requires an average 20 Kph speed over the 42.2Km of a marathon. That is the recommended maximum speed for bicycles on Toronto’s Martin Goodman Trail.

Top Three Women of the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Koren Yal won the women’s gold in the 2011 STWM in 2:22:42. She was 13th overall, with a narrow victory over fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba in 2:23:35 (15th overall). Yal was not sure her time would qualify her for the Ethipian Olympic team, since others have also raced in 2:22 elsewhere.

Silviya Skvortsova of Russia was third, in 2:27:51 (17th overall).

Two World Records Without Winning in the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

How can you set a world record without winning? You do have to win your age category…just ask Ed Whitlock and Fauja Singh.

80 Years Old but Top 300 for Ed Whitlock

"Ed Whitlock, age 80, in March 2011" by by susayoun237 (Susan Young)
"Ed Whitlock, age 80, in March 2011" by susayoun237 (Susan Young)

Ed Whitlock placed 296th overall but set the world record for men 80 years of age in 3:15:54. Living in Milton, Ontario, Whitlock has more age-group records at a variety of distances than one would be able to “shake a stick at”.

Whitlock had set age-group marathon records at previous STWM events..

Fauja Singh with Success at 100 Years of Age

Fauja Singh is listed near the end of the race results page, coming in at #3849 overall of 3858 finishers, of whom some were his entourage. His time of 8:25:16 should not be regarded as a slow marathon pace, but contrasted with the number of hours anyone would put into a day of work.

This is the ninth world record Fauja Singh claimed this week. As reported in “Records and Relays Before the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon“, he set eight records at Birchmount in shorter distances in just one morning.

As well, he had set the world record for men in their 90s at a previous STWM.  Fauja Singh raises money for charities, with a special focus for helping children.

To put his triumph into perspective, some 97 people started the STWM, crossed at least the first timed checkpoint at the 10Km mark, but failed to cross the finish line.

Bonus Congratulations in the 2011 STWM Half Marathon and 5Km

Congratulations to Thomas Breitbach (1:07:21) and Leslie Sexton (1:16:33) for winning the men’s and women’s half marathon events, respectively.

Likewise to Jeremy Walsh (15:37.5) and Kerri Cook (17:38.8) in the 5Km.

One Death in 2011’s STWM Half Marathon

Tragically, one 27 year old man died near the finish of the half marathon. The National Post reported, “Between 2002 and 2006, there were at least four deaths at Toronto races”. (My own fallible memory is that Toronto has averaged about one death every two or three years, between what is now the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon and the STWM. This includes both the marathon and the half marathon distances. Chicago and Montreal also have recently experienced similar losses).

I have not been able to find his name in the news reports. May his family and friends find support and consolation to help them through this time of grief.

[Added 2011-10-22]: On Oct. 22, the Toronto Star reported that Kale Garner was the 27-year-old man who died in the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. He was running his first half-marathon, paced by co-worker Angela Shryane in her eighth. Garner had not mentioned any trouble through the 20.8Km that he did cover. Garner was following Shryane closely near the finish; then he fell. Prompt medical assistance failed to revive him. The cause of death is not yet known.


Paul Gains, STWM, “Mungara Wins Toronto Fourth Time”, Oct. 16, 2011.

Postmedia News via National Post, “Runner’s death overshadows Mungara’s 4th Toronto marathon win”, Oct. 16, 2011.

Mike DeHaan, DeHaan Services, “Records and Relays Before the 2011 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon“, Oct. 14, 2011.

Mike DeHaan, DeHaan Services,”Kew Garden Ceremony for the 2011 Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon“, Sept. 28, 2011.

Paul Hunter, Toronto Star, “Kale Garner had everything going for him when he died running a half-marathon“, Oct. 22, 2011.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon