at the races Perseverance and the Road to Success

Perseverance and the Road to Success


This weekend would have been the annual Longboat Toronto Island 10K/5K event. But like many running events, covid19 quashed all plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary and the organizing of one of Toronto’s longest running 10K events.

Thankfully there are memories that keep the event in the hearts of runners. Joel Kennedy, the founder of the Indigenous Running Club shares his experience with us.

I finished my first 10K at the Longboat Toronto Island Run on September 11, 2016.

As I began running March 2016 I had a goal to run a 5K without stopping by October that year. I reached my goal in June and decided to start a new goal of running a 10K at the Longboat run. My brother and I came across this run years prior and we always had the goal to run it. It was something about a run that acknowledged Tom Longboat’s legacy, the greatest Indigenous distance runner, that made me want to do it.

After the success of my 5K I started an app that prepared me over the duration of 10 weeks for a 10K. Going in I had my doubts as I never ran that far before but had faith in my training. I still remember my nerves as I was going across on the ferry to Toronto Island. As the event finally started I went out at an easy pace, similar to my training, knowing I had a long run ahead of me. I was honestly waiting for myself to fade where I would have to take a break but it never happened. I felt great the whole run and finished strong. It was such an amazing experience.

I acknowledge this run as the one that gave me the confidence to carry on with distance running. With my 5K it took me multiple tries to feel confident moving on to the 10K. So it was weird for me to find success in my first attempt. Now for me it was never about time but being able to finish the run without having to stop and take a break. It was such a fitting experience as I was running at an event for Tom Longboat and I had dreams of being a distance runner like him. Obviously nowhere near as fast but just the thought of an Indigenous person running marathons.

As with most race shirts that come with your registration it was an XL. At the time I was wearing 3XL shirts but I always had a habit of trying it on and taking a photo. Knowing one day I would be able to wear it. Well today is the day that I can finally wear my shirt from 2016. This was one of my favourite race shirts and it was one of my goals to be able to fit it. Part of me never thought I would be wearing XL shirts as previously I had always been in XXL, even at my lightest. What surprised me the most is it’s comfortable and not tight.

Indigenous Running Club members at the annual Longboat Toronto Island Run 2019

The Longboat Toronto Island Run is one I return to every year and have set my personal best 10K each time. So it’s a bit weird not making the trip this year, due to the current situation. I have met some great people who organize the event and who are part of the hosting club, Longboat Roadrunners. I look forward to when I can run this event again as it’s my favourite 10K race.