The 34th annual Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon was one for the record books, literally. The highlight of the day has to be Cam Levins debut marathon breaking Jerome Drayton’s 43 year-old Canadian record. Cam ran a 2:09:22 besting Drayton’s 2:10:09 record to finish fourth overall and top Canadian. Along with being crowned Canadian Champion and Canadian Record Holder, Cam takes home $43,000 for his record breaking time, $1000 for every year the record has stood!
“I’m going to take back my career. I’m going to be back to the athlete I know I can be,” Levins told himself at the 10K mark. He also said, “There’s a greater appreciation for going out for an easy run,” about the mental aspect of marathon training.
Fan favourite on the men’s side, Reid Coolsaet finished second for Canadian men at a time of 2:17:36. Reid is the father of two young kids and appreciated Cam’s accomplishment.
“Something to build towards 2019,” he said, and as the veteran of the marathon he was full of smiles and cheers for his fellow competitor Levins. Aaron Cooper took the bronze medal in 2:17:59.
The race was won by Benson Kipruto of Kenya in 2:07:24. He had been running as part of the field until about 35k when he made his move toward the finish. Finishing second was Augustine Sulle (Tanzania) in 2:07:45, and Felix Kandie (Kenya) took the bronze in 2:08:29.
On the women’s side Bahrain’s Mimi Belete was the overall winner, breaking the previous course record, in a winning time of 2:22:28. Mimi is part of the elite NN Running team. You may remember them from Berlin; she’s on the same team as Eliud Kipchoge who recently bested the world record in the marathon. Mimi put the hammer down in the last kilometre to take the win. Rounding out the top finishers was Marta Megra (Kenya), finishing only 6 seconds behind Mimi, and Ruth Chebitok (Ethiopia) was third in 2:23:29.
On the Canadian women’s side Kinsey Middleton topped the podium. Kinsey may not be a mainstay name in Canada, yet. Kinsey has been making her way through the ranks from everything from the 10,000m track event, the half-marathon, and proving today she stands to be one of the best Canadian Marathoners. This was Kinsey’s debut marathon and her goal was “to run below the (World Championships) ‘A’ standard, which I think is 2:37,” with a 2:32:09 she absolutely smashed that.
According to Leslie Sexton, another Canadian elite marathon, Kinsey screamed out at 10K, “This is so much fun!”
I was out there running today and watched Kinsey go by paced by Natasha Wodak; the love between two teammates, trust me it was amazing and I’m sure it helped fuel Kinsey to go after the W!
The Canadian’s women podium was rounded out by last year’s winner Leslie Sexton, who said she was suffering from the effects of asthma towards the end of the race. Whether it was the cooler temperatures or the fall allergens, I think we can all appreciate that trying to run fast at the end of a long race and feeling like you cannot really breathe would be rather challenging. Finishing third was fan favourite Krista Duchene. Upon finishing, Krista said: “People ask me what I think about when I run. I’m coaching my daughter’s hockey team, and we’ve been losing by big margins. Despite that, they never give up, so I wasn’t going to either,” she said. Krista, it was great to see you never give up out there today as you chase your marathon dreams!
Arguably the weather today was perfect for a marathon, the times from the winners speak to this. The temperature got up to about ~4∞C/40∞F and there was relatively no wind. As photographer and partner of Alan Brookes, Inge Johnson said today, it would make not only for perfect race conditions, but also beautiful photos (which you folks will see this week, when we release our digital issue of the event).
Other notable achievements from today. American marathon super-star Allie Kieffer came up to run the half-marathon in preparation for her NYC Marathon in two weeks. Allie looked great out there running a workout through the race and finishing as the top woman in 1:12:43. Will Norris won on the men’s side in 1:05:30. In the joggling half-marathon, you know the guys who run and juggle, a new Guiness World Record was set by Michael-Lucien Bergeron in 1:17:09. Another GWR was broken by Blair Penny. Penny was dressed as a battery to raise awareness and funds for mitochondrial disease. In the recreational 5km race Julie-Anne Staehli and Phil Parrot-Migas both took the top spot.
While I was not out there racing today, I was out there running, and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much! I don’t like cold weather and the low temps made things challenging for me. With about 3K to go I started to catch some people who were falling off, from that moment my goal was to cheer so hard alongside them so they could have their best days. I was finishing with a gentleman, Edgar, and helping to push him over the last kilometre made my day. The bear hug he gave me at the end was amazing!